January 26, 2009
We posted a story on a frog explosion the other day.. here are some photos!
Picture 1 – This new species of toad is the largest ever found in the genus Nectophrynoides. Its bizarre looks are likely to be coupled with a strange breeding cycle; studies of other Nectophrynoides species have discovered that they are the only types of toad which give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. Photo © Penelope Whitehorn / Frontier.
Picture 2 – With its distinctive red eyes this new species of frog in the genus Leptopelis resembles other similar species, but is found at much higher altitudes than its relatives. Photo © Daniel Cox / Frontier.
Picture 3 – It might look like a bit of a bruiser, but this newly discovered species of burrowing toad (Probreviceps sp.) is under threat from deforestation in its mountain home. Photo © John Graham / Frontier.
September 12, 2008
The Harvest Moon
This weekend's full Moon has a special name--the Harvest Moon. It's the full Moon closest to the northern autumnal equinox. In years past, farmers depended on the light of the Harvest Moon to gather ripening crops late into the night. Post-Edison, we appreciate it mainly for its beauty. Be alert in the nights ahead for Harvest Moon halos, coronas and 'dogs. Visit http://spaceweather.com for example and more information.
July 30, 2008
Introducing the ECOCEAN Whale Shark Photo-identification Library
The ECOCEAN Whale Shark Photo-identification Library is a visual database of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) encounters and of individually catalogued whale sharks. The library is maintained and used by marine biologists to collect and analyse whale shark encounter data to learn more about these amazing creatures.
The Library uses photographs of the skin patterning behind the gills of each shark and any scars to distinguish between individual animals. Cutting-edge software supports rapid identification using pattern recognition and photo management tools.
You too can assist with whale shark research - by submitting photos and sighting information. The information you submit will be used in mark-recapture studies to help with the global conservation of this threatened species.
Check it out here.
June 13, 2008
What we must learn, Dolphin disasters
Much of their behaviour remains a mystery and no one knows for sure why dolphins, such as those in Cornwall, apparently commit mass suicide. The theories are many. One is that ailing dolphins, which are air-breathing mammals, would rather beach themselves than drown - tragically, leading their fellows ashore in the process.
Another is that dolphins, like whales and porpoises, navigate using the Earth's electromagnetic fields but that anomalies in these can sometimes lead them perilously close to land.
Most disturbingly, we could be playing a central role in their demise. One theory regarding the Cornish dolphins is that Navy live fire exercises knocked them off course. I have never heard of this happening before, but the increasingly loud sonar used both by the world's navies, and by underwater oil prospecting, has long been thought to affect their ability to navigate.
Full Story, lots of pictures here
June 05, 2008
New Beak for wounded Eagle
ST. MARIES, Idaho - More than three years after a poacher shot off her upper beak, a bald eagle named Beauty can finally live up to her name - with the help of volunteers.
A team attached an artificial beak to the 15-pound eagle in mid-May, improving her appearance and, more importantly, helping her grasp food.
"She's got a grill," joked Nate Calvin, the Boise engineer who spent 200 hours designing the complex beak.
May 27, 2008
Orca Whales do kill Dolphins
It looks like a playful display of animal gymnastics as a dolphin dives inches away from a killer whale.
In fact, it is leaping for its life. Killer whales, or orcas, are themselves members of the dolphin family and it had been thought that they avoided attacking their cousins.
But wildlife expert Rainer Schimpf found the opposite when he took these pictures off Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
April 21, 2008
NATURE details the epic ocean journeys and bizarre life cycles of the largest and most highly prized of all game fish – marlins, swordfish, spearfish and sailfish in Superfish, premiering Sunday, May 4 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).
Sunday May 4th at 8PM on PBS
November 26, 2007
Dancing bird even MoonWalks!
November 13, 2007
During this time, many people will use the phrase "Indian Summer" to describe just about every warm spell that occurs, much like they would use "Dog Days" during a stretch of stifling hot, humid days in late July or early August.
Most people are familiar with the phrase, but few know exactly where it came from, and or what it means exactly...
In their Glossary of Meteorology, The American Meteorological Society (AMS) defines "Indian Summer" as a period in mid- or late autumn (Fall), of abnormally warm weather, with generally clear skies, sunny but hazy days, and cool nights.
Several different explanations exist about the origins of the term, "Indian Summer":
The Most Likely: "Indian Summer" was the period that early Native Americans used for hunting. The warm conditions encouraged animals to stay outside, and the hazy air gave humans a natural advantage.
Another Possibility: Early Native Americans would allow the warmer conditions following a significant frost to fully ripen their crops for harvesting, which then would be gathered and stored with extra food before even colder weather associated with the harsh New England winter arrived killing the crops all together!
Outside the U.S., conditions similar to our "Indian Summer" can be observed in England as well as many countries throughout the Mediterranean. These conditions also occur in late autumn, and are referred to as "Saint Martin`s Summer", or "All Hallows Summer", relating to our All Hallows Eve, or Halloween.