Archives for February 28, 2008

The Force is With Us

So, maybe scienceblogs is special after all…

Polar Bears Under Threat …

As usual. Along with seabirds, owing to decisions made by the US government. The US Government has auctioned leases to drill for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, putting at risk internationally important concentrations of seabirds, and a number of threatened bird species, including the Critically Endangered Kittlitz’s Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostri. Audubon…

Historical records indicate that 130 years ago, the white-tailed jack rabbit was abundant in the Yellowstone vicinity. The last confirmed sighting was in 1991. What happened? This apparently remains a mystery, according to Rabbit Expert Joel Berger.

SARS comes from bats

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is caused by a coronavirus that is now believed to have originated in bats. In 2004, thousands of palm civets (a cat like carnivore) were killed off in China because it was believed that they were the main reservoir of this disease. Ooops.

Are emerging diseases emerging more?

Or is it just that they are more often recognized. Or more sensationally reported. A recent study suggests that “emerging” diseases such as HIV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile virus and Ebola are more common.

Rare Birds Yearbook 2008

Rare Birds Yearbook 2008: The World’s 189 Most Threatened Birds is, according to BirdLife International, proving to be a great success. Last year’s Rare Birds Yearbook photo competition was a huge success with more than 1,000 images being submitted and the best were presented in Rare Birds Yearbook 2008, with each published photographer receiving a…

Why are the bats dying?

Thousands of sick and dying bats are being found in caves in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. These are mostly Myotis lucifungus (the fairly common little brown bat) but at least three other species, including the endangered Myotis sodalis (Indiana bat) are affected as well. But why?

Four Stone Hearth # 35…

… is up at Archaeoporn

Kenyan Birds and Sugar Cane

A flourishing wetland on Kenya’s northern coast is under serious threat from plans to grow vast amounts of sugarcane, partly for biofuel production. Developers want to transform nearly 20,000 hectares of the spectacular Tana River Delta, into sugarcane plantations with other parts of the Delta earmarked for rice. “This development would be a national disaster,…

An Ocean of Despair

Almost half of the world’s oceans have been ruined to some degree … often very severely … by human activity. You’ve heard a lot on the news and in the blogosphere about this lately. This increased interest is in part because of the recent production (Feb 15th Science) of a map of the ocean showing…