Marty Downs

Marty joined the Nature Conservancy in January 2014 to write about TNC research and manage the Science Impact Project. She started her career in ecosystem ecology and climate impact research, but has focused on science communications since 1999. She’s now doing what she likes best – writing about cool science and helping scientists find and communicate what’s exciting about their work.


Marty's Posts

CSI Channel Islands: Can the Island Scrub-jay Help to Think about Climate Change?

Solving the mystery of Santa Rosa’s island scrub-jays could refine thinking on how to manage vulnerable species under climate change.

Posted In: Science
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Spiders Go Fishing, Old Trees Dwindle & Icebergs Scrape Bottom

Also in our best of the web: group discounts on solar panels, Chilean dams halted, monster jellyfish and spiders with personality.

Posted In: Science, The Cooler
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Reassembling Hydra, Flying Frogs, and Bird-Friendly Windows

Also in our best of the web: spiderwebs tuned for data, Palau fishing ban, revisiting litter and a chlorine-free swimming pool.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Eyes of the Tiger, Tree-Hugging Koalas & Brainy Bees

Also in our best of the web: the bats are back, better than laser vision, chameleons vs. octopuses, something more frightening than piranhas, and more.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Plastic from Methane, Toxic Toads & Robo-Crocodiles

Also in our best of the web: conopid flies, cliff swallow acrobatics, science of fire, tools for innovation and extraordinary images of water around the world.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Lost Snakes, Returning Snails & Jellyfish Locomotion

Also in our best of the web: fire communication and conservation, NASA for the oceans, a school of stingrays, and Mr. Wizard goes to Washington.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Accelerating the Pace of Conservation Science

A paper co-authored by the Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist reflects how much conservation science has changed in the six-decade history of the Conservancy — a lot.

Posted In: Science
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Centenarian Cetacean, Polar Bear Evolution & Superpolluting Scooters

Also in our best of the web: flood resilient rice, a new horned lizard, beehive fences, entomophagy and three angles on the West Antarctic ice shelf.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Betting on Nature

Thinking about risk in the same hard-nosed way that business people do could help conservation be both more deliberate and more ambitious.

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Coral Reefs Soften Ocean’s Fury for Millions of Coastal Dwellers

Coral reefs harbor great diversity and absorb an amazing 97% of the energy from incoming waves. Restoration is < 1/10th the cost of building more breakwaters.

Posted In: Science
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Nanopesticides, Glacier Inventory, Brewers for Clean Water & More

Also in our best of the web: parasitic flowers, interactive whale mapping, chemical warfare in the garden, and mega preserve goes off-limits

Posted In: The Cooler
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Climate Change and Nutrition: It’s Not Just About Quantity

A new meta-analysis links increasing concentration of carbon dioxide with decreasing zinc and iron in plants, potentially affecting close to 2 billion people.

Posted In: Quick Study
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Walt Reid on Conservation Bright Spots & Systems Versus Species Thinking

In the first of a series interviewing conservation science leaders, we talk with Walt Reid, director of conservation & science at the Packard Foundation and past director of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

Posted In: Green Giants
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Voracious Crabs, Jujitsu Mouse, and the Biggest Data Yet

Also in our best of the web: blue-footed boobie decline, great koala count, wave energy deficit, and HIV-fighting coral protein

Posted In: The Cooler
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Seven Billion and Counting: Population and the Planet

A panel discussion brings together leaders of population and environment groups to talk about the opportunities to improve livelihoods and conserve nature.

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Forest Dilemmas

Too many deer. Logging one tree to save another. Beavers versus old growth. Welcome to forest conservation in the Anthropocene. Beginning Monday, July 21, join us for a provocative 5-part series exploring the full complexity facing forest conservation in the eastern United States.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is managed by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and edited by Bob Lalasz, its director of science communications. Email us your feedback.

Innovative Science

Investing in Seagrass
Marine scientists and fishers alike know that grass beds are valuable as nursery habitat. A new Conservancy-funded study puts a number to it.

Drones Aid Bird Conservation
How can California conservationists accurately count thousands of cranes? Enter a new tool in bird monitoring: the drone.

Creating a Climate-Smart Agriculture
Can farmers globally both adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change? A new paper answers with a definitive yes. But it won't be easy.

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