28 January 2018
Two new genera of Bovidae ( Mammalia) - Formal correction for the work of Ropiquet and Hassanin
Here is something that I
want to share with all of you who are interested in Nilgiri tahr.
Until 2005, the 3 Species tahrs were included in the genus Hemitragus. The Himalayan Tahr, Hemitragus jemlahicus (Smith, 1826), the Nilgiri Tahr, Hemitragus hylocrius ( Ogilby 1838), and the Arabian tahr, Hemitragus jayakari ( Thomas 1894). It was Ropiquet& Hassanin ( 2005), based on their study of mitochondrial and nuclear markers, who, provided strong evidence for the polyphyly of Hemitragus: H. Jemlahicus was found to be associated with Capra( goats), H. Hylocrius with Ovis( sheep) and H. Jayakari with Ammotragus lervia( audad). Two new genera were erected. Arabitragus for Arabian tahr and Nilgiritragus for Nilgiri tahr. However these two nomina are nomenclaturally unavailable (nomina nuda) for missing “a description or definition that states in words characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon"(Article 13.1.1 of the code). The researchers have therefore published a formal correction to the original work. read it HERE
10 January 2018 28 January 2018
fire spreading by "Firehawk" raptors in Northern Australia
Intentional fire spreading by a bird? Seems implausible. Well, this is exactly what Australian researchers have found out, banking on indigenous knowledge. The researchers have documented indigenous and non-indigenous observations of intentional fire spreading by fire foraging raptor Black Kite ( Milvus migrans), Whistling Kite(Haliastur sphenurus) and Brown Falcon( Falco berigora) in tropical Australian savannas. Obviously there is more to fire than what meets the eye. The paper appears in the latest issue of Journal of Ethanobiology
of Ethnobiology 37(4):700-718. 2017
6 July 2016
Understanding forest fire history can help keep forests healthy Intenational
nearly a century, forest fires have been viewed by scientists and
the public as dangerous and damaging to the ecosystem. However,
recent research has shown that forest fires are vital to maintaining
forest ecosystems are fire-dependent, meaning that in order to
maintain their health and vibrancy, they must be subjected to fire
on a regular basis," said Stambaugh, who is a member of the
Missouri Tree-Ring Laboratory at MU. "By understanding how fire
has maintained forest ecosystems in the past, we can determine the
best ways to use fire to maintain those forests in the future. The
history of fire in America also is the history of humans on this
continent. Humans have been here for more than 12,000 years and
everywhere we see humans move, we see fires follow or be altered.
This has been a constant for so long that forest ecology has become
dependent on these fires, if they already weren't before humans
arrived. However, many parts of the U.S., especially in the eastern
half of the continent, have not experienced forest fires in more
than 150 years because humans have worked hard to prevent those
fires. Many of those forests are now suffering because of the lack
of fire to help renew the ecology."
appear in the latest issue of journal Fire
grassland areas prescribed grassland burning is a must to maintain
ecosystem says Kansas State University researchers
is something that is bound to be of great interest to wildlife
managers managing grassland ecosystem.
State University researchers advise an increase in prescribed
grassland burning to maintain ecosystem. They have found a
three-year absence of fire is the tipping point for the tallgrass
prairie ecosystem and advise an increase in burning. The study applied 40 years of data collected at Konza Prairie
Biological Station, a tallgrass prairie jointly owned by Kansas
State University and The Nature Conservancy and satellite fire maps
of the Flint Hills from 2000 to 2010.
by the university's Division of Biology, Konza Prairie has more than
50 sections of land called watersheds -- because they are
partitioned based on water flow -- that are burned at varying
frequencies -- from annually to every 20 years -- since the land was
donated in 1971. The areas of the station with one- and two-year
fire intervals have minimal large shrubs compared to a nearby
watershed that is burned at three-and-a-half-year intervals and that
has lost 40 percent of its area to shrub expansion.
this area, if we completely exclude fire, the landscape can go from
tallgrass prairie to a cedar forest in as little as 30-40
years," said John Briggs, director of Konza Prairie and one of
the authors of the study. "Once it gets to that point, we are
not confident that fire alone is going to bring that back."
added “There is always a conflict to burning," "Most
people think that the remaining tallgrass prairie should be a
fenced-off preserve. They think that it will take care of itself,
but this system is fire derived and historically fire maintained.
Aside from the sustainable and ecological aspects, it is critical to
people's livelihoods and necessary to ranching communities."
Details appear in the latest issue of journal Rangeland Ecology and Management
17 May 2016
CONGRESS ON MOUNTAIN UNGULATES - Third announcement
6th WORLD CONGRESS ON MOUNTAIN
5th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MOUFLON
Organized by the Ministry of Interior with the
cooperation of Frederick University and the Caprinae Specialist
Group of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN
28 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016, Nicosia, Cyprus
from Dr. Eleftherios Hadjisterkotis
fee is free for all the scientists or students who are going to
submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation until the 31st of
June 2016, according to the instructions in the web site: mountain
The manager of the Nicosia City Centre Hotel informed us that after
the 31st of June the hotel is closing for
The new venue hotel is Cleopatra, situated in the most central location in the city Centre of Nicosia and 6 minutes’ walk from the old part of the city. Cleopatra is within walking distance of the main business, nightlife venues, cafes and shopping centers, government offices, museums, ancient churches, medieval building and galleries, with superb accommodations and great service in a relaxing environment. More details
of the Interior, Nicosia Cyprus
On behalf of the Organizing and the Scientific Committee
WORLD CONGRESS ON MOUNTAIN UNGULATES – SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT
from Dr Eleftherios Hadjisterkotis, Chairman of the
Participation fee is free for the scientists who are going to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation until the 31st of June 2016. All other participants who are not going to submit an abstract please follow the instructions below.
€150 for non-students (early registration fee until June 31st 2016, €200 from July 1st until August 29), and €100 for students (official confirmation is requested). Registration fees will cover all administrative cost, printing of conference materials, refreshment breaks, three conference lunches, all social events including a cocktail party and the conference dinner, a full day trip to the center of Pafos Forest the habitat of the Cyprus Mouflon, a visit to cedar valley, and a visit to the historic Kykko monastery. The fee for accompanying persons is €100. It includes a cocktail party, the official dinner, ladies program in Nicosia, and one day excursion with lunch, etc.
evidence to show that drones can add substantial value to
long-term ecological monitoring by providing low cost, high
the forest from drones: Testing the potential of lightweight drones
as a tool for long-term forest monitoring
Zhang,Jianbo Hu, Juyu Lian, Zongji Fann, Xuejun Ouyang and Wanhui Ye
198, June 2016, Pages 60–69
is a paper that provides Convincing evidence that drones can add
substantial value to long-term ecological monitoring by providing
low cost, high resolution data.
Long-term ecological monitoring has contributed significantly towards advancements in theoretical and applied ecology. The flip side is that the costs to maintain a long-term monitoring site are enormous. Here the researchers used a lightweight drone to map in detail forest canopy structure across a 20-ha subtropical forest dynamics plot. They examined the added benefit of incorporating drone-derived variables in explaining local variation in both stand and species measures. The researchers were convinced thatDrone-derived canopy variables contributed substantially towards explaining spatial patterns in biodiversity. Species with different light requirements responded to canopy variables supporting gap dynamics successional theories and Lightweight drone technologies offer great potential for long-term ecological studies.
30 March 2016
remote sensing data relevant to wildlife management – A
In mule deer (Odocoileus
hemionus), reproduction patterns closely follow the cycles of
plant growth in their habitat. Research led by David Stoner of Utah
State University using NASA satellite data has demonstrated that
tracking vegetation from space can help wildlife managers predict
when does will give birth to fawns. Researchers claim they can
forecast the timing of fawning seasons based on vegetation. With
satellite data they track when vegetation greens up and how
productive it is compared to drought or wet years.
The tool used by researchers is called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a measure of the "greenness" of the landscape. It measures how plants absorb and reflect light -- the more infrared light is reflected, the healthier the vegetation. So by measuring the greenness of the mule deer habitat, scientists were able to mark the beginning and peak of the plant growing season -- and the fawning season.
29 March 2016
Next big advancement in drones is round the corner
Exciting advances in drones is round the corner. Drones powered by hydrogen cells are undergoing trials in UK. The fuel cells were developed by the firm 'Intelligent Energy'. The drones powered by hydrogen cells can fly up to two hours compared to half an hour of most drones now. The refueling takes only a few minutes without any hassles, compared to hours needed to charge the battery pack. The prototype is expected to be developed in to full fledged model by the end of the year. A major manufacturer of drones has already obtained commercial rights for the new fuel cells. So, guys, if you are planning to buy a new drone please bear the latest development in mind before you take the plunge.
16 March 2016
Targeted gene flow as a tool for conservation
Ella Kelly and Ben L. Phillips from School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne argues that targeted gene flow, which involves moving individuals with favorite traits to areas where these traits would have a conservation benefit, could have much broader application in conservation. Across a species’ range there may be long-standing geographic variation in traits or variation that may have rapidly developed in response to a threatening process. Rather than simply assuming persistent populations are there purely because of attributes of their environment, decision makers should carefully consider the possibility that these populations persist because of genetic variation in relevant traits. The persistent populations can be exploited for both targeted gene flow and reintroduction efforts. Targeted gene flow could be used to promote natural resistance to threats to increase species resilience. They go on to add that targeted gene flow is a currently under appreciated strategy in conservation. Targeted gene flow may provide novel solutions to a number of conservation problems across a wide range of species and threatening processes.
gene flow for conservation
Kelly and Ben L. Phillips
Conservation Biology, Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 259–267, April 2016
14th March 2016
World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and 5th International Symposium
on Mouflon. The website is ready
The website of the congress is ready. It is up and running
24 February 2016
Fear is the key in predator- prey relationships
of large carnivores causes a trophic cascade
P. Suraci, Michael Clinchy, Lawrence M. Dill, Devin Roberts& Liana
Communications 7, Article number: 10698 Published 23 February 2016
researchers say “The fear large carnivores inspire, independent of
their direct killing of prey, may cause cascading effects down food
webs potentially critical for conserving ecosystem function,
particularly by affecting large herbivores and mesocarnivores. Till
now the presumption has remained experimentally untested.
the researchers show that experimentally manipulating fear itself in
free-living mesocarnivore (raccoon) populations using month-long
playbacks of large carnivore vocalizations caused just such
cascading effects, reducing mesocarnivore foraging to the benefit of
the mesocarnivore’s prey, which in turn affected a competitor and
prey of the mesocarnivore’s prey. The researchers by experimentally restoring the fear of large
carnivores in their study system, where most large carnivores have
been extirpated, succeeded in reversing the mesocarnivore’s
The researchers’ signs off saying “We suggest that our results reinforce the need to conserve large carnivores given the significant “ecosystem service” the fear of them provides.”
15 February 2016
of Twitter as an effective communication tool in conservation
Twitter to communicate conservation science from a professional
P. Bombaci, Cooper M. Farr, H. Travis Gallo, Anna M. Mangan, Lani
T. Stinson, Monica Kaushik and Liba Pejchar
Biology, Volume 30, Issue 1, pages 216–225, February 2016
I read this interesting paper today. The researchers examined the
feasibility of using twitter for scholarly discussion, and extending
and diversifying the scope of audiences reached. They examined live
tweeting as a means of communicating conservation science at the
2013 International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB). One
drawback noticed was that the groups often reached through live
tweeting were not the presenters’ intended audiences. Policy
makers and government and non-governmental organizations were rarely
reached (0%, 4%, and 6% of audience, respectively). Much more work
is needed to fine-tune the whole process of delivery. Over half the
presenters believed the tweets about their talks were effective.
researchers recommend that presenters who want their science to be
communicated accurately and broadly through Twitter should provide
Twitter-friendly summaries that incorporate relevant hashtags and
The scientist caution that if Twitter does not accurately convey science due to the inherent brevity of this media, misinformation could cascade quickly through social media.
22 January 2016
Crime Tech Challenge – Top slot for Indian IT firm
The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge is an initiative of USAID, in partnership with National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution and TRAFFIC. They have announced the winners of its competition for designing new, innovative solutions to the most intractable issues in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Indian IT firm Binomial Solutions Private Limited (India) has found the top slot for its innovative “e-Eye ® (Electronic Eye): Real-time Anti-Poaching, Surveillance & Wildlife Tracking System.” Congrats. Give a big hand to them,