Beautiful trailer for Aatsinki, a film that documents one year in the life of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland. 

Fourteen very rare albino lions were seized in a raid on a house in Bangkok. 

astronomy-to-zoology:

What are barnacles?

not rock nor slug but very ugly

Barnacles are not rocks or molluscs (limpets are often confused with barnacles) but are actually a unique type of Crustacean which belongs to the infraclass Cirripedia. But unlike alot of arthropods barnacles are special and certainly don’t look like any other arthropods. This is simply due to their weird anatomy. The barnacle can be simply explained as an animal laying on its “back” and waving its feet in the air to bring in any organic particles that may float past it. In a more scientific sense adult barnacles permanently attach themselves upside down via cement glands on their modified first antennae, from there the animal is permanently encased on its back where it uses six pairs of modified legs called cirri to filter food from the water and move it towards the mouth. To get to this sessile form barnacles go through two larval forms called Nauplius and Crypids to find an acceptable substrate and cement its self to it. Also their ugliness is known to kill people….

Further reading

Video source/Image source

smithsonianmag:

Elusive Giant Squid Captured on Film

A team of scientists have finally photographed the creature thought to have inspired the myth of the “kraken.” The team went to depths greater than 3,000 feet and came face-to-face with the the giant squid. It is described as having eyes the size of dinner plates and razor sharp suckers. Footage of the massive predator will premiere on Discovery Channel’s “Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real” on January 27 at 8 p.m. ET. - Read Discovery’s press release for more information.

Photo by: AP Photo / NHK / NEP / Discovery Channel

Ed note: Why the giant squid is the dragon of the deep.

kateoplis:

Mighty Old Trees Are Perishing Fast

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said the study’s lead author, David Lindemayer, a professor at Australian National University and an expert in landscape ecology and forest management. The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes – Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. […]
The die-off of these 100-to-300-year-old trees raises concern, the researchers say, because they sustain biodiversity to a greater degree than many other components of the forest. “Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features – a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”
Big trees also supply abundant food for numerous animals in the form of fruits, flowers, foliage and nectar, noted Bill Laurance, another co-author, from James Cook University in Australia. “Their hollows offer nests and shelter for birds and animals” and “their loss could mean extinction for such creatures,” he said. […]
The study is only the latest among many reports of how climate change and other factors are taking a severe toll on the world’s forests. British Columbia, for example, is ground zero for a giant forest die-off that is occurring across the Rockies. More than 53,000 square miles of forest there has died in the last decade. The largest previous die-off, in the 1980s, spanned 2,300 square miles. […]
A new fungal disease that is attacking Britain’s beloved ash trees has been front-page news there. It is feared that the fungus could claim more than 90 percent of Britain’s ash, as it has elsewhere in Europe.

More trees. [infographic: Michael Paukner]

kateoplis:

Mighty Old Trees Are Perishing Fast

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said the study’s lead author, David Lindemayer, a professor at Australian National University and an expert in landscape ecology and forest management. The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes – Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. […]

The die-off of these 100-to-300-year-old trees raises concern, the researchers say, because they sustain biodiversity to a greater degree than many other components of the forest. “Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features – a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”

Big trees also supply abundant food for numerous animals in the form of fruits, flowers, foliage and nectar, noted Bill Laurance, another co-author, from James Cook University in Australia. “Their hollows offer nests and shelter for birds and animals” and “their loss could mean extinction for such creatures,” he said. […]

The study is only the latest among many reports of how climate change and other factors are taking a severe toll on the world’s forests. British Columbia, for example, is ground zero for a giant forest die-off that is occurring across the Rockies. More than 53,000 square miles of forest there has died in the last decade. The largest previous die-off, in the 1980s, spanned 2,300 square miles. […]

A new fungal disease that is attacking Britain’s beloved ash trees has been front-page news there. It is feared that the fungus could claim more than 90 percent of Britain’s ash, as it has elsewhere in Europe.

More trees. [infographic: Michael Paukner]

The stereotype of conservationists is a cartoon: guys in Birkenstocks and beards who want to go live in a cabin in the forest by themselves. (Laughs.) We need those people to get data in the wild. But we also need people who live in cities and thrive on technologies to be conservationists.

jtotheizzoe:

The Nature of Origami

Bernie Peyton uses some of the best animal origami I’ve ever seen to call attention to threatened species and remind us that nature’s treasures (the living ones, not the paper ones) are worth protecting. Check out his gallery … I bet you can’t pick out a favorite!

Interested in sharing your unique perspective of our changing world? The Blue Earth Alliance, which helps support photographic projects that “educate the public about endangered cultures, threatened environments, and important social issues,” is currently accepting project proposals from documentary photographers focusing on these issues.

Deadline is August 20th and submission guidelines can be found on their site.

Nature is swift when it comes to reclaiming her space

Image: Corey Wagehoft

Interview: Lukas Large and the natural world, illustrated

I’ve long been a fan of Lukas Large’s Tumblr and its beautiful images of scientific illustrations. Each post is a single drawn image from the natural world (an animal, bones, a vintage anatomical drawing) with links back to the illustration’s source. The site is updated multiple times a day, and readers are also invited to submit drawings of their own or others’ work.

Scientific illustration is a wonderful blend of science and art, and Large’s site gives visibilty to some works that otherwise may have languished unnoticed in various medical journals or textbooks in dusty libraries around the world. It also helps draw attention to new artists working in this field (like the image above from Brooklyn-based George Boorujy).

I was curious to learn more about the man behind the website. Here’s a bit about his background and what he finds inspiring.

Michelle Riggen-Ranson: Where are you originally from? Where are you based now?
Lukas Large: I grew up in Stourbridge in the West Midlands in England and I still live there and work in the nearby city of Birmingham.  

What is your background/vocation?
I studied Genetics at University but I don’t currently work in anything to do with science.

Why did you start the blog?
My grandfather had a book with illustrations of birds by John Gould and I remember being fascinated by the beauty of the images. Ever since then I’ve had an interest in the art of natural history and this went hand in hand with a love of nature and science. 

The thing that prompted me to actually begin the blog was a visit to the "Images of nature" gallery at the Natural History Museum where they have an outstanding collection of scientific illustrations on show. This made me realize just how many amazing illustrations were out there. I thought it would be nice to start a blog that would feature these beautiful artworks that would hopefully increase interest and appreciation of them.

Read more…