Atlas Obscura: See 500 Years of Artful Nature Illustrations

Atlas Obscura: See 500 Years of Artful Nature Illustrations. “Now, the collaborative Biodiversity Heritage Library—a digital archive compiled by a consortium of natural-history libraries—has released over 150,000 artworks of the natural world, allowing public access to one of the largest illustrated compendiums of life on Earth. Years before wildlife photographers began to catalogue the world’s egrets, cephalopods, and rafflesia corpse flowers, artists like Elizabeth Gould were portraying species with illustrations, often reprinted as lithographs for the public.”

On the edge between science and art: Historical biodiversity data from Japanese ‘gyotaku’ (Phys .org)

Phys .org: On the edge between science and art: Historical biodiversity data from Japanese ‘gyotaku’. “Historical biodiversity data is being obtained from museum specimens, literature, classic monographs and old photographs, yet those sources can be damaged, lost or not completely adequate. That brings us to the need of finding additional, even if non-traditional, sources….In Japan many recreational fishers have recorded their memorable catches as ‘gyotaku’, which means fish impression or fish rubbing in English. ‘Gyotaku’ is made directly from the fish specimen and usually includes information such as sampling date and locality, the name of the fisherman, its witnesses, the fish species (frequently its local name), and fishing tackle used.”

Mongabay: New assessment method finds close to one-third of tropical Africa’s plants are potentially facing extinction

Mongabay: New assessment method finds close to one-third of tropical Africa’s plants are potentially facing extinction . “New research finds that nearly one-third — 31.7 percent — of tropical Africa’s vascular plant species might be at risk of going extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is the go-to resource for conservation status assessments, but while the majority of vertebrate species have been assessed, we know far less about the conservation status of plants, especially in the tropics.”

BrockNews: Master of Sustainability student maps Niagara’s invasive species

BrockNews: Master of Sustainability student maps Niagara’s invasive species. “Plants and animals being introduced on purpose, or inadvertently into new environments, can have harmful impacts on native ecosystems. During her Master of Sustainability program at Brock University, Lyn Brown (MS ’19) learned all about the dangers of invasive species. As part of her thesis, Brown created the Niagara Region Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Control Database, which lists activities by organizations and groups in Niagara that manage invasive plant and aquatic species.”

CBC: Research, photos of Manitoba tundra open to public

CBC: Research, photos of Manitoba tundra open to public. “An archive of photos and research of plants and animals in Manitoba’s tundra are now available online, providing public access to decades of Churchill, Man., history. Professors from York University in Toronto are in the town 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg this week to share the Churchill Community of Knowledge — a digital archive that more than 50 York University students have been putting together since 2011.”

EurekAlert: Data mining applied to scholarly publications to finally reveal Earth’s biodiversity

EurekAlert: Data mining applied to scholarly publications to finally reveal Earth’s biodiversity. “The Biodiversity Literature Repository (BLR), a joint project of Plazi, Pensoft and Zenodo at CERN, takes on the challenge to open up the access to the data trapped in scientific publications, and find out how many species we know so far, what are their most important characteristics (also referred to as descriptions or taxonomic treatments), and how they look on various images. To do so, BLR uses highly standardised formats and terminology, typical for scientific publications, to discover and extract data from text written primarily for human consumption.”

Florida Museum: Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world

Florida Museum: Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world. “There’s a whole world behind the scenes at natural history museums that most people never see. Museum collections house millions upon millions of dinosaur bones, pickled sharks, dried leaves, and every other part of the natural world you can think of–more than could ever be put on display. Instead, these specimens are used in research by scientists trying to understand how different kinds of life evolved and how we can protect them. And a new study in Plos One delves into how scientists are using digital records of all these specimens.”