News Release on Endangered Species Research: September-2018

Study Links Nitrogen Pollution To Decline Of Endangered Species

Nitrogen pollution threats to species within the U.S. are widespread, however, solutions are out there.

A new study by researchers attached with UC Santa Cruz and revealed on-line within the journal natural science appearance at however chemical element affects vulnerable variety across u.  s.

“Nitrogen pollution may be a rife region and biogeo­chemical world modification driver, with growing effects on terres­trial, aquatic, and coastal ecosystems,” the researchers write in “Nitrogen Pollution Is joined to U.S. Listed Species Declines.” [1]

Recalibrating the Federal Government’s Authority to Regulate Intrastate Endangered Species After SWANCC

The centralized has spent the last thirty years regulation activities that have an effect on species no matter the species’ impact on interstate commerce. The centralized used the Commerce Clause to justify such a good variety of activities there gave the impression to be no limit to the centralized power to intervene on behalf of species. This theme modified radically with the Supreme Court’s call in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. [2]

Transgenic Salmon and the Definition of “Species” Under the Endangered Species Act

This note considers however transgenic Salmon ought to be classified beneath the present definition of species within the species Act. The author initial considers and explains the various historical definitions for species of animals, such as Taxonomists views of species; the Essentialists views; Darwin’s theory of evolution because it relates to the definition of species; Mayr’s Biological Species conception (BCS); and different additional general issues. Following this scientific analysis, the author appearance to the Species Act, its rules, and judicial definitions of species to look at however lawmakers have outlined species. [3]

2001 Recommended Web Sites for Threatened and Endangered Species

The internet contains a wealth of free info on around any issue a legal practician will come upon. Locating the data, though, will be a time overwhelming and frustrating task. The Journal’s annual website review tries to help the legal practician in taking advantage of the free resources accessible on the net once researching environmental and land use law problems. [4]

Recent Pharmacological Advances of Endangered Species of South India: Garcinia indica Choisy

Garcinia indica Choisy of the Clusiaceae could be a medicinally vital polygamodioecious tree. it’s cosmopolitan throughout Asia, the continent and Polynesia. In the Republic of {india|Bharat|Asian country|Asian nation} it’s found in Western Ghats of South India and North jap states. All the elements of the tree is being employed since past in food preparations and illustrious for its healthful importance in treating acidity, ulcer, weight loss, inflammation, etc. radical acid and Garcinol square measure 2 major phytochemical gift during this plant to blame for its varied healthful property and contains an oversized variety of alternative vital phytochemicals. This review provides an outline of the recent medical specialty advances within the past six years victimization the assorted Garcinia indica plant elements extracts. This medical specialty activity includes cardio protecting, antacid, anthelminthic, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer activity, etc. so the review provides a background for the hyper-production and isolation of bioactive compounds from this medicinally vital plant for treating varied ailments. Phytochemical analysis of the binary compound and methyl alcohol in vivo leaf extracts of Garcinia indica C. [5]


[1] Study Links Nitrogen Pollution To Decline Of Endangered Species

March 8, 2016 (web link)

[2] Recalibrating the Federal Government’s Authority to Regulate Intrastate Endangered Species After SWANCC

Wood JH. Recalibrating the Federal Government’s Authority to Regulate Intrastate Endangered Species After SWANCC. Florida State University Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law. 2018;19(1):4. (web link)

[3] Transgenic Salmon and the Definition of “Species” Under the Endangered Species Act

Hood B. Transgenic Salmon and the Definition of” Species” Under the Endangered Species Act. Florida State University Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law. 2018;18(1):2. (web link)

[4] 2001 Recommended Web Sites for Threatened and Endangered Species

Sherlock LJ. 2001 Recommended Web Sites for Threatened and Endangered Species. Florida State University Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law. 2018;16(2):6. (web link)

[5] Recent Pharmacological Advances of Endangered Species of South India: Garcinia indica Choisy

Varsha Anil Parasharami1*, Geetika Gunapal Kunder2 and Neetin Desai2

1Plant Tissue Culture Division, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pashan, Pune-411 008, India.

2Department of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Dr. D. Y Patil University, Mumbai, India. (web link)

Join as a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London

Across every continent and ocean, animals face an unprecedented threat.  Wildlife is crucial for a healthy planet, and the plight of the natural world is a shared problem, requiring a global responsibility.

Become part of ZSL’s distinguished network of Fellows and help shape the future of our natural world.

ZSL Fellowship offers an exclusive insight into the work that ZSL undertakes both in the UK, in our two Zoos and also in our active conservation programmes in over 50 countries across the globe. We are in a unique position to apply the world leading science from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology and the expertise of our Conservation Programmes to our projects around the world to ensure impactful outcomes and the conservation of endangered species and their habitats.

Apply to be a ZSL Fellow today from only £41.50 and join a distinguished Fellowship network where you can truly take a part in shaping the future of conservation.  As a Fellow you will have the opportunity to vote on the direction of the Society, attend the ZSL Annual General Meeting and are eligible to stand for ZSL Council. Furthermore you have will have access to a host of privileges including borrowing rights in the ZSL Library, discounts on events and symposia, an annual Supporters’ Day, complimentary drinks receptions and the chance to be more engaged in the work of ZSL by enjoying unlimited entry to both ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo for you and a family guest.

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This $1.5 Million Project Aims to Count All the Cats in Washington, D.C.

Humans are coming together in Washington, D.C., to get a head count of cats — every furry one of them, including those living in the wild, in shelters and in households.

The project, called “D.C. Cat Count,” will take three years and cost $1.5 million, according to NPR. Scientists, animal welfare organizations and citizens will do the tabby tallying, according to the project’s website.

Cats, especially feral ones, can have a large impact on nature. For example, a recent study showed that every year, feral cats kill around 466 million reptiles in Australia, some threatened, Live Science previously reported. Another study by the same team and published in 2017 in the journal Biological Conservation showed that these Australian cats also devoured around 272 million birds a year. [Here, Kitty, Kitty: 10 Facts for Cat Lovers]

Though cats’ eating habits have conservationists worried, these tiny hunters can also be quite helpful to society by eating rats and other pests, according to The Washington Post. And obviously, they can be beloved pets.

The groups that are managing the cat count — PetSmart Charities, The Humane Society, the Humane Rescue Alliance and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute — are hoping that the project will provide the information needed to better manage the cat populations in the area. Ongoing efforts to manage populations include help with stray-cat adoptions and the neutering or spaying of the cats. However, it remains unclear how effective these efforts are at controlling the population, according to NPR.

The counting will be done through camera traps, household surveys and analyses at shelters. Furthermore, the team hopes to get citizens involved by creating a phone app that people can use to send in photos of cats, according to NPR.

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Ancient Crocodile Reveals the Humble Beginnings of the Apex Predator

The mouth of today’s crocodilians inspires fear and awe, with their wide gape and the greatest known bite force in the vertebrate animal kingdom. However, this apex predator of today and its modus of attack (its mouth) had humble beginnings.

The very earliest crocodilians were very different to the beasts we know well today, they were much smaller bodied, slender and had longer legs. It is speculated that they led a much different lifestyle to the crocodiles we all know and fear today.

A new study by a team of international experts, led by University of Witwatersrand PhD candidate Kathleen Dollman and Professor Jonah Choiniere published today in the American Museum Novitates, endeavoured to further explore the mouth of one of the earliest occurring and least understand groups of crocodilians, the shartegosuchids.

In 2010, Choiniere was a part of a field team working in the Late Jurassic (±160 mya) exposures in the western Gobi in Mongolia, when he found the fossil of a small snout of a shartegosuchid. This work was co-authored by researchers based at the American Museum of Natural History, the George Washington University and the Institute for Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology.

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New study reveals how foreign kelp surfed to Antarctica

A research team led by The Australian National University (ANU) has found the first proof that Antarctica is not isolated from the rest of the Earth, with the discovery that foreign kelp had drifted 20,000 kilometres before surfing to the continent’s icy shores.

Scientists had previously thought that Antarctic plants and animals were distinct from others around the world because they were isolated, but this new research indicates that these differences are almost entirely due to environmental extremes rather than isolation.

The kelp’s journey is the longest known biological rafting event ever recorded and has helped the team re-evaluate the science of ocean drift that is used to track plastics, aeroplane crash debris and other floating material across our seas.

Lead researcher Dr Crid Fraser from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society said DNA analysis found one kelp specimen drifted all the way from the Kerguelen Islands and another from South Georgia.

She said the foreign kelp essentially surfed to Antarctica, with the help of wind-driven surface waves during storms.

“This is an unequivocal demonstration that marine species from the north can reach Antarctica,” Dr Fraser said.

“To get there, the kelp had to pass through barriers created by polar winds and currents that were, until now, thought to be impenetrable.”

Modelling shows how the kelp could have reached Antarctica, which overturns scientific understanding of drift dispersal in the Southern Ocean, Dr Fraser said.

“Our findings also indicate that plants and animals living on Antarctica could be more vulnerable to climate change than we had suspected.”

Co-researcher Dr Adele Morrison from ANU and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes led the oceanographic analyses.

“Strong westerly winds and surface currents are expected to drive floating objects north and away from Antarctica, but when the disruptive influence of Antarctic storms is factored in, that all changes,” said Dr Morrison from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

Using cutting-edge modelling techniques, the team began to see how large waves arising during storms could help kelp rafts to reach Antarctica.

“Once we incorporated wave-driven surface motion, which is especially pronounced during storms, suddenly some of these biological rafts were able to fetch up on the Antarctic coastline,” Dr Morrison said.

If plants and animals get to Antarctica fairly frequently by floating across the ocean, they will be able to establish themselves as soon as the local environment becomes hospitable enough.”

Dr Erasmo Macaya, from Universidad de Concepción and Centro IDEAL in Chile, is the member of the team who found the foreign kelp at the Antarctic beach.

“The kelp does not grow in Antarctica but we know it can float, and can act as a raft, carrying many other intertidal plants and animals with it across oceans,” he said.

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Original North American Dogs Descended From Siberian Populations

European settlers likely wiped out these ancient dogs, but the animals seem to have left a lasting legacy in a transmissible canine cancer.

The first domesticated dogs to be kept in the Americas were not descendants of North American wolves, as sometimes suggested, but were brought across from Siberia by humans more than 10,000 years ago, according to a study published today (July 5) in Science. By analyzing ancient and modern dog genomes, researchers also found that, despite surviving alongside humans for millennia, those animals were all but wiped out with the arrival of European settlers from the 15th century, who brought other dogs that would become the ancestors of modern North American breeds.

“It is fascinating that a population of dogs that inhabited many parts of the Americas for thousands of years, and that was an integral part of so many Native American cultures, could have disappeared so rapidly,” study coauthor Laurent Frantz of Queen Mary University and the University of Oxford says in a statement. “Their near-total disappearance is likely due to the combined effects of disease, cultural persecution and biological changes starting with the arrival of Europeans.”

Using DNA data from 71 dog remains from archeological sites in North America and Siberia, the researchers found that these ancient, pre-Columbian arrival dogs had very different genetic signatures to any modern dog genomes. “We now know that the modern American dogs beloved worldwide, such as Labradors and Chihuahuas, are largely descended from Eurasian breeds,” archeologist and coauthor Andrea Perri of Durham University says in the statement.

The team did find one hint of the ancient dogs’ genomes in modern breeds, however. When the researchers analyzed the genome sequence of a contagious genital cancer known as canine transmissible venereal tumors (CTVT), they found that the disease most likely came from the cells of a single animal—one with an ancient dog genome.

“We in other groups have been looking for these signatures of ancient North American dogs in modern breeds,” Heidi Parker, a staff scientist at the Dog Genome Project at the National Human Genome Research Institute who was not involved in the work, tells National Geographic. “The thought that there’s actually a preserved signature of one of those early North American dogs that are extinct today in this tumor, which is just perpetuating it then forever, is very cool.”

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Two Of The Most Biodiverse Wildlife Parks On Earth Are Now Open To Oil Drilling

Virunga National Park and Salonga National Park – the home of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, African forest elephants, and other rare species – could soon be welcoming some new visitors: oil companies.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has confirmed that parts of the Virunga and Salonga National Parks, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, will be opened up for oil exploration and drilling, Reuters reports.

Virunga National Park is the size of a small country, over 7,800 square kilometers (3,000 square miles) in size, and encompasses rich forests, savannas, swamps, lake shores, lava plains, active volcanoes, and glaciated mountains. It is regularly cited as one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth. It’s home to a quarter of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas, along with two other species of great ape, the eastern lowland Grauer’s gorilla, and chimpanzees. It also holds a range of other rare species, such as the Okapi, African Buffalo, Central African lions, and the Congo peacock.

Salonga National Park, Africa’s largest, and the world’s second-largest, tropical rainforest reserve is home to an equally dazzling array of environmental features and animals, most notably the bonobo and the African slender-snouted crocodile.

All of these natural resources means that the area is hot property. The DRC has been subject to rising amount of instability and conflict in recent decades, with oil companies, governments, militia groups, poachers, and environmentalists all having vast vested interests in the region. As a result of at least 12 anti-poaching rangers being killed this year, Virunga national park recently made the decision to ban all visitors and tourists from the area until at least 2019.

The last time oil companies threatened to exploit this part of the Congo Basin, especially in Virunga, it was met with massive opposition from environmental activists.

In early 2014, the British Oil and gas company SOCO International performed seismic testing in Virunga, although they let their license run out in 2015 due to fierce opposition. During their operations in Virunga over the spring of 2014, SOCO officials paid over $42,000 to a Congolese army major accused of using violence to intimidate oil exploration opponents, according to documents seen by The New York Times and BBC News. SOCO has since pledged to remain out of Virunga and all other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

However, the DRC government has consistently defended its right to authorize drilling for oil and gas anywhere in the country and maintained that they are aware of protecting their country’s biodiversity.

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Cardiac Cell Transplants Help Monkeys’ Hearts

The organ’s blood-pumping capacity improved with the infusion of cells, a study shows.

Injecting human cardiac muscle cells into monkeys that suffered heart attacks helped the animals’ damaged hearts pump blood better, researchers report July 2 in Nature Biotechnology. The treatment is based on the reprogramming of human embryonic stem cells, and the results move the therapy a step closer to clinical trials.

“We’re talking about the number one cause of death in the world [for humans],” study author Charles Murry, director of the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Washington, tells CNN. “And at the moment all of our treatments are . . . dancing around the root problem, which is that you don’t have enough muscle cells.”

When a heart attack goes untreated, blood is blocked from flowing to the heart, which leads to the death of heart muscle cells. There can also be scarring and heart failure—when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body. In the study, after 9 monkeys were made to have heart attacks, their heart-pumping capacity dropped by more than 30 percent. Injecting 750 million cardiac muscle cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, into the monkeys’ hearts led to the growth of new heart muscle tissue. After four weeks, most monkeys’ hearts showed improved pumping capacity, up to a third better than right after the heart attacks, and two monkeys had two-thirds of the lost capacity restored after 12 weeks.

Joseph Wu, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and a professor in the medical school’s departments of medicine and radiology who was not involved in the study, tells CNN the improvement in pumping capacity is “impressive.”

However, some of the monkeys had irregular heartbeats after the cardiac cell transfusion. “That is a very important observation because now you can perhaps begin to design a strategy to get at what is happening. How can we prevent this from happening?” John Gearhart, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine who was not involved in the study, tells CNN. “And that totally, to me, is the story of this paper.”

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Japanese robot wolf created to protect crops from being eaten by animals

Animal-inspired machines are becoming more and more common nowadays. From plans to invent small robotic drones that can help with pollination, to sending “bee-like” machines that are meant to pave the way for future Mars-based human colonies, there are plenty of areas wherein such creations can be put to good use. Now a group of farmers in Japan have found the perfect way to apply this novel idea: A “robowolf” to ward offpests.

It is said that this robowolf, which goes by the official name of “Super Monster Wolf,” has been in operation for the last eight months at least. It was designed by engineers to stop animals from eating and subsequently destroying the farmers’ crops on the field, and so far it has proven to be quite effective. Its origins may be rather dark, but it looks like it will have a bright future ahead.

A report on the robowolf states that the need for it to be created arose due to the fact that native wolves already went extinct in the entire country of Japan back in the early 1800s. The reason for it was probably as puzzling then as it is now: A state-sponsored wolf eradication campaign, which sought to rid farmlands of the natural predator.

Now, a couple of centuries later, some parts of Japan have ended up being overrun with deer and wild boar, among other wild animals. As herbivores, these animals cause problems to lots of farmers every year. Robowolf was created essentially to protect the crops from these plant-eating animals and help the farmers avoid further problems on their respective fields.

Looking at the robowolf, you might think that it’s merely a decorative piece, especially since it has quite a scary exterior. It has glowing red eyes, a mouth-filled with seemingly razor sharp white fangs, and tufts of matted hair. It kind of looks like a mad dog on steroids, and it just stands out there on the open field similar to a scarecrow. (Related: New laser technology being tested to protect crops from birds, rats and pests as alternative to poison.)

But it wasn’t created just for show. The robowolf, which measures 65 cm or about 2.2 feet in length, can detect so-called intruders through the use of infrared sensor technology. As soon as it does detect something, it starts using its wide array of sounds in order to scare away any potentially destructive animals. Some of the sounds in its repertoire include a gunshot, a howl, and even a human voice. All of these combine to make up its basic “alarm” system that works full-time as long as it is turned on and placed outside on the field after charging.

To stay on, it uses solar-rechargeable batteries, so it’s environmentally friendly in that regard. And what’s more, it can actually get the job done at a surprisingly high effectiveness rate. It has been so good during its initial trial run, in fact, that it’s set to enter mass production beginning some time next month.

Based on the trials, the robowolf has an effective radius of about one kilometer or 0.62 miles, which means it’s a more effective protective measure than electric fences on farm lands. It’s an effective deterrent against animals, for sure, but you would need more than a couple of them if you have a really big farm.

They cost about 514,000 yen or $4,840 each, so they’re quite the investment. But if they’re meant to function on behalf of an animal species which literally doesn’t exist in the area anymore, then it could be argued that they are worth it. If nothing else, at least they can help put things into perspective: Robots are taking over all sorts of jobs now, even those that once belonged to farm animals. It’s good progress, but soon it could be humans that will be replaced.


Magnetic Microrobots Deliver Cells Into Living Animals

The miniscule carriers successfully transported and released live cells at a particular location within living mice.

Researchers used magnetically driven microrobots to carry cells to predetermined spots within living zebrafish and mice, they report in Science Robotics today (June 27). The authors propose using these hair-width gadgets as delivery vehicles in regenerative medicine and cell therapy.

The scientists used a computer model to work out the ideal dimensions for a microrobot; spiky, porous, spherical ones were deemed best for transporting living cells. They printed the devices using a 3-D laser printer and coated the bots with nickel and titanium to make them magnetic and biocompatible, respectively. An external magnetic field applied to the animal then leads the microrobots.

To begin with, the research team tested the ability for the robots to transport cells through cell cultures, blood vessel–like microfluidic chips, and in vivo in zebrafish. Further, they used these microrobots to induce cancer at a specific location within mice by ferrying tumor cells to the spot. The team observed fluorescence at the target site as the labeled cancer cells proliferated.