by Isle Bastillefigures by Allie Elchert In an episode of the BBC show Planet Earth there is a harrowing scene depicting thousands of freshly hatched baby sea turtles scuttling away from the sea towards a busy highway. A somber voice-over relays that the hatchlings are misguided by the nearby city lights. Paradoxically, while this was a human-driven habitat disruption, the turtles will not survive without … Continue reading Can assisted colonization save endangered species?
by Manasvi Verma In all my travels I’ve never been attacked by a wild animal, lost my way or caught a disease… I don’t think there’s any place in the world where a woman can’t venture. – Ynés Mexía As the climate disaster becomes more imminent, environmental conservation is a pressing need. Recently at the forefront of public discourse, this movement has been simmering behind-the-scenes … Continue reading Adventure, Botany, & Conservation: The ABCs of Ynés Mexia
by Olivia Foster Rhoades Olivia Foster Rhoades is a seventh-year Ph.D. candidate in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard & is pursuing a concentration in STS at the Harvard Kennedy School. You can find her on Twitter as @transcriptent. Cover image by Picography from Pixabay. This article is part of our special edition on networks. To read more, check out our special edition … Continue reading A Guide to Networking: Forest Style
by Jaclyn Long figures by Wei Wu Grasslands are a type of ecosystem that make up over a quarter of the earth’s land. These habitats are often found in between deserts and forests, and are characterized by low levels of rainfall and regular fires. In North America, grasslands are usually called prairies. The rich soil held in place by grass roots makes them particularly useful for … Continue reading Understanding Life on the Prairie through Ecological Networks
Dinosaurs rose and fell, but one foot-long scaly creature — the tuatara — persisted. Recently, the first tuatara genome was sequenced, unlocking insights into the evolution of other reptiles, birds, dinosaurs, and even our own mammalian lineage. Continue reading Not Just Your Ordinary Lizard: The Unique Genome of the Tuatara
Last week, a new study reported that the Antarctic’s second largest colony of emperor penguins continues to decline, after warming weather and high winds led to the loss of over 15,000 eggs in 2016. With reports like these becoming depressingly commonplace, environmental biologists are thinking of out-of-the-box solutions to fight the destruction of ecosystems around the world. One popular solution: Rewilding. Rewilding involves active and … Continue reading When conservation isn’t enough: rewilding lost ecosystems
by Garrett Dunlap figures by Aparna Nathan Perhaps no animal is better suited to its name than the Tasmanian devil. While it might look cute and cuddly, in reality this animal is quite the opposite. With the strongest bite of any mammal and an infamous blood-curdling scream, the Tasmanian devil is a fierce and formidable creature known to attack animals many times its size. But … Continue reading Facing Facts: Why a transmissible facial cancer is decimating Tasmanian devil populations
by Olivia K. Foster Rhoades On December 4th, President Trump declared both the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante would be reduced by 1 million acres each–an unprecedented change in federal land policy. As we near the end of 2017, four more monuments totaling 12.3 million acres in size have been slated for reduction. To put that in perspective, the state of Massachusetts … Continue reading The Scales of Federal Land Management: Balancing spacious skies and purple mountains of paperwork
The world is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction event. Species are disappearing at an estimated 1000x the expected normal rate of extinction (roughly 5 species per year). Conservation efforts around the world are trying to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, but they are hindered by the lack of hard evidence linking conservation spending to biodiversity improvements. A team led by University of Oxford researchers … Continue reading Conservation spending proven to make a difference
The Church lab at Harvard University recently announced plans to create a hybrid mammoth and elephant. Using a technology called CRISPR, researchers in the Church lab have learned how to insert mammoth DNA into the cells of modern elephants. Theoretically, this could set the stage for developing an embryo with DNA from both a modern elephant and the woolly mammoth. The group would like to … Continue reading Could Woolly Mammoths Walk Again?