Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eat Kangaroos to Fight Global Warming

Ok- The quarter is over and I guess I'm now addicted to blogging. One last random but relevant article. Check out the New York Times "Year in Ideas" article, letter "E".

Eat Kangaroos to Fight Global Warming, by Charles Wilson.

"Of all the ideas developed to combat the climate crisis, George Wilson of Australian Wildlife Services may have the least intuitive: eating more kangaroos. In a paper published in June by the U.S.-based Society for Conservation Biology, however, he explains that 11 percent of Australia’s total greenhouse-gas emissions come from the methane produced by the rumen of cattle and sheep. “It’s been long known that kangaroos don’t produce methane,” Wilson say s, noting that kangaroos’ stomachs have different microorganisms to ferment their food. “I began to speculate, What if we managed the kangaroo population up and the cattle population down?”" Photo by Sarah Illenberger, NYT.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New York: filled with people, pigeons and now hawks!

Well... It's been a great quarter. Thank you everyone for actively contributing to our Friday discussion sections!

A recent article in the New York Times (A Hawk and its Prey) caught my attention about conservation and people, wildlife habitat and changing landscapes. According to the story, red-tailed hawks are rising in Harlem. Great for the predators, probably less ideal for the rats and pigeons. Also, NYC is compared to a "savanna". That's a first!

"Glenn Phillips, executive director of New York City Audubon, said that red-tailed hawks are on the upswing in the city, partly because they adapt well to the savanna conditions and because people don’t kill them so much anymore."

Have a great winter holiday!

Hawk photo by Josh Barbanel/New York Times.

Campus lagoon Internship opportunity

Water Quality/Hydrology Internship:
I am looking for a student interested in working with me on the data and reports on the Campus lagoon water quality from studies we have completed, implementing follow-up studies, assisting with data monitoring for the larger study and, possibly, helping with modelling of water quality in the lagoon. I need a self-starter willing to do some independent research, collect water samples and collaborate with professors on campus. We have a stipend of $250 for Winter quarter and the possibility of additional funding should the candidate have more time to commit to the project.

Interpretive Sign Research Project Internship:

We are designing a sign to provide essential information about the ecological state of the UCSB Campus Lagoon related to geology, recent history and current ecological status. Looking for an independent person who can do research and is interested in interpretive signage and presentation. Skills in graphic design not required. Creativity a plus! Pays $250.

Both internships come with an expectation of ~ 6 hours per week commitment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MLPA Initiative Public Talk

In class I discussed the California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (MLPA). If you're not swamped with exams, here's an opportunity to learn more about it in our own backyard.

Thurs., Dec. 11
Free lecture: By Michael Sheehy from Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

The lecture will be held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Fleischmann Auditorium 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm and there is plenty of free parking. Directions:

This lecture is offered through a collaboration with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Ty Warner Sea Center, Shorelines and Watersheds and UCSB’s Coal Oil Point Reserve.

This is a great opportunity to learn about California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, learn about current research on marine protected areas locally and internationally and meet new people.

Please join Michael Sheehy, Channelkeeper's Marine Conservation Coordinator to learn more about California's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) and how you can get involved. Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is providing an informational presentation on California's initiative to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Southern California. For more information about this event, please email or call (805) 563-3377. For more information on the MLPA Initiative and MPAs, please visit or

Internship: Devereux Slough Monitoring Program

Outreach Internship Available for Devereux Slough Monitoring Program:

One paid internship is available as part of a long-term monitoring
study of the Devereux Slough ecosystem. Devereux slough is a
seasonally flooded coastal wetland located within UCSB’s Coal Oil
Point Reserve. The Devereux Slough Monitoring Program collects
important information on the slough including: water quality, fish
surveys, and sedimentation rates.

The outreach intern will be responsible for raising awareness among
UCSB students and the community about the Devereux Slough ecosystem,
the slough monitoring program, Coal Oil Point Reserve, the non-profit
group Shorelines and Watersheds, and the importance of responsible
watershed management. In particular the intern duties would include:
updating website materials, participating in outreach events,
distributing brochures, helping create an annual report, and updating
educational postings.

The intern will receive a $300 at the end of the academic quarter,
funding provided by the Coastal Fund. Applicants must be a UCSB
student. To be considered for the internship please send your resume
and class schedule for Winter quarter. To:

Tara Longwell
Slough Monitoring Program Coordinator

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unique Holiday Gift

We need your help to keep our beaches, creeks and Channel clean and healthy! clean water is a giftGive your friends and family an annual membership to Santa Barbara Channelkeeper or make a donation in their names as a thoughtful holiday gift. Click here to give the gift of clean water now.

Check out the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper for more information.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cane Toads have Arthritis

As they spread westward, cane toads are developing arthritis due to inbreeding. This is great for Australia. Not so much for the toads though.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Penguins, democracy and the future

Well here we are, ten weeks just flew by. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the blog. I have posted some review questions at the top of the link section. With a number of mentions of penguins I can't resist ending with this video - you'll definitely want to have audio on this one.

Penguin's - adorable flightless comedians of the Antarctic. Leonard Cohen - the adorable flightless poet from Canada. Put them together and you get something truly disturbing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Winter quarter Habitat Restoration Internship

This sounds like a great opportunity for research or potential grad school application experience.

UCSB’s Coal Oil Point Reserve has several paid habitat restoration
internships available for Winter Quarter 2009. Interns will work with
a habitat restoration ecologist, the Reserve steward, other interns
and volunteers assisting with restoring native wetland and coastal
sage scrub habitats. Job duties will include planting natives, seed
collection, greenhouse work, invasive weed control, ecological
monitoring, and general site maintenance. Requires 30 hour
commitment; generally 3 hours/week with occasional week-end time.
Applicant must be available either Tues OR Friday mornings from
9am-12noon beginning the week of Jan 5th. $300 stipend on successful
completion of the internship. No experience is necessary but
knowledge of native plants and restoration ecology is a plus.
Positions are funded by Wildlife Conservation Board.

To apply send resume and class schedule/time availability for Winter
quarter to Darlene Chirman at 692-2008 and Tara
Longwell at


Yes, that's a real crab and not a prop from a sci-fi movie.

WebEcoist is a blog about 'Sustainable Living, Green design and Environmental Oddities' and they really seem to like making lists of things. Yesterdays post 'Twenty more strange and exotic endangered species' was a follow up to their earlier 'Twenty of the world's weirdest endangered species'.

Other posts (in numerical order):
6 of the Most Innocent-Looking Animal Assassins
7 Extraordinary Examples of Animal Camouflage
10 of the Most Bizarre Animal Defense Mechanisms
15 Eccentric Endangered Trees, Plants, and Flowers
They obviously tend to be a little sensational but there are some great photographs.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Don't forget your paper is due tomorrow. The pisco server seems to have eaten too much turkey and is not responding well. This affects the links for the discussion section but not the regular links above them. The only link that you may need to refer to at this point is the outline and final paper guidelines so I have copied this over to the lifesci server. It is now the top link 'paper guidelines'.