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Trivia Tuesday!

#DYK — The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho supports the highest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America, if not the world.

Springtime in southwestern Idaho welcomes the return of more than 800 pairs of eagles, falcons, hawks and owls to their nest sites in this conservation area - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. In April and May, join BLM-guided day hikes in the beautiful Snake River Canyon and learn about the area’s geology, plants and raptors. Plan your trip: on.doi.gov/1BXIw6I.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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The Great Barrier Reef, home to creatures great and small, is in immediate danger of industrial destruction. It could be listed by @UNESCO as “in danger” this year unless more is done to save it. Sign now at: http://ift.tt/1FGdbK9 if you agree that all World Heritage Sites are too precious to be exploited. #SOSreef © Derwent Hunter / Tallship Adventures / WWF

Preservation Via Collection

“Did you hear about Martha? Apparently, her miniature bengal gave her a nasty bite during bathtime,” Janine said while sipping her tea and stroking the mane of her giraffe. She set her cup down on the end table, and the giraffe strained its neck to try and lick out of the cup, but it only managed to clink it against its saucer before Janine could shoo it away.

“Dreadful, absolutely dreadful. I told her that they hadn’t engineered the wildness out of the predators yet. If the time it took them to make Smoochiekin here is any indicator, it will be at least another decade before they fix that,” Lydia said. She rubbed her nose against Smoochiekin’s trunk like an aunt coddling a young nephew or niece.

Chimes echoed through the manor, and Janine’s giraffe scrambled and hid in a pile of blankets on its bed.

“Ah that must be Rita. Apparently, she has a surprise for us,” Janine said. Lydia clapped with laughter, she had not seen a new variant in over a year.

Janine swung open a massive door and revealed Rita standing on her doorstep clutching a black pet carrier bag. “Rita, so lovely to see you again. Do come in, we can join Lydia in the living room,” Janine’s eyes scanned the bag, trying to peer through the shadowed mesh to get a peek as to what it contained.

Rita noticed Janine’s gaze. “Would you like a peek? Before Lydia?” Rita said with a devious smile.

It took all of her will, but Janine was able to keep composure, “Why, that would be lovely!” unfortunately, a squeak of excitement punctuated her sentence. This only made Rita’s grin grow even wider.

“Careful now, it’s quite skittish,” lacquered nails found the zipper and went about slowly opening the panel of fabric. Rita could have gone faster, but she was enjoying being in the spotlight for once.

Composure left Janine’s world like a rocket ship breaking through the atmosphere. “Is… Is… Is that a Dodo?” the tiny bird squawked as if saying ‘why, yes, of course,’ Rita remained silent. She knew Janine too well.

“But they were extinct before the preservation started!” Janine immediately fired off, “There’s no way you could have found living DNA, this is a fake!” she tried to tug at its beak, hoping to reveal a pigeon but it clicked at her hand instead. “And how did you get it?” she nearly screamed.

Rita began to explain the new process her lab had been experimenting with, and something about compression algorithms, and a few other things, but Janine was ignoring every word. She would not allow being shown up like this, especially by Rita.

“… But they’re still debating the ethics of it all, so we can’t make another for…” Rita was interrupted by Janine bumping into her bag, as if she had suddenly lost her balance on the absolutely stable floor.

“Whoops,” Janine said with devious affect. The bottom of the pet carrier fell open, unzipped by some deft handiwork, and the dodo fell out and landed with a squawk. Rita scrambled to pick it up, but it was too late, and the bird was already halfway across the lawn, heading for some knee-high bushes.

“Apparently there’s still some kinks to work out?” Janine called to Rita as she watched her sprint off after the tiny bird.


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Demystifying ocean acidification and biodiversity impacts  

Why are the oceans becoming more acidic and how does that threaten biodiversity? Human activities produce excessive carbon dioxide and much of it is absorbed by the oceans, where it is converted to an acid. 

This video is really cool, because it gets into chemistry concepts like pH that many other videos gloss over. It’s a bit long, going in depth about the chemistry concepts, reviewing the chemical reactions and then connecting them to the bigger picture, such as the effect of ocean acidification on biodiversity. It’s worth the time it takes to address these concepts so well...

For more biodiversity tutorials, visit http://bit.ly/cas-khan.

(via: California Academy of Sciences)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Echinodermata
  • Class: Echinoidea

Sand dollars are flattened and disk-shaped and have five rows of tube feet which allow for extremely slow locomotion. The narrow elongated holes in the sand dollar test (shell) are lunules, which serve as channels to help move food from the aboral surface to the oral surface and the mouth. 

Photograph from: www.follybeach.com

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Monkey Kingdom & our friends at Disneynature thank you!

You know how some old bindings gently let a book stay open on its own, at a comfortable angle? And how other old bindings seem to willfully resist, taunting you by starting to close just as you get the book weights perfectly arranged? This post introduces a simple tool that can help tame those tight bindings: a V-shaped wedge of lightweight plastic.

This idea, is quite literally…genius!

Large animals invaluable for tree-seed dispersal and regeneration of tropical forests

by Alexander Montoro

Nearly two-thirds of tropical forests in Southeast Asia have been degraded by logging, agriculture and other human uses, and their fauna have been decimated by hunting and the bushmeat trade. But if those degraded tropical forests are to recover naturally, they will need to rely on their remaining large wild animals to disperse large tree seeds, according to a new study.

The study published in mongabay.org’s open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science examined the importance of large mammals such as wild primates, deer, civets, wild pigs, and tapirs to the dispersion of large seeds throughout the Harapan Rainforest of Sumatra, which has been degraded by logging and agriculture.

The researchers found that large, wide-ranging, animals were vital to the restoration process of this forest, and by extrapolation other degraded forests across Southeast Asia.

The Harapan Rainforest is located in the eastern lowlands of Sumatra on dryland soils with an elevation ranging from 98-394 ft (30-120 m). It is one of the first Ecosystem Restoration Concessions of its kind in Indonesia, covering 3809.5 sq mi(985.5 sq km) that have previously been heavily logged or cleared and burned for farming…

(read more: Monga Bay)

photo: Sun Bear, by Harapan Rainforest/Hutan Harapan

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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Echinodermata
  • Class: Ophiuroidea: Brittle stars (1st picture) and Basket stars (2nd picture) 

Brittle and basket star arms grow from a distinct central disk and lack the bumpy skin extensions that are present in sea stars. Brittle star tube feet also differ in not having suckers, and in serving a sensory rather than a locomotory function. Brittle stars tend to be nocturnal and are also able to regenerate lost parts. 

photograph from: flowergarden.noaa.gov / hmsc.oregonstate.edu

Cheetahs usually live on open savanna lands. They live here as this is perfect habitat for them to do what they do best: RUN!

Although cheetahs are the most successful hunter in Africa, they will often lose their prey to other predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs. Cheetahs in the wild only have a lifespan of 5-7 years! This is extremely short especially when you consider cheetahs in captivity usually double their lifespan. Some cheetahs even reached the age of nearly 20 years! Besides the high mortality rate amongst cubs (90% dies in the first year), cheetahs are killed by predators as they see them as competition.