The risks of research...and how to avoid them.

Health and safety: Danger zone

nature.com
Your favorite citrus fruit can be traced back to one of three extinct species.

The Citrus Family Tree

nationalgeographic.com
Can archaeologists and metal detectorists come together?

Archaeologists and Metal Detectorists Find Common Ground

nytimes.com
The first bumblebee species, Bombus affinis, is now on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species list.

This bumble bee was everywhere. Now it’s on the endangered species list.

washingtonpost.com
"Sometimes discovering a new species involves taking a closer look at species that are already known to science.

In this case, I found significant genetic and anatomical differences between populations of Moller’s reed frogs on São Tomé Island and Príncipe Island. The differences warranted recognizing the populations as two distinct species.

So here is one of the ‘newest’ reed frog...
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Scientists now have a better understanding of a group of microbes called Asgard, which may include the organism that gave rise to everything from dinos to us.

We always knew our ancestors were microbes. Now we found them.

washingtonpost.com
We’re remembering our Curator of Fishes, Dr. Richard Vari (August 24, 1949 - January 15, 2016). His legacy continues with a new and important paper in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. [ Goo.gl Link ]

Genome-wide interrogation advances resolution of recalcitrant groups in the tree of life

goo.gl
"Sometimes discovering a new species involves taking a closer look at species that are already known to science.

In this case, I found significant genetic and anatomical differences between populations of Moller’s reed frogs on São Tomé Island and Príncipe Island. The differences warranted recognizing the populations as two distinct species.

So here is one of the ‘newest’ reed frog...
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“One of my favorite parts about working in São Tomé and Príncipe is the overwhelming hospitality.

You would think that people would be wary of a bunch of strangers showing up at night and asking if they can look for frogs in the swamp behind their house. Not only do people always say yes, they usually ask if they can tag along and help catch frogs!

We had way too much fun with these local...
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“This year I’m focusing on trying to identify how and when the ancestors of the #Príncipe Giant #Treefrog reached the island.

During our nighttime surveys, we spotted a ton of these big treefrogs and it turns out they come in all different colors: green, brown, yellow, black, and spotted. Now I’m curious to know if there’s any advantage to having all that color variation." — Rayna Bell,...
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“The main hypotheses for how ‘poor-dispersing’ animals—like the endemic São Tomé Caecilian, a limbless amphibian—reached the islands is on vegetation rafts that are swept down river drainages and out to sea following major rain events.

Several large rivers in Africa could potentially serve as sources for these rafts. We can differentiate among them as potential sources for the original...
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"The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe host incredibly unique biodiversity. The islands have never been connected to continental Africa, all this unique diversity is descended from continental species that had to first disperse overseas to get there. This is true of all oceanic islands, and because of this, animals that are poor dispersers across salt water are usually absent from oceanic...
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This week Smithsonian Zoologist Rayna Bell is showing us what life is like on a biodiversity survey in the tropical islands of São Tomé and Príncipe! “Most of the animals we’re looking for are active at night so our team heads into the forest at dusk. When you’re wearing a headlamp you can see twinkling eyes all around you. Most of these belong to spiders (which is great news for team member...
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A look back at the biggest moments in 2016 for archaeology. [ Livescience.com Link ]

The 9 Biggest Archaeology Findings of 2016

livescience.com
Science is a community, says one of our Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) high school interns.
Scientists have created a map that links consumers and supply chains to the habitats of threatened species.

Just about everything you buy came at the expense of an endangered animal

washingtonpost.com
In celebration of #NationalBirdDay we present Martha, the last passenger pigeon. One of the Smithsonian’s greatest treasures, Martha lived at the Cincinnati Zoo where she was visited by long lines of people eager to get a glimpse of the last living individual of her species. With her death in 1914 the passenger pigeon became extinct. Only decades earlier, her species had been widespread and...
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