Laser-imaging bird habitats

A paper out in the October issue of Ecological Applications puts forth a new use for light detection and ranging technology, or LiDAR: the prediction of bird habitats. LiDAR technology uses laser imaging techniques to develop maps of forest vegetation structure by sending laser beams from aircrafts that fly over a study area. In this case, the scientists sampled the Cosumnes River Preserve in central California.  They then can use...

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The economics of Waxman-Markey

An insightful (if decidedly partisan) op-ed by Paul Krugman in Friday’s New York Times focuses on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that was approved in the House but has stalled – due in no small part due to the debate over health care reform – in the Senate. Krugman points out that there are two kinds of people opposed to climate change legislation: those dwindling numbers who don’t believe climate change...

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New spider species an homage to David Bowie

Here’s an interesting tidbit for your Friday. A new species of sparassid spider (pictured) from Malaysia has been named after David Bowie. Peter Jäger, an arachnologist at the Senckenberg research institute in Germany, says he named the spider –  Heteropoda davidbowie — after the English rock star in an effort to raise awareness about endangered spiders. Bowie’s 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...

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Pandas: Let ‘em die?

A Reuters article yesterday proclaimed that BBC television naturalist and conservationist Chris Packham thinks that scientists are wasting their time on the conservation efforts devoted to giant pandas. Pandas have reached “an evolutionary cul-de-sac,” he says, and they’re destined to die out because of their own habits. It’s true that pandas have a highly specialized lifestyle: they need to eat about 25 pounds...

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Lawrence Slobodkin, 1928-2009

Lawrence Slobodkin, a revolutionary ecologist who played a major role in bringing the science of ecology into the quantitative realm, died last Friday. He was 81. Slobodkin’s most famous paper, titled “Community Structure, Population Control and Competition,” showcased his wide-aspect thought processes. The paper, sometimes known as “The World Is Green,” purports that because vegetation is abundant on...

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