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Category archives for Ecology

Holding the Cosmos in Our Hands

“The seed comes from the tree, the tree comes from the seed. It’s like the chicken and the egg. If people want to understand it, they will break the seed apart — they will actually kill it — to see the cells, the chromosomes and the genetics. There is another way to look at this. I plant a seed and a miracle happens — something new is born out of this carbohydrate and protein, a new life is born. This is a miracle, you see? The miracle of life.”

The Value of Tiny Islands

Tiny rock stacks around the world have critical value for conservation but are often neglected. Yesterday I visited a number of such small rock stacks in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf to check on their status.

1Frame4Nature | Baby Giants in the Deep Blue

Started in 2014, my long-term documentary project “Baby Giants” focuses on the conservation work of the critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley and other endangered sea turtles. Help is already underway to bring these sea turtle populations back from the brink, and I get to share this story of hope and invite you to join the efforts for sea turtles.

Dodging a Heavy Bough, Fleeing Angry Wasps — Another day in Yasuni Rain Forest

I have now reached the final push in deploying cameras in the canopy. I’m sitting at in the library of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station near Yasuní National Park after placing cameras in six Ficus trees spread across the trails near the research facility. I’ve also got cameras running at the Yasuní Research Station, two hours up the river, where I’ll return to set up a few more cameras later this week.

The past few days have involved a lot of climbing, most of which has been in trees I had never climbed before. The canopy habitat is dynamic, changing frequently as storms weaken structures and animals move in and out of their homes. Because of this, even on familiar trees, every climb is new to some extent, but I tend to find the first ascent of a new tree holds the most surprises, delightful or otherwise.

Ascension Island: Pristine Seas Heads to the Mountains!

We are headed to Ascension Island, a tiny volcanic island in the South Atlantic, midway between Brazil and Africa. It’s a powerful place where the deep sea and remote mountains collide, leaving the island as the small visible tip of a massive 3,200-meter mountain.

1Frame4Nature | The Search for Lost Species

In early 2010 I pulled together a poster of the ten “Most Wanted” amphibians that led to a global search for frogs and salamanders lost to science. A little battle-weary from the unabated extinction of frogs and their kin, and seeking hope in the face of despair, I was buoyed by the improbable reappearance in Costa Rica of the Variable Harlequin Frog and inspired to wonder: what else might be out there?

Scientists Successfully Collar Three More Wild Snow Leopards in Mongolia

Post submitted by Matthias Fiechter.  GPS collars will allow Snow Leopard Trust researchers to better understand the elusive species. In a remarkably successful expedition, three more snow leopards have been equipped with GPS collars in the Tost Nature Reserve in Mongolia’s South Gobi province this April. Two of them are male, and one is female. They’re…

Are we coming or going? Stakeholder engagement in the four corners

Post submitted by Lise Hanssen, Project Coordinator of Kwando Carnivore Project If there was checklist for setting up a lion conflict mitigation project in rural Namibia (or anywhere else I would imagine), first on the list would be engaging with the affected community.  In the case of the Chobe floodplains, this means seven conservancies with…

Resource Extraction and American Indians: The Invisible History of America

The recent American Indian protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota, protesting environmentally irresponsible and culturally damaging resource extraction, encouraged me to reach out to my American Indian friends.  The blood of the Cherokee Nation flows in the veins of my own family members.  I wanted to draw out their stories and to report on…

A Win for Both Nature and Fishermen in Mauritius

Last year, the Mauritian government, in partnership with local NGOs and Smartfish, led the first national octopus fishing closure for two months of the year. It went … swimmingly.

Wake Up, This Is Your Kea Alarm

Easter provided an opportunity to hike in the mountainous Southern Alps of New Zealand and to seek out some of the less common birds of New Zealand. We were not disappointed with sightings of some of the endemic residents of the mountains such as rock wren and kea.

Nature Is Making a Comeback. It’s Time to Celebrate.

Legendary conservation biologist Tom Lovejoy shares his thoughts on the progress we’ve made in protecting the wild, and the reasons for continued hope as the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit gets under way.

Kayaking Within Rookery Bay Mangroves

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. A group of intrepid adventurers and I met at exactly 9 a.m. at the end…

Oysters Built the East Coast. Now Entrepreneurs are Rebuilding the Oysters.

The East Coast was literally built on oysters. At the peak of their production as a food source, these shellfish were so plentiful from the Gulf Coast to New England that discarded shells were crushed and used to pave roads. Oysters kept bays and waterways clean—Chesapeake Bay residents didn’t need to treat or filter their…

Gallopin’ Gargoyles! New Stone-Like Frog Species Discovered

The discovery of the stone leaf-litter frog is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the unknown biodiversity of these forests. It’s a race against time to discover the creatures that live in these mysterious forests and to ensure that they still have their forest homes in the future.