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

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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Mule Deer Migration, Fearless Fish, and Pirate Naturalists

Also in our best of the web: Of birds and rice, sloth survival, prairie aesthetics, and fact-checking the Gulf oil spill

Posted In: The Cooler
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Seeds on Loan, Solar Windows & At-Risk (and Way Cool) Birds

Also in our best of the web: NOAA nods to saltwater sport fishers, springtime rattlesnake confab, golf courses for conservation, and a bit more TED-tweaking.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Island Biogeography Theory Misses Mark for Tropical Forest Remnants

Species losses due to habitat fragmentation may be less bleak than predicted under the island biogeography theory, says a study of bat biodiversity in Costa Rica and Panama.

Posted In: Science
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Plant Zombies, Cannibal Tadpoles & the Fading Tuatara

Also in our best of the web: punk frogs, sea serpents on video, sadistic trolls (really), Masai fencing innovation, and Peter Matthiessen remembered

Posted In: The Cooler
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Zebra Stripes, Disease-Fighting Owls, and Jellyfish for Lunch

Also in our best of the web: rattlesnake wrangling, high-end environment news, art meets climate science, and an endangered mammal that looks like an artichoke

Posted In: The Cooler
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Of Crows and Cuckoos, Pigeons, Pachyderms, and Komodos

Also in our best of the web: A bioblitz near you, the Colorado delta gets a big gulp, never-till farming, and what Hollywood gets wrong about bugs and birders

Posted In: The Cooler
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Amphibian Invisibility Cloak, Resilient Bats, and Terror Birds

Also in our best of the web: taxonomy appreciation day, donor-funded science, rainwater harvesting, and snowy owls.

Posted In: The Cooler
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Definition as Intention: “Climate Adaptation”

A broad strokes definition of “climate adaptation” is enough to get resource managers talking and thinking. But getting to action may require more specifics.

Posted In: Quick Study
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Diverse Conservation

Call for Inclusive Conservation
Join Heather Tallis in a call to increase the diversity of voices and values in the conservation debate.

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

Infrared Sage Grouse Count
The challenge: find a chicken-sized bird in a million-acre expanse of rugged canyons & bad roads. Infrared video to the rescue.

Wildlife Videos In Infrared
Infrared enables us to see minor variations in temperature. See how this technology is revolutionizing conservation science.

Nature As Normal
TNC Lead Scientist Heather Tallis is researching how to make people see nature as critical to life through three lenses: education, water and poverty.

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