Marine Biology Chess over Twitter

Twitter recently bumped all the users up to 280 characters, which just seems excessive.

Unless you invent a new and delightful way to play chess, and are a marine biology nerd.

An epic match between Dr. Andrew Thaler, and Dr. David Shiffman had simple rules. Using marine biology emojis, the chess game had only two additional rules: 1) every move had to be accompanied by a fact about the animal 2) all captures had to be accompanied with detailed description of how the kill went down. Read more about it here!

8🐧🐬🐡🐠🐳🐡✖️🐧
7✖️🦈🦈🦈🦈🦈🦈🦈
6✖️✖️✖️✖️✖️🐬✖️✖️
5🦈✖️✖️✖️✖️✖️✖️✖️
4✖️✖️✖️🦀✖️✖️✖️✖️
3✖️✖️🦐✖️✖️✖️✖️✖️
2🦀🦀🦀✖️🦀🦀🦀🦀
1🐚✖️🦑🐙🐌🦑🦐🐚

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Nature Therapy Is a Privilege

The mountains  are healing. It is like the miracle pool at Lourdes except it’s not a miracle and you’re not at Lourdes.

The mountains, and their attendant plant life and water features, help to lower blood pressure,  stress hormones, and keep heart rate variability normal. These are just some of the health benefits of spending time in nature that studies have found in recent years.

But these beautiful, soothing environments are fairly remote.

You don’t see anything like this on a regular basis. And neither do most people.

So what does it take to get out to the mountains? Read about the privilege here.

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Tree-Eating Beetles March Northward, Lured by Milder Winters

For lovers of the stately pine forests of the Northeast, sightings of a destructive tree-eating beetle in recent years have been nothing short of alarming.

Now, new research from climatologists at Columbia University confirms what ecologists feared: Warmer winters mean the southern pine beetle is here to stay, and is set to march ever northward as temperatures rise.

Historically, the tiny beetles, which starve evergreens to death, were largely unheard-of north of Delaware. The Northeast’s cold winters killed off any intruders.

The winters are no longer cold enough.

Want to know more? Read about it here!

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Flamingos In The Men’s Room: How Zoos And Aquariums Handle Hurricanes

While people can flee in the face of a hurricane, zoos and aquariums don’t have that luxury. They can’t abandon the animals which they care for, and the trauma of an evacuation might harm more animals than it would save.

How do they deal with it? Read about it here. One solution, keep the Flamingos in the men’s room…

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Covering Climate Change, with Urgency and Creativity

2016 study by the Yale Project on Climate Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, found only two-thirds of Americans even believe climate change is happening. Just over half believe it is caused by humans. And only 15 percent are aware that more than 9 out of 10 scientists agree on both points.

The dearth of coverage can be explained, at least in part, by the difficulty in covering an issue that defies most journalistic conventions, says Bud Ward, who has reported on the issue for more than 20 years and is editor of Yale Climate Connections, published by the Yale Project. Climate change is often perceived as an abstract concept, he says, lacking a timely news hook: “It affects only polar bears I’ll never see, or it will only take place in 2150 or beyond.” Just as crucially, since nearly all scientists are in agreement on the problem, the issue often lacks clearly defined sides. “The villain is us, or villains are everywhere.”

The science behind the phenomenon, meanwhile, often lacks headline-grabbing revelations. “Science’s goal is to incrementally advance fundamental understanding on very basic questions,” says John Wihbey, an assistant professor of journalism and new media at Northeastern University who recently collaborated with Ward on a paper about climate change coverage for Oxford Research Encyclopedia. “If they [scientists] can collect data, test a hypothesis, and show something new … they’ve done their job.” By contrast, he says, journalists’ goal is to inform as many people as possible in as accessible a way as possible. “They are both dedicated to truth, but the importance of publicity and the scope of the audience is just very different.”

READ MORE HERE! 

A Houston interstate is submerged in water after Hurricane Harvey brought widespread flooding to the area.  The devastating impact strong and more frequent rainstorms are having on the city was detailed in The Texas Tribune/ProPublica's “Boomtown, Flood Town” months before Harvey hit

A Houston interstate is submerged in water after Hurricane Harvey brought widespread flooding to the area. The devastating impact strong and more frequent rainstorms are having on the city was detailed in The Texas Tribune/ProPublica’s “Boomtown, Flood Town” months before Harvey hit 

 

Invasive Lionfish May Beuperfish Hybrids

It’s been more than 20 years since one of the most destructive invasive species in history was released off the coast of Florida. Originally from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, predatory lionfish have invaded the western Atlantic Ocean, spreading from the American east coast through the Caribbean to southern Brazil, devastating coastal ecosystems with their voracious appetites. Now, new research has revealed that invasive lionfish are not quite what they seem.

“Marine invasions … are a scourge,” says Brian Bowen, a geneticist at the University of Hawai‘i. “But this is an invasion of what could be a superfish.”

But a new study, recently published in the Journal of Heredity, flips the whole situation on its head.

Want to know more? Read about it here!

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In Africa that conservation is a “white thing”

It is the height of arrogance for industrialized countries to demand that developing countries conserve nature, while they plowed down natural resources (and often still do) to gain economic supremacy.

And that sentiment is reflected in a recent piece about the 18th anniversary of the death of Michael Werikhe, the enigmatic African conservationist.

Moreover, some of these points were emphasized in an interesting stream over on twitter.

The first step is recognizing the problem. But how do we solve said problem?