The Search For Giant, Rare Salamanders That Live In Georgia

(Header image: Juvenile hellbender salamander. Photo by Bita Honarvar for WABE)

In the deep woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a cold, clear stream flows. Below a canopy of twisted rhododendrons, seven people in black wetsuits creep upstream through the water. They look like Gollum, sleek in their neoprene, crouching in the water, feeling under rocks.

They’re looking for a kind of giant salamander known as ...

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Researchers discover how ‘cryptic’ connections in disease transmission influence epidemics

Diseases have repeatedly spilled over from wildlife to humans, causing local to global epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and Nipah.

A new study by researchers of disease transmission in bats has broad implications for understanding hidden or “cryptic” connections that can spread diseases between species and lead to large-scale outbreaks.

By dusting bats with a fluorescent powder that glows under ultraviolet ...

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Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis

Matt Davis, Søren Faurby, and Jens-Christian Svenning

Significance

Biodiversity is more than the number of species on Earth. It is also the amount of unique evolutionary history in the tree of life. We find that losses of this phylogenetic diversity (PD) are disproportionally large in mammals compared with ...

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Conservationists get a billion dollars. Here’s how it may help.

Humans are rapidly taming the world’s wild places.

In the past century, nearly 80 percent of all land has been modified or impacted by human development. As a result, other species have rapidly declined. One study estimates animals are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they would have without human influence.

To ...

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Virginia Tech researchers receive NSF grant to study parental care in eastern hellbender salamanders

From VT News

Although eastern hellbender salamanders are known by many unflattering nicknames — mud puppy, snot otter, grampus, and Allegheny alligator —  about 70 percent of adult male hellbenders should more accurately be known as doting fathers.

Unlike most wildlife species, male hellbenders provide exclusive care for their young for an extended period of seven months.

William Hopkins, professor of wildlife in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, is the principal ...

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A Watershed Moment for Conservation in the New River Valley, Virginia

From the New River Land Trust

September 18, 2018

In 1909, John B. Laing purchased a large property on Big Mountain in Giles County.  Even at that time, he recognized the area was special. He wrote, “There is not any place that I know of that I would get more pleasure in protecting for the future than I would in Little Stony Creek watershed. Mountain streams like that are very scarce and in the future will be more so.”

His great-grandchildren made ...

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12th Annual Sustainability Week: Sept. 15-23

From VT News

The 12th annual Sustainability Week, an interactive partnership among Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability, the Town of Blacksburg, and Sustainable Blacksburg that highlights sustainability efforts in the community and on campus, will launch on Saturday, Sept. 15.

More than 20 events are scheduled throughout the week of Sept. 15-23. On Wednesday, Sept. ...

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Natural habitat can help farmers control pests, but the benefits vary widely across the globe

From VT News

Songbirds and coffee farms in Central America. Ladybugs and soybean fields in the Midwest.

These are well-known, win-win stories that demonstrate how conserving natural habitat can benefit farmers.

But an international team of authors, including Megan O’Rourke, assistant professor in the Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, found that natural habitat surrounding farm fields is not always an effective pest-control tool for farmers worldwide. The team’s analysis was published Aug. 2 in the journal Read More →

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Study explores connections between land management, water quality, and human response in lake catchments

From VT News

July 3, 2018

As many of us prepare to travel to lakes and other bodies of water this summer for relaxation and recreation, now is the perfect time to consider what we can do to help protect the lakes we love.

Scientists have long studied the ecological impact of humans on lakes, but a new study led by researchers at Virginia Tech explores how those ecological impacts can cycle back to affect humans. The study, published in the journal ...

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