Fruit bats play a large role in the forest ecosystems they inhabit as major pollinators and seed-dispersal agents (Hahn et al. 2014). Unfortunately, these large bat populations are under major pressures through hunting and habitat loss (Stone 2007). Fruit bat populations in Myanmar have not been extensively studied or highly monitored in the past, although … [Read more…]
Lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean, threaten reef systems throughout the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean by eating native fish of economic and ecological importance. In Belize, lionfish management depends primarily on nonprofit conservation organizations and incentivizing fishermen and divers to harvest the lionfish. Lionfish products, including meat sold by restaurants and jewelry made from … [Read more…]
According to a 2013 study conducted by Oxfam International, our food system employs one third of the global workforce. This same study states that the 10 largest food corporations control more than half of the global market, meaning that their policies and purchasing have a huge impact on the world’s diet, employment, and physical environment. … [Read more…]
Lead poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury to bald eagles. By interning at the MacBride Raptor Project I was given hands on training with bald eagles and other raptor birds. In addition to hands on training I was also given the opportunity to look into the records of the MacBride Raptor Clinic. … [Read more…]
The visitor effect, or the idea that the presence of guests can affect the behavior of zoo-housed animals, is an important area of study in zoos and aquariums. The three main scientific hypotheses are that visitor presence may 1) increase animal stress, 2) have no impact due to habituation, or 3) act as additional enrichment … [Read more…]
Subarctic peatlands have the ability to sequester carbon, which is undermined by the warming temperatures of climate change. Recent evidence suggests that the eminent rising temperatures will, through indirect effects, cause greater losses of carbon each year. These peatlands primarily release carbon through carbon dioxide, which is carried out by the microbial community. To understand … [Read more…]
The impoverished island of Madagascar is frequently considered one of the world’s highest biodiversity conservation priorities due to its high rate of species endemism and severe habitat destruction. I traveled to Sainte-Luce, a small fishing town in Southeastern Madagascar, to explore some of the conservation strategies used to protect the endangered littoral forest and the … [Read more…]
Insects constitute a large fraction of biodiversity and may provide key information on mechanisms that lead to speciation. In particular, lineages that occupy the stages between interbreeding populations and reproductively isolated species may reveal reproductive barriers important in speciation. Strauzia longipennis, the sunflower maggot fly, has recently been shown to harbor three distinct genetic lineages. … [Read more…]
In this oral presentation we will cover the results of running the Real Food Calculator this year on Bon Appetit at Cornell. The “Real Food” percentage is determined based on what foods Bon Appetit sources that can be considered ecologically sound, humane, local, and incorporating fair labor practices. We will explain what the Real Food … [Read more…]
The present and growing demand for food is not sustainable. Everything we choose to eat is connected to the system of world agriculture. Studies suggest that about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. Food Security is a major concern in large parts of the developing world and food production … [Read more…]
In the past five years, Iowa has experienced weather extremes with records or near-records set for spring flooding in 2008, summer rainfall in 2010 and drought in 2012. To determine whether these weather events affected growth or body condition in ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornate ornata), we analyzed the changes in shell morphology and mass/volume … [Read more…]
IOWATER is a volunteer water quality monitoring program for Iowa, created as a cooperative effort with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The program’s goal is to use the efforts of volunteers to help identify problematic sites on rivers and other bodies of water, which could pose risks to the environment and human health.
The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, is threatened in Iowa, as the species’ prairie habitat has mostly been converted into agricultural land, reducing and fragmenting natural habitat and increasing contact with motor vehicles, farm implements, and mesopredators. Our project strives to understand the ecology and natural history of T. ornata in Iowa for conservation … [Read more…]
Global environmental change poses several risks, including the possibility of increased frequency and strength of severe weather events. Though extreme weather events are difficult to define precisely, they include, but are not restricted to, tropical cyclones (a.k.a. hurricanes and typhoons) and particularly intense rainfall episodes within summer monsoons.
The Real Food Challenge, a non-profit organization, posits that the current food system is broken and that college/university food spending can help to fix this system by shifting buying toward “Real Food.” How could a shift to Real Food be beneficial to Cornell students as well as the broader community?
Despite the Indian government’s clear efforts to move towards gender equality, the actual status and lived experiences of men and women are far from equal. Two particular manifestations of this inequality are the divided and hierarchical labor roles that Indian men and women assume, as well as the unequal property rights afforded to men and … [Read more…]
During my research, I will be exploring several questions regarding nutrient pollution in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, which is directly related to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Isolating the Upper Mississippi River Basin will allow me to focus on the agricultural Midwest, which is the greatest source of nutrient pollution.
Mud layers trapped within stalagmites from caves in a variety of environmental settings have been interpreted as flood deposits. Here we present a combined petrographic and isotopic analysis of one glacial-age stalagmite, AUS-118 from Cape Range, coastal Western Australia. Stalagmite AUS-118 was thin sectioned and visually inspected and 121 mud layers were identified. The distance … [Read more…]
During the summer of 2011, I spent three weeks in Provence, France, traveling with a group of students seeking to understand the connections between people and the terrain in this country so famous for its cuisine. From bustling marketplaces to vast swaying lavender fields, we explored many different centers of regional agriculture and spoke to some … [Read more…]
We quantified home range size and movements of hatchling and juvenile ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) at Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Iowa, during the summer of 2011. Ten hatchlings and juveniles were followed using radio telemetry from May through July.
The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, displays significant sexual dimorphism. Males generally have thicker and longer tails, modified hind toes, a concave plastron, more muscular hind legs, and vividly red or orange irises and antebrachial scales, as opposed to the pale yellows and browns of juveniles and females (Legler, 1960).
Approximately one third of the global population lives in the area affected by the Indo-Australian monsoon. Understanding the variability and dynamics of Australian monsoon rainfall, especially in response to global climate change, is of critical importance. Research in Borneo and Indonesia has demonstrated that the strength of the Indo-Australian monsoon is tied to millennial-scale climate … [Read more…]
Our ability to understand multi-decadal to centennial-scale trends in tropical cyclone activity is limited by the short duration of, and limitations in, historical records. In order to extend these records for tropical Western Australia, we have analyzed mud layers in stalagmite KNI-51-11 from the Kimberley region of north-central Australia that appear to be formed by … [Read more…]
Mining, even with modern precautions, puts the world’s delicately balanced biosphere in peril. While staying in the Province of Azuay, Ecuador, I witnessed firsthand the people’s resistance against the Canadian mining company “IAMGOLD” that is currently in the preliminary process of exploitation at the source of the community’s water system.
Few paleoclimate records preserve high-resolution information for the middle Holocene in (near) coastal Portugal, but this region contains many caves within a few kilometers of the coast. In addition, shells of shallow marine invertebrates record sea surface conditions and some of these were harvested and preserved in archaeological middens.
Ecological health depends on a wide diversity of all life forms. The greater the biodiversity the more opportunities there are for adaptive responses to environmental challenges such as climate change and economic development. Loss in biodiversity may limit medical and pharmacological discoveries. Biodiversity-rich ecosystems are more resilient and boost ecosystem productivity.
Coral colony orientation data obtained from Late Pleistocene reef coral assemblages preserved on Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, Great Inagua and San Salvador Islands, Bahamas, indicates that the same gradient in hurricane frequency observed today also was present during Late Pleistocene time. We conduct an independent test of this hypothesis by examining the successional patterns exhibited by … [Read more…]
Recent studies from Borneo and Indonesia have increased our understanding of the evolution of the Indonesian-Australian Summer Monsoon (InAuSM) system over the past 10,000 years (the Holocene epoch). However, little is known about the InAuSM in Australia or at centennial time-scales.
Biological control of plant pathogens has steadily grown in popularity over the past several decades as an alternative to the use of pesticides which negatively affects the environment. A problem in the use of biocontrol agents is the unpredictability of interactions they face once introduced to the soil, some of which impair the production of … [Read more…]
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a technique that combines gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to characterize substances within a sample. We first used this technique to analyze turtle nest volatiles to determine if turtle nest predators use olfactory cues to find nest sites.
As global climate change persists, anthropogenic impacts will continue to exacerbate current environmental degradation, particularly to coral reef ecosystems. To mitigate this critical situation, coral reef conservation efforts have focused on the development of effective marine protected areas (MPAs). However, successful ecological conservation and restoration require an understanding of previous community states – unaffected by … [Read more…]
Gurania bignoniacea and Gurania acuminata are two species of flowering vines in the cucurbit family native to tropical South America. Although each is currently considered to be a single species with widespread geographic distribution, these two names encompass more than 20 historical species epithets applied to type specimens collected across the continent.
Flies of the genus Blepharoneura, found throughout South America, are highly diverse and highly specific to the plant species they infest. The flies are parasitized by wasps, called “parasitoids” because the wasps kill their hosts (the flies). If the wasps themselves exhibit high degrees of host specificity, they may have influenced the high degree of … [Read more…]
Benthic marine faunas are currently experiencing rapid shifts in community structure which are already having deleterious effects on marine ecosystems. Since many systematic surveys of marine communities occurred after those communities had been disturbed, our knowledge of “what is natural” is incomplete: a phenomenon that has been termed the “shifting baseline syndrome.”
We examined the distribution and fates of natural nests of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) in the Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County, Iowa.
A 152 cm tall stalagmite (KIM1) was collected from the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-sensitive and monsoon-dominated Kimberly region of northwestern Australia.
Two morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist off the coast of the Bahamas.
Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of organisms to change their phenotype in order to adapt to their environment.
Nest predation is an important source of mortality in turtles. We have been studying nest predation on ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) for several years at Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County. Iowa.
Last summer we expanded on the ongoing project of the Physics Department of developing, fabricating, and testing Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs).
Female turtles are capable of storing sperm from multiple males, potentially enabling offspring from a single clutch to be fathered by several males.
For the better part of thirty years, a mining project near Crandon, Wisconsin, was pursued by multi-national corporations. A struggle to permanently block mining there intensified during the last decade of the 20th century.In 2002, the project was finally closed when the site was purchased by a coalition of Native American Tribes.
When discussing the issues surrounding current global warming, is not uncommon to hear people bring up the so-called “Medieval Warm Period.” Such conversations are littered with debates about what the Medieval Warm Period actually was, how it impacted the world of the Middle Ages, and what an accurate comprehension of it could mean for our … [Read more…]
Diversification of phytophagous insects is often associated with changes in the use of host taxa and host parts. We focus on a group of newly discovered neotropical tephritids in the genus Blepharoneura and report the discovery of an extraordinary number of sympatric, morphologically cryptic species all feeding as larvae on calyces of flowers of a … [Read more…]
Biodiversity is partly dependent on the availability of resources and competition for those resources. Competition can potentially exclude weaker species, thus decreasing diversity.
Over an eight year period four beaches on San Salvador Island, Bahamas have been monitored with respect to their dynamic erosion and depositional processes.
We used Island Biogeography Theory (IBT) to generate predictions of the number of tree species found on islands in lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Do unplowed areas of remnant tallgrass prairie offer the best examples of unaltered or “natural” prairie systems? Remnants that are on floodplains may show evidence of human alteration even though the area has never been plowed or intentionally altered.
Constituent particle analyses have been applied to many different sedimentary environments, especially in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, but have rarely been used in analyzing sediments from Western Australia.
Aquatic Environmental Chemistry is the study of sources, reactions, transport, and fate of chemical entities in water, as well as their effects on human health and the natural environment.