VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Category archives for Ecology
Have plans this summer to visit your favorite sushi restaurant? You might order spicy tuna roll. Or maybe salmon or halibut. But is the fish you selected the one you got? If you’re in Los Angeles or many other cities around the globe, it’s a flip of the coin. Scientists at Loyola Marymount University, the…
Imagine a booming underwater powerhouse, overflowing with vibrant biodiversity; a vast, dynamic wonderland of adaptation in aquatic form. Primordial soup? Not quite–though coral reefs are themselves an irreplaceable vessel of life. From fish nurseries to coastline protection and pharmaceutical breakthroughs to diving meccas, coral reefs provide a multitude of ecological services and economic contributions. Awed by the endless infinity of life living upon life to degrees unimaginable to the naked eye, I count myself lucky to have spent time in these enchanting habitats in many parts of the world.
Invasive alien species are the major threat to islands by most metrics, and two open access papers published this week highlight this threat in different ways.
Post submitted by Matthias Fiechter of Snow Leopard Trust. A conservation catch 22: Increasing the number wild prey animals is key for healthy snow leopard populations. But it doesn’t solve the problem of livestock predation – on the contrary.
The air reverberated with clinking noises and the whoosh of oyster shells sliding off giant piles into waiting buckets. Volunteers, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) staff and their AmeriCorps team gathered the shells in mesh bags, slowly building another mound of new reef material. As they worked, a truck pulled in with even more shells, collected…
The humble mangrove forest is one of the most biologically important ecosystems that border our oceans. They act as the skin of our coastlines, managing the energy exchange between land and sea; and provide vital ecosystem services such as waste treatment, habitat, food resource, and recreation.
I have been on many research expeditions throughout the Gulf of California, Mexico, where I study these ecosystems and photograph them in action: acting as a nursery for yellow snappers, hosting migratory birds after their long flight, and buffering coastlines against storms.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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…
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…
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…