User: flenvcenter Topic: Biodiversity-National
Category: Specific Organisms :: Fungi
Last updated: Mar 19 2015 16:37 IST RSS 2.0
 
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Bark Beetles Are Decimating Our Forests. That Might Actually Be a Good Thing. 19.3.2015 Mother Jones
There is an eerie feel to this grove of lodgepole pines that I can't quite put my finger on as entomologist Diana Six tromps ahead of me, hatchet in hand, scanning the southwestern Montana woods for her target. But as she digs the blade into a towering trunk, it finally hits me: the smell. There's no scent of pine needles, no sharp, minty note wafting through the brisk fall air. Six hacks away hunks of bark until she reveals an inner layer riddled with wormy passageways. "Hey, looky!" she exclaims, poking at a small dark form. "Are you dead? Yeah, you're dead." She extends her hand, holding a tiny black oval, maybe a quarter of an inch long. Scientists often compare this insect to a grain of rice, but Six prefers mouse dropping: "Beetle in one hand, mouse turd in another. You can't tell them apart." She turns to the next few trees in search of more traces. Pill-size holes pock their ashen trunks—a sign, along with the missing pine scent, of a forest reeling from an invasion. These tiny winged beetles ...
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Biodiversity may reduce threat of disease 20.2.2015 Environmental News Network
Biodiversity level changes can have consequences for species and habitats around the world. A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reaffirms previous findings that higher diversity in ecological communities may lead to reduced disease threat. The study concludes that higher amphibian diversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest is linked to a lower infection rate of a fungus that is devastating amphibian populations around the world. 
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Good news for bats: Disease spread slowing down 13.1.2015 Minnesota Public Radio: Law & Justice
The disease known as white-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats, but scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering.
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New studies solve some mysteries about the plague that's killing our bats 13.1.2015 MinnPost
REUTERS A bat suffering from white-nose syndrome Two recent studies of white-nose syndrome (WNS) have turned up intriguing new details of how the disease seems to progress, not only within individual bats but also across bat populations. Neither points directly to a cure for the fungal plague of WNS, which has killed nearly 6 million American bats in the last eight years and continues to push some species toward extinction. But if effective cures are developed – along the lines, say, of bacterial agents that hold some promise of killing the fungus/spores, without unacceptable side effects – each set of findings points toward possible deployment strategies, and thus toward reversing the catastrophic losses of these key contributors to ecosystem health. WNS attacks hibernating bats during the cool months of winter. Scientists have suspected that it kills by rousing the bats from rest, or torpor, sending them out and about for flights in wintry weather when they should be resting. (Thus the public-service ...
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Good News For Bats! Things Are Looking Up For Stemming Disease Spread 13.1.2015 NPR News
The disease known as white-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats, but scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering.
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One-quarter of world's mammals at risk, says new analysis of extinction rates 18.12.2014 MinnPost
Mass extinction has been a sobering theme in 2014’s flow of environmental news, starting with publication of Elizabeth Kolbert’s book “ The Sixth Extinction ”  in February, proceeding through a groundbreaking report on threatened bird species by the Audubon Society in September, and concluding now with a new survey by the journal Nature. Nature is all about sound science and respecting scientific uncertainty, but also about making complex issues intelligible to nonexperts. For this survey, it pulled together the most reliable data it could find on the current state of species endangerment worldwide, such as the latest listings by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, then mapped the grim tallies in a series of graphics , some of them interactive. For example, it represents IUCN’s list of endangered animals as a vast field of colored dots, each representing a single threatened species of mammal (1,199 of them), bird (1,373), amphibian (1,957) or insect (993). Moving your mouse pointer over ...
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One-quarter of world's mammals at risk in new analysis of extinction rates 18.12.2014 MinnPost
Mass extinction has been a sobering theme in 2014’s flow of environmental news, starting with publication of Elizabeth Kolbert’s book “ The Sixth Extinction ”  in February, proceeding through a groundbreaking report on threatened bird species by the Audubon Society in September, and concluding now with a new survey by the journal Nature. Nature is all about sound science and respecting scientific uncertainty, but also about making complex issues intelligible to nonexperts. For this survey, it pulled together the most reliable data it could find on the current state of species endangerment worldwide, such as the latest listings by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, then mapped the grim tallies in a series of graphics , some of them interactive. For example, it represents IUCN’s list of endangered animals as a vast field of colored dots, each representing a single threatened species of mammal (1,199 of them), bird (1,373), amphibian (1,957) or insect (993). Moving your mouse pointer over ...
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Possible hope in Western battle against cheatgrass 7.12.2014 AP Washington
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A century-long losing battle has been waged in the West against an invasive weed that is responsible for massive wildfires and threatens native species and rangeland....
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This biodegradable drone is grown from mushrooms and covered in wasp spit 22.11.2014 Washington Post

A group of college students has created an environmentally friendly drone -- think veggie leather.

Led by one of NASA's synthetic biology experts, they made an unmanned aerial vehicle almost entirely out of biodegradable materials. After a crash, these little fliers would basically disappear.

Read full article >>
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Northern long-eared bat is not endangered, state conservation groups say 15.11.2014 Star Tribune: Latest
Minnesota’s timber industry is hoping that it will avoid logging restrictions now that many forest and wildlife associations have concluded that the northern long-eared bat shouldn’t be declared an endangered species.
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A Health Check-up for Our Environment—Ignored at Our Own Risk 12.11.2014 Commondreams.org Views
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A Health Check-up for Our Environment - Ignored at Our Own Risk 11.11.2014 International Rivers Sitewide RSS Feed
Chinese river dolphins baijidolphin.weebly.com In the 1950s, thousands of Baiji river dolphins plied the waters of the Yangtze, Asia’s mightiest river. The Chinese river dolphin had evolved over 20 millions of years, and was revered as the goddess of the Yangtze. By 1994, fewer than 100 individuals remained, and by 2006, the dolphin had become extinct . A proud branch on the tree of life had been destroyed in the blink of an eye by pollution, dam building, and reckless navigation. Sadly, the goddess of the Yangtze is not alone in her fate. The last Chinese paddlefish was sighted in 2003. The majestic Chinese sturgeon is considered to be critically endangered as well. Of the 143 fish species which were historically recorded in the Yangtze River, only 17 were left in 2013. As many as 30 million animal, plant and fungi species populate Planet Earth. About 1.7 million of them have been identified and described. What is the health of these plant and animal kingdoms? Which species groups are at particular ...
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A Health Check-up for Our Environment - Ignored at Our Own Risk 11.11.2014 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
In the 1950s, thousands of Baiji river dolphins (pictured) plied the waters of the Yangtze, Asia's mightiest river. The Chinese river dolphin had evolved over 20 millions of years, and was revered as the goddess of the Yangtze. By 1994, fewer than 100 individuals remained, and by 2006, the dolphin had become extinct . A proud branch on the tree of life had been destroyed in the blink of an eye by pollution, dam building, and reckless navigation. Sadly, the goddess of the Yangtze is not alone in her fate. The last Chinese paddlefish was sighted in 2003. The majestic Chinese sturgeon is considered to be critically endangered as well. Of the 143 fish species which were historically recorded in the Yangtze River, only 17 were left in 2013. As many as 30 million animal, plant and fungi species populate Planet Earth. About 1.7 million of them have been identified and described. What is the health of these plant and animal kingdoms? Which species groups are at particular risk? Are the extinct Chinese river ...
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Salvage logging begins after 35,000-acre Oregon wildfire 27.10.2014 Seattle Times: Top stories
Timber managers are scouring the scene of August’s 35,000-acre Oregon Gulch fire near Klamath Falls to find out what’s left and if it has any value.
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Salvage logging begins after 35,000-acre Oregon wildfire 27.10.2014 Seattle Times: Local
Timber managers are scouring the scene of August’s 35,000-acre Oregon Gulch fire near Klamath Falls to find out what’s left and if it has any value.
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Spanish amphibians struck down by virus attack 16.10.2014 New Scientist: Sex and Cloning
Spanish amphibians struck down by virus attack
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Loon, Interrupted: Chicks Dying, Social Chaos; Is Their Comeback Unraveling? 8.10.2014 Truthout - All Articles
A common loon. (Photo: Matthew / Flickr ) Holderness, New Hampshire - Tiffany Grade sweeps her binoculars over tangled tree roots at water’s edge. She spots a black and white checkerboard of feathers in a lichen-covered crease in the shoreline – a loon sitting on a nest. Just offshore, a second loon glides past, dives, then disappears. Also see: Heavy Metal Songs: Contaminated Songbirds Sing the Wrong Tunes To the untrained eye, it’s an idyllic summer scene on Squam Lake. But to a loon biologist like Grade, it’s trouble. “Do you see the way he stretches his neck up?” Grade says, pointing to the diving bird. “He knows he’s some place he shouldn’t be.” The male intruder is biding his time until the nesting loon leaves. This vying for territory imperils the unhatched chick: Its parents can be killed or distracted, leaving the egg undefended or the chick unfed. And if one parent is ousted, the intruder kills the chick. At Squam Lake, it’s social chaos. Chicks are dying. Eggs aren’t hatching. It’s a scenario ...
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Loon, Interrupted: Chicks Dying, Social Chaos. Is Their Comeback Unraveling? 8.10.2014 Truthout.com
A common loon. (Photo: Matthew / Flickr ) Holderness, New Hampshire - Tiffany Grade sweeps her binoculars over tangled tree roots at water’s edge. She spots a black and white checkerboard of feathers in a lichen-covered crease in the shoreline – a loon sitting on a nest. Just offshore, a second loon glides past, dives, then disappears. Also see: Heavy Metal Songs: Contaminated Songbirds Sing the Wrong Tunes To the untrained eye, it’s an idyllic summer scene on Squam Lake. But to a loon biologist like Grade, it’s trouble. “Do you see the way he stretches his neck up?” Grade says, pointing to the diving bird. “He knows he’s some place he shouldn’t be.” The male intruder is biding his time until the nesting loon leaves. This vying for territory imperils the unhatched chick: Its parents can be killed or distracted, leaving the egg undefended or the chick unfed. And if one parent is ousted, the intruder kills the chick. At Squam Lake, it’s social chaos. Chicks are dying. Eggs aren’t hatching. It’s a scenario ...
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Biological Collections Are Vital to Preserving Species in the Face of Climate Change 29.9.2014 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Among the many different resources that scientists will use to try to forestall some of the effects of climate change, the nation's treasure trove of preserved plants, animals, and microscopic organisms is undoubtedly one of the least known to most people. But these biological collections represent a very powerful tool for understanding how climate change is likely to affect life on Earth. Our nation has a rich heritage in such collections, which are held at about 1,000 scientific research institutions such as universities, natural history museums, and botanical gardens. What are in these collections? They consist of such things as the skeletons and skins of mammals, birds and reptiles; fossils, tissue samples, and fish and spiders preserved in fluid; dried plants and fungi glued to stiff paper or stored in boxes; and tiny organisms on microscope slides. Although no one knows exactly, we estimate that there are approximately one billion preserved specimens in the U.S. that have been gathered by ...
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The Ghosts of Whitebark Pine 23.9.2014 Switchboard, from NRDC
Sylvia Fallon, Senior Scientist, Washington, DC: Today, the Endangered Species Coalition released its annual Top 10 report – this year’s theme is Vanishing Wildlife:  the top 10 species our children may never see.  Among the species in their report is whitebark pine – the high-elevation pine...
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