Screening Biodiversity Animals Biology Environment Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Screening Biodiversity

Scientists at The American Museum of Natural History explain why managing biodiversity is a key component in managing endangered species. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History. Even though one and a half million species of organisms have already been named and described, they represent just a tiny portion of the biodiversity of our planet. Having a distinct genetic identity is important because more variation tends to be better in the face of the changing world. And when populations get small and isolated…

Read More
Butterflies: A worn butterfly enjoys refreshment in a garden. tentative identification: Meadow Brown; German Ochsenauge; Latin Maniola jurtina Animals Environment 

Unexpected Biodiversity in Iberian Butterflies

By Steven Spence Winged Flowers A fallen blossom returning to the bough, I thought – But no, a butterfly. (Arakida Moritake, Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology) [落花枝にかへると見れば胡蝶哉 守武 落花枝にかへると見れば胡ちょかな 守武] Good News On Biodiversity This week we have encouraging data to share with you about butterflies in Europe. Biodiversity is a major concern in Europe and elsewhere. However, a recently released study of butterflies in Spain and Portugal suggests biodiversity may have been significantly underestimated. The study conducted by the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (IBE) shows that 28% of butterfly…

Read More
Ladybird on lavender Animals Biology Environment 

Ladybirds and Other Natural Pesticides

By Steven Spence Sheep and Wolves in your Garden Sheep and wolves in your garden? It’s more likely than you may think. Aphids (leaf lice) are pests, which are tended by shepherd ants, and ladybirds are voracious wolves that will quickly thin the herds. Do Pests = Pesticide Use? Just because pests are on the loose in the garden, it doesn’t mean you need to resort to chemical warfare with commercial pesticides, the use of which should be avoided on any plants you might eat. We know that the use…

Read More
Isle Royale Wolves: Only three wolves appear to remain at Isle Royale National Park. (Rolf Peterson) Animals Environment 

Only Three Isle Royale Wolves Remain

Wolves are pack animals, yet on the Isle of Royale National Park (located in Lake Superior) only three wolves remain. Researchers from Michigan Technological University observed the wolves during the annual Winter Study, and the lone trio appears to be all that is left of the nine Isle Royale wolves seen last winter. The park offers outstanding possibilities for research in a remote ecosystem, and the annual report of the Ecological Study of Wolves on Isle Royale, released today, marks the project’s 57th year of observing Isle Royale wolves and…

Read More
Shelf Life Episode 1: 33 Million Things, American Natural History Museum Animals Biology Paleontology Videos 

Shelf Life Episode 1: 33 Million Things

About Shelf Life Episode 1: 33 Million Things Can’t get to New York to visit the American Museum of Natural History? No problem! EH Science invites you to take a virtual trip behind the scenes. In this the first episode of the museum’s brand new original series, Shelf Life, you can walk in the shoes of a research scientist and explore the enormous collection of specimens, many of which aren’t on public display. Shelf Life is a video series for curious minds—opening doors, pulling out drawers, and taking the lids off some…

Read More
Numerous distinct methane streams emanating from the seafloor at an upper slope (< 500 m water depth) cold seep site, offshore Virginia. (Photo courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition) Biology Environment Oceanography 

Methane-Munching Microbes Limit Global Warming

By Kate Stone Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, is constantly leaking out of holes on the ocean floor. Now, an international team of scientists have found that these “methane seeps” are home to unique communities of microbes that play an invaluable role in maintaining life on Earth. Microbes that Eat Methane Methane seeps in the sea floor release methane into the surrounding water, which is fed on by microorganisms that live on or near these leaks. By consuming the gas, they prevent it from entering our atmosphere.…

Read More
Prehistoric Crocodile: Life reconstruction of the head of Gnatusuchus pebasensis, a 13-million-year-old, short-faced crocodile with rounded teeth that was thought to use its snout to dig for clams and other mollusks. Model by Kevin Montalbán-Rivera. (© Aldo Benites-Palomino) Paleontology 

Prehistoric Crocodiles Ruled Ancient Peru

Today, the Amazon River basin is well known for its biodiversity, but the area also has a long history of abundant life. Thanks to an international team of researchers, we now know that thirteen million years ago at least seven different species of prehistoric crocodile hunted in the swampy waters of what is now northeastern Peru. Evidence of this hyperdiverse group of crocs was found in Amazon bone beds, and it shows the largest number of prehistoric crocodile species co-existing in one place at any time in Earth’s history. This…

Read More
Signs of life on Earth: The oldest rock samples, from 3.2 billion years ago, were collected at this site in the desert in northwestern Australia. (R. Buick / University of Washington) Biology Paleontology 

Life on Earth May Be Older than We Thought

Life on our planet could be at least one billion years older than previously thought, according to new geological research from the University of Washington. Nitrogen is a chemical element that is essential for building genes. Without plenty of nitrogen, life on the early Earth would have been scarce. Researchers looking at some of the planet’s oldest rocks have found evidence that organisms were already pulling nitrogen out of the air 3.2 billion years ago, and converting it in ways that could support larger communities of lifeforms. Finding Ancient Life…

Read More
Oldest Primate: Scientists believe Purgatorius looked similar to Dryomomys szalayi, another primitive primate discovered near Yellowstone National Park by Jonathan Bloch. (Illustration courtesy of Doug Boyer) Biology Paleontology 

Oldest Primates Lived in Trees

By Kate Stone A new study from the University of Florida suggests that humans’ earliest primate ancestor was a tree-dwelling creature. Named Purgatorius, scientists believe it looked like a cross between a squirrel and tree shrew, and weighed less than a deck of playing cards. This ancient animal was previously known only by its teeth. The shape of the teeth allowed paleontologists to determine the Purgatorius — estimated to have weighed about 3.5 ounces — ate insects and plants, but researchers knew little else about its lifestyle. With the discovery of…

Read More
error: