The Unintended Catch: Population Declines in Greater Scaup due to Fishery Bycatch

Aquatic birds play an important role in shallow water ecosystems, affecting the diversity of their prey communities and providing an important link in the food web. Over the years, mortality has increased in many aquatic bird species due to human activity. New research on a population of Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), an aquatic bird species native to Europe, determined that fisheries contribute heavily to its mortality and gives us tools to understand how we can reduce this impact. If no action is taken, this species could become endangered within the next 30 years.

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These Boots Were Made from Exotic Leather

When picturing an American cowboy, images of horses and lassos come to mind, studded in spurs and blanketed in leather. The leather that you imagine is most likely cow hide, tanned and sourced in the United States of America. However, this mental image may require some adjustment. According to a study conducted by Jessica Heinrich and her team, exotic leather within the US is relatively common, particularly leather sourced from scaled mammals known as pangolins and large fish known as arapaima. Conservation efforts are more dire than ever as illegal trade of the two scaly organisms continues.

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Turtle Hatch Rates Skyrocket after Incubation

Sea turtles are often seen as a “poster-child” animal for conservation efforts in coastal areas. Beaches are covered with signs, and local groups search every night for mothers’ nests so they can put up protective barriers and increase the hatching success. However, for other species of turtles, like the freshwater spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera), simple protection of the nests are not currently an effective way to increase hatching success. Instead, researchers have found incubating the eggs of spiny softshell turtles more than doubled the hatching success rate, which may help save this endangered population in Québec, Canada.

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The use of albatrosses as a conservation tool

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing poses an imminent threat to biodiversity in our oceans. Notoriously difficult to track, fishing vessels are able to elude traditional tracking measures. Authors H. Weimerskirch et. al. introduce the concept of the “ocean sentinel”, where sea birds that are naturally attracted to fishing vessels are equipped with bio-loggers. Data from these loggers help locate where, when, and how frequently IUU is occuring.

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Invader in red: the impacts of the red-eared slider turtle across the globe

I’ve always been a big fan of animals. I love visiting pet shops and looking at all the cool animals. However, movement of animals via the pet trade has resulted in the introduction of exotic wildlife to many ecosystems globally. A particularly widespread invader is the red-eared slider turtle. Read on to find out how these invaders in red have spread and whether policy has been effective in controlling them.

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Which Nature is Your Nature?

Cultural understandings of nature vary widely, but global conservation efforts often fail to consider multiple perspectives regarding nature. Researchers have suggested a framework through which to better understand cultural conceptualizations of nature through language. By incorporating this framework into their correspondences, scientists may be better equipped to communicate their findings, and policy makers will have a platform from which to promote more inclusive legislation.

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The Cows and the Bees

In the age of the sixth extinction, we need to think carefully about how we use our land– especially when different land uses are at odds. As a way to advance conservation, researchers in Israel examined “land sharing” of rangelands: a way of using land to benefit agriculture and biodiversity alike.

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