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.”

New York Times: What Has Four Legs, a Trunk and a Behavioral Database?

New York Times: What Has Four Legs, a Trunk and a Behavioral Database?. “Over her career, Dr. [Joyce] Poole has spent tens of thousands of hours in the field, observing, tracking and analyzing wild elephants. Now, in a comprehensive project that fellow animal biologists describe as ‘an amazing achievement’ and ‘an immense treasure case,’ Dr. Poole and her husband, Petter Granli, have compiled the fruits of her fieldwork into a vast, publicly available database called the Elephant Ethogram: A Library of African Elephant Behavior.”

EurekAlert: International team partners with UN to launch global initiative to map ungulate migrations

EurekAlert: International team partners with UN to launch global initiative to map ungulate migrations. “An international team of 92 scientists and conservationists has joined forces to create the first-ever global atlas of ungulate (hooved mammal) migrations, working in partnership with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), a UN treaty. The detailed maps of the seasonal movements of herds worldwide will help governments, indigenous people and local communities, planners and wildlife managers identify current and future threats to migrations, and advance conservation measures to sustain them in the face of an expanding human footprint.”

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.”