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Extinction Countdown

Nearly Extinct Mussel Gets One Last Chance at Survival

purple cat's paw mussels

Freshwater mussels have a particularly unusual system of reproduction. Males release their sperm into the water with the hope that a nearby female will siphon them up to fertilize her eggs. Once fertilization occurs, the female produces larvae called glochidia, which she then releases back into the water. At this point the mother is out [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tiny Ohio Catfish Species, Last Seen in 1957, Declared Extinct

scioto madtom

Here’s the thing about extinctions: They are very rarely witnessed. The last members of a species in the wild tend to go quietly into the night with no one to witness their deaths. All too often, humans don’t even notice that a species has disappeared until years—if not decades—after the fact. Even then, conservationists tend [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Ohio Animal Tragedy Calls Attention to Loopholes in U.S. Captive Wildlife Laws

This week’s release and death of more than 50 so-called “exotic” animals near Zanesville, Ohio, is a tragic reminder that the laws protecting wildlife in the U.S. are full of loopholes that endanger not only the animals themselves but also people. One of those loopholes could actually be closed soon. Last month, the U.S. Fish [...]

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Plugged In

The Water Intake Crib: A Primer

So Toledo and environs goes through a terrible water crisis when nutrient-rich water from farms, lawns, and other nonpoint sources flows into Lake Erie. This causes hideous algae blooms that turn whole portions of Lake Erie a frightening bright green. Nasty enough, but the algae also release a toxin, microcystin, that can make you seriously [...]

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Modern Day Alchemists Turn Toxic Runoff Into Valuable Pigments


Artists have long used odd things in their work – Marcel Duchamp’s urinal on a pedestal comes to mind – but even when unusual ingredients are less obvious, they can be present. As my co-blogger Glendon Mellow points out in his superb Pinch of Pigment series, everything from raw earth minerals to ground up mummies [...]

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