Friday, October 4, 2013

Biodiversity research from campuses on the campaign trail

I'm still not up to compiling another entry about the shutdown, so instead I'm presenting the biodiversity stories from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (IPCC report released), three of which happen to be from the University of Cincinnati.

I begin with a video of UC Research on Lemurs, Fragmented Forests.

UC research by Brooke Crowley on forest fragmentation in eastern Madagascar draws upon the connection between the plight of the native tree-dwelling lemurs and the health of the forests in which they live.
The press release explains more in UC Research Looks at How Fate of Tiny Lemurs Could Be Linked to Forest Health.
Deforestation in Madagascar has possibly put these cute creatures in crisis.
By: Tom Robinette
Date: 9/15/2013 5:00:00 PM
Save the lemurs, save the forest ... save the world?

Though extreme, that theory isn't inconceivable to Brooke Crowley, an assistant professor of anthropology and geology at the University of Cincinnati. Her research on forest fragmentation in eastern Madagascar draws upon the connection between the plight of the native tree-dwelling lemurs and the health of the forests in which they live.

Environmental consequences of forest loss are not isolated to Madagascar. Crowley believes that her work on this island could have broader implications. Forest loss could eventually have an effect on the health of the planet.
Next, some less heroic species, albeit in a heroic ecosystem, star in Four Decades Later, Meyer Finds Caribbean Complexities.
Returning, after 45 years, to a Jamaican reef, University of Cincinnati paleontologist David L. Meyer finds a very different ecological habitat, with some inhabitants thriving while others are wiped out.
By: Greg Hand
Date: 9/18/2013 3:00:00 PM
The coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea have had a rough couple of decades, afflicted with coral disease, hurricanes, a die-off of algae-controlling sea urchins, over-harvesting of coral-friendly fish and the effects of global warming, according to paleontologist David L. Meyer, professor of geology in UC’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

Surveying one coral reef in Jamaica after 45 years, Meyer found that some species are clearly distressed today, while others are flourishing in a very changed habitat.

“It’s not a dead-zone situation,” Meyer said. “There is a diversity of life. It’s just very different from what it was.”
To complete the journey from the sublime to the ridiculous, Auburn University examines cyanobacteria in Auburn University and Alabama Extension System researchers study harmful algal blooms.
September 26, 2013
The head of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s aquaculture resources team and a fellow Auburn University faculty member are working to gain a deeper understanding of algal blooms, those prolific aquatic organisms that are increasingly causing headaches not only for water treatment facilities, parks and zoos but also for pond owners and others exposed to these blooms. The researchers will use this heightened understanding to educate people about how they can prevent the spread of harmful blooms and to reduce exposure to them.

This effort is made possible with funding from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Russell “Rusty” Wright, an Extension fisheries specialist, aquaculture resources team leader and associate professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, and Alan Wilson, an associate professor of Fisheries, are especially interested in blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, taxa known to produce off-flavors in public drinking water.
If any group survives a collapse of the portion of the biosphere dependent on solar energy, it's the cyanobacteria or "blue-green algae."  I'm not worried about them.

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