Friday, May 31, 2013

Loose Feathers #394

Northern Spotted Owl chicks / USFWS Photo
Birds and birding
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • A survey of amphibian species found declines that were much worse than expected, even among populations thought to be stable.
  • It is possible that climate change could reduce the effects of chytrid fungus on frogs, if it warms above the fungus's optimal temperature. (However, climate change might still harm frogs in other ways.)
  • The wolf pack at Isle Royale in Michigan may soon disappear as it is too inbred to reproduce successfully.
  • A new butterfly species, the Vicroy's Ministreak (Ministrymon janevicroy), was discovered in Texas. It was previously unnoticed because it is rare and the only visual difference between it and other species is eye color, and eye color fades in the dead specimens lepidopterists traditionally worked with.
  • A 2.5-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River is open to the public for the first time in decades.
  • A pitcher plant in Borneo is colonized by ants, which kill and eat larvae that might otherwise be harm the plant. 
  • The endangered Island Fox, which lives in California's Channel Islands, is back from the brink and is now thriving.
  • A team of researchers has mapped sea-level changes along New Jersey's coast over the past 10,000 years. At several points, the sea-level has risen as much as 4mm per year, and those times have occurred at the same time that major glaciers were melting.