Stress is cool

This fascinating article by naturallyspeakingpodcast explains thermal imaging in relation to stress measurement. Apparently, a cool surface is correlated with inner stress.

Naturally Speaking

How do we know if an animal is stressed? This unpleasant state is not reserved for humans, and if possible we would like to minimise the stress experienced by the animals around us. Traditionally, we have relied on measuring hormones in the blood to know if an animal is in a stressful state, but this invasive procedure has a flaw – if they weren’t stressed before they sure will be during and after.  Here, Dr Ruedi Nager tells us about some exciting research happening in the institutes Thermal Ecology Group, which aims to develop a completely hands off method for measuring stress  using thermal image analysis.

Herring gull Thermal image of a Herring gull (Larus argentatus). The brighter (more yellow) and area the greater the temperature. Notice around the eye has the greatest heat signature, the rest of the bird being insulated by feathers (image: supplied)

Stress is cool

We all…

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Crowd-funded science: thoughts after 185 people gave us $10,733 for research

Jacquelyn Gill provides insight on how “crowd-funding” can work as a solution for science- that is, if you are savvy with social media (calling all students!)

“TL;DR? Crowd-funding is a lot of work. It can be a nice funding stop-gap, especially for small projects or preliminary data. It’s great for students because it helps them develop communication skills. Sites like Experiment that have a nice interface to give your donors updates help connect people with your science, and add legitimacy to your efforts.Just be prepared to do a lot of work, get creative, and reach out to social media, the press, and celebrities. I’m not sure if science crowd-funding has a long lifespan, but it’s worth a shot. But it’s money! We all need more of that, right?” (Gill)

The Contemplative Mammoth

I’ve spent the last month pushing our Experiment.com crowd-funding campaign, to support my lab’s upcoming research in the Falkland Islands. After successfully hitting our $10,000 goal with four days to go, I feel like I have a few thoughts about the process (and a lot of you have asked), so here goes:

Crowd-funding is hard. It took Dulcinea and Kit a lot of time to put their website together, and I spent a considerable amount of time pushing the campaign out via social media, email lists, and to our university press office (definitely do this! We got local TV news coverage), not to mention the time explaining to people how the whole thing works. The effort was, at times, on par with standard grant-writing. Be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into making a really fantastic site, and to follow up with a relentless social media presence. Which brings…

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Predators at my Window: The Recovery of Predator Populations in Southern New England

” We long for wilderness, but we likewise crave safety, not just in the context of the natural world but in the whole of our lives. The former impulse can lead us to conserve, while the latter may prompt us to destroy.”- Richard Telford provides a charming narrative to readers to describe the relationship between humans and nature and its evolution. From humans as prey to humans as predators, the stark contrast in our stance has shifted as a result of modern technology and a large global population. We need to establish a sense of “healthy fear” in order to equalize our relationship with mother nature.

The Ecotone Exchange

The author's rapid sketch of a bobcat (Lynx rufus) spotted outside his study window.  Copyright: Richard Telford, 2015 The author’s rapid sketch of a bobcat (Lynx rufus) spotted outside his study window. Copyright: Richard Telford, 2015

By: Richard Telford

On an early Saturday morning this past January, working at my desk that faces the eastern sunrise, my gaze was arrested by a sudden movement crossing the breaking sun.  My desk window faces a break in the 18th century stonewall that encloses our 1770 northeastern Connecticut farmhouse on three sides; beyond this wall break is a massive brush pile that I have created as I’ve cut back overgrowth along the wall edges to increase light and decrease Lyme tick habitat.  On this particular morning, I experienced a momentary disconnect as I gazed at the unusually stocky, bob-tailed housecat that had broken the line of the emerging sun, quickly realizing that it was, of course, no housecat but instead a bobcat (Lynx rufus).  While bobcats…

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“Ocean Soul”…Listening to Brian Skerry at National Geographic Live

This post written by Neva Knott at the Ecotone Exchange: Positive Stories of the Environment discusses the author’s connectedness to the Pacific Ocean and relates it to photographer Brian Skerry. Skerry has used his inspirational images to capture the hearts of many and recently spoke at the National Geographic Live series in Olympia. A video is Skerry’s TED talk is embedded in the post as well.

The Ecotone Exchange

By Neva Knott

I’ve always lived near water. The home I was born into sat on the shore of a lake in a town surrounded by the Puget Sound. As my world expanded, I learned rivers and the ocean’s shore. When I was six, my father moved my family to Saipan, a small island in the South Pacific. Small, as in 14 miles long and five miles wide. It was there I fell in love with the ocean. I learned to swim and snorkel there, was stung by many man-o-war jelly fish. My father was an ecologist, so it wasn’t enough to witness the fish in the coral habitat; I learned their ways.

The ever-morphing boundary of earth and sea, that line that changes each day, minutely, as the water crashes on the sand and ebbs outward is fascinating. Power and grace. As an adult, I lived on Maui for…

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Polycentric Government and Environmental Protection

How does one embark on a mission to save a world that is destined to fail? With a growing population, a decrease of resources, and an apparent lack of care of these two factors by the general public, environmentalists face a masochistic career that is potentially led by endless attempts to sway a stubborn public. However, cases where environmentalists have made an impact on the biological and economical world do exist, and they are not numbered. With economic principles presented in Gernot Wagner’s economic-environmental thesis, But Will the Planet Notice? and throughout the struggles and successes of the Nature Conservancy, described in Nature’s Keepers, provide evidence that environmental achievements in an economy-driven world are not only possible; these endeavors presented in the correct manner, on both large and small scales, may often result in a win in the book for environmentalists. Economist Wagner preaches the system Nobel Prize winner, Elinor Ostrom, proposes. The six steps Ostrom proposes, called “polycentric governance,” Wagner argues are the secret to success. Based on defining territories, analyzing the cost and benefits, engaging the voices of actors, cultivating respect for a leadership role, monitoring the area, and implementing sanctions for violations, this six principle theory may be analyzed at the scales of the individual species, small ecosystems, and large ecosystems to demonstrate successes of an environmental organization. Continue reading

Policy Making: Effectiveness and Strategies

The relationship of man and nature has physically and cognitively evolved throughout human development. An initial mindset of survival has developed into an all-conquering drive to over exert, over consume, and establish dominance over nature and its systems. Thus, the earth has lost a vast number of species, ecosystems, and other important aspects to the regulations and functions the earth maintains. Today, humans face the backlash of the damage we have left upon the environment. From extreme storms and droughts, to climate change, to a declining availability of resources and biodiversity, humans are struggling to develop the technology and responsibility we need to face these challenges. Until easy reversal methods are developed, international, national, regional, and local initiatives partnered with indigenous people, scientists, NGOs, and other interest groups need to be implemented through strategic policies and direct enforcement to ensure quality conservation. These actions can occur for any topic, although the negotiations within conventions to develop these policies often takes years to develop, establish, and implement these conclusions, and often with not enough force. Through evaluations of biodiversity protection, deforestation discussions, and air quality agreements, the impacts of conventions should be observed to provide insight on the effectiveness of each multi-governmental and multi-interest developed policy. Continue reading

World’s fish have been moving to cooler waters for decades, study finds (May 15, 2013)

In the human world, social pressures govern the criteria for adaptive measures man takes to become “cool” within the community. This mainstream idea of “coolness” ranges from the individuals interests in liking popular music to disliking unpopular fashion, and from believing in a certain religion to worshiping the ideas of man. These ideas and their evolutions within the cultural community are called “memes”, and they form the evolutionary paths of cultures. Unlike genetics, memetics describes an artificial kind of evolution of “cool” ideas. However, the mindset of man’s relationship with biological species and systems has not evolved from his early assertion over nature.

Instead of focusing our “cool” ideas to incorporate the protection of the environment, the coolness of the environment is shifting itself. As man continues to find the environment “uncool”, the climate is literally losing coolness. Global warming is a serious issue humans have faced since the 1970s, yet awareness of the consequences and rapidity of the climate change is largely overlooked by man. However, a recent study of fish has discovered that fish internationally are becoming like man; global fish species are in search of cooler waters— literally. Continue reading