Archive for the 'Environment' category

Salmon, scent and going home again

Dead salmon in spawning season, Oregon state (U.S. Pacific Northwest).

Image: Pete Forsyth, 9 November 2007.
This image is licensed under a creative commons license.

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.org

On a cool autumn afternoon, I stepped out of my friend's house and witnessed a phenomenon of nature I had never seen before. In a stream flowing through the back yard, I saw the bodies of spawning coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, gleaming blood-red in the bright sunlight. These fish battered themselves mercilessly against the stream bed, digging shallow nests in the gravel where they were depositing their eggs. Against enormous odds, they had survived the rigors of ocean life, and had returned to their birthplace to spawn.

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What kind of world do we want?

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This video is by the nonprofit group, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It is a plea to the citizens of the rich countries of the world to rethink the many ways we exploit the world's resources before it's too late to stop our crash course with the mass extinction of millions of animal and plant species.

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Jason Clay: How Big Brands Can Help Save Biodiversity

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Convince just 100 key companies to go sustainable, and WWF's Jason Clay says global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown. Hear how his extraordinary roundtables are getting big brand rivals to agree on green practices first -- before their products duke it out on store shelves.
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Gulf Oil Spill Still Affects Millions of Birds

Aug 16 2010 Published by under Environment, Streaming videos

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This video discusses how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues to claim the lives of unknown numbers of birds. Birds are being coated with oil, which makes it difficult or impossible for them to fly or to maintain their body temperature. Birds are also poisoned by ingesting oil, the dispersants or both, when they forage or groom their plumage. Oil and the dispersant chemicals damage to their kidneys and liver as well as other internal organs, sickening and killing the birds.

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TEDTalks: Lewis Pugh's Mind-shifting Mt. Everest Swim

Aug 03 2010 Published by under Environment, Global Warming, Streaming videos

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After he swam the North Pole, Lewis Pugh vowed never to take another cold-water dip. Then, he heard of Mt. Everest's Lake Imja -- a body of water at an altitude of 5,300 meters, entirely created by recent glacial melting -- and began a journey that would teach him a radical new way to approach both swimming and how to think about climate change.

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BP Executives Deeply Affected by OilSpill Parody

Jul 16 2010 Published by under Environment, Politics, Streaming videos

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As part of an hour-long live online interview with the NewsHour's Ray Suarez, BP executive Bob Dudley responds to questions from the public, including a video parodying the BP response effort.

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TEDTalks: Carl Safina: The Oil Spill's Unseen Culprits, Victims

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The Gulf oil spill dwarfs comprehension, but we know this much: it's bad. Carl Safina scrapes out the facts in this blood-boiling cross-examination, arguing that the consequences will stretch far beyond the Gulf -- and many so-called solutions are making the situation worse.

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Close Encounter with a Whale Shark in the Gulf of Mexico

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Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus, feeding in the Gulf of Mexico.
Image: Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Whale Shark Research.

Despite being the largest fish species in the world, measuring over 40 feet in length and 35 tons in weight, whale sharks are quite mysterious. We know they are plankton filter feeders, and we recently learned that we can identify individuals by the pattern of dots and bars on their bodies, but otherwise, we know very little about these animals. For example, in just 1996, we learned that these sharks are ovoviviparous (their young grow in egg sacs inside the body but are born live) after capturing a female pregnant with 300 pups. But we still know almost nothing about them, including their population size. So to learn more about them, researchers are attaching satellite tags to whale sharks and taking a tiny tissue sample for DNA work. This video shows this process as it occurred with one whale shark feeding at the surface of the water in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Federal Officials Suspend First Amendment Rights for Coverage of Gulf of Mexico Disaster

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What. The. FUCK. As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, mainstream news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials -- working with BP -- who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible.

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Are Zombie Vultures In Our Future?

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Only thirty years ago, tens of millions of White-rumped Vultures, Gyps bengalensis,
were flying the skies of Asia. They are now classified as Critically Endangered.
Image: Marek Jobda / rarebirdsyearbook.com [larger view]

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.org

A zombie is another name for The Walking Dead -- those who are lifeless, apathetic, or totally lacking in independent judgment. But in an ecological sense, a zombie species no longer fulfills its ecological function because it is becoming extinct. This is a topic that I hope to explore further in another blog entry, but for now, today's zombie theme and vultures' delightful dining habits (they eat zombies) and my zombie icon have inspired me to focus on them.

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