The Science of Sustainability

Tag: ecology

Fire Returns to The Great Plains

Fire Returns to The Great Plains

Fire can be dangerous, but it's not always a bad thing. On the Great Plains, firefighters, ecologists, and ranchers are slowly trying to make fire a part of the region's ecosystem again.

Continue Reading

Letting Bears Roam: Q&A with Ecologist Chris Morgan

Letting Bears Roam: Q&A with Ecologist Chris Morgan

According to ecologist Chris Morgan, “What’s good for bears is good for people.” Learn what this fearless expert wants us to know about bears.

Continue Reading

QUEST TV – Back to the Wild: Wolves, Seeds and Snapshots

QUEST TV – Back to the Wild: Wolves, Seeds and Snapshots

Track wolves from their prey’s POV, explore seed diversity, and see the Great Plains from a new angle. Also, tag along with a scientist encouraging native bees to pollinate crops.

Continue Reading

Putting Nuisance Beavers to Work

Putting Nuisance Beavers to Work

Scientists in central Washington State relocate beavers in an effort to restore watersheds and reduce clashes between the animals and humans.

Continue Reading

Top Cats: How Pumas and Other Apex Predators' Populations Affect The Big Biodiversity Picture

Top Cats: How Pumas and Other Apex Predators' Populations Affect The Big Biodiversity Picture

Apex predators exert far-reaching effects on ecosystems that surface just decades after their disappearance. Santa Cruz researchers hope to understand how human activities and development affect how pumas use the landscape to help mitigate conflicts and plan for the species' long-term survival.

Continue Reading

Coyote Killings: A Complex Debate of Conservation and Cruelty

Coyote Killings: A Complex Debate of Conservation and Cruelty

Coyotes, reviled for preying on sheep and goats, are the most targeted predator in the U.S. This week, hunters in the tiny Modoc County town of Adin will compete in a contest to kill the most coyotes to protect their livestock–even though research shows that killing coyotes results in higher reproductive rates.

Continue Reading

Trophy Hunting: For the Love of Blood and Money

Trophy Hunting: For the Love of Blood and Money

Trophy hunters routinely pay thousands of dollars for the chance to kill big game like caribou, moose, black bear and especially grizzly bear. Trophy hunting narratives boast a love of nature. But some sociologists find a different story.

Continue Reading

California Wildlife Mural Celebrates Its Third Birthday

California Wildlife Mural Celebrates Its Third Birthday

In 2009, after West Valley College built its brand new biology building, a group of faculty stood in the natural history lab staring at a blank wall. "It's too empty," they agreed. "How about a mural?" suggested biology and genetics instructor Molly Schrey.

Continue Reading

Outdoor Labs: The UC Natural Reserve System

Outdoor Labs: The UC Natural Reserve System

The University of California runs a unique set of 38 pristine properties around the state for scientific research.

Continue Reading

Picturing Biodiversity: Cultivating an Eye for Conservation

Picturing Biodiversity: Cultivating an Eye for Conservation

Environmentalists have long relied on spectacular photography to show people why wilderness is worth preserving. The nonprofit ARKive builds on that tradition, using the power of wildlife imagery, from photos to film, to promote conservation of the world's threatened species, now approaching 17,000 plants and animals, based on the latest IUCN estimates.

Continue Reading

Salmon Runs, Grizzly Bear Dreams

Salmon Runs, Grizzly Bear Dreams

Using grizzly bears in the Pacific Northwest as a proxy for the benefits salmon deliver to ecological communities, a new study argues that letting more salmon migrate into coastal streams will lead to downstream improvements for the ecosystem and eventually the offshore salmon catch.

Continue Reading

Fair Game? On Lions, Hunters and Wildlife Policy

Fair Game? On Lions, Hunters and Wildlife Policy

Trophy hunting mountain lions is legal in every Western state except California. When the head of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission, a life member of the NRA, killed a young lion in Idaho, state legislators and environmental and animal welfare groups called for his resignation. What should Californians expect of state officials in charge of setting wildlife policy?

Continue Reading

Small Rewards: Tiny Frogs and Chameleons Find and Fill a Niche

Small Rewards: Tiny Frogs and Chameleons Find and Fill a Niche

Recent discoveries of a Lilliputian lizard and elfin amphibian, fascinating in their own right, highlight one of the most enduring questions in biology: what controls the evolution of body size? They also provide a rare bright spot amid the relentless reports of endangered and disappearing amphibian and reptile species around the world.

Continue Reading

A Birder’s-Eye View of Conservation

A Birder’s-Eye View of Conservation

The Great Backyard Bird Count gives novice Bay Area wildlife watchers the chance to play field biologist in their own backyards and help scientists gather data on the incidence, abundance, and distribution of birds. Researchers will use sightings to identify trends that will help conserve these valuable indicators of biodiversity.

Continue Reading

Songbirds as a Measure of Farm Sustainability

Songbirds as a Measure of Farm Sustainability

John Quinn, a researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explains how he collects and uses bird calls to establish an indicator for farm healthiness known as the Healthy Farm Index.

Continue Reading

Everything is Illuminated, All the Time

Everything is Illuminated, All the Time

The world is not as dark as it used to be. Light pollution can come directly from light bulbs, or it can bounce off of dust and water droplets in the air, creating a bright haze called skyglow. But there are ways to dim the lights and reduce their effects—and save energy in the process.

Continue Reading

Sudden Oak Death Plus Wildfire: A Natural Experiment

Sudden Oak Death Plus Wildfire: A Natural Experiment

A natural experiment created by the overlap of the Basin Complex Fire and a UC Davis study allowed scientists to test whether SOD did in fact make wildfire worse. What they found was not what the news media or the firefighters predicted.

Continue Reading

Lessons from the Chicken Coop

Lessons from the Chicken Coop

As I thought about the salmonella-laced headlines that have tumbled across my doorstep and my computer screen over the past few weeks, I thought having my own backyard chickens might not be a bad idea.

Continue Reading

Home Sweet Serpentine

Home Sweet Serpentine

Serpentine soil is a tough environment, but some unique plants and animals call it home.

Continue Reading

Oil Spills and the Environment

Oil Spills and the Environment

The volume of oil recently spilled in the Gulf of Mexico is several thousand times what was spilled in San Francisco Bay in 2007, but the ecological studies conducted in the wake of the SF spill give us an idea of what we can expect in the Gulf.

Continue Reading