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Posts Tagged "migration"

Extinction Countdown

Giant Otters Damned by Giant Hydroelectric Dams

giant river otter

Mathematically speaking, the creation of the massive Balbina Hydroelectric Dam in Brazil should have been a boon to the giant river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) that live in the area. The dam, which went online in 1989, created a reservoir more than 443,000 hectares in size. As the land behind the dam flooded, more than 3,500 [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Piping Plovers in Migration: Foraging for Their Lives

piping plover

Is invisibility overrated? For many species, the ability to camouflage themselves against their natural habitat provides safety from predators and other unwanted eyes. But in some ways, the opposite effect happens for the rare birds known as piping plovers (Charadrius melodus). They might actually be in better shape if more eyes saw them. Well, human [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Whale Sharks in the News: Citizen Science, Migration Revelations and High Fashion

whale shark

What do the world’s biggest fish and the Big Dipper have in common? Believe it or not, the answer is math. One of the same algorithms developed to help astronomers study the stars in the sky is being used to conserve and understand whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) under the sea. It turns out that each [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Last 500 Ethiopian Wolves Endangered by Lack of Genetic Diversity

ethiopian wolf

The last wolves in Africa face a difficult road if they are going to survive. Just 500 Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) remain in the mountains of the country for which they are named. The animals now live in six fragmented populations located hundreds of kilometers apart from one another; three of these populations have fewer [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Cougars Are Returning to the U.S. Midwest after More Than 100 Years

They go by a lot of names: mountain lions, cougars, pumas, catamounts and more. But people living in the Midwest may soon have a new name for these big cats: neighbor. Cougars (Puma concolor) have not lived in Oklahoma, Missouri and other midwestern states since the  beginning of the 20th century. But now the cats [...]

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Extinction Countdown

DNA Test Proves Killed Cougar Migrated from South Dakota to Connecticut

lion being examined by technician

If the eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) went extinct in the 1930s, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reported back in March, why do so many people in New England keep reporting cougar sightings? As FWS lead scientist Mark McCollough told me in March, the 110 confirmed cases on cougars (sometimes called mountain [...]

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Extinction Countdown

News from the Brink: Good News for Tasmanian Devils, Puerto Rican Parrots and Southern Right Whales

Not every story about endangered species is horrible. Sometimes there’s some good news mixed in with the bad. Although none of these stories is worth dancing in the streets over, each nonetheless merits at least a little bit of celebration. Tasmanian devil DNA Scientist from Penn State University and other institutions have completed sequencing the [...]

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Guest Blog

Bird guts, not muddy feet, may help snails migrate overseas

When I’m not spending my time writing about the weird bugs I find in the garden, or even weirder creatures I just think the world ought to know about, I study land snails from Pacific Islands. That means every time I give I talk I spend the first couple of minutes convincing people that – [...]

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Observations

Global Migrant Flows: An Interactive Map

600-Abel-and-Sander-2014_Fig4_GlobalMigration

People are constantly migrating around the globe. But scientists have long had trouble quantifying how many people are moving and where they are coming from and going to. Part of the problem is that countries vary widely in the amount and quality of data they collect on incoming immigrants; globally, these data are often difficult [...]

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Observations

Genetic Sequencing Traces Gypsies Back to Ancient Indian Origin

romani gypsy roma genetic india

The Romani people—once known as “gypsies” or Roma—have been objects of both curiosity and persecution for centuries. Today, some 11 million Romani, with a variety of cultures, languages and lifestyles, live in Europe—and beyond. But where did they come from? Earlier studies of their language and cursory analysis of genetic patterns pinpointed India as the [...]

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Observations

1 Big Migration Spawned Most–but Not All–Indigenous Americans

genomics show wave of first american migrations

At least 15,000 years ago intrepid Siberians crossed the newly exposed Bering land bridge to arrive in the unpeopled Americas. But was this influx the only ancient wave from East Asia? Researchers have been studying archeological, linguistic and genetic evidence for years in a quest to understand how the first Americans arrived and spread through [...]

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Observations

Vikings Spread the Humble House Mouse During Ancient Conquests

house mouse

Four-legged stowaways hitched a ride aboard the wooden 10th- and 11th-century Viking ships that braved the northern seas. The probably numerous passengers aboard hailed from Mus musculus domesticus, the small, fleet-of-foot rodent otherwise known simply as the house mouse. Opportunistic hangers-on have accompanied human migrations throughout history. From the louse to the mouse, scientists have [...]

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Observations

Monarch Butterfly Genome Gives Clues about Slew of Migration Mysteries

The millions of monarchs (Danaus plexippus) that flit on fragile wings from the U.S.to a particular area of fir forest in Mexico—as far as 4,000 kilometers—are making the journey for the first time. “They have never been to the overwintering sites before and have no relatives to follow,” Steven Reppert, a neurobiologist at the University [...]

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Observations

Migrating animals might decrease the spread of bird flu and other infectious diseases

bird migrations can spread infectious diseases

With millions of birds descending on Delaware Bay during migration, the propensity for bird flu (H5N1) to spread among flocks—and potentially among humans—has been a pressing concern. And as animals, from gray whales to monarch butterflies make epic treks of thousands of kilometers each year, the role of these travelers in spreading highly pathogenic diseases [...]

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Symbiartic

Star Map by Diana Sudyka

Starmap-DSudyka

Sometimes here on Symbiartic we just need to share an amazing image. It’s important to slow down every once in a while an appreciate imagery and meaning in the hands of a skilled science artist. Here’s Star Map, a new painting by Diana Sudyka.   About the image, Sudyka says, “Volunteering in the bird division [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Practice Makes Perfect: Endangered Whooping Cranes Rely on Social Learning for Migration

whooping crane mueller

Are birds’ migration routes mainly the result of instinct or do they need practice, learning, and experience? New research on endangered whooping cranes suggests that social learning plays a critical role.

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