Posted on April 10, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Burmese pythons, native to southern Asia, have taken up a comfortable residence in the state of Florida, especially in the Everglades. In addition to out-competing native wildlife for resources and habitat, the pythons are eating the native wildlife. PHOTO COURTESY SARAH L. STEWART.
Invasive pythons found to be eating eggs in addition to birds
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Burmese pythons aren’t just sitting and waiting for native birds in the Everglades — they’re actively seeking out nests and eating eggs, according to a new report by Smithsonian scientists who are trying to assess the impacts of the unwelcome invaders.
The findings suggest a new dimension in the threat to native wildlife, with tens of thousands of snakes on the loose in the subtropical ecosystem. The team’s findings are published in the online journal Reptiles & Amphibians: Conservation and Natural History.
“This finding is significant because it suggests that the Burmese python is not simply a sit-and-wait predator, but … is opportunistic enough to find the nests of birds,” said Carla Dove, ornithologist at the Smithsonian’s Feather Identification Lab in the National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study. “Although the sample size is small, these findings suggest that the snakes have the potential to negatively affect the breeding success of native birds.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks | Tagged: biodiversity, Burmese Python, Everglades, Everglades National Park, invasive species, Smithsonian Institution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 26, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Whale sharks gather by the hundreds to feed in nutrient-rich coastal waters off Mexico. PHOTO BY OSCAR REYES.
Largest-ever aggregation of giant fish discovered off the Yucatán Peninsula
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Far from being solitary behemoths of the sea, whale sharks sometimes gather in large schools to feed on fish eggs or tiny shrimp, according to recently published research by the Smithsonian Institution.
Whale sharks are the largest fish species, but they’ve been less studied than many other types of fish. Until recently, biologists had only seen them gather in groups of a few dozen, but in the past few years, researchers have learned that they can be gregarious, gathering by the hundreds to feed of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, marine biology, Smithsonian Institution, Summit County News, whale sharks, Yucatán Peninsula | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 8, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Archaelogists say the threat of rising sea levels calls for action to protect valuable coastal sites.
Leading archaeologists call for assessment and protection plan
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Thousands of archaeological sites around the world are at risk to rising sea levels , according to leading scientists with the Smithsonian Institution, Southern Methodist University and the University of Oregon. The three archaeologists have issued a call to action for scientists to assess the sites most at risk and take steps to protect them.
Using California’s Santa Barbara Channel as a case study, the researchers showed how quantifiable factors such as historical rates of shoreline change, wave action, coastal slope and shoreline geomorphology can be used to develop a scientifically sound way of measuring the vulnerability of individual archaeological sites. They then proposed developing an index of the sites most at risk so informed decisions can be made about how to preserve or salvage them. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: archaeology, Current sea level rise, Environment, global warming, sea level rise, Smithsonian Institution, Southern Methodist University, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, University of Oregon | Leave a Comment »