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Smithsonian Science


Major El Nino Perfect opportunity for Global Change Research

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 29 October 2015 · 1,450 views

STRI’s director of physical monitoring, Steve Paton, checks the metrological tower at Punta Culebra, Panama. (Photo by Sean Mattson).This year’s El Niño event is one of the strongest on record and is still ramping up. Large parts of the tropics are turning into a superheated lab, presenting rare research opportunities for Smithsonian scientists...


Disease carrying ticks hitchhike into U.S. on migratory birds

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 22 October 2015 · 1,315 views

Migratory Arcadian flycatcher (Photo by Guida)Researchers who examined thousands of migratory birds arriving in the United States from Central and South America have determined that three percent carry ticks species not normally present in the United States. Some of the birds, they say, carry disease-causing Ricksettia ticks.Based on the total n...


Survey pinpoints where toxic mercury accumulates in world environments

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 09 October 2015 · 894 views

Here’s some good news that should hit you in the gut.A team of scientists searching thousands of environments for bacteria that produce the deadly neurotoxin methylmercury discovered none living in one environment dear to us all: the human gut. The researchers found many environments where the bacteria thrive—coastal dead zones, the delta and ma...


Drought slows wildlife reproduction on California’s Channel Islands

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 21 September 2015 · 839 views

Island Scrub-Jay, Santa Cruz Island, Calif. (Photo by Aaron Maizlish)California’s Channel Islands are located dozens of miles west of the state’s coast and surrounded by Pacific waters, yet they too are experiencing the same severe drought as the rest of the state. Smithsonian Science checks in with wildlife biologists regarding two species foun...


Cats Don’t Roam in Places Coyotes Call Home

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 30 June 2015 · 1,448 views

A coyote investigates a camera trap set up in a wooded area. A two-year study looking at occurrences of cats and coyotes in protected areas, urban forests and suburban habitats showed that where coyotes are common, cats are not.In one of the largest studies of its kind, a volunteer-fueled camera trapping effort showed that where coyotes have mov...


Video: Protecting songbirds by Better Understanding their Migratory connectivity

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 30 June 2015 · 905 views

Identifying and understanding the migratory connectivity of birds throughout an entire annual cycle (not just the times of year they are in your back yard), is critical to understanding their biology and ecology. And knowing how and where birds migrate and breed is an important part of understanding how and why their numbers increase or d...


This simple trick helped fix a wildlife water shortage in Cambodia

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 17 June 2015 · 641 views

A camera trap captured this Eld’s deer, an endangered species, drinking from a modified waterhole in Cambodia. (Photos courtesy William McShea)It is a simple solution to a wildlife water shortage.During the annual dry season [November through April] in a protected forest in eastern Cambodia, wildlife scientists hired local workers with sho...


Tiny, fierce and disappearing: breeding program aims to help the loggerhead shrike

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 16 June 2015 · 474 views

Loggerhead shrikes faces are striking, streaked in black across the eyes. (Photo by Lisa Ware)Residents of the southeastern United States might occasionally come across an oddity along a barbed-wire fence: a series of insects, mice or even small birds and lizards impaled on the barbs.This is the work of the loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus...


Miniaturized GPS Tags Allow Tracking of Small Songbirds for first time

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 15 June 2015 · 341 views

Ovenbird (Flickr photo by Tom Benson)For the first time, researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center have accurately tracked small migratory ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) to their tropical wintering grounds, significantly improving the understanding of migratory connectivity. Understanding this connect...


Sweet survival: Some birds have a sugar edge

  Posted by Smithsonian Science , 02 June 2015 · 540 views

Black-throated blue warbler (“Setophaga caerulescens”) feeding on granulated unrefined sugar left out on a table in Kingstown, Jamaica. (Photograph by Gary R. Graves).For Smithsonian ornithologist Gary Graves it was a captivating spectacle. At an outdoor café in Kingston, Jamaica, Graves watched three mornings in a row as a black-thr...