Born at the right time

It’s nice to have some good conservation news every once in awhile, even with caveats. North Atlantic right whales are one of the most endangered species on Earth. These mammals were dubbed by 18th-century whalers to be the “right” whales to catch because they’re huge (up to 70 tons and 55 feet long), stay close to shore, move slowly and have large amounts of baleen and blubber, the latter of which yielded much...

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A realistic map of scientific thought

Tracking citation data (i.e., which papers cite which other papers) has traditionally been the method for understanding the interconnectivity of different fields and subfields of research. But in the age when most researchers access their information online, the printed word can sometimes be years out of date. In a paper published this week in Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS ONE), Johan Bollen of the Los Alamos National Laboratory...

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Climate change may reorganize Western fauna

Bioclimatic models attempt to draw correlations between species distributions and climate patterns.  As ecologists and climatologists hone these models, they become a useful tool for predicting future species distributions based on projected climate patterns. In the March issue of Ecology, Joshua Lawler of the University of Washington and his colleagues undertook a huge task: using a bioclimatic model, they estimated the effects of...

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Climate change alters species range for H. sapiens

An article in last week’s Washington Post highlights a few of the many thousands of people and families across the globe who are leaving their homelands behind in fear of global warming. The article mentions the country of Kiribati, a Pacific archipelago, where the government is trying to figure out how to move its 100,000 inhabitants off the island because of a steadily rising ocean level.  Environmental disasters such as...

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SICB: ‘No thanks, New Orleans’

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology announced this week in a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal that the society would not hold future scientific meetings in Louisiana in response to the recent passage by the state legislature of the Louisiana “Science Education Act.” The letter was first reported Monday in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has also drawn coverage in The New York Times and at Discover.com. Passed...

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Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin

Today we mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the most influential thinker in biology, Charles Darwin, renowned as the founder of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Publications worldwide have commemorated the day by publishing news articles on Darwin’s life and work and the current state of affairs in evolutionary theory.  Here’s a selection of impressive ones. Darwin Speaks, Scientific American. An...

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