White-nose syndrome still devastating bats and challenging scientists

A healthy Virginia big-eared bat in WV Credit: Jeff Hajenga, WVDNR In an effort to conserve and research the endangered Virginia big-eared bat, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo took in 40 bats in November 2009. The goal was to establish a security population and to scientifically develop husbandry practices in a subspecies that researchers have not attempted to conserve before.  According to a press release, “The possible extinction of...

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From the Community: February edition

Fruit fly behavior mapped, resilience theory in an urban setting, changing the universe’s birthdate and genetic diversity in an all-female species. Here are extra news stories and studies on ecological science for the month of February: Fruit fly mapping: A computer program (see above video) developed by the California Institute of Technology tracks the movement of fruit flies in an effort to quantify their behavior. Scientists hope...

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Research demonstrates that marine protected areas aid coral reefs

Research has shown that marine protected areas (MPAs)—areas where fishing and other potentially destructive activities are regulated—are benefitting, not just the fish habitats they are known to aid, but nearby coral reefs as well.  MPAs may benefit corals by restoring reef-based food webs and protecting damage from anchors and nutrient runoff. Marine scientists Elizabeth Selig and John Bruno from the University of North Carolina at...

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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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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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