Thursday, October 30, 2008
Biologists have long suspected that amphibians, whose moist permeable skins make them susceptible to slight changes in the environment, might be good bellwethers for impending alterations in biodiversity during rapid climate change.
Now two University of California biologists have verified the predictive power of this sensitive group of animals in a global study of species turnover among amphibians and birds. The study appears this week in the advance online version of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Our study supports the role of amphibians as 'canaries in the coal mine'," said Lauren Buckley, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the first author of the study. "Amphibians are likely to be the first to respond to environmental changes and their responses can forecast how other species will respond."
"Amphibians are much more tuned in to the changes in their specific environments," said Walter Jetz, an associate professor of biology at UC San Diego and the other author of the study. "They are much more sensitive to differences in environmental conditions as you move geographically from one location to another."
The two scientists used maps of the environment and amphibian and bird distributions to answer the question of how the environment - as well as the distribution of birds and amphibians - changes as one moves from one place to another around the globe.
The researchers found that if the environment changes rapidly as one travels from one location to another, the amphibian and bird communities also change rapidly. However, the species of amphibians would change more quickly than species of birds. This confirms that amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in the environment, the researchers conclude, and that this sensitivity is particularly acute given their narrow distributions.
Whether one is traveling through a tropical or temperature region also influences how quickly the types of animals change. Given a mountain of a certain size, the researchers found, the amphibian and bird communities change more quickly if one is climbing a mountain in the tropics than in a temperate region.
"There are more species in the tropics and the species are generally more specially adapted to particular environmental conditions," said Jetz. "This suggests that tropical species may be more severely impacted by a given temperature increase as a result of climate change."
For the study, he and Buckley produced a series of global maps of environmental turnover and the associated changes in amphibian and bird communities that reveal that the identities of birds and amphibians change particularly quickly in mountainous regions such as the Andes and Himalayas.
"Understanding how environmental changes over space influence biodiversity patterns provides important background for forecasting how biodiversity will respond to environmental changes over time such as ongoing temperature increases," said Buckley.
The study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, UC Santa Barbara and the State of California.
By Arunava Das
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Feasible Emission Scenarios Identified That Could Keep CO2 Below Climate Threatening Levels
When and how global oil production will peak or will decrease has been debated, making it difficult to anticipate emissions from the burning of fuel and to precisely estimate its impact on climate.
To justify how emissions might change in the future, Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in
For a better understanding of the possible trajectory of future carbon dioxide emissions, Kharecha and Hansen devised five carbon dioxide emission scenarios that span the years 1850-2100. Each scenario reflects a different estimate for the global production peak of fossil fuels, the timing of which depends on reserve size, recoverability and technology.
The first scenario estimates carbon dioxide levels, if emissions from fossil fuels are unconstrained and follow along “business as usual” growing by two percent annually until half of each reservoir has been recovered, after which emissions begin to decline by two percent annually.
The second scenario considers a situation in which emissions from coal are reduced first by developed countries starting in 2013 and then by developing countries a decade later, leading to a global phase out by 2050 of the emissions from burning coal that reach the atmosphere.
The reduction of emissions to the atmosphere in this case can come from reducing coal consumption or from capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere.
The remaining three scenarios include the above-mentioned phase out of coal, but consider different scenarios for oil use and supply.
Next, the team proposes to use a simplified mathematical model, called the Bern Carbon Cycle model, to convert carbon dioxide emissions from each scenario into estimates of future carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
The unconstrained “business as usual” scenario resulted in a level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that more than doubled the pre-industrial level and from about 2035 onward levels exceed the 450 ppm threshold of this study.
Even when low-end estimates of reserves were assumed, the threshold exceeded from about 2050 onwards.
The other four scenarios, however, resulted in carbon dioxide levels that peaked in various years but all fell below the prescribed cap of 450 ppm by about 2080 at the latest, with levels in two of the scenarios always staying below the threshold.
The researchers suggested that the results illustrated by each scenario have clear implications for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal, as well as “unconventional” fuels such as methane hydrates and tar sands, all of which contain much more fossil carbon than conventional oil and gas.
By Arunava Das
Thursday, August 7, 2008
By: Arunava Das, Green Peace India
(A promotionary blog for GreenPeace Campaign: Forest Love highlighting the Illegal Timber Business in the European Continent.)
The Request to “Saviour of Forests” Blogspot from Green Peace:
This is the first email of its kind for us. Remember that time you told us you have a blog or webpage where you can spread the word about Greenpeace campaigns? Well, this email is all about doing exactly that!
31 JULY 2008: Check out our latest campaign and video:
Blog this within the next few hours - and help us get this video to the top of the video viral charts!
On September 10, the EU will be voting on a vital law against illegal logging. ForestLove is a controversial campaign to push the EU's vote in the right direction.
This summer we want people to take photos and video of themselves expressing love amongst the trees.
After the deadline of August 31, Greenpeace will edit this material into a collaborative video that will show the EU commissioners just how much everyone loves the forests...
So get blogging to stop the logging!
Read about our campaign
Grab the embedding code for the video page on YouTube
Spread the word on your blog or webpage!
(Do you tag your posts? Then please use this one today: greenpeacebuzz)
Can you do more?
Share the campaign on facebook
Tell us your promotion ideas (Greenpeace Forum)
Thank you and good luck out there on the web!
Giona and the forests campaign!!
A link to the Forest Love Video:
The story behind the plot: The European Commission has delayed a vital vote on protecting forests from illegal logging till September. We want to make sure the commissioners don't forget about it during their summer holiday. We need you to help us make an extra impression before the September vote.
Forests are the lifeline for all activities on the planet. It supports a number of rare land ecosystems that balance the seasonal changes on the planet. The heavy the forests are, the denser and greener they are more will be the amount of rainfall in the areas covering the forests and more will be the flora and fauna type of these regions. Moreover, lost of forest cover results in ultimate climate change that can lead to varied types of after effects, like unseasonal and irregularities in rainfalls, rise in global temperature, rise in sea level and increase of intensities of cyclones that in turn cause huge losses in terms of economy and loss of lives and domestic livestocks. It also results in an onslaught on climate and the resultant change is known as Climate Change.
As the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) warns a warming of 0.2 degree Celsius can lead to a staggering rise of 8.6 degrees till the end of the century that can spell havoc as far as the Global Temperature is concerned. The scientific evidence is already evident in the fact that we are getting longer summers, rainfalls not at the right time, heavy rainfalls at unexpected quarters of the year resulting in flooding and loss of lives and government property, no rainfall in some dry parts of the country for a long time creating drought like situations, decreased irritability and poor production of soil, flooding in low lying areas due to increase in sea level. Already we have lost around 56 acres of Mangrove forests due to increase in sea level and also we are on the verge of loosing our cities on the coastal areas if this continues.
Forest also plays a crucial role to the village economy. Half of India’s population is in the villages and they solely depend upon the forest products. When there is forest loss, there will be loss of income for the scores of people who inhabit these villages.
Nearly 2,00,000 villages and 70 million tribals in India are dependent on the forests for their daily bread. As a result, people from the rural areas are forced to migrate to urban areas for feeding their families. In Economics, we call this as “Workforce Migration” that brings about a population burst to already overcrowded Indian cities that serve as lifeline to Indian Economy. Thus we can see that Climate Change is not only impacting the Forest Biodiversity hampering the crucial ecosystems (that serve as linkers between the food chain) but also affecting the economy of almost all countries including India.
Climate Change Projections:
Studies were carried out at the Indian Institute of Science (by Professors Ravindranath, Joshi and Sukumar), using the climate change projections from regional climate model of Hadley centre (HadRM3), obtained from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, and a global vegetation response model called BIOME (Biogeochemical In¬formation Ordering Management Environment).
The impacts were assessed for the period around 2085 for two (high and moderate) greenhouse gas emission scenarios, with projections of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere at 740 and 575 parts per million by 2085.
An assessment of the impact of climate change projections on forest ecosystems for the two greenhouse gas emission scenarios for 2085 showed that 68 per cent and 77 per cent of forested grid are likely to experience shifts in forest vegetation type.
In other words, there may not be a total replacement of one forest type by another under the projected climate change scenarios, due to differing climate tolerance of the various plant species in a forest. For example researchers at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun and Kerala, India have given an interesting example:
• If the Montane grasslands of the Western Ghats are invaded by woody plants, including exotic weeds, the endemic Nilgiri Tahr may be threatened.
• Similarly, upward altitudinal migration of plants in the Himalayas could reduce the Alpine meadows and related vegetation, adversely impacting the habitats of several high-altitude mammals including wild sheep, goat, antelope and cattle.
• Further, increased precipitation in Northeastern India may lead to severe flooding of the Brahmaputra and place the wildlife of the Kaziranga National Park at risk.
Biodiversity of the existing forest types will not be totally replaced by the new forest type or species-mix under the changed climate due to complexities of climate tolerance of different species in a forest and the barriers to species migration.
Forest ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate change. According to IPCC reports, that the unprecedented warming observed in the past few decades has already made an impact on forest ecosystems, such as, pole-ward and upward shift in ranges of plant, insect, bird and fish species. Further, plant flowering, bird arrival, migratory bird patterns, seasonal breeding patterns of animals like tigers, panthers, olive ridley turtles, as well as flowering plants have been observed to be occurring earlier than expected.
See for yourself how much forest cover is deforested for Palm Plantations to feed the DOVE Soap Industries with palm oil, a major component of Dove soaps.
Efforts And Planning To Reduce The Onslaught:
Changing climate requires dynamic forest planning and management strategies. There is a need to incorporate climate change concern in the long-term forest planning and policy making process. The traditional Working Plan approach of managing forests adopted by the Forest Departments, which is not adequate even in a situation of no climate impacts, may need to be improved and made dynamic to incorporate the climate impacts.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as State Forest Departments do not have the luxury of waiting for a perfect understanding of the climate projections or the impacts on forest biodiversity and biomass production at micro level, to plan and implement adaptation practices and strategies. Many of the precautionary and win-win practices and strategies mentioned above could be evaluated and considered for implementation. Forest and biodiversity conservation, prevention of forest fragmentation and multi-species based afforestation are examples of such strategies.
Examples of forest policies, which may reduce the vulnerability of forest ecosystems to climate change, include preventing fragmentation of forests, forest conservation, enhancing the coverage under protected areas and linking them, large afforestation with multiple species to reduce pressure on natural forests, and involvement of local communities in forest conservation and management. India has a large afforestation programme of over one million hectares annually and also has a plan to bring a third of the geographic area under forest cover. These newly planted forests, particularly the long-rotation species such as teak, will be subjected to changing climate parameters. Thus, it is important to consider and incorporate adaptation practices even in the afforestation programme.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Perhaps we all have seen glowing stars in the night sky illuminating others on their path. They are rare and they are regarded as “Pathfinders”. They are like light houses showing the way to a lost traveler in the endless sea of struggle. That’s how Sir has been to me all these three months that I spent at EmPower. It is also my end of Probation at EmPower and I am looking to go out there ready to bloom in full majesty, ready to be a bright star at EmPower. The two events, my confirmation this week and Sir’s last day at EmPower this week have coincided. Like a tigress bids goodbye to its cubs 8 months after they are born to face the jungle music, she is rest assured that her efforts in bringing up her dear will not go in vain. Similar, on the last day of Verghese Sir at EmPower, we, Team Green Horns will make sure EmPower Earth Campaign will go on as stealthily as it has done so far, barely 3 weeks since its inception and we are proud that you are leaving the firm on a winning note.
As of me, I will miss you as a person who rekindled my writing passions and will not be on his desk to see me blossom, but you will certainly hear from me as I owe my writing prowess to three beings, first my mom who has been there in all my hard times and who has sown the seeds of strong foundation in me, second you who have rekindled in me the lost art of writing and given me the exposure required to get noticed in the global corporate world and last but not the least, the Almighty for whom I have been on the planet against all odds. It is a matter of passion that you have shown in our upbringing of Green Horns Team and given courage to all who have shown great writing skills at 80 Feet Road and EmPower Blog and are glad enough that they can now freely express their ideas to the world.
Last we feel proud that you are still chasing your dreams and we look up to you as a legend who has changed us and our personality in a radical process. You have pushed us and your constant encouragement will remain as a solace in your absence at EmPower. I on the behalf of Team Green Horns wish you success in all your future endeavors.
Team Green Horns
Guru, Shilpa Sri, Sowjanya, Gunajit, Rakesh, Vijay Sir
Friday, August 1, 2008
Fig. 3: Around 70 million tribals in
© Copyrighted under
Fig. 2: Exotic Forest Hotspot at the Western Ghats
©Copyrighted with The Hindu Photo Library and CES, Indian Institute of Science
Fig. 1: Left panel: Solid lines are multi-model global averages of surface warming (relative to 1980-1999) for the SRES scenarios A2, A1B and B1, shown as continuations of the 20th century simulations. The orange line is for the experiment where concentrations were held constant at year 2000 values.
The bars in the middle of the figure indicate the best estimate (solid line within each bar) and the likely range assessed for the six SRES marker scenarios at 2090-2099 relative to 1980-1999. The assessment of the best estimate and likely ranges in the bars includes the Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) in the left part of the figure, as well as results from a hierarchy of independent models and observational constraints.
Right panel: Projected surface temperature changes for the early and late 21st century relative to the period 1980-1999. The panels show the multi-AOGCM average projections for the A2 (top), A1B (middle) and B1 (bottom) SRES scenarios averaged over decades 2020-2029 (left) and 2090-2099 (right). [Source: IPCC, 2007]
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Western Influence Showing On As IIT Alumni In The
EmPower Research Knowledge Services, By Arunava Das (Media Analyst)
July 15, 2008
(In response to an article, “IITians say no to Dow” published in Silicon
It is really a shameful act of blemishes committed by a host of IIT’ians at the
United Carbide is one such company that will remain etched in the history books as being responsible for one of the worst industrial tragedies of all time, The Bhopal Gas Tragedy that took place on the fateful night of December 3, 1984 that left 3800 people dead and thousand affected of the gas leak. Many are suffering still now and many have not even got justice till date. The Dow Chemicals now owns Union Carbide. Under such circumstances, when IITians in India have already rejected either campus recruitment or call for sponsors from Dow Chemicals, the India based IITians would have expected their states based counterparts to also follow the suit but instead they were in with a sudden shock and surprise as they discovered that their counterparts in the US have infact endorsed Dow Chemicals as the sponsors of their 50th Alumni Meet Golden Jubilee function which will be organized under the aegis of IIT-Bombay Heritage Fund in New York between July 18-20. This shows that once we leave our motherland for a career in the western world, we also leave behind our cultural heritage in
It needs to be seen now whether the event goes on smoothly and how many alumni attend the meet. According to ex IIT-B, Janak Daftari, "Obviously, the golden jubilee celebration is being done privately but then there is a tacit approval from the senior administrators. After all they are seriously contemplating to attend the event even though scores of faculty members have opposed the sponsorship itself.” However, it would be better as to see that such blemishes do not occur again as this tarnishes the global image of
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Please Stand Up And Voice Ur Protest Against Maharashtra Government’s Silly Attitude---- By Arunava ---- Saviour of Forests (firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sun, 6/7/08, Rajesh Sachdev
From: Rajesh Sachdev
Subject: [hopethane] Maha Govt to approach SC for reducing bird sanctuary area
Date: Sunday, 6 July, 2008, 3:54 PM
This is a drastic climb down from the original proposal of the State Government in 1985 to have the sanctuary, spread in Solapur and Ahmednagar districts, in a 8,500 sq km area.
"The apex court has asked for a compliance report and next week, we will be making a submission before the Court, for limiting the sanctuary area to around 347 sq km", a senior Forest Department official said.
Vociferous protest by people's representatives in these areas, at a meeting in Pune recently, is among the reasons for reducing size of the sanctuary, whose core area is around Nannaj in Solapur district.
Forest Minister Babanrao Pachpute's appeal to drastically shrink the sanctuary, home to the endangered bird species, has been rejected by the apex court-appointed panel.
The committee, headed by V B Savarkar, had insisted that the state should retain at least 1,222 sq km area of the sanctuary to protect the rare bird.
The apex court has the powers to de-notify areas of the sanctuaries, under the wildlife protection laws.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Maha_Govt_ to_approach_ SC_for_reducing_bird_sanctuary_area/articleshow /3202661.cms
Wild Mumbai Nature Conservation
"The tiger cannot be preserved in isolation. It is at the apex of a large and complex biotope. Its habitat, threatened by human intrusion, commercial forestry, and cattle grazing, must first be made inviolate." - Mrs. Indira Gandhi
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Associated Press
March 26, 2008
(Taken by Arunava Das, Media Analyst, EmPower Research, Bangalore with special permission from Alfred Albert Al Gore, Environmental Activist, UN for Blog Display on 3 June, 2008… Details: http://www.wecansolveit.org/content/entry/giant_chunk_of_ice_collapses_in_antartica/
Saviourofforests is a registered user with http://www.wecansolveit.org --- We Can Solve The Climate Crisis)
WASHINGTON: A chunk of Antarctic ice seven times the size of Manhattan Island has suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk, according to scientists.
Satellite images starting Feb. 28 show the runaway disintegration of a chunk covering 414 square kilometers, or 160 square miles. The ice was on the edge of the Wilkins Ice Shelf and had been there for possibly 1,500 years.
This is the result of global warming, David Vaughan, a scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, said Tuesday.
Because scientists noticed satellite images within hours, they diverted satellite cameras and even flew an airplane over the ongoing collapse for rare pictures and video.
"It's an event we don't get to see very often," said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. "The cracks fill with water and slice off and topple. That gets to be a runaway situation."
While icebergs naturally break away from the mainland, collapses like this are unusual but are happening more frequently in recent decades, Vaughan said. The collapse is similar to what happens to hardened glass when it is smashed with a hammer, he explained.
The rest of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, which totals about 14,500 square kilometers, is holding on by a narrow beam of thin ice. Scientists worry that it, too, may collapse. Larger, more dramatic ice collapses occurred in 1995 and 2002.
There is still a chance the rest of the ice shelf will survive until next year, Vaughan said, because this is the end of the Antarctic summer and colder weather is setting in.
Scientists said that they were not concerned about a rise in sea level from the latest event but that it was a sign of worsening global warming.
There are more than 2000 species of firefly found in temperate and tropical environments around the world. Many species can be found in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where their larvae have abundant sources of food.
Fireflies tend to be brown and soft-bodied, often with the elytra more leathery than in other beetles. Though the females of some species are similar in appearance to males, larviform females are found in many other firefly species. These females can often be distinguished from the larvae only because they have compound eyes. The most commonly known fireflies are nocturnal, though there are numerous species that are diurnal. Most diurnal species are non-luminescent, though some species that remain in shadowy areas can produce light.
A few days after mating, a female lays her fertilized eggs on or just below the surface of the ground. The eggs hatch 3-4 weeks later and the larva feed until the end of the summer. The larvae are commonly called glowworms, not to be confused with the distinct beetle family Phengodidae or fly genus Arachnocampa. Lampyrid larvae have simple eyes. The term glowworm is also used for both adults and larvae of species such as Lampyris noctiluca, the common European glowworm, in which only the non-flying adult females glow brightly and the flying males glow only very weakly and intermittently. Fireflies overwinter (some species for several years) during the larval stage. Some do this by burrowing underground, while others find places on or under the bark of trees. They emerge in the spring. After several weeks of feeding, they pupate for 1 to 2.5 weeks and emerge as adults. The larvae of most species are specialized predators and feed on other larvae, terrestrial snails, and slugs. Some are so specialized that they have grooved mandibles which deliver digestive fluids directly to their prey. The diet of adults is variable. It has been reported that some are predatory, while others feed on plant pollen or nectar.
Light production in fireflies is due to a chemical reaction that occurs in specialized light-emitting organs, usually on the lower abdomen. The enzyme luciferase acts on luciferin in this organ to stimulate light emission. Genes coding for these substances have been inserted into many different organisms (see Luciferase - Applications). Luciferase is also used in forensics, and the enzyme has medical uses.
For adult beetles, it is primarily used to locate other individuals of the same species for reproduction. Many species, especially in the genus Photinus, are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. Photinus females generally do not fly, but give a flash response to males of their own species.
Bioluminescence is a very efficient process. Some 90% of the energy a firefly uses to create light is actually converted into visible light. By comparison, an incandescent electric bulb can convert only 10 percent of total energy used into visible light, and the remainder is emitted as heat.
Tropical fireflies, particularly in Southeast Asia (Thailand and Malaysia), routinely synchronize their flashes among large groups, a startling example of spontaneous biological order. This phenomenon occurs through the night along river banks in the Malaysian jungles every day of the year. Current hypotheses about the causes of this behavior involve diet, social interaction, and altitude. In the United States, one of the most famous sightings of fireflies blinking in unison occurred near Elkmont, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains during the second week of June 2005. Congaree National Park in South Carolina is another host to the phenomenon .
Female Photuris fireflies are known for mimicking the mating flashes of other fireflies for the sole purpose of predation. Target males are attracted to what appears to be a suitable mate, and are then eaten. For this reason the Photuris female is sometimes referred to as "femme fatale".
Many fireflies do not produce light. Usually these species are diurnal, or day-flying, such as those in the genus Ellychnia. A few diurnal fireflies that primarily inhabit shadowy places, such as beneath tall plants or trees, are luminescent. One such genus is Lucidota.
All fireflies glow as larvae. Bioluminescence serves a different function in lampyrid larvae than it does in adults. It appears to be a warning signal to predators, since many firefly larvae contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic.
Firefly systematics, as with many insects, are in a constant state of flux, as new species continue to be discovered. The five subfamilies listed above are the most commonly accepted ones, though others such as the Amydetinae and Psilocladinae have been proposed. This was mainly done in an attempt to revise the Lampyrinae, which by and by had become something of a "wastebin taxon" to hold incertae sedis species and genera of fireflies. Other changes are occasionally proposed, such as merging the Ototetrinae into the Luciolinae, but the arrangement used here appears to be the most frequently-seen and stable layout, at least for the time being.
Fireflies and humans
Fireflies were a part of ancient Mayan mythology, often being associated with the stars. Further, they were associated with cigar smoking and may have had at least one representative in the pantheon of Mayan gods (Lopes 2004).
In East Asia, the ancient Chinese sometimes captured fireflies in transparent or semi-transparent containers and used them as (short-term) lanterns. Some species of the genus Luciola (hotaru, 蛍) rival the famous sakura cherry blossoms as regards their significance in Japanese culture and folklore.
The Pennsylvania Firefly (Photuris pennsylvanica) is the state insect of Pennsylvania, and the Common Eastern Firefly (Photinus pyralis) one of the state insects of Tennessee. At one point, Indiana seriously considered making the State's insect a firefly, but the legislature never put the measure to a vote.
The spectacular synchronized flashing by Pteroptyx and other Luciolinae fireflies has potential economic significance. Notably on the Selangor River at Kampong Kuantan (close to Kuala Selangor, Malaysia), it has become a major attraction for tourists which create considerable revenue.
^ Firefly / Lightning Bug - Photuris lucicrescens. Retrieved on 2008-06-28.
• http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/hotaru-net/. A site about Japanese aquatic firefly habits, life-history, biology, resources, and activities.
• Branham, M. A., and J. W. Wenzel. 2003. The origin of photic behavior and the evolution of sexual communication in fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Cladistics 19: 1-22.
• Lopes, Luís. 2004. Some notes on fireflies. Mesoweb. http://www.mesoweb.com/features/lopes/Fireflies.pdf
• Stous, Hollend. 1997. A review of predation in Photuris, and its effects on the evolution of flash signaling in other New World fireflies. http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Entomology/courses/en507/papers_1997/stous.html
• http://www.fireflies.tk . A site about the Firefly meeting 2007 in Portugal and information on fireflies in general.
• http://pirilampos-lightalive.blogspot.com/. A site about bioluminescence and Firefly project in Portugal.
Friday, June 27, 2008
A Sad Story: Destruction Of Another Forest Zone Of Interest: Please Forward This To Your Friends To Raise Awareness
A Sad Story: Destruction Of Another Forest Zone Of Interest: Please Forward This To Your Friends To Raise Awareness
From Balakrishnan Valappil <balakrishnan_ email@example.com>
To Yahoo Hope Thane Group Members and firstname.lastname@example.org
Palaparamba is a typical hill top near my house, just five minutes walk away! It is above 400 ft from MSL and around 40 km from the west coast and the same distance away from
But the most saddening part of the story is that as many of the hundreds of such hilltops in our district Palaparamba is also under threat an approach road is already constructed and surveying and markings are in progress to convert it into a housing project and within a couple of years the fauna and flora will be lost forever. In Kerala, majority of insects breed in such pristine locations which are basically private lands and were of no economical importance till a couple of years ago and they were safe to some extent due to that matter of fact that now laterite quarrying, housing projects, other institutions like hospitals, schools, colleges, IT parks are built in lieu of wonderful fauna and flora. There is considerable awareness and conservation on the part of wildlife in the forested lands but as far as I know there is nothing done to protect these uncared biodiversity. My question to the members from Kerala is how often you have sighted Ciliate blue, Redspot and Silver streak blue in the reserve forests? (Dr Unni, Dr Kalesh, Rafeek and others please respond) the answers will decide the importance of the matter. Not square kilometers but square meters that matter as far as butterflies are concerned. Can anyone help tracing the larva plant and hence larvae of the above mentioned butterflies?
Attached pictures are shots from a recent visit to Palaparamba.
Help ID the Line blue other butterfly links on my stream all from Palaparamba peacock royal
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 760342851/budha peacock
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1490190054/Imperial
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2552726909/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2552727017/manytailedoakblue
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1797804209/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1797794137/redspot
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1523117205/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1616548060/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 746904897/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 746904909/silverstreak blue
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 693955223/wcoakblue
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1690054061/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 693955247/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1467545259/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2043427250/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2181671183/commonleopard
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1672597594/blue admiral
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1025754644/lascar
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1050426385/yeomon and rustic
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 630223807/jezebel
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1797941929/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1797941921/birdwing
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 1345924306/
Some other insects sighted on June 22, 2008
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2614605753/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2615431184/ hitlerbugsmating
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2614601629/
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ balakrishnan_ valappil/ 2614601851/
All these links are to demonstrate the biodiversity of Palaparamba
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Wild Mumbai Nature Conservation
"The tiger cannot be preserved in isolation. It is at the apex of a
large and complex biotope. Its habitat, threatened by human intrusion,
commercial forestry, and cattle grazing, must first be made
inviolate." - Mrs. Indira Gandhi
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Charles Minard's Carte figurative (1869), which details the losses of men, the position of the army, and the freezing temperatures on Napoleon's disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia. Created in an effort to show the horrors of war, the graph "defies the pen of the historian in its brutal eloquence" and has been called the best statistical graphic ever drawn.
Fig: Ice on Mars - lander photo
Photo In The News: Mars Lander Finds
Ice, NASA Says
Associated Press, By John Antczak
June 20, 2008
Ice on Mars - lander photo
June 20, 2008—Before-and-after photos taken by NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander show "perfect evidence" of water ice on Mars, according to Peter Smith, the mission's principal investigator, in a statement released Thursday.
The dice-size crumbs of bright material seen in the bottom left corner of the so-called Snow White trench in the left image, taken June 15, appear to have vanished by the time the right image was taken, on June 19.
Scientists are convinced the material was frozen water that vaporized after the lander's robotic arm dug up the material.
"There had been some question whether the bright material was salt," Smith, of the
Scientists, who hope to uncover an icy layer, have dubbed the newer trench Snow White 2, in keeping with the
In 2002 the Mars Odyssey orbiter had detected hints of a vast store of ice below the surface of Mars's polar regions.
The arctic terrain where
Images from AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
Monday, June 23, 2008
Oh, Barn The Superstition! It's Just A Harmless Owl
Daily News and Analysis, By Ashwin Aghor
June 21, 2008
Experts say though the bird is thriving in the city, it faces threat as it consumes rodents killed with poison
The next time you spot a pair of eyes glowing in the dark or hear a sinister hoot, don’t be alarmed. It’s just your friendly neighbourhood barn owl, which bird experts say is thriving in the city.
“If the number of distress calls received for bird rescue are any indication, there is no doubt that barn owl population in the city has increased. The majority of the calls are for the rescue of injured juvenile as well as adult barn owls,” said Adesh Shivkar, bird expert.
The large quantity of garbage generated in the city every day attracts rodents, which are the main prey of barn owls.
The bird got its name because of its adaptability to living close to human settlements. “Even in the
Contradicting superstitions shroud all types of owls in general. Some people consider the bird a bad omen and kill it the moment it is spotted. “On the other hand, it is considered to be the vehicle of goddess Lakshmi. There is a need to educate people to protect the bird, by telling them that getting rid of the bird is akin to getting rid of wealth,” Shivkar says. “There is a general belief that barn owl claws bring prosperity to the person who possesses them. A considerable chunk of people in the city believe in superstitions,” said naturalist Sunjoy Monga.
Recently, in the Mantralaya when an owl was seen on a painting frame on sixth floor, news spread like wildfire and people started speculating about fate of the chief minister himself as his office is on the same floor.
Though domesticating the owl is illegal, many people keep the bird as a pet and even supply them to Bollywood and tantriks.
Another threat the bird is facing is rat poison. “Rodents being their main prey, many times owls eat rats killed with poison, which proves fatal for the bird, too,” said Anand Pendharkar, founder director of Sprouts, an institution working for the environment.
There is a great deal of misbelief about the hissing sound made by the barn owls. “It is the defence mechanism of most of the birds which nest in tree hollows or holes in walls. On sensing danger, the juvenile birds emulate the hissing sound of a snake,” Shivkar said.
The rescue calls for the bird are the maximum during winter, the breeding season of the owls. “In majority of cases, it lands in wrong hands due to superstitions,” said Sunish Subramanian of Plant and Animal Welfare Society, Mumbai.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Leo Saldanha To: Arunava Das by
Acting on the Public Interest Litigation filed by Environment Support
Group against Privatisation of Lakes in
Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka has directed the Forest Department to
file a report on the status of lakes in
The petition challenges the Lake Development Authority's move of leasing
lakes to private entities, who will be exploiting the water bodies for
commercial activities like setting up of hotels, boating, amusement
parks and so on. Apart from destroying nesting grounds of birds (both
local and migratory) such activities will ruin the water bodies and also
impact the ecological cycle. It will also mean giving away our public
commons to private entities, who will make profits without any regard
for the resources.
If you endorse this idea, please sign the online representation to the
Principal Chief Conservations of Forests at
http://www.ipetitio ns.com/petition/ blorelakes/ signatures. html
PS: More details about the PIL are accessible at www.esgindia.org
[Pictures of Cayman Islands(Iguana is endemic to this region) and Iguana]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Blue Iguana or Grand Cayman Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) is a critically endangered species of lizard of the genus Cyclura endemic to the
The Blue Iguana prefers rocky, sunlit, open areas in dry forests or near the shore, as females must dig holes in the sand to lay eggs in June and July. Their vegetarian diet includes plants, fruits, and flowers. Their coloration is tan to gray with a bluish cast that is more pronounced during the breeding season, and more so in males. They are large and heavy-bodied with a dorsal crest of short spines running from the base of the neck to the end of the tail.
The fossil record indicates that the Blue Iguana was abundant before European colonization; but fewer than 15 animals remained in the wild by 2003, and this wild population was predicted to become extinct within the first decade of the 21st century. The species' decline is mainly being driven by predation by feral pets (cats and dogs) and indirectly by the destruction of their natural habitat as fruit farms are converted to pasture for cattle grazing. Since 2004, 219 captive-bred animals have been released into a preserve on
The Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) is endemic to the
In 1938, Bernard C. Lewis of the
The Blue Iguana is the largest native land animal on Grand Cayman with a total nose-to-tail length of 5 ft (1.5 m) and weighing as much as 30 lb (14 kg). Its body length is 20–30 inches (51–76 cm) with a tail equal in length. The Blue Iguana's toes are articulated to be efficient in digging and climbing trees. Although not known to be arboreal, the Blue Iguana has been observed climbing trees 15 feet (4.6 m) and higher. The male is larger than the female by one third of his body size. The mature male's skin color ranges from dark grey to turquoise blue, whereas the female is more olive green to pale blue. Young animals tend to be uniformly dark brown or green with faint darker banding. When they first emerge from the nest the neonates have an intricate pattern of eight dark dorsal chevrons from the crest of their necks to their pelvic area. These markings fade by the time the animal is one year old, changing to mottled gray and cream and eventually giving way to blue as adults. The adult Blue Iguana is typically dark gray matching the karst rock of its landscape. The animal changes its color to blue when it is in the presence of other iguanas to signal and establish territory. The blue color is more pronounced in males of the species. Their distinctive black feet stand in contrast to their lighter overall body color. Male Blue Iguanas have femoral pores, which are used to release pheromones. Females lack these pores and have a less prominent dorsal crest, making the animal somewhat sexually dimorphic.
The Blue Iguana's eyes have a golden iris and red sclera. They have excellent vision, which allows them to detect shapes and motions at long distances. As Blue Iguanas have only a few rod cells, they have poor vision in low-light conditions. At the same time, they have cells called "double cones" which give them sharp color vision and enable them to see ultraviolet wavelengths. This ability is highly useful when basking so the animal can ensure that it absorbs enough sunlight in the forms of UVA and UVB to produce Vitamin D.
Blue Iguanas have evolved a white photosensory organ on the top of their heads called the parietal eye (also known as the third eye, pineal eye or pineal gland). This "eye" does not work the same way as a normal eye as it has only a rudimentary retina and lens and thus, cannot form images. It is however sensitive to changes in light and dark and can detect movement.
The Blue Iguana is found only on the
Blue Iguanas released into the
The Blue Iguanas occupy rock holes and tree cavities, and as adults are primarily terrestrial. Younger individuals tend to be more arboreal. Hatchlings are preyed upon by the native snake Alsophis cantherigerus. The adults have no natural predators but can fall victim to feral dogs. They typically reach sexual maturity at three to four years of age.
Like all Cyclura species, the Blue Iguana is primarily herbivorous, consuming leaves, flowers, and fruits from over 45 species of plant. This diet is very rarely supplemented with insect larvae, crabs, slugs, dead birds, and fungi. The iguanas are presented with a special problem for osmoregulation: plant matter contains more potassium and as it has less nutritional content per gram, more must be eaten to meet the lizard's metabolic needs. As they are not capable of creating urine more concentrated than their bodily fluids, they excrete nitrogenous wastes as uric acid salts through a salt gland in the same manner as birds. As a result, they have developed this lateral nasal gland to supplement renal salt secretion by expelling excess potassium and sodium chloride.
Longevity in the wild is unknown but is presumed to be many decades. A Blue Iguana named "Godzilla" captured on Grand Cayman in 1950 by naturalist Ira Thompson was imported to the
Mating occurs from May through June. Copulation is preceded by numerous head-bobs on the part of the male, who then circles around behind the female and grasps the nape of her neck. He then attempts to restrain the female in order to maneuver his tail under hers to position himself for intromission. Copulation generally lasts from 30 to 90 seconds, and a pair is rarely observed mating more than once or twice a day. A clutch of anywhere from 1 to 21 eggs are usually laid in June or July depending on the size and age of the female, in nests excavated in pockets of earth exposed to the sun. Several exploratory nests are begun before one is completed. These burrows can range from 16 inches (0.41 m) to over 60 inches (1.5 m) in length, with an enlarged chamber at its terminal portion to allow the female to turn around. The temperature within nests that have been monitored by researchers remained a constant 32 °C (90 °F) throughout the incubation period which ranges from 65–90 days. The Blue Iguana's eggs are among the largest laid by any lizard.
Individuals are aggressively territorial from the age of about three months onward. Females occupy overlapping areas of the order of 0.6 acres (0.24 ha) seemingly regardless of age, while males occupy progressively larger and more extensively overlapping territories as they age and grow.
The Blue Iguana is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. The population is restricted to the eastern interior of
As the Blue Iguana consumes a variety of plant material, favoring fruits and flowers over leaves and stems when available, it is valuable on
Restored free-roaming subpopulations in the
Habitat destruction is the main factor threatening imminent extinction for this iguana. Land clearance within remnant habitat is occurring for agriculture, road construction, and real estate development and speculation. Conversion of traditional crop lands to cattle pasture is also eliminating secondary Blue Iguana habitat.
Predation and injury to hatchlings by rats, to hatchlings and sub-adults by feral cats, and killing of adults by roaming dogs are all placing severe pressure on the remaining wild population. Automobiles and motorscooters are an increasing cause of mortality as the iguanas rarely survive the collisions. Trapping and shooting is a comparatively minor concern, but occasional trapping continues despite legal protection and sustained efforts to increase public awareness.
The common Green Iguana, (Iguana iguana), has been introduced from Honduras and is well-established on
Blue Iguanas used to regularly be sold to tourists as pets, as their rarity made them appealing to exotic-animal collectors, despite this being illegal under the CITES treaty. In 1999 a World Wildlife Fund international conservation officer, Stuart Chapman, said, "The British government has turned a blind eye for over 20 years to these overseas territories which are home to many rare and endangered species. Many of these face extinction if
In May of 2008, six Blue Iguanas were found dead in the preserve within
The wild population of Blue Iguanas had been reduced from a near island-wide distribution to a non-viable, fragmented remnant. By 2001, no young hatched in the unmanaged wild population were surviving to breeding age, meaning the population was functionally extinct, with only five animals remaining in the wild.
In 1990 the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) designated the genus Cyclura as their highest priority for conservation. Their first project was an in situ captive breeding program for the Blue Iguana, which at the time was the most critically endangered of all the species of Cyclura.
One of the early difficulties encountered was that the captive stock of the early 1990s was found not to be pure. It was discovered through DNA analysis that the captive population contained a number of animals that were hybrids with C. nubila caymanensis. The program contains only pure specimens, as these hybrids were sterilized by means of hemipenectomies and hence excluded. This program was created to determine the exact genealogies of the limited gene pool of the remaining animals and DNA analysis revealed that the entire North American captive population was descended from a single pair of animals. After five years of research two captive breeding populations were established and are managed as a single unit, with cross-breeding between the populations to promote genetic diversity.
As a hedge against disaster striking the Blue Iguana population on Grand Cayman, an off-island captive population was established in 25 zoos in the
In October 2006, hatchlings were released into the wild for the first time to boost the species and help bring them back from the brink of extinction. Each released Blue Iguana wears a string of colored beads through its nuchal crest for visual identification at a distance, backed up by an implanted microchip and a high-resolution photograph of its head scales. (Head scale patterns are as unique among Blue Iguanas as fingerprints are among humans.)
The Blue Iguana is established in captivity, both in public and private collections. As there are very few pure-bred animals in private collections, private individuals have established these animals in captive breeding programs as hybrids with the Lesser Caymans Iguana (C.nubila caymanensis) and occasional hybrids with the Cuban Iguana (C.n.nubila) minimizing the demand for wild-caught specimens for the pet trade.
Efforts to save the Blue Iguana are being implemented as of 2007 by the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP) which, with local and international partners, operates under the auspices of the National Trust for the
Restored sub-populations are already present in two non-contiguous areas—the Salina Reserve and the
Maintenance of Blue Iguanas in the wild requires active management into the indefinite future. To sustain this activity, a range of commercial activities generates the funding required, while an ongoing education and awareness effort ensures continued involvement and support by the local community.
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, Frederic (2005). "Salina Blues Update" (PDF) 3 (4): 5. Quarterly Update on Blue Iguana Recovery Project. Burton
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Georgina. "Probe into giant iguana slaughter", BBC, 2008-05-07. Retrieved on 2008-05-11.
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- ^ Hudson, Rick (2005). "Anegada Iguanas Released" (PDF) 8 (1): 2–4. International Iguana Foundation.
- ^ Nelson, Robert (Fall 2001). "A Safe Haven for Wildlife: Naval Base Guantanamo Bay Provides Sanctuary for Iguana" (PDF). Currents: Navy Environmental News.
Wikispecies has information related to:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
- Podcast of an interview with Fred Burton, Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Program
- Blue Iguana Recovery Program (B.I.R.P.)
- International Reptile Conservation Foundation
- the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, the B.I.R.P's parent organization
- International Iguana Foundation
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