[late] Weekly Links Round-up and Tidbits

Wow, moving is more exhausting and time-consuming than I remember! I moved back to Germany on Friday, but it's pretty well been a week-long exercise in packing and trains and clothing-explosions and IKEA. The journal club post will be up next Monday, as well as some content as scheduled, but for now I'll leave you with these news items from last week. While a bit late, they're still super interesting and informative! Also, each round-up I'll be posting a YouTube video above and encourage you to check it out and subscribe to the creator. This week it's SciShow with a brief explanation of why leaves change colour in the fall -- rather timely, as we're just about there, at least here in Bremen.


- Last week I mentioned the Ig Nobel prizes and the winner in biology, about dogs lining up to defecate and urinate in accordance with the Earth's geomagnetic lines. That paper has since accrued some statistical scrutiny, which you can follow here on PubPeer.

- A lovely piece in the Huffington Post on the protecting the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan river. As a former Edmontonian, this issue is near and dear to my heart and I hope that my Albertan readership can take a minute to read about how they can impact the protection of our lakes and rivers.

- What happens when a species is put on the IUCN Red List? A new study shows that it all depends on timing, available information, and funding.

- My first conservation biology course at the University of Alberta was taught by Dr. Erin Bayne and had a project about educating the public on bird strikes (when a bird hits a window) and collecting data about the amount of bird strikes. This project continues each year and it's released estimates that 22 million birds die each year in Canada as a result of bird strikes.

- On September 29th, French scientists began their three week march to protest the decrease of public funding of the sciences, set to coincide with the government's three-week long Science Week. Protesters have demands such as budget increases, an agency to fund academic research, and an overhaul to the research tax credit to better aid smaller enterprises rather than large companies.

- Paul Jepson offers five ways to stop the world's wildlife from vanishing

- It's been 17 years since Russia last sent a woman into space; Yelona Serova has broken that streak and is the first Russian female cosmonaut aboard the International Space Station. What garnered more media attention though was what the media chose to ask her. Not, "How does it feel to be a positive role model to Russian girls," but instead focused on how she will do her hair, if she's taking makeup into space, and how her young daughter will deal with her absence. Her response was spot-on - see the article for the complete story.

- A scientific knowledge quiz from the Pew Research Centre is making the rounds on social media - what do you know in comparison to your peers (US focused)?

- Kiribati is a small island nation in the South Pacific. Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, visited glaciers near Svalbard and shared his experience with The Huffington Post. Kiribati is one of many islands expected to be lost by the end of the century because of rising sea levels due to climate change.

- Is it possible to revitalize an urban area without resulting in gentrification? An area in Washington, D.C. is attempting what is usually considered the impossible and is aiming at zero displacement of the current inhabitants.


- The Nagoya Protocol was signed by several UN countries in 2010 - except China and the USA, among the notable exceptions - and is set to go into affect on October 12th. The protocol is set-up to protect local peoples and developing nations from biopiracy (also known as bioprospecting). Biopiracy is essentially the act of patenting indigenous remedies and/or resources without giving credit or profit to its origin, whether that is a small tribe or an entire country. While this is an admirable and, I would argue, necessary countermeasure to the negative impacts of capitalism, it has scientists worried about what exactly qualifies as fair use and what is deemed large enough to require permission and compensation. 

- The EUROPARC Federation is a federation of over 400 natural areas and protected parks from 35 countries within Europe. They support local managers, maintain several programs including Jr. Forest Rangers, and certify transboundary parks (parks that cross political borders). They just wrapped up their conference in Killarney, Ireland, and most of the presentations are available online with more to follow. While these presentations may be of more interest to managers than to ecologists or those outside of conservation biology, there are themes that we can all appreciate, such as the health benefits of nature, or how do we preserve wilderness while still allowing and encouraging visitors to these areas.

- Finally, walruses. I love walruses, they were a study animal of mine in my bachelor years - I tried to use them for nearly every essay in the final two years of my undergraduate career. Walruses usually do not come ashore, they prefer to stay in areas called polynas, areas of open water surrounded by ice. They swim in the water and sleep on the ice, and don't often come to land because it's unsafe for young and old alike. Polynyas are fairly reliable due to wind and water currents, so when 35,000 walruses come ashore in Alaska, it's not because they thought it would be a great time to visit Anchorage. It's because that once reliable ice is no longer there. They cannot just go further north where there is ice - walruses live along continental shelves for access to mussels along the shallow ocean floor. Adapting to change this extreme means accepting the risks of going ashore or changing their diet habits entirely, the latter of which is rife with it's own risks of competition or exhaustion form swimming.


- One of my colleagues was published - she did some of the lab/tech/interpretation work on migratory birds and fuel consumption! Congratulations, Tessina de Lille, you've earned it. She's being very humble about it, but I'm not - here's a link. The journal isn't open-access so you may have to find other ways to read it...


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