biodiversity hotspots



Here’s a wonderful and obscure tropical bird: the sungrebe (Heliornis fulica)! They look a bit like a cross between a grebe, a duck, and a rail, but are in fact more closely related to rails than they are to either of the other two! That being said, sungrebes hail from their own monotypic family (Ralliformes: Heliornithidae) and are a great example of how far tropical evolution can go.

If you want to see a sungrebe, I recommend 1) patience (sungrebes swim slowly both fully and partially submerged), and 2) traveling to a tropical oxbow lake. These biodiversity hotspots have warm, near-stagnant water that sungrebes and other waterbirds love. 

Sungrebe by George Scott 

Oceans cover over 70 percent of our planet’s surface and contain 99 percent of the living space on earth, making them hotspots of biodiversity. The National Park of American Samoa – a remote park located on four volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean – protects coral reefs, rainforest and a strong Samoan cultural component. Coral reef studies at the park are helping scientists understand how warming waters are affecting these and other reef systems. Photo by National Park Service.

The biodiversity of nudibranch species in Southeast Asia is amazing.

Every dive I have done I have seen multiple, and never the same species. Every. Dive.

I have mentioned before about biodiversity hotspots in the world, and as amazing as they are they have one fault… Because these regions are tropical and somewhat equatorial, they normally don´t experience a large variance in temperatures. With climate change and surface and water temperatures changing around the world, these habitats will be the first to suffer.

34 Biodiversity Hotspots: Together they make up 2.3% of Earth’s land surface, and contain 42% of Earth’s terrestrial vertebrate species and 50% of the world’s plants. To be classified as a hotspot, the region must have had at least 70% of its original habitat disturbed or lost.


This #WomeninSTEM Wednesday, meet BLM-California Wildlife Biologist Joyce Schlachter.

How many years have you been with the BLM? 


What do you like best about your job?

There is always something new to learn and to get involved with because of BLM’s multiple-use mission and the vast amount of land we manage. I have been able to experience working with a variety of wildlife in many different habitat types.  I have worked in the forests of southwestern Oregon, the Redwoods, the Mojave Desert and southern California, which is considered to be a world biodiversity hotspot.  San Diego County where I am now stationed has more biodiversity than any other county in North America.  I have worked on demographic studies for the northern spotted owl, desert bighorn sheep, Townsend’s big-eared bat and the Mojave Desert tortoise.

What did you do to prepare yourself for your career with the BLM?

My love of nature and animals, domestic and wild, has been my saving grace. It was only natural that I would someday work with and for the environment and animals.  I wanted to be a Veterinarian when I was a little girl but, instead my first job was for a dentist and I spent the next 17 years being a Registered Dental Assistant.  I also assisted in veterinary dentistry and worked on gorillas, lions and dogs used in Disney motion pictures. During this time I decided I wanted to pursue a college degree and do more.  I then studied at Humbolt State University and earned my bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management. During my studies I participated in a career day and was chosen by BLM to be in the cooperative education program.

My advice to other women wanting to work in science and/or as a Wildlife Biologist:

I believe it is never too late to begin to pursue your interests.  I didn’t know what I would be doing with my degree and I didn’t know I’d be working for the BLM.  As trite as it may sound, it is important to follow your heart, be open to new adventures-say “Yes” and don’t give up!  I also feel it’s very important to volunteer your services in a field that you are passionate about. In my spare time, I volunteer for Project Wildlife, rehabilitating bats; an opportunity that is priceless.

Interview submitted by My Public Lands Tumblr blogger Michelle Puckett


Enjoy the speed ! critters captured at 1000 frames per seconds.
All species are from New Caledonia, one of the world’s first biodiversity hotspot.
Shot and cut by myself - mostly from various documentaries I filmed the past 3 years.
Thanks for watching !
Music from Camille Saint-Saëns : Danse Macabre

Photo by @daviddoubilet A Papuan fisherman paddles homeward at dusk across a bay filled with moon jellyfish (Aurelia) near Gam Island in Raja Ampat Indonesia. Raja Ampat is a marine biodiversity hotspot located within the coral triangle. The coral triangle is a region of rich marine biodiversity located in the oceanic region between Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines. For @natgeo with @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #ocean #jellyfish #indonesua #rajaampat #life #beauty #extreme #explore for #moreocean follow @jenniferhayesig and @daviddoubilet by natgeo