Inside the natural history museums of the world are billions of animal and plant specimens from birds, fish and beetles to flowers, mushrooms and grasses, all stacked, stored and preserved in jars and collection drawers.
The rich and diverse collections could be critical to understanding how the Earth’s biodiversity is changing in the face of a growing human footprint — if only the information were easily accessible.
Creeping climate change in the Southwest appears to be having a negative effect on pinyon pine reproduction, a finding with implications for wildlife species sharing the same woodland ecosystems, says a University of Colorado Boulder-led study.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have been on a frog hunt.
They’ve spent three years scouring hundreds of California ponds in search of amphibians with mangled, grotesque deformities. Sometimes, the frogs have misshapen legs. Sometimes, they have extra sets of legs sprouting where they don’t belong. And sometimes, they have no legs at all.
By cataloging the deformed frogs — and the toads, newts and salamanders that share their homes — the researchers have made an important discovery: more diversity equals fewer deformations.
We’ve all heard examples of animal altruism: Dogs caring for orphaned kittens, chimps sharing food or dolphins nudging injured mates to the surface. Now, a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder suggests some plants are altruistic too.
A research team involving Yale University and the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a first public demonstration version of its “Map of Life,” an ambitious Web-based endeavor designed to show the distribution of all living plants and animals on the planet.
They’re called cowboys, but you won’t find them astride a horse rounding up stray cattle. They are scientists—dubbed disease cowboys—who search for the cause when unknown diseases break out in remote locales.
Ian Buller, a CU-Boulder senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, has his sights set on being one of these daring “disease cowboys” and to specialize in disease ecology, specifically identifying and studying disease emergence and designing control programs.
Forensic scientists may soon have a valuable new item in their tool kits—a way to identify individuals using unique, telltale types of hand bacteria left behind on objects such as keyboards and computer mice, according to a new CU-Boulder study.
“On one hand, I’m gonna tell you, ‘This is no big deal, bark beetles have been around for 35 million years, conifers have been around for a lot longer than that, and bark beetles have been killing conifers for 35 million years. There have been epidemics every 30 to 70 years. This is no big deal.’
“Then, on the other hand, I’m gonna tell you, ‘Holy smokes guys, this has never been seen before. Yes, it’s an epidemic, yes, epidemics are natural, but never has there been an epidemic like this as far as biologists have been able to look into the past.”