I walked out of the house Thursday morning when my nose detected it – a forest fire! Having worked for two years in the piney woods of southwest Georgia, I had become accustomed to and, actually, come to love forest fires. That classic line kept coming into my mind, “the scent of fire in the morning reminds me of healthy forests.”
As the first new species of American carnivore described in 35 years, the olinguito is big news for science. Its discovery is also big news for museums, highlighting the value of collections in an age of rapid biodiversity loss.
In Nature|News (18 July 2013), where one can check out the latest happenings in science, we learned that when Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Aberget from Aix-Marseille University in France discovered their new species of humongous killer virus, they experienced one of the most exciting things that could ever happen to any of us – they discovered a new form of life!
As the Earth progressively warms with climate change, species that are not able to adapt to shifting temperatures will be propelled towards extinction. Yet according to a new study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published in research journal Plos One, the majority of species that are most vulnerable to climate change are not given conservation priority.
Lists are immensely popular these days and there are lists for almost anything. I was curious if there is a list for oxymora, or contradictions in terms, and sure enough there is – oxymoronlist.com. I was prompted on my search because of the recent appearance of the term “sustainable intensification” and I wanted to see if it appeared on the site. It turns out Sustainable Intensification is not listed on oxymoron.com, which begs the question as to whether someone should go online and add it to the list?
The Biosphere really needs its own newspaper. Yes, there are lots of newspapers out there, but when it comes to the Biosphere, important stories just don’t get the top billing they deserve. Take discoveries of new species, for example. Just in the last month, a new spoon worm, white toothed shrew, corpse flower, and tailorbird were all discovered – this would be front-page material for the Biosphere Times, if such a paper existed, but good luck finding these stories in the mainstream papers.
Earth Institute research expeditions investigating the dynamics of the planet on all levels take place on every continent and every ocean. Most projects originate with our main research center, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and are often run in collaboration with other institutions.
The Arctic may seem remote, but the overall rate of global warming, our climate and weather, sea levels, and many ecosystems and species will be affected by the warming that is occurring there.
Coastal Wetlands provide homes for migrating and native birds, protected areas for hatcheries, flood mitigation and an unrivaled biodiversity of microorganisims that serves as the basis of the marine food chain. Nature here works hard to compensate for an increasingly heavy human footprint.