video.nationalgeographic.com
Combating the Invasive Lionfish—by Wearing Them
The venomous and invasive lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific, is a serious threat to endemic species in the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coast. For several years, people in Sarteneja, Belize, have been harvesting the fish to eat—and now they're using the fish's spines to make jewelry.

A great feature by National Geographic on lionfish jewelry and the work Blue Ventures is doing in Belize to help develop that business and for the local community to keep hunting lionfish. 

vimeo

Explore our marvellous Earth as we follow an adventurous crew of kids and their mentor on an amazing journey to help animals and people live consciously with Nature.
They will travel across oceans, driven to places where there are magnetic disturbances by a fantastic submersible, legacy of the Guardians of the Abyss ! It was a secret society built around the Prince Albert the 1st of Monaco, with Gustave Eiffel, Nikola Tesla and the best scientists and explorers of the early 20th century. Sadly, they had to stop their ecological quest as the WW1 inflamed Europe. 

Led by Pierre Frolla (former world record freediver), Flo, Sati, Udo and Lucien now represent the new generation : The PIRATES of the ABYSS !

This is a comedy/adventure, ecological tale for all the family.

We’d like to do a Tv special and/or a Tv series.

Here is the pilot/trailer.

Enjoy :-)

Directed by Bertrand Todesco & Etienne Guignard
Produced by ICANFLY

vimeo

Here is the trailer of Pirates of the Abyss that directed with @bertrandtodesco !

It’s a french animation project about adventure and ecology ! :)

Wheel bugs are important predators of the undergrowth here in eastern North America. They also make wonderful native alternatives for pest control in the garden!
#bug #truebug #arthropods #arthropodsanonymous #hiking #nature #illinois #prairie #ecology #predator #predatorandprey #grassland #botanizing #bees #wheelbug #hemiptera #fall #hunter #insects #bugsofinstagram #nature_perfection #naturephotography #naturelovers #nature_obsession

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One of my absolute favorite drawing tools is my Prismacolor Turquoise leadholder with green and yellow leads. I picked one up after watching James Harren draw, & was DELIGHTED to discover they have more than non-photo blue and lead. Now my pencil lines disappear into my drawings super nicely. It’s way better than non-photo blue, but dont tell Professor Drogo?

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Don’t forget about #Flint. If you want to help: check out helpforflint.com

It is just unconscionable that this could be allowed to happen and all I hear in national news outlets is about well off folks some billionaires trying to gain more power. Clean water is a basic human right! It’s a damn shame some go without. #Hate it!

news.nationalgeographic.com
Arctic Foxes 'Grow' Their Own Gardens
The little carnivores' colorful dens provide veritable oases in the tundra, a new study says.

The underground homes, often a century old, are topped with gardens exploding with lush dune grass, diamondleaf willows, and yellow wildflowers—a flash of color in an otherwise gray landscape. 

“They’re bright green and everything around them is just brown,” says Brian Person, a wildlife biologist for the North Slope Borough in Barrow, Alaska. “It pops”…

Whale sharks now listed as endangered

In a news release earlier this month, the IUCN revealed that increasing anthropogenic pressures (such as fishing and boat strikes) have caused the rapid decline of whale shark populations and that they should now be considered as endangered. 

Originally posted by b3n3aththesurfac3

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. The IUCN Red List evaluates the extinction risk of thousands of species based on a precise set of criteria, and the resulting evaluation aims to convey the urgency of conservation of a species to the public and policy makers.

Previously, whale sharks were ‘vulnerable’ to extinction, but their status has now been updated to ‘endangered.’ Their numbers have more than halved over the last 75 years as these sharks continue to be fished and killed by ship propellers.

Dr. Simon Pierce and Dr. Brad Norman, two prominent whale shark scientists have spent decades studying the animals and have co-authored the assessment that led to IUCN’s update.

“In our recent assessment, it was established that numbers have decreased more than 50 per cent in three generations – which we estimate to be about 75 years,” Norman explained. “The numbers on a global scale are really concerning.”

The main stressor to these gentle giants is the intense fishing pressure in several countries, including China and Oman, especially for shark-fin soup. Some other nations such as India, the Philippines and Taiwan have started implementing conservation plans and have ended large-scale fishing of whale sharks. While these efforts are admirable, it is now really important to push for more regional protection in these countries and to push other countries to try to save this species.

Originally posted by ijustlovesharks

Whale sharks have been hard to study and to keep track off as they are quite cryptic and disappear into the open ocean fairly quickly. However with the use of modern technology and tagging devices, it has become a lot easier to follow them, collect information on them, but also to realize what kind of threats they are facing. 

The species is just one step away from being critically endangered, an IUCN listing that is very hard to come back from.

We cannot sit back and fail to implement direct actions to minimize threats facing whale sharks at the global scale,said Norman, “It is clear that this species is in trouble.”

Originally posted by creatures-alive

Wolves can shape the ecosystem and physical geography of the land they live on. When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in ‘95 after a 70-year absence, trees grew faster, animal populations increased, and rivers even changed their behavior because new vegetation helped reduce erosion. Source Source 2 Source 3

Find Dory, but don’t buy her!

Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, is coming out today, June 17th 2016. A few years ago, Finding Nemo was such a massive success that it drove demand for pet clownfish through the roof, and resulted in hurting the wild population, instead of fostering an appreciation for marine animals in their natural habitats. Over 90% of the clownfish sold came from the big, blue sea! Let’s avoid doing the exact same thing with Dory, shall we?

The case of Dory, or the case of blue tangs, is a bit different from clownfish. A “Finding Nemo effect” and a similar pet-trade boom could have catastrophic results for this species.

First of all, blue tangs aren’t bred in captivity. Blue tangs are pelagic spawners, meaning that they need sufficient space to breed and mate in mid-water columns. Once the eggs are hatched in captivity, it is extremely difficult to keep them alive. This means that every blue tang you will see in tanks or at the pet store has been taken from the wild. 

Originally posted by thekrazybitch

Second of all, chances are they were taken illegally. Regulations and their enforcement vary from country to country, but live saltwater fish like Dory are too often illegally collected using sodium cyanide as a liquid stun gun. For clownfish, scientists have witnessed local extinctions in areas they were collected in, and to the destruction of reefs and other species with this method.

Moreover, very little is actually known about the species. Subsequently, researchers don’t know if the blue tang population would be able to withstand increased demand after the movie release.

Behavioral ecologist Culum Brown works on fish cognition and welfare, and he reveals what is known about the species in an interview with NPR:

“You’ll be shocked to discover that we actually know very little about cognition in blue tangs. Correction … make that nothing. But that is true for the vast majority of the 32+ thousand species of fish out there.

"We know that their skin reflects light at 490nm (deep blue) and they tend to get lighter at night (this is under hormone control). They have very sharp spines on either side of their tail which erect when [the fish are] frightened. They have a huge distribution (Indo-Pacific) but are under threat from illegal collection. They graze algae on coral reefs, which is a very important job because it prevents the corals from being over-grown.”

So what can you do to save Nemo and Dory?

Originally posted by a-night-in-wonderland

If you must have a clownfish in your tank, make sure it was bred sustainably in captivity and not taken from the wild. As for having a Dory, you get it, it’s a big no-no. Keep Dory on the reef.

The aquarium industry harvests more than 1 million clownfish from their natural habitats every year so they can be sold as pets. This overharvesting, along with other stressors like global warming, is likely leading to the depletion of clownfish populations in places like the Philippines and the Great Barrier Reef.

Captive breeding has proved to be a sustainable alternative that can meet the demands for ornamental fish like Nemo, without hurting the reef’s populations. Tank Watch is also an app that helps you identify the captive-bred (good) from the wild-caught (bad) fish. 

While you go out and see this movie over the weekend, remember to educate yourself on the many species represented (including a whale shark and a beluga whale!). Many of them are under some sort of threat in the wild. All of these species are better off out in the sea, so if you fall in love with one of them and instead of taking Dory out of the ocean, I hope you moviegoers will support research, education and conservation!

Originally posted by rollingstone

If You’re Looking To Save The Planet, Start By Saving Its Predators

In the battle against climate change, one tactic is to improve how oceans and forests store harmful greenhouse gases. That’s because emissions like carbon dioxide can get into the atmosphere and drive up global temperatures.

Scientists call this tactic “carbon sequestration.” Oswald Schmitz, a professor of population and community ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studies, says forests and oceans can be good at it. 

But an environment’s ability to store carbon is only as strong its individual ecosystems. And the health of many ecosystems is directly related to the efficacy of its top predators. WNPR spoke with Schmitz about how conservationists can leverage predators to help keep carbon emissions in check.

When folks like me think about global warming we’re often thinking about plants or microbes and the role they play in capturing carbon emissions. But you’re saying, in addition to that, we probably should be thinking of animals and predators, too – why?

The reason why it matters – top predators and the impact they have on herbivores – is because the herbivores can change what they consume. It’s actually these multiplier effects that happen because one species is interacting with another and the effects of that propagate as you go down the food chain.

Pull out an example for me where we can talk about a specific predator and the impact it can have on an ecosystem – and how that can affect carbon emissions.

Wolves can prey on moose. And the moose, which normally eat vegetation, then have a changed impact on the vegetation. In a boreal system, for example, the boreal forest is a really important sink for carbon. Mainly because it’s a cold environment. As trees shed their bark, needles, and branches, – it just stays in the soil as organic matter. It’s slow to become decomposed because it’s a cool environment.

If herbivores are highly abundant, like moose or deer, they can eat up a lot of the vegetation, so it doesn’t end up in the soil. If you add wolves to that story, then wolves keep the moose populations in check – the moose eat less and so more of that biomass ends up in the soil. The wolves, by virtue of affecting what the moose do to the vegetation, can change how much carbon is actually stored in the boreal forest.

We have to be careful not to run with this idea yet. There’s a lot more science that needs to be done to really calculate how much carbon [gets sequestered] - and what the benefits are. But it’s certainly pointing to a huge untapped potential – in a sense, using animals as geoengineers - rather than relying solely on technology.

You gave the example in a paper you wrote for Yale Environment 360 about sea otters and the impact they’ve had on kelp forests. Talk a bit about that.

You’ve got kelp forests on the western sea coast running from southern United States all the way up into northern Alaska. In the absence of sea otters, sea urchins explode in abundance. Sea urchins are herbivores that eat up the kelp forests.

That was discovered sort of by accident because sea otters were over exploited in the fur trade. The loss of the sea otters led to a loss of kelp forests that could sequester the carbon.

People like Jim Estes actually discovered that [by] reintroducing sea otters, you actually saw luxuriant growth in the kelp forests. It’s the sea otters feeding on the sea urchins and lowering their abundance, which then lowered how much damage the urchins caused on the kelp forests.

This was one of the early examples showing top predators could even affect ecosystems, and it’s been the impetus for doing more and more work exploring the top predator effects in ecosystems.

How do you translate a finding like that to the conservation community? To get that message to them that while animals can be victims of climate change, they are also drivers of it …

I think part of the problem in conversation right now is we’ve focused on iconic species. Wildebeest. Sea otters. Lions. Tigers. We try to protect those, but we tend not to think about how they’re interdependent with other species as part of an ecosystem.

I think the fundamental message is that these species belong to something bigger. Conservation needs to move away from just thinking about protecting species to protecting the interdependence those species have with other species. Because that’s what keeps ecosystems resilient. It’s what protects those important services like carbon sequestration. So it’s shifting the mindset in conservation from one of thinking about species to one of thinking about the environmental services that come with a collection of species that are organized into a food chain.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

(Image Credits: National Park Service: Ken Conger, Neal Herbert / Creative Commons: Gregory Slobirdr Smith, kdee64)