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In Ecology News: Heartland leak, hydrofracking law, and conservation in pictures

By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer A dead pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) on a back road of the Thunder Basin National Grassland in northeastern Wyoming. Coal, oil and gas development in the basin have brought more vehicles, and more conflicts with wildlife. Rob Mutch, 2004. FRESH water scientist (and MacArthur Fellow and member of the National Academy of Sciences) Peter Gleick…

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In Ecology News: Python vs the Everglades

Are exotic pythons devastating Florida’s Everglades National Park? By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer Sometimes the snake wins. The exotic Burmese python is a new and deadly predator allegedly squeezing the wildlife of Florida’s already environmentally pressured Everglades. Large snakes have been observed swallowing American alligators and 80-pound deer, but more common prey are small mammals like raccoons, rabbits, and…

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Spaceship Earth?

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer Astronaut Bruce McCandless II drifts free, 350 kilometers above Earth’s surface and 100 meters from the safe haven of the Space Shuttle Challenger, during one of NASA’s first un-tethered spacewalks (credit, STS-41B, NASA 1984, via the Astronomy Picture of the Day). Invisible bonds of absolute necessity hold the free-flying astronaut to…

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The rising of the sun and the running of the deer

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer In November, Norwegians Arnoldus Schytte Blix, Lars Walløe and Lars Folkow brought us the news that running reindeer cool themselves through open-mouthed panting, as Sara Reardon explains at ScienceNOW. Their heavy winter coats are so effective at insulating the animals from arctic temperatures that they have trouble dumping excess heat through…

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landsat 5 satellite artistic rendering

Goodbye, Landsat 5

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer Four hundred miles above the Earth’s surface, a satellite slides into lonely oblivion. After collecting and broadcasting earthly imagery for a remarkable quarter century past its expected 3-year lifespan, Landsat 5 is failing. Over the years, US Geological Survey engineers have contrived quite a few patches and work-arounds for malfunctions on…

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In Ecology news- climate change, wine, volcanoes, automated birdsong, animated krill, and the mysteries of ‘womanspace’

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer In the news By 2080, Adirondack communities dependent on snow for winter tourism dollars may be struggling, says a report commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. But the Finger Lakes wine country may benefit from a longer, warmer growing season and more water. Touching lightly on…

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Murmurations of starlings and wren duets

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer   On the slopes of the Antisana volcano in Ecuador, the plain-tailed wren sings a sophisticated song. It is not a solo, but a duet, a rapid-fire call-and-response so fast that you might mistake the singers for a single bird, even if you have the luck to stand betwixt them and…

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We are the 7 billion

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer   At midnight, Manila time, on October 31st, UN officials welcomed Danica May Camacho of the Philippines as the world’s 7-billionth person, a symbolic baby for the symbolic Halloween “Day of 7 Billion.” The LA Times led that morning with the steep population growth curve, forecast to pass 9 billion in…

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