“The Mystery of Bee Colony Collapse” MoJo


3030042_largeQueen bee 1
http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/07/bee-colony-collapse-disorder-fungicides
Animals, Environment, Food and Ag, Science, Top Stories

The Mystery of Bee Colony Collapse

—By Tom Philpott

| Wed Jul. 31, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

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dead beeT.J. Gehling/Flickr

What’s tipping honeybee populations into huge annual die-offs? For years, a growing body of evidence has pointed to a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids, widely used on corn, soy, and other US crops, as a possible cause of what has become known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Rather than kill bees directly like, say, Raid kills cockroaches, these pesticides are suspected of having what scientists call “sub-lethal effects”—that is, they make bees more vulnerable to other stressors, like poor nutrition and pathogens. In response to these concerns, the European Union recently suspended most use for two-years; the US Environmental Protection Agency, by contrast, still allows them pending more study.

But according to a new peer-reviewed paper, neonicotinoids aren’t the only pesticides that might be undermining bee health. The study, published in PLOS One and co-authored by a team including US Department of Agriculture bee scientist Jeff Pettis and University of Maryland entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp, found that a pair of widely used fungicides are showing up prominently in bee pollen—and appear to be making bees significantly more likely to succumb to a fungal pathogen, called Nosema ceranae, that has been closely linked to CCD. The finding is notable, the authors state, because fungicides have so far been “typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees.”

Read more:  http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/07/bee-colony-collapse-disorder-fungicides

Unter extremen Bedingungen: Himmlische Verhältnisse in der Atacamawüste NZZ.ch


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Foto: John Colosimo Quelle: Eso.org http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/products/virtualtours/index.html

 

http://www.nzz.ch/wissen/wissenschaft/himmlische-verhaeltnisse-in-der-atacamawueste-1.18125366?extcid=Newsletter_31072013_Top-News_am_Morgen#tacamawueste-1.18125366?extcid=Newsletter_31072013_Top-News_am_MDie

 

Atacamawüste in Chile hat sich in den letzten Jahrzehnten zu einem Eldorado der Astronomie entwickelt. Unter harschen Bedingungen betreibt die Europäische Südsternwarte hier zwei astronomische Grossprojekte, die unterschiedlicher nicht sein könnten.

Ein wunderbarer, fantastischer Bericht mit großartigen Aufnahmen! Unbedingt ansehen! Überwältigend!

 

The flight of the bumblebee…


SwedishCountryLiving®

Save the wild bees!

When did you last see a bumblebee? The strange thing is that bumblebees do better in urban areas than in the agricultural countryside. Simply because the biodiversity is greater. Sounds strange but the large monoculture farming industries are creating vast areas with single crop planting which is more economical (on the short term).

Imagine having to pollinate fruit flowers by hand. This is whats happening in some parts of China due to the decline in bees. The problem? Chemicals used to treat crops are killing bee populations around the globe.

Honey bees are often brought to monocultural plantations to increase pollination but suffer from lack of variation in diet and need help from wild bees whose pollination habits are greater.

So what can we do?

1.Give them a home.

A simple house made from bricks with holes in or bunches of reeds and moss will do…

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!BORNEO´S ORANG UTANS (“FOREST PEOPLE”) ARE COMING DOWN FROM THE TREES


Borneo‘s orangutans are coming down from the trees
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Jul 30, 2013

This is a collage of orangutan photos. Credit: Brent Loken.

 

This is a collage of orangutan photos. Credit: Brent Loken.

 

 

Orangutans might be the king of the swingers, but primatologists in Borneo have found that the great apes spend a surprising amount of time walking on the ground. The research, published in the American Journal of Primatology found that it is common for orangutans to come down from the trees to forage or to travel, a discovery which may have implications for conservation efforts.

An expedition led by Brent Loken from Simon Fraser University and Dr. Stephanie Spehar from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, travelled to the East Kalimantan region of Borneo. The region’s Wehea Forest is a known biodiversity hotspot for primates, including the Bornean orangutan subspecies, Pongo pygmaeus morio, the least studied of orangutan subspecies.

“Orangutans are elusive and one reason why recorded evidence of orangutans on the ground is so rare is that the presence of observers inhibits this behaviour,” said Loken. “However, with camera traps we are offered a behind the scenes glimpse at orangutan behaviour.”

The team positioned ground-based cameras across a 38-square-kilometre region of the forest and succeeded in capturing the first evidence of orangutans regularly coming down from the trees.

The amount of time orangutans spent on the forest floor was found to be comparable to the ground-dwelling pig-tailed macaque, Macaca nemestrina, which is equally abundant in Wehea Forest. Over 8-months orangutans were photographed 110 times, while the macaques were photographed 113 times.

The reason orangutans come down from the trees remains a mystery. However, while the absence of large predators may make it safer to walk on the forest floor, a more pressing influence is the rapid and unprecedented loss of Borneo’s orangutan habitat.

“Borneo is a network of timber plantations, agro-forestry areas and mines, with patches of natural forest,” said Loken. “The transformation of the landscape could be forcing orangutans to change their habitat and their behaviour.”

This research helps to reveal how orangutans can adapt to their changing landscape; however, this does not suggest they can just walk to new territory if their habitat is destroyed.

The orangutan subspecies P. p. morio may be adapted to life in more resource scarce forests, having evolved larger jaws which allow them to consume more tree bark and less fruit but they are still dependent on natural forests for their long term survival.

“While we’re learning that orangutans may be more behaviourally flexible than we thought and that some populations may frequently come to the ground to travel, they still need forests to survive,” said Dr. Spehar. “Even in forest plantation landscapes they rely heavily on patches of natural forest for food resources and nesting sites.”

Wehea Forest is one of the only places in Borneo where ten primates species, including five species found only in Borneo, overlap in their ranges. Since Wehea Forest is a biodiversity hotspot, paperwork have been submitted to legally change the status of Wehea Forest from “production forest” to “protected forest”. However, given that 78% of wild orangutans live outside of protected areas, it is critical that all of Borneo’s remaining forests are either protected or sustainably managed.

“We do not know how long this may take, but protecting Wehea Forest and Borneo’s remaining forests is vital to the long term survival of the orangutans,” concluded Loken. “Fortunately 60% of Wehea Forest falls under Indonesia’s logging moratorium, which helps give legal protection to a large part of the forest for a few more years.”

Here´s What´s Killing Bees … and Why We´re All Screwed


English: Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on f...
English: Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops. Français : Remplissage d’un épandeur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Diagram showing development of pesticide resis...
Diagram showing development of pesticide resistance in insects (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Here’s What’s Killing Bees…and Why We’re All Screwed

by Kevin Mathews
July 29, 2013
6:00 am

Americans may have largely shrugged off the ongoing mass bee deaths, but at least scientists are still on the case. Supporting several previous studies, new research by the USDA and University of Maryland links pesticides to Colony Collapse Disorder, which not only threatens the existence of bees, but also the human food supply. Moreover, the research also suggests that fungicide plays a similarly large role in bee deaths.

While previous research has found correlations between pesticide use and bee fatalities, what makes this new study unique is the in depth autopsy performed on affected bees. Specifically, scientists looked at the combination of toxins with which the bees were dealing. The average pollen sample contained nine different pesticides and fungicides, though one test was found to include 21 such chemicals.

This chemical exposure is too much for most bees to contend with, leaving them particularly weak and susceptible to parasites. Putting this theory to the test, researchers gave pesticide-laden pollen to healthy bees and found they were no longer able to withstand infections.

In particular, when fungicides were present in pollen, bees were three times as likely to succumb to parasitic infection. This discovery is important because, while pesticide use is supposed to be restricted to minimize exposure to bees, fungicides are not regulated since they aren’t thought to harm insects.

“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have [been] led to believe,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, one of the study’s authors. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.

Since chemicals seem to be working in conjunction to devastate bee populations, Europe’s current solution of banning certain pesticides may be too narrow of an effort to actually save bees.

This University of Maryland study is not the only one examining pesticides and bees to emerge in recent weeks. An international study demonstrated that neonicotinioids (a particular kind of pesticides) not only killed bees, but also bat and amphibian populations. Another study more concretely showed how diminishing bee populations similarly decreases plant reproduction. Fortunately, Monsanto hasn’t managed to buy and silence every research firm that finds its practices responsible for bee deaths!

According to USDA, one in three bites of food we eat is the direct or indirect result of bee pollination. Experts anticipate that the reduction in pollination due to fewer bees will result in higher food prices in the near future. Hopefully all of this research will spawn substantial action.

Although protecting the bees should be motivation enough in itself, it also means protecting the food supply on the whole. It would be really shortsighted to continue dismissing Colony Collapse Disorder as one of nature’s unsolvable mysteries.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/heres-whats-killing-bees-and-why-were-all-screwed.html#ixzz2aVimHXFr

After 16 years in a Wooden Box, Smiling Chimp Races Through the Grass


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After 16 Years in a Wooden Box, Smiling Chimp Races Through the Grass

by Laura Simpson
July 29, 2013
9:30 pm

For the first time in 16 years, Bazou plows through a sea of grass — with 36 chimpanzees trailing behind. He’s running fast because the freedom of movement is an astonishing sensation. Today is Bazou’s day to stand at the center of his new universe in an open field in Cameroon. He shouts at the sky as sunlight bathes his face and the warm, moist earth cushions his feet. There’s not a dry eye around as caregivers at the Limbe Wildlife Centre witness this critical moment in his recovery. Indeed Bazou is now safe and the ‘good life’ has brought on a priceless smile.

The exact moment Bazou takes his first steps outside!

“Prior to his rescue, (starting around his third birthday) Bazou had been kept in a cage so small he hardly had space to move, a rope around his neck remaining from a chain that had been used when he was young,” explains Ainaire Iadago at the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, which specialized in the rehabilitation of captive wildlife.

This is where Bazou had been living.

“Bazou spent 16 years in solitary confinement. Upon arrival he was in extremely poor condition, so thin that his bones were clearly visible and dehydrated.”

It would be a long period of recovery for Bazou, not so much from a physical standpoint, but because of the psychological journey he was beginning. Since Bazou was unable to express himself in the right way, unfamiliar with normal chimpanzee language that he would have learned through years of being part of a normal family unit, this would be his mountain to climb.

“This month, Bazou began his integration into his new family of 36 chimpanzees in one of the groups here,” Ainare said. “First, he met TKC, the dominant male of the island group. This was an important first step as TKC’s acceptance of Bazou would impact the behavior of the rest of the group. This introduction went extremely well, which is quite rare for adult male chimpanzees. TKC quickly became a source of protection for Bazou, and after the two had spent some days together, they remained together while Bazou met more members of his new family. He earned the protection of most of the dominant members of the group.”

Bazou and TKC together in the grass, an incredible scene of mercy and compassion

“Although he had a bit of difficulty with some of the rowdy male juveniles who left him with some small wounds, Bazou had a permanent smile on his face. Somehow the rest of the group members understand Bazou is special and they accept his lack of knowledge in chimpanzee language.”

Ilor hugs Bazou who is hollering in an expression of joy that sounds like distress in typical chimpanzee language

It’s actually quite remarkable that misunderstandings in the language have not prompted any crises, as Bazou will often express joy with distress vocalizations. This might normally trigger aggression in another, but in this case, the others respond instead by trying to comfort him.

“He now spends his day playing with the younger individuals, grooming with the dominants, running through the grass and relaxing in the chimpanzee pool,” Ainare continues. “He loves staying under the main tree and just staring at others with a smile on his face. Again he has a family to protect and to be protected by.”

Sharing food with Tobi and Nanga.

Chimp Week is in Full Swing

The Harmony Fund international is hosting Chimp Week to spotlight the protection and care of rescued chimpanzees at African wildlife centers which offer the only point of rescue for captive chimpanzees, as the governments do not fund rehabilitation centers. Visit the Chimp Week page here to learn more and enjoy more wonderful photos.

Hot Stories That May Be of Interest.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/after-16-years-in-a-wooden-box-smiling-chimp-races-through-the-grass.html#ixzz2aVdN7jc4

Willis Best (1999–July 30, 2012)


Dr. Steve Best

Willis, the King of Kings, the Quintessence of Cat, the Love of my Life, my Son, my Boy, my Soulmate. There is no greater love than what we shared.

He was brought to me in a paper sack in Fall 1999, liberated from the local “humane” society before they could kill him and two other gorgeous kittens. I bottle fed him as he grew into the most “beautiful boy” I have ever been blessed to know. He taught me the meaning of love, loyalty, and friendship.

Thank you Alafair for the lovely videos of Willis.This is a fitting tribute to a God and Angel in black fur, a gift from the universe that has blessed my life and filled me with light and love amidst a dark and empty void. I love you Willis, you will live in my heart and soul until the day I die, and the best of…

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Holy Father, Franziskus, said: “Waisting Food `Like Stealing…´


Franziskus von Assisi
Franziskus von Assisi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Francis:

Wasting food ‘Like Stealing’ from the poor – Erin Burnett OutFront – – CNN.com Blogs http://outfront.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/06/pope-francis-wasting-food-like-stealing-from-the-poor/