“Beached whales need forklift for the sea”


South African whale rescue attempt

South African whale rescue attempt

Can we find a way to rescue

these beached giants of the sea?

With all of the creative engineering skills availabe on this planet, certainly someone somewhere should be able to design and implement the technology and new equipment needed to save these giant whales. Surely equipment could be devised to safely bring these beautiful animals back out to deeper waters.

Can we find a way to prevent another tragedy like this?

“Authorities shot dozens of exhausted whales that beached on a shore near South Africa’s storm-lashed southern tip Saturday amid scenes of grief and despair from volunteers who had tried to save them.

Fifty-five false killer whales washed up on the shores of Kommitjie, near the Cape of Good Hope, in the early morning, prompting a massive all-day rescue effort. Hundreds of locals wearing wet suits or shorts braved high winds and rough waves to try to push the massive mammals from knee-deep water back into the open sea.”

Was the Navy working with its sonar in the area?

Please comment.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Google News
Dozens of whales perish on South African shoreCLARE NULLIS May 30, 2009.

Image courtesy of GoogelNews and AP photographer AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam) google.com/hostednews/ap/slideshow/

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“Water-holding frogs – Take a big drink and hold it”


Living on the dry mudflats, grasslands, temporary swamps, claypans, and billabongs of Australia, this frog can hold enough water to hibernate until the next big rains come . Now that may not sound impressive, but the rains in dry seasons may not come for a year or more! It holds a large water supply in its’ bladder then seals itself inside a water tight cocoon or bag made from skin that has been shed. Now that shows self sufficiency.

The Water-holding frog Cyclorana platycephala. has small eyes and a flattened head. The coloring of the skin matches his habitat.  It is a dull gray through dark brown to green. The rounded shape of his body and a flattened head give him the appearance of water jar. They do not possess toe discs but have a hardened ridge on the under surface of the foot, which acts like a spade to assist in digging. Most species may have webbing between the toes. The male frog is 4.2 (1.65 inches) to 6.4 cm (2.6 inches)and the female is 5.0 (1.97 inches) to 7.2 cm (2.84 inches) in length. The hatched tadpoles can reach a maximum of 6.0 cm (2.4 inches) in length.

water- holding frog C.platycephala

water- holding frog C.platycephala

Another member of the Water-holding frog family is called the short-footed Water-holding frog (Cyclorana brevipes). It has a yellow-beige background color on its skin with broken brown stripes or blotches down its back.

Australian short-footed frog

Australian short-footed frog

All Water-holding frogs survive the dry months by encasing themselves in a ‘bag’ made from their skin. They ‘hibernate’ in this bag until the heavy rains return. When the rain water soaks into the area their hibernating in, touches their bag a hormonal signal is sent from their brain to wake up the body. Stimulated by the rain water, they know that conditions above are good for breeding. The frogs climb back to the surface, swallow the bag and find a mate and breed quickly before the waters dry up again. They will lay large amounts of spawn in still water after floods. The tadpoles will grow quickly and then burrow into the wet mud before their water hole has dried up.

Check out this video on these amazing frogs.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of animals.jrank.org/frogs

Excerpts courtesy of frogatlas.com.au/frogspecies/water-holding frog

Video courtesy of National Geographic.com and YouTube.com

URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuWo_kWMihs

Image 1. courtesy of frogs.org.au/Cplatycephala

Image 2. courtesy of frogs.org.au/JB-frog-Cycloranabrevipes-Male

“The Smallest endangered frogs in the Americas”


Endangered Monte Iberia Eleuth, Eleutherodactylus Iberia. is the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere. It lives in Cuba. Iberia is second in size to a diminutive South American beauty the Brazilian Gold Frog

Eleutherodactylus_iberia

Eleutherodactylus_iberia

Monte Iberia Eleuth measures just over 3/8 inches (9.6 – 9.8 mm long) is the smallest living frog in the northern hemisphere. Its “voice or song box” and its throat is about the size of the head of a pin. With such a tiny throat apparatus its’ croak sounds like a high-pitched series of irregular chirps,

This endangered frog Monte Iberia lays only a single egg to a few in each clutch and both parents are closely involved in raising the young.

Requiring high humidity to survive, this tiny frog lives in areas of closed rain forest with poorly-drained soil.

The smallest frog in South America

The Brazilian Gold Frog (Brachycephalus didactylus), also known as Izecksohn’s Toad, is the smallest frog in the Southern Hemisphere.

Endangered Brazilian gold frog

Endangered Brazilian gold frog

The adult Brazilian Gold Frog measure to only 9.8 millimeters (24.764 inches) in body length. Many have a beautiful golden color after which they are named. named.

It is found in forests of southeastern Brazil. The Gold Frog has bony dorsal shields that are fused to the vertebrae.

They eat worms and insects and they spawn and lay their eggs in puddles or ponds or whatever is available.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Iberia_Eleuth

Excerpts courtesy of tolweb.org/Brachycephalidae

Image 1. courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleutherodactylus_iberia

Image 2. courtesy of hvrsd.k12.nj.us/timberlane

“From endangered turtle poachers to protectors – more profits”


On Runduma Island in Southeast Sulawesi Province, Indonesia. Indonesia people are helping endangered turtles to survive instead of continuing the age old practice of harvesting and bartering and eating turtle eggs and meat. Sea turtle numbers are increasing thanks to their efforts and the education and support of International Wildlife groups like WWF. Former turtle hunters in the seas off southeast Sulawesi, have become guardians of these endangered sea creatures.

Hatchling sea turtles retuen to the sea

Hatchling sea turtles return to the sea

Endangered turtles have found a safe haven. Four years ago the people of Runduma, population 500, decided to change their way of life and start protecting these endangered turtles. Annually these giants of the sea return to lay their eggs on the surrounding islands.

In the past families took turns every night during the turtle nesting season to collect eggs.  About 30 out of around 100 eggs from each nest were set aside for the village’s petty cash fund. Money from the sale of the community eggs financed public spending for a new water filtration system, and paid for poorer families’ school fees for their children.

The turtles are providing hope for economic prosperity for generations to come. Through re-education, locals are learning turtle ecology and how to make money from the adopt a turtle program, guided tours and protecting the turtles’ nesting sites. Gone is the traditional “egg” income of about 1,000 rupiah (nine cents) per egg. Future generations now may have better ways to make a living, with more education to become stewards of the earth especially  for the endangered sea turtles.

During the peak season from September to December, up to seven turtles will lay their eggs here every night,. Some 243 turtles laid an estimated 3,000 eggs on the island last year, compared to just 20 in 2006 and 77 in 2007, he said. Endangered green and hawksbill turtles are the most common visitors. The WWF estimates that 203,000 breeding green turtle females exist in the wild, and only 8,000 of the more critically endangered hawksbills.

Thanks to everyone for making the world

a little safer for these endangered turtles. – Mother Nature

Becoming a advocate-making changes locally affects

the turtle populations globally


Resources

Excerpts courtesy of TerraDaily.com

Excerpts courtesy of Medindia.net/news/Endangered-Turtles-Safe

Image 1. courtesy of z.about.com/turtles

“Pirates blockaded by…dolphins?”


Pirates-Pirates Pirates Yo Mate look at my mates!

Thousands of dolphins came to the rescue of a Chinese merchant fleet to save it from pirates.Seems the scoundrels were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships as they passed through the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported.

Dolphins form blockade

Dolphins form blockade

Curses foiled again Mate.

The suspected pirate ships halted in the wake of the leaping dolphin barricade and then turned away. In stunned dismay the pirates turned and retreated. The spectacular dolphin flotilla remained for awhile.

No one dreamed endangered dolphins would come to the rescue of a fleet of ships. Now that is Mother Nature working for you at her best!

References

Excerpts courtesy of news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/14

Image courtesy of China View

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/14/content_11184581.htm

“Sing me a complex song or forget it”


Seems that variable weather makes some birds smarter and gives them an advantage when singing for a potential mate. Mockingbirds living in mixed weather climate sing more elaborate songs.

St. Lucia white breasted thrasher

St. Lucia white breasted thrasher

Why do males sing complex songs?

To impress the females, male mockingbirds sing up a complex tune. The more intricate, the more intelligent the bird the more likely he is to get a mate. Superior singing skills and more smarts give these males a leg up in the survival game in harsher climates.

Carlos Botero, a researcher from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina, led the study. He and his colleagues compared recordings of 29 species of mockingbird, studying patterns in their songs including the number of different notes, the number of syllables and the birds’ abilities to mimic other sounds. Researcher, Carlos Botero Carlos Botero’s studied song recordings.  His team then compared the birds’ habitats to the patterns in their songs.The more complex the habitat, the more complex the song.A bird like the St Lucia’s white-breasted thrasher sings a simple song. It lives in an environment that does not change much year around. Where as a Northern Cardinal that survives all the changes in his northern temperate climate would be expected to have a more complex song.

To fully test male bird IQ, male birds’ song complexity was studied in many different countries during the bird’s breeding season. As a result of this study, some key gaps in the library of birdsong at Cornell University, are now filled.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of ScienceNews.com

For some birds, chancy climates mean better singers
A survey of mockingbird species links variable environment and song complexitySusan Milius, May 21, 2009

Image courtesy of OasisMarigot.com/St.Lucia white-breasted-thrasher

“Robo Scientist makes scientific breakthrough”


Watch out researchers new robotic scientist found to be

quicker and cheaper for detailed sequencing work.

Robotic scientist

Robotic scientist

Meet Adam is, a prototypic robot, who holds great promise for making the details of tedious scientific research much speedier without losing accuracy. Adam makes the search for new drugs to combat diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis, also

known as snail fever, an infection caused by a type of parasitic worm in the tropics. and the sequencing of all those “zillions” of biochemical cell processes quicker and less costly (?-editor) than having a mere team of humans do the decoding of the genes.

For his claim to fame, using artificial intelligence Adam hypothesized that certain genes in baker’s yeast code for specific enzymes which catalyse (speeds up ) biochemical reactions in yeast. The robot then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results and repeated the cycle.

Adam, is a computer system that fully automates the scientific process. It was created by scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).  It is thought to be the first robotic machine to have independently discovered new scientific knowledge.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of SpaceDaily.com London UK (SPX) May 07, 2009

Robot Scientist Becomes First Machine To Discover New Scientific Knowledg

Image courtesy of SpaceDAily.com

“Coral and brown algae adapt to warming seas”


The golden-brown algae called Zooxanthellae need another animal to survive. They live in mutually beneficial relationship with various marine invertebrates like the tropical sea anemone, Aiptasia, protozoa, and the Scleractinian corals like the fan coral pictured below.

coral changing

Little algae big animals how do they live together?

The algae provide the host with food through photosynthesis. Zooxanthellae can provide up to 90 percent of a coral’s energy requirements.


What does the coral do from the little brown algae?

The coral provides a home and protection. It also provides a constant supply of carbon dioxide that is required for photosynthesis. The algae need the CO2 to start photosynthesis. The number of algae are limited in growth by available nutrients, light, and by the number of excess cells that can be utilized or gotten removed. If the waters get too warn the coral expel the tenant algae.

Why is this relationship so important now?

In tropical waters that are warming around the world, these reef building coral are dependent on the algae and both are adapting to the warming ocean waters.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooxanthella

Excerpts courtesy of NewScientist.com
Corals upgrade algae to beat the heat – Catherine Brahic May 2009.

Image courtesy of NewScientist.com

“Salmon may need to walk”


Land in Juneau has been lifting up at an extremely rapid rate about 10 feet in 200 years, according to the 2007 report. Global warming is one of the causes.

Tongass National Park

Tongass National Park

The movement of the tectonic plates the same movement of the earth’s crust that forces some land areas to rise and other land masses to slide under continues since the dawn of the earths land masses. As the Pacific plate pushes under the North American plate, Juneau, Alaska and Tongass National Forest lands rise still more.

Plate tectonics + glacial readjustment = rising land and receding ocean and an increase in land near the water’s edge.
.
In Gustavus, Alaska one landowners property is rising almost three inches a year, Scientists claim that this is the fastest-rising land area in North America.

As the land rises the ocean naturally recedes, adding areas along the coast that begin to turn green with grasses. In Tongass National Forest as the land rises, some of the rivers and streams are filling with silt from melting glacier. The runoff brings the silt down river. If the streams and rivers fill with silt then the salmon may have to learn to walk. Trees and plants are growing where only water flowed before.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of nytimes.com/2009/05/18/science/earth/18

Image courtesy of ourforests.org/places/tongass

“Macaroni penguin not edible even with cheese on top”


Looking like a regal penguin with orange “noodles” on its head, the Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus), is one of the latrgest flightless birds. An adult weighs on average 5.5 –6 kg (11-12 lb) in weight and is 62.5-70 cm (25-28 in) in length 25 inches or 55 cm tall.

Macaroni penguins one of largest penguins

Macaroni penguins one of largest penguins

The Macaroni penguin‘s diet consists of a variety of crustaceans, mainly krill, as well as small fish and cephalopods; the species consumes more marine life annually than any other species of seabird.

Where do they disappear to when they take to the ocean after breeding on land?

Scientists from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) attached monitoring devices to a dozen male and female macaroni penguins at the onset of winter on the French Indian Ocean territory of the Kerguelen Islands. After six months the penguins returned to Kerguelen to breed and researchers caught the 12 penguins they had banded the previous year. They recovered the devices and
downloaded the data, and they also took blood samples to get a chemical signature of what the birds had been eating. The data showed that the Macaroni penguins swam eastward into the southern Indian Ocean, where they scattered in many directions but remained in a long, geographical band between 47 and 49 degrees latitude south. Swimming rapidly they stuffed themselves on crustaceans during their time at sea. Twenty percent of the time was spent farther south, closer to the fringes of the Southern Ocean. These birds traveled between 10,430 kilometres (8,930 miles) to 2,400 kms (1,500 miles) from Kerguelen and quickly sped up their travel on the return trip.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Wikipedia.org/Macaroni_Penguin

Excerpts courtesy of Yahoonews and AFP

The secret life of penguins revealed

Excerpts courtesy of Antarcticconnection.com

Image courtesy of wikipedia.org/Macaroni_Penguin

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