Two antechinus mate themselves to death!

I have to find this incredibly amusing as at the time of writing,  I will soon be away on a camp performing trapping and monitoring surveys on other relatives of these guys! I may see them around.

Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia have discovered two new species of antechinus the Tasman Peninsula Dusky Antechinus (Antechinus vandycki), which is found in Tasmania, and the Mainland Dusky Antechinus (Antechinus swainsonii mimetes), which was formerly thought to be a subspecies and lives in eastern Australia.

These little guys spend 14 hours of the day, every day for two to three weeks have been going on mating rampages which they run around, fight with other males and try to mate with as many females as possible ;)

Unfortuaelty, these little guys spend all their energy doing this they barley eat and become rattier looking everyday , before they eventually bite the dust. That is what I call, a beauitful death.

“Nine in 10 Australian mammal species are unique, yet they are vanishing before our very eyes,” said Baker, who adds that Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate anywhere on Earth. “Millions of native mammals likely fall victim every night to feral cats alone. Other introduced ferals, such as European foxes and poisonous cane toads, account for the deaths of millions more.These threats, together with global warming, fires and habitat loss, may cause local population extinctions of our unique mammals almost weekly.”

Which is terribly sad considering how beautiful some of these animals are and what incredibly unique functions they bring to their ecosystems.



Connected Worlds

Project by Design I/O is a huge interactive installation for children for the New York Hall of Science, featuring an ecosystem of virtual animals to play with:

Connected Worlds is a large scale immersive, interactive ecosystem developed for the New York Hall of Science. The installation is composed of six interactive ecosystems spread out across the walls of the Great Hall, connected together by a 3000 sqft interactive floor and a 45ft high waterfall. Children can use physical logs to divert water flowing across the floor from the waterfall into the different environments, where they can then use their hands to plant seeds. As the different environments bloom, creatures appear based on the health of the environment and the type of plants growing in it. If multiple environments are healthy creatures will migrate between them causing interesting chain reactions of behaviors.

Connected Worlds is designed to encourage a systems thinking approach to sustainability where local actions in one environment may have global consequences. Children work with a fixed amount of water in the system and have to work together to manage and distribute the water across the different environments. Clouds return water from the environments to the waterfall which releases water to the floor when it rains.

More Here


Can you imagine living in a bubble for two years? Well, these people did it. Back in the 90s, Jane Poynter wanted to understand the delicate balance of the Earth’s ecosystem. So she and seven others moved into a sealed biosphere for 2 years and 20 minutes. (That last twenty minutes matters when you’re stuck in a giant bubble.) The challenges they faced — from spending 4 months making a single pizza to being short on oxygen — make for a pretty incredible story.

Hear her tell the story »

You might think you know what frogs sound like — until, that is, you hear the symphony of amphibians that fills the muggy night air at Nokuse Plantation, a nature preserve in the Florida Panhandle.

There, about 100 miles east of Pensacola, a man named M.C. Davis has done something extraordinary: He has bought up tens of thousands of acres in the Florida sandhills and turned them into a unique, private preserve.

In the largest block of privately owned conservation land in the southeastern U.S., Davis is restoring ecosystems that agriculture and timbering have destroyed.

“I’m a self-proclaimed, devout conservationist,” Davis says. “I’ve been dedicated now for about 20 years.”

Davis is thinking 300 years into the future with his wildlife restoration project, even though he knows he doesn’t have much time left. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in November.

Gambler-Turned-Conservationist Devotes Fortune To Florida Nature Preserve

Photo credit: Matthew Ozug/NPR

Diverse Ecosystems Get Organized for Stability

Ecological networks that are highly organized are more stable, a new study reports, meaning that changes to these networks don’t cause them to fall apart. The study found that the species living in highly ordered networks can experience very different growth rates, one to the next, without threatening the overall network structure. In less ordered, or nested, networks, by contrast, disproportionate growth rates may cause a species to be knocked out – even rendered extinct. Using data on the network structures of 23 plant-pollinator communities in the United Kingdom, the researchers showed that nestedness minimizes competition between species, boosts the number of species that can live together, and increases stability. A Perspective provides more insights.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Mark Chappell. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.


While Drilling For Water This Farmer Found Something Truly Amazing               

photos:   OffGridQuestFlickr/TanyaWheeler           

Early on in the 20th century, a farmer dug a well on his Nevada ranch hoping to find a water source to bring life to his barren land. He could never have imagined what he would unearth. He dug down and found the water he was hoping for however at more than 200 degrees in temperature, it was no use to him so he forgot about his dream.

In 1964 a team equipped with the latest drilling technology came to the farm however they found the same problems the farmer had originally faced. Also the team didn’t properly cap the area they had drilled and a geyser sprang up. Water, nutrients and minerals came to the surface and the fly geyser as it is called pumped the water above ground where the minerals began to create an awesome mountain with its own ecosystem. Still growing and changing to this day, the colors and formations constantly change like something from a fantasy movie. via:awesomeinventions

Two Tanks Filled with the Same Water but One has Oysters In It

 this striking visualization we see two tanks filled with water from the Honga River, an estuary of the Chesapeake Bay. The tank on the right also contains oysters. Over the course of 2 hours those oysters filtered all of the algae out of the water. The demonstration shows how effective oysters are at naturally filtering water which Maryland Seafood says benefits the entire ecosystem:

“With clearer water comes more sunlight penetration, more sea grasses, and more places for fish/crabs to hide from predators.”

(Continue Reading)
Crazy Contraption Is Part Architecture, Part Water Filter | WIRED
COSMO is a temporary Rube Goldberg–esque structure erected in the MoMA PS1 courtyard.

“The divorce between infrastructure and biodiversity has come to an end. COSMO is kind of an anticipation of what will be the future of machinery.” Architect Andrés Jaque, winner of this year’s Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1, discusses his design, COSMO, with WIRED.


It’s Getting Hot in Here: ‘How Thirsty is Your Food?’ & ‘Where Does Your Food Come From?’

When it comes to water use, not all plants are created equal.           

(Source: Mother Jones)



Urban pollinators fly high along Oslo’s flower-lined bee highway
The Norwegian city has embarked on an ambitious urban highway-building project complete with roadside lodging and filling stations aplenty. However, those traveling along said highway will primarily be making pit stops for pollen not petrol, nectar not bags of corn nuts. Shelter will be provided in the form of hives, not Holiday Inns.
Ban the Trade of Shark Fins in the U.S.
Sharks keep our oceans healthy and our existence depends on theirs. Despite this, between 26 million and 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, and they are now facing human-driven extinction. We are at risk of losing a species that helps balance entire ecosystems in the world's oceans. The sale, trade, distribution, and possession of shark fins remain legal in most parts of the U.S.

EcoSphere – Closed Aquatic Ecosystem

This very interesting glass bubble is a small, aquatic Eco-system called an EcoSphere.

This tiny enclosed world has living marine shrimp, algae and micro-organisms. It’s shell is made entirely out of hand blown glass and is completely enclosed.

This little closed off world works on the basis that it’s system recycles it’s own nutrients leaving nothing to waste.

The small marine shrimp eat the algae > the micro organisms break down the shrimp’s waste > light keeps the algae growing > shrimp eat the algae etc.

There is zero maintenance required to sustain this EcoSphere other than to provide a light source.

You can expect the EcoSphere to have a lifespan of about 3 years!