Archive for February, 2004

New Coral Family Identified in Atlantic

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 25, 2004   View Article

Until now, all Atlantic coral families were believed to be close relatives to distinct coral families in the Pacific Ocean. But a new study for the first time identifies a family of corals found only in the Atlantic.

According to the study, at least one third of the corals that thrive in the Atlantic Ocean are free of any family ties to corals in the Pacific Ocean. The study could transform how the marine organisms are viewed, classified, and conserved.

Tagged Animal “Army” to Help Map Ocean, Experts Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 23, 2004   View Article

Equipped with high-tech data-collection tags, a veritable army of marine animals is being prepped to swarm the North Pacific Ocean on a reconnaissance mission of epic proportions. Their mandate is simple: Live a normal life.

The tags collect data on the behavior and environmental preferences of these animals, helping researchers create interactive, three-dimensional portraits of the inner workings of what may be Earth’s last great unknown, the ocean.

The Rich History of Mardi Gras’ Cheap Trinkets

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 20, 2004   View Article

On Tuesday the streets of New Orleans will be lined with throngs of jubilant people eager to snare their share of gaudy plastic jewelry, toys, and other mementos tossed to the crowds from parading floats.

It’s Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, the final day of the weeks-long Carnival season of feasting and celebration. On Ash Wednesday Christian revelers sober up for the pre-Easter fasting and the penitential season of Lent.

Birds Eat Birds as Fish Stocks Fall, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 18, 2004   View Article

Off the northeastern coast of Great Britain, fishing boats are swarmed by seabirds gorging on the undersized catch and fishy waste that is routinely discarded overboard. But as the number of discards are declining—partly due to measures to conserve fish stocks—some predatory birds have turned to eating their feathered fellows with more frequency, according to a new study.

As a consequence of this dietary shift, some defenseless bird communities face a threatening decline in their populations, said Stephen Votier, an ornithologist at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

Crittercam Sea Turtle Study May Aid Conservation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 12, 2004   View Article

Sea turtles around the world are on a slippery slope toward extinction, but in Shark Bay, on the remote coast of Western Australia, two species of the ocean-dwelling reptiles thrive among a flourishing diversity of life.

“Shark Bay gives us a glimpse of what other marine habitats might have been like before they were changed by people,” said Mike Heithaus, a marine biologist at Florida International University in Miami.

Finding a Valentine Can Be Hard for Animals Too, Cameras Show

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 12, 2004   View Article

For National Geographic researchers, it’s all in the name of science, but a camera-equipped system they developed to deploy on wild animals has a certain voyeuristic quality to it.

The research tool, known as Crittercam, has been carried by all kinds of male marine mammals trying to woo their female counterparts. In a seeming testament to the plight of males throughout the animal kingdom, the Crittercam footage shows that getting a female to mate is a tough task.

Activists Expose Malaysia Wood-Smuggling Ring

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 5, 2004   View Article

A dense, fine-grained wood hacked from Indonesian forests is the stuff of a real-life tale about smugglers, crime bosses, corrupt politicians, and wildlife teetering on the brink of extinction, according to an undercover investigation by an environmental activist group.

Ramin (Gonystylus spp.), the wood in question, is used to make everything from baby cribs and pool cues to picture frames and decorative trim found in homes and bars around the world.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach