State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Critter Corner: News Roundup on Biodiversity – Week of 10/3

Lungfish Provides Insight to Life On Land: ‘Humans Are Just Modified Fish’, ScienceDaily, Oct. 4
A team of scientists led by Professor Peter Currie, of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University, and Dr. Nicolas Cole, of the University of Sydney, report that humans are essential just fish. The researchers examined the way different fish species formed the muscles of their pelvic fins to trace the movement of precursor muscle cells in early developmental stages. The study revealed that pelvic muscle formation in bony fish is different from that of the cartilaginous fish, acting as a transitional between that in sharks and in our tetrapod ancestors.

Rare seahorse found in the River Thames, London, BBC News London, Oct. 7
Researchers discover a rare short-snouted seahorse in the river at Greenwich. Researchers report that the juvenile suggests a breeding colony may be in the river.

When snowpack shrinks, elk can binge on aspen , ScienceNews, Oct. 7
Ecologist Jedediah Brodie and his colleagues study set out motion-triggered cameras in northern Yellowstone National Park to study the winter foraging habits of local elk. The researchers found that thinner areas of snow allow the elk to feast on immature aspen. Vital to the sustainability of ecosystems, researchers are concerned by the decrease in aspen availability.

Researchers Devise a Method to Meet the Beetles, NY Times, Oct. 3
Peter Biedermann, a researcher of behavioral ecology and evolution at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and his colleague developed glass observation tubes that mimic the ambrosia beetle habitat, one that cannot be observed in the field. The study illustrates that ambrosia beetle divvy up chores among members of the colony, similar to other insect societies.

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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