Tag: biodiversity

Biologists see serious new threat to amphibians

Boreal toads are threatened by a fungal disease, but that’s not the only worry. @bberwyn photo.

Severe Perkinsea infections may be responsible for a significant number of frog die-offs

Staff Report

A emerging disease has been identified as another possible cause for amphibian die-offs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists already know that chytridiomycosis and the ranavirus are linked to frog population declines worldwide.

New research suggests that that SPI (the abbreviation for severe Perkinsea infections) is the third most common infectious disease of frogs. Continue reading “Biologists see serious new threat to amphibians”

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17 years later, feds still playing politics with threatened lynx

Routine studies delayed, protections lagging …

The U.S. Forest Service will track lynx this coming winter to learn how they are responding to changes in forest habitat and to human activities. PHOTO BY TANYA SHENK, COLORADO DIVISION OF WILDLIFE.

Staff Report

The U.S. Forest Service started dragging its feet on protecting lynx ever since the wild cat was designated as a threatened species in 2000, and that pattern continues to this day. The Center for Biological Diversity has released a document suggesting that the agency’s Northern Rockies office dawdled for eight months working on a routine biological assessment that is often done in just a few weeks.

Superficially at issue are regional forest plans for mining and logging in and near lynx habitat, but the CBD’s conservation expert said the delay is more disturbing because it’s linked with a GOP effort to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading “17 years later, feds still playing politics with threatened lynx”

New study reveals whale shark secrets

Science helps inform conservation

Little by little, giant whale sharks are giving up some of their secrets. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

Ocean biologists are starting to learn about the world’s largest fish, and the information should help efforts to protect endangered whale sharks.

Giant whale sharks, up to 60 feet long, feed mostly on tiny drifting animals and small fish like sardines. To find enough food, they endlessly cruise vast reaches of ocean to find dense swarms of prey. The learn more, scientists have been tracking the whale sharks in the eastern tropical Pacific, finding that they spend most of their time along ocean fronts, which are dynamic boundaries of cold and warm water masses that stimulate life. Continue reading “New study reveals whale shark secrets”

Sunday set: Blooming!

Austrian wildflowers

Can’t let summer end without posting a wildflower set, so here are few shots taken the last few months, from high mountain pastures in the Alps to the banks of the Danube River in downtown Vienna. A couple of the images include insects, and I’m always amazed to see how the diversity of bugs increases dramatically as you get a few miles away from agricultural areas where pesticides are used heavily. We may not think about bugs very much, and yes, some of them are pests, but we will miss them when they are gone.

Western monarchs in steep decline

Will Monarch survive? @bberwyn photo.

Concerted conservation actions needed to save species

Staff Report

Monarch butterflies in the western U.S. have declined even more dramatically than believed, putting the population at risk of extinction, according to new research. In As recently as the 1980s, about 10 million monarchs over-wintered in coastal California, but today that’s down to about 300,000, said Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver, who led the study, published last week in the journal Biological Conservation. Continue reading “Western monarchs in steep decline”

Invasive species shift Great Lakes ecosystems

A new study documents ecological changes in Lake Michigan. Photo via @NASA_EO

How will fisheries managers respond?

Staff Report

The Great Lakes have seen successive invasions by non-native species that alter the ecosystem, including quagga mussels that filter the water and remove nutrients. At least partly as a result of the invasive mussels, Lake Michigan is becoming less hospitable to Chinook salmon, according to a new study led by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University.

The scientists concluded that stocking could help sustain a population of Chinook salmon, but that the lake’s ecosystem is now more conducive to stocking lake trout and steelhead salmon. These two species can switch from eating alewife, which are in decline, to bottom-dwelling round goby, another newly established invasive prey fish that feeds on quagga mussels. Continue reading “Invasive species shift Great Lakes ecosystems”

Western governors seek to weaken Endangered Species Act

Suggested changes would lead to extinction of some species

A lynx kitten in Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Staff Report

Governors of western states talk a good game when it comes to natural resources conservation, but when the rubber hits the road, they’ve never really been willing to walk the walk.

At its recent meeting in Montana, the Western Governors Association endorsed a ¬†policy resolution today that, if adopted into law, would substantially weaken the core of the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading “Western governors seek to weaken Endangered Species Act”