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"Dying to See"
How far would you go to photograph an animal in the wild?
My latest blog post...

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I'm a collector of nature quotes, or of quotes that have relevance to nature. Ones that give me a little adrenaline rush of recognition and that I connect with personally. A good quote is a nugget of truth, of distilled wisdom. Something to savour, reflect upon, and come back to. I even found the title of one of my books (All Things Breathe Alike) amongst this selection. I hope they inspire you too! The accompanying photos are mine unless stated otherwise... Oh, and I would love it if you shared my page! :-)

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3 Photos - View album

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Why is this lake in the Peruvian rainforest so special? Because it is "full of riotous noise, bursting at the seams with life, where the voices of wild creatures have not been interrupted and overwhelmed and silenced by our own."

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Giant otters, nature tourism, and the gatekeepers of Manu National Park...

"As we shook hands, he told me about their Facebook page – Ecoturismo Isla de los Valles – and that it was their hope more and more tourists would come to visit the lake at Manu’s gate. I assured him that, with time, they would. After all, if the community’s nature tourism efforts are successful and continue to be well managed, they will be contributing significantly to the health of the Park’s giant otter population. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?"

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With Privet Gone, Native Plants and Pollinators Return

Dated but still relevant:

Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a forest return to any semblance of its previous condition?

Results from a five-year study by U.S. Forest Service researchers shows that a thorough removal of privet can last at least five years without a follow-up, and that native plant and animal communities steadily return to areas cleared of the invasive shrub.

In 2005, Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and State and Private Forestry started an experiment to assess the long-term effects of removing Chinese privet from streamside forest land in northern Georgia. SRS research entomologist Jim Hanula and entomologist Scott Horn, both based in Athens, Georgia, as part of the SRS Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants unit, worked with John Taylor (retired, Forest Service, Region 8, State and Private Forestry) to set up plots to test methods of removing privet and to document the return of native plant communities and the response of insect pollinators...

Researchers tested two methods for removing privet. In one set of plots, they used a mechanical mulching machine to grind up privet to the ground level, leaving the mulch on the plots. In the other set of plots, crews with chainsaws and machetes felled privet by hand. Stumps in both sets of plots were initially treated with herbicide to prevent resprouting, and the areas were treated again with a foliar spray a year later to address new sprouts. By 2007, the plots had less than one percent of their surfaces covered by privet compared to over 60 percent on control plots where privet was left untreated.

“The results were dramatic,” said Horn. “The hardwood forests we’re working on are some of the most beautiful places in the South when they’re not choked with privet. We saw the return of native plant species in all of the treated plots.”

Results from their studies on pollinators were even more dramatic. “After only two years, there were four to five times more bee species in privet-free areas, 40 or 50 compared to the 10 on control plots infested with privet,” said Hanula. “We caught three times as many butterfly species on the mulched plots and nearly seven times as many individuals.” (...)

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New species of flying squirrel identified in the Pacific Northwest!

A new species of flying squirrel has been found in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been dubbed Humboldt’s flying squirrel, in honor of the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

The discovery means that three—not two—species of the furred gliders live in North America, and it changes our understanding of how these squirrels evolved and spread across the continent, scientists report today in the Journal of Mammalogy.

The new species, Earth’s 45th known flying squirrel, also adds to the ongoing tally of our planet’s biodiversity—an increasingly urgent matter, given the high rate of extinctions.

Researchers will want to take a closer look at the role these gliders play in their ecosystem. And they’ll want to assess how well they’re doing, especially because they’re found in areas with threatened spotted owls, which often dine on flying squirrels—most likely this new species...

“I’ve been scratching my head over these squirrels since 1992,” says Brian Arbogast, a mammalogist at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, and the study’s lead author. “There was just something weird about those from the West Coast.”

The newly described Humboldt's flying squirrel (Glaucomys oregonensis) is found in forested habitats along the Pacific coast of North America, from southern British Columbia to southern California. Its range overlaps that of the northern flying squirrel (G. sabrinus) in western Washington and British Columbia...

The scientists’ analysis of the DNA from 185 individuals across North America confirmed Arbogast’s view of the West Coast squirrels. They were different and weird enough to be classified as a new species: G. oregonensis *— *Humboldt’s flying squirrel.

“They’re what we call a “cryptic species,” one that’s hidden in plain view because they look so much like another species—you’d never guess they were different,” he says...

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Scientists + Fieldwork = FieldWorkFail!

Editing the English version of this book about "messy science"and working with the author, JM Jourdane, was a lot of fun. Check out my latest blog post!
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