The City Paper: Colombia home to 20% of world’s butterfly species, reveals report

The City Paper: Colombia home to 20% of world’s butterfly species, reveals report. “The yellow butterflies that swarm the imaginary and magical landscapes of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude are just one species of 3,642 that inhabit the very real Colombia, and country home to 20% of all butterfly species on the planet. The findings are the result of years of research by scientists, collectors, students and amateurs documenting species across topographically challenging terrain. The list of 3,642 species and 2,085 subspecies was compiled by Dr Blanca Huertas, Senior Curator at the Natural History Museum in London.”

From the ashes: historical botanic photos destroyed in Cape Town fire resurrected (The Guardian)

The Guardian: From the ashes: historical botanic photos destroyed in Cape Town fire resurrected. “Luckily, after joining the university in 2000, [Professor Timm] Hoffman invested in the digitisation of the photographic archive. Although he is yet to muster the courage to go through the digital databases – ‘I’m still grieving,’ he says – he estimates that 30,000 images have been digitised and that he has at least one image for 90% of his most important sites. But only 10% of another collection of 35,000 slides had been digitised. ‘If we’d invested in bigger, faster scanners we could have finished by now,’ he laments. ‘But I’m also very proud that we digitised at all. Not many ecologists are focused on digital archives. No one else has a collection like this in Africa.’”

Vegetation of planet Earth: Researchers publish unique database as Open Access (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg)

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg: Vegetation of planet Earth: Researchers publish unique database as Open Access. “It’s a treasure trove of data: the global geodatabase of vegetation plots ‘sPlotOpen’ is now freely accessible. It contains data on vegetation from 114 countries and from all climate zones on Earth. The database was compiled by an international team of researchers led by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).”

SNAPSHOT USA: First-ever nationwide mammal survey published (EurekAlert)

EurekAlert: SNAPSHOT USA: First-ever nationwide mammal survey published. “How are the squirrels doing this year? The bears? The armadillos? How would you know? A new paper published June 8 sets up the framework for answering these questions across the United States by releasing the data from the first national mammal survey made up of 1,509 motion-activated camera traps from 110 sites located across all 50 states.”

USGS: USGS Releases Nationwide Marsh Vulnerability Maps

USGS: USGS Releases Nationwide Marsh Vulnerability Maps. “U.S. Geological Survey scientists have developed and made available a new mapping resource that can identify the most vulnerable marshes across the contiguous U.S. through a combination of remote-sensing and satellite technologies. These maps provide critical information to land managers and help inform marsh conservation and restoration strategies without costly site-specific or labor-intensive assessments.”

Phys .org: New mangrove forest mapping tool puts conservation in reach of coastal communities

Phys .org: New mangrove forest mapping tool puts conservation in reach of coastal communities. “Approximately 35 percent of global mangrove cover was lost in the 1980s and ’90s. While the rate of loss slowed in the past two decades—to an estimated four percent between 1996 and 2016—many regions remain hotspots for mangrove loss, including Myanmar. My colleagues and I use satellite imagery and field measurements to study mangrove ecosystems in several countries. We’ve developed an accessible and intuitive tool that provides coastal managers with the accurate, reliable, up-to-date and locally relevant information they need for effective community-based conservation of these critical blue (marine) forests.”

Wyoming Public Media: University Of Wyoming Team Creates Database Of Worldwide Vegetation

Wyoming Public Media: University Of Wyoming Team Creates Database Of Worldwide Vegetation. “When University of Wyoming Department of Botany Associate Professor Daniel Laughlin realized he would have to teach ecology online for the fall semester, he started searching for a resource to show his students landscapes from afar. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, Laughlin and his graduate students designed the Global Vegetation Project.”

Phys .org: High time to open up ecological research

Phys .org: High time to open up ecological research. “Share the code and data behind the research please. It’s easy, but it will have a major positive impact on progress and trust in science. That is the clear message from a new paper in PLOS Biology. An international team of ecologists found that currently, only about a quarter of the scientific papers in their field publicly shares computer code for analyses. ‘To make the science of ecology more transparent and reproducible, sharing is urgently needed.’”

UC Santa Barbara: Take It or Leave It

UC Santa Barbara: Take It or Leave It. “Of California’s 23 federal offshore platforms, many are nearing the end of their lives, and regulators need to decide what to do with the underwater superstructures. Some advocate removing the platforms in their entirety, while others propose leaving their support structures in place to continue acting as human-made reefs. In an effort to inform this discussion, a group of researchers led by scientists at UC Santa Barbara has produced 11 studies in a dedicated issue of the Bulletin of Marine Science outlining the ecology of the state’s oil platforms. They’ve also compiled a searchable database of studies on platform ecology carried out worldwide.”

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Quantifying the contribution of citizen science to broad‐scale ecological databases

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Quantifying the contribution of citizen science to broad‐scale ecological databases. “Ecological research increasingly relies on broad‐scale databases containing information collected by personnel from a variety of sources, including government agencies, universities, and citizen‐science programs. However, the contribution of citizen‐science programs to these databases is not well known. We analyzed one such database to quantify the contribution of citizen science to lake water‐quality data from seven US states.”

Natural History of Ecological Restoration: Desert Trees of the World – A new database for ecological restoration

Natural History of Ecological Restoration: Desert Trees of the World – A new database for ecological restoration. “Desert Trees of the World represents a multi-purpose, participatory database in which we have gathered a vast array of information about dryland trees, where and how they live, the communities they are part of, the many ways in which they are used by people, and some elements about their successful cultivation.”

NewsWise: Researchers win $3 million NSF grant to train teams of data detectives with ecological expertise

NewsWise: Researchers win $3 million NSF grant to train teams of data detectives with ecological expertise. “When it comes to how climate change is impacting ecosystems, there’s no shortage of data out there. But finding enough people who know both ecology and how to interpret that data can be a different story. A team at Northern Arizona University is wagering that more skilled interpreters can help make sense of this data deluge, and their idea just won a five-year, nearly $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to train graduate students in tackling big ecological questions through informatics, collaboration and better communication.”

EurekAlert: Scientists take to Twitter to study flying ants, starling murmurations and house spiders

EurekAlert: Scientists take to Twitter to study flying ants, starling murmurations and house spiders . “Searching tweets for text or hashtags allowed researchers to gather information on popular ecological phenomena observed in the UK such as the emergence of flying ants and starling murmurations. Their findings are published today in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.”