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Showing posts from 2015

Seagrass ecosystem services (Grass Roots Biology)

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This post was originally published under the title "Grass Roots Biology" in the December 2015 issue of The Biologist, the Royal Society of Biology's magazine. If you're a member of the RSB you can also view the article on their website here. The images are not those used by the RSB nor are they mine, the copyright belongs to their credited owners and most are from ARKive.org.
Grass Roots BiologyHome to myriad species and acting as massive carbon sinks, seagrass meadows are key marine habitats – but they are disappearing fast, reports Xaali O'Reilly Berkeley The Biologist 62(6) p16-19
Seagrasses are a group of flowering plants adapted to live in salt water. They grow, flower and pollinate completely submerged in estuaries and along shallow coastal waters around the globe, both in temperate and tropical environments. Although they physically resemble grasses and grow in large expanses called meadows, the term seagrass actually refers to the ecological niche the plant…

Return of the Algarve tiger

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As a child, I loved writing. From age seven I would write and illustrate short poems and stories for my younger siblings to enjoy (hopefully they enjoyed them...). When I was 12 years old, I started leaning towards a more factual side of writing and combined it with my cat obsession to start my own little feline-themed newsletter (I definitely called it a magazine at the time). I'd write about anything felid-related – from tips on adopting streets cats, to the ethics of cloning pets, to the ecology of wild feline species. It was researching for this newsletter that I first learned about the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus). Initially I was drawn to this feline because it is the only "big cat" native to Spain, where I grew up.

Happy World Turtle day! 2015

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It's World Turtle Day (broad sense of the word turtle, no nit-picking), so this year thought I'd show the progress of a small radiated tortoise (art)study I'm doing. As my Turtle Day drawing last year, 'tis far from finished...


Where parrots are black and pigeons are green

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Five years ago today, I set off on one of the biggest adventures of my life. Granted, I'm only 23 and so my life hasn't been particularly long yet and though five years seems an age ago to me, I know it's not really that long ago. To be fair, I haven't even been on that many adventures to compare it with. Regardless...

The Grey Wolves of Europe

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The grey wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the Northern Hemisphere’s most iconic carnivores. However, in a matter of centuries, the grey wolf has been exterminated from at least a third of its former range [1]. Until 2004, wolves remained listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species [1]. The grey wolf is now making an unexpected comeback in North America and Europe [2–4]. A proposal to strip the grey wolf of the protection from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently sparked debate, leading to an independent review of the species’ situation in North America [5]. Despite the recovery wolves are making, retracting their protected status could reverse this situation once again [5]. What’s more, a mere rise in numbers may not suffice to ensure the future of the species, as extreme population reduction and fragmentation come with less apparent, genetic consequences as discussed below [6–8]. Additionally, as an apex predator, a great deal of controversy surrounds …