EurekAlert: Ever wondered what red foxes eat? There’s a database for that

EurekAlert: Ever wondered what red foxes eat? There’s a database for that. “Research into the diets of a large number of the world’s carnivores has been made publicly available through a free, online database created by a PhD student at the University of Sussex. From stoats in the UK to tigers in India, users are now able to search for detailed information about the diets of species in different geographical locations around the globe.”

ScienceDaily: Researchers create map of potential undiscovered life

ScienceDaily: Researchers create map of potential undiscovered life. “According to conservative scientific estimates, only some 10 to 20 percent of species on earth have been formally described. In an effort to help find some of these missing species, [Professor Mario] Moura and [Professor Walter] Jetz compiled exhaustive data that included the location, geographical range, historical discovery dates, and other environmental and biological characteristics of about 32,000 known terrestrial vertebrates. Their analysis allowed them to extrapolate where and what kinds of unknown species of the four main vertebrate groups are most likely to yet be identified.”

Scientific American: ‘March Mammal Madness’ Brings Simulated Animal Fights to Huge Audiences

Scientific American: ‘March Mammal Madness’ Brings Simulated Animal Fights to Huge Audiences. “Ever idly wondered if a capybara could somehow take down an elephant in a beachfront brawl? That’s the kind of thinking behind March Mammal Madness (MMM), an annual social media event based on the March Madness NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. Like its namesake, this educational project encourages viewers to fill out brackets predicting which teams would triumph in a hypothetical head-to-head showdown—with the ‘teams’ in this version being specific mammals.”

Narwhals could be at high risk of catching COVID-19: researcher (The Narwhal)

The Narwhal: Narwhals could be at high risk of catching COVID-19: researcher. “Frozen tissue samples from a narwhal harvested by Inuit subsistence hunters will soon arrive at a laboratory in Boston, where researchers will work to determine whether the species could be susceptible to COVID-19. At the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, scientists will expose live narwhal cells to SARS-CoV-2 to determine if the virus that causes COVID-19 can latch onto the cells and cause a potentially lethal infection.”

KATV: Zoos using social media to delight, raise money amid virus

KATV: Zoos using social media to delight, raise money amid virus. “Social media is one way zoos worldwide are engaging with people who can no longer visit — their main source of income — and raise some much-needed cash. Zoos and aquariums have brought adorable distraction by posting photos and videos of animals, but the closures mean they’re still in jeopardy. While a smattering of zoos, from Utah to Germany, have started reopening with social distancing rules, there’s no telling when they will reach their usual levels of visitors and revenue. Besides jobs, the well-being of the animals is at stake.”

EurekAlert: A new use for museum fish specimens

EurekAlert: A new use for museum fish specimens. “The discoloured fish that rest in glass jars in museums across the world are normally used by specialists as references to study the traits that identify certain species. But a new study proposes an additional use for such ‘samples.’ Published in the Journal of Applied Ichthyology, the paper suggests using such specimens to estimate the length-weight relationships of fish that are hard to find alive in their natural environment.”

Phys .org: Global database of all bird species shows how body shape predicts lifestyle

Phys .org: Global database of all bird species shows how body shape predicts lifestyle. “A global team of researchers, led by Imperial College London and University College London, visited museums around the world to find specimens of nearly 10,000 species, covering more than 99 percent of all known bird species. Their results, and the database, are published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The link between body form of each animal species and aspects of their lifestyle, including diet, has previously been proposed, but this is the first time it has been confirmed at such a large scale and with such precise detail.”

Boing Boing: AI generates old-fashioned zoological illustrations of beetles

Boing Boing: AI generates old-fashioned zoological illustrations of beetles. “These beetles do not exist: Confusing Coleopterists is an AI trained on illustrations from zoological textbooks. The extreme formality of this art genre, and its placement within the public domain, makes it uniquely apt to the medium of generative adversarial networks: ‘Results were interesting and mesmerising.’”

Phys.org: New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements

Phys .org: New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements. “Researchers have developed a free virtual reality game which allows players to experience the thrill of the hunt as a hungry predator feasting on swarming flies. The VR game, called FlyCatcher, has been created by scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, to help enhance understanding of the erratic, evasive movement of fleeing prey.”

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.”

Newswise: Museums Put Ancient DNA to Work for Wildlife

Newswise: Museums Put Ancient DNA to Work for Wildlife. “Scientists who are trying to save species at the brink of extinction are finding help in an unexpected place. Heather Farrington, curator of zoology for the Cincinnati Museum Center, is using DNA from specimens collected more than 100 years ago to help understand the evolution and stresses faced by today’s animals.”

Natural History Museum Blog: Digitising Butterfly types of the 21st century |Digital Collections Programme

Natural History Museum Blog: Digitising Butterfly types of the 21st century |Digital Collections Programme. “Some of the Museum’s invaluable butterfly reference material, previously only accessible to a handful of scientists, has been released onto the Museum’s Data Portal. Over 90% of these specimens were designated as types in the 21st Century, but this is the first time that images of many of these species have been freely accessible to the global community.”

Cook Islands News: UK team works on CI database

New-to-me and apparently being revamped. Cook Islands News: UK team works on CI database. “Zoologist McCormack has been the lead researcher contributing to the Cook Islands Biodiversity and Ethnobiology Database (CIBED) since his arrival in the Cook Islands in 1980. He is set to travel to England for three months to work with Michael D. Fischer, who is a professor of Anthropological Sciences at the University of Kent, to work on an updated version of the online database as part of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Project.”