Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home Sick Notes (July 28th)

  • Bad Astronomy brought to my attention the discovery of an asteroid in one of the Earth's stable Lagrangian points.  At some point in the future, I imagine these points are going to be valuable real-estate.
  • Sport hunting is considered a very minimal impact to lots of North American game species that are in need of conservation (e.g., Lesser Prairie Chickens), but apparently the role of hunting is substantial in highly endangered big cats, and the more you try to conserve them, the more attractive they are to "trophy" hunters.  The authors suggest this is non-intuitive, but this is exactly what I've observed from wealthy people who travel to hunt.  (Palazy et al., 2011, PLoS ONE 6(7): e22424 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022424)
  • I've talked about the light:nutrient hypothesis before, and now there's a new paper investigating this in stream biota.
  • Hey look!  Canada has become the United States during the Bush era!
  • As if it wasn't difficult enough trying to do wetland restoration, there's now evidence that the obvious (that these wetlands are sometimes nutrient sources instead of the sinks we tend to assume they will be) is in fact true.  (Steinman and Ogdahl, 2011, Does converting agricultural fields to wetlands retain or release P?, Journal of the North American Benthological Society)
  • If you're like me, and didn't even know wood-grazing fish existed, then this article will probably blow your mind.  (Lujan et al., 2011, Do wood-grazing fishes partition their niche?: morphological and isotopic evidence for trophic segregation in Neotropical Loricariidae, Functional Ecology)
  • And finally, my favorite scientific society changed its name a few months ago:  The North American Benthological Society will now be the Society for Freshwater Science (despite Dom Chaloner's excellent article that makes a compelling case for bringing together marine and freshwater disciplines).  I think the last time this was voted on by the membership, the argument was that nobody knows what "benthological" means.  At the same time, ASLO changed from being the "American Society for Limnology and Oceanography" to the "Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography," clearly indicating that keeping the same initials is as important as having a name that doesn't sound ridiculous.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Interesting weekend posts

  • When it comes to the bounty of the ocean, the only thing that appears to be capable of causing the collapse of fisheries is human appetite.  As humans, we've managed to eat our way through a massive assortment of marine species.  So it is no surprise that when it comes to invasive species, people tend to put two and two together and decide:  "Hey, maybe we can eat all the invaders to reduce their numbers!" We're there again.  All I can say is that this is a scheme unlikely to be ultimately successful.  The bigger concern is that if create a market where an invasive is worth money, then there is a financial incentive for people to expand the range of that invasive, which creates a new version of the exact problem you're trying to eliminate in the first place.
  • The situation in Montana is not good.
  • Mist netting birds.  Everyone assumed it was ok...and apparently it is (a grrlscientist review)?  Seems a bit complicated, and the actual paper (pdf) is a bit caveat-ish.  Still, compared to methods used for mammals and herps I think this is pretty good evidence that mist netting is minimally damaging.
  • Tetrapod Zoology is dead.  Long live Tetrapod Zoology!
  • Not sure how I missed this blog previously, but Highly Allochthonous seems pretty cool.