DNA Sequencing Saves Endangered Species

NEWS_2.26.16_Myanmar_Fig1.jpg DNA profiling, a technique where investigators compare the base pair order of DNA found at the crime scene to a suspect’s DNA. Now, another type of genetic analysis – DNA barcoding – is being used to combat illegal wildlife trading.

Illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be right behind drugs and weapons in terms of size and profits, with experts estimating a yearly wildlife black market of $70 billion. Wildlife is sold as exotic pets, trophies and souvenirs, luxury items, religious items, and alternative medicines. High profits and low risks attract transnational criminal syndicates to this business. Because illegal wildlife trading funds and strengthens these criminal networks (networks that are also involved in human, drug, and weapon trafficking) it is considered a threat to global and national security. Wildlife trafficking can also have a long term negative effect on local communities. Finally, there is the very real environmental impact.

Animals and plants that are illegally traded are put under enormous stress. Sadly, endangered species are often targeted because their rarity increases their market value. The decrease/disappearance of these species can affect the health of the entire ecosystem. Accessing these animals provide an additional layer of ecological damage. In 2010, 179 nations came together to form the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to combat illegal wildlife trade.

A major challenge in enforcing CITES and other wildlife trade laws is that poachers will often disguise their product. For example bones, horns, and medical plants are often ground into powders before transport. This is where DNA barcoding proves a valuable tool. DNA barcoding uses a combination of genetic, taxonomic, and computational analysis to rapidly identify the species of a confiscated sample. Briefly, DNA is extracted from the confiscated sample and then sequenced at one or more pre-established genetic locations. These sequences are then searched against a database of sequences from voucher specimens. A match between the sample and several voucher specimens allows the sample to be classified down to genus or species.

NEWS_2.26.16_ParrotEggs_Fig2.jpgAn example is the 2003 case against Joao Migel Folgosa. Mr. Folgosa was apprehended at the Recife Internal Airport of Brazil when police discovered him hiding 58 eggs under his shirt. Based on egg morphology – and Mr. Folgosa history as an exotic pet trafficker – officials suspected that the eggs were parrot. However, they were unable to specify the species. Because Brazil has 21 endangered parrot species but 83 species overall only limited charges could be brought against him. The case was further weakened by Mr. Folgosa claim that the eggs were from quails.

NEWS_2.26.16_ThumbTwelve years later Dr. Miyaki and colleagues picked up this cold case. They retrieved tissue samples from the 58 eggs/embryos and isolated DNA from each. Then, using a combination of primers, they amplified and sequenced the DNA at two locations in the mitochondrial genome. Finally, they compared their results to publically available records in BOLD (Barcode of Life Data System) and Genbank. Through this process they were able to positively identify 57 of the eggs. All 57 were parrot eggs. More specifically fifty belonged to Alipiopsitta Xanthops (a IUCN vulnerable species), three belonged to Ara ararauna, and four were either Amazona aestiaval or Amazona ochrocephala.

This research illustrates how DNA barcoding could be used to prosecute criminal traffickers. However, the connected case also emphasizes an obstacle that still need to be overcome, making the DNA technology affordable and available to law enforcement in many countries. Many hope that new developments in nanopore sequencing will enable this. Equally important to the use of DNA barcoding in criminal investigations is developing a robust database. This database must (a) have all possible taxa are represented, (b) be readily accessible and searchable, and (c) be able to withstand the scrutiny of a legal investigation. Two organizations working towards these two goals are the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge and the Barcode of Wildlife Project.

To explore DNA barcoding with your students check out kit #338 – Exploring Plant Diversity with DNA Barcoding.

 

via DNA Sequencing to Save Endangered Species

Mt. Washington Meadows — John Carr Outdoors

Welcome to John Carr Outdoors! Please visit the blog and follow. The follow button can be found at the bottom of the page. If you are seeing this on Facebook, click the link to visit the blog to see all of the photos. Mt. Washington Sunshine and crisp air at the Pacific Crest Trail south […]

via Mt. Washington Meadows — John Carr Outdoors

Ossining Police Issue 2nd Aggressive Coyote Warning As Sightings Continue — CBS New York

OSSINING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Ossining Police have issued another aggressive coyote alert, after several encounters were reported by area residents earlier this week. The new warning, issued Wednesday morning, said the coyote was spotted in the Eagle Bay and Mystic Pointe neighborhoods, Ossining Patch reported. The new warning comes just days after several separate coyote sightings…

via Ossining Police Issue 2nd Aggressive Coyote Warning As Sightings Continue — CBS New York

10 Reasons You Should Smile More Often…

Mother Teresa once said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” We have been smiling all our lives. And to some degree, we already possess the inherent knowledge that smiling not only feels good but it actually does good too.

Yet many of us shy from smiling as often as we ought to. I’m not the one to judge; we all have our own problems to deal with in life. But way too often, we actually punish ourselves by choosing not to smile when we really should be smiling our brains off!

So, the next time you get the opportunity to smile, just smile, and enjoy all that positivity it spawns. If you’re not convinced, well here below are reasons you should be.

1. Smiling makes you look attractive.

Your smile says a great deal about you. It really is true. Not convinced? Try this. Try to think of some of the people you’re attracted to. Done? How many of those were actually smiling? Well, you don’t have to tell me because I already know the answer.

We are naturally hardwired to be attracted to people who smile. Something about seeing someone smile builds up all this positive energy in our minds. And every time we see them, we associate them with all that positive energy.

So, the next time you’re around a bunch of friends or strangers (it really doesn’t matter) and you want to attract attention, just smile.

2. Smiling makes you happier.

Now this is as true as it is strange. Smiling actually makes you, the person smiling, happier regardless of the situation. Normally we are hardwired to smile only during pleasant situations.

The brain in turn releases endorphins which lowers stress and improves your overall mood, hence making the situation pleasant. But it being a voluntary action, we can actually trick the brain into believing that an otherwise dull situation is actually pleasant by simply smiling.

So the next time you’re bored, or god forbid sad, try this — kick back, take a few deep breaths and smile. Just smile, and watch your brain work its magic!

3. Smiling improves your immune system.

It has been reported that when you’re smiling, the body releases more white blood cells than it usually does. And the prime purpose of white blood cells are to protect the body against both infectious diseases and foreign invaders.

So, smiling more often actually makes your body more immune to diseases and hence makes you healthier. In fact, that is the prime reason why so many famous celebrities are invited to children’s hospitals. If they can get the children to smile, that will, to some degree, boost their overall health.

So with this in mind, don’t just go smiling on your own from now on. Make others smile too!

4. Smiling makes you a better leader.

Smiling encourages trust. We can all agree to that. A person who is constantly smiling appears more trustful than someone who is not. And what more do we look for in a great leader than trust?

Take a look at all the popular leaders of the world. I don’t say the great leaders, because not all of them may be popular. But the popular ones, who are also the more successful, smile more often than others.

This is true for leadership in all levels. Fear and intimidation may work like a charm for a while, but they never last long. The leaders who truly make a mark in history are the ones that smile.

5. Smiling helps you make a better impression.

Have you ever been in a room with strangers and struggled to socialize to the extent you wish you could? Wouldn’t you in turn want to be that person who can get along with everyone in the room in a jiffy?

Well, if you look at the people who can actually do this, you will find that the key to their success is, you guessed it, smiling. Yes, they’re smiling more than you are. But guess what? Their personality is no match for yours. Put on more smiles, and you’ll be sweeping all the charm towards your direction in no time!

6. Smiling makes you more productive.

We talked about the value of smiling as a mood booster earlier, but it doesn’t end there. The effect of one good smile follows you to your workplace and in fact, helps improve your overall performance there.

And this is actually backed by research. A 2010 research led by Andrew Oswald, a Professor of Economics at Warwick Business School, proved that employees who smile more often are significantly more productive and creative in the workplace.

So whether you’re an employee or an employer, smile more often and make others around you smile more often too. It will be great for everyone involved.

7. Smiling makes you more approachable.

Imagine yourself in a room with two people you’ve never met before. You need to ask them a favor. And it’s not just any favor. It would actually be of mutual benefit. Both persons are on their phones. One is smiling, the other is not.

After a while, they put their phones down, and you’re ready to approach them. Which of the two would you go to, or at least go to first? Once again, I know the answer.

There is something about smiling that attracts trust. It makes the person wearing the smile appear warm and kind. The very qualities that make one approachable.

8. Smiling makes you more confident.

Not only does smiling make you look more confident, it actually makes you confident in the long term. If you’re someone who smiles often, you tend to attract more attention, trust and respect than others around you.

This in turn makes you look for the attention, trust and respect in every situation which is the hallmark of confidence — believing that you deserve something.

And how do you do that? The only way you’ve ever known. Smiling more! Which in turn makes you even more confident. It is almost like a chain reaction. A never ending cycle that only makes you more confident and happier with every iteration.

9. Smiles are contagious.

Well, they are, aren’t they?  How many times have you seen someone smile and get no reaction from the other party? Very few, right? People smile, even if to be polite. And we’ve talked about the seer effect of just smiling, even in pretense.

When you’re smiling, you’re actually asking the other party to join in on the fun with you. And 99 percent of the time, they do join you. Smiles are one of the most contagious things in the world, behind probably only to laughter, which is in a way just a louder smile. So smile more, and spread the joy!

10. Smiles are free.

We have discussed a lot of benefits of smiling. But we are yet to discuss the most important reason you should smile more often –- because they’re free! When was the last time you blew away something so beneficial yet absolutely free? Smile, just smile.

You’ll be happier and you’ll make everyone around you happier. Dale Carnegie wrote this on his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”: “A smile costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.” Old Carnegie sure was onto something!

seagirll

Mother Teresa once said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” We have been smiling all our lives. And to some degree, we already possess the inherent knowledge that smiling not only feels good but it actually does good too.

Yet many of us shy from smiling as often as we ought to. I’m not the one to judge; we all have our own problems to deal with in life. But way too often, we actually punish ourselves by choosing not to smile when we really should be smiling our brains off!

So, the next time you get the opportunity to smile, just smile, and enjoy all that positivity it spawns. If you’re not convinced, well here below are reasons you should be.

1. Smiling makes you look attractive.

Your smile says a great deal about you. It really is true. Not convinced? Try…

View original post 1,104 more words

Images of the Day…Animals on safari !!!

Images of the Day…Animals on safari !!!

Africa promises one of the best safari experiences in the world, enabling you to see the five big wild animal groups: the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the rhino and the buffalo. Capturing a good photo of these beautiful animals is not always easy, and very often, it comes down to being at the right place at the right time. But, the pictures below are pretty incredible. So, get ready to enjoy some animal watching with this great photo series!

safari animals

Male lion ignoring a group of Thomson’s Gazelles.

safari animals

‘One day I’ll be tall like mommy’.

safari animals

Young male leopard watching the setting sun.safari animals

Black-face Vervet monkeys as seen on safari in Tanzaniasafari animals

The ‘painted wolf’, also known as the African wild dog, is Africa’s most endangered predator.

safari animals

Two male lions relaxing in the sun.safari animals

Elephants playing in the red soil. Taken at Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi National Park in Kenya, Africa.

safari animals

A male lion getting some sun at the Serengeti Nati

Source: Images of the Day…Animals on safari !!!

Yoda the llama has finally found a place to live and he can’t wipe the smile off his face

Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Source: Yoda the llama has finally found a place to live and he can’t wipe the smile off his face

Tragic end for Hunstanton whale as it dies after getting trapped in rocks

A whale beached in Norfolk is believed to have been part of a pod that stranded and died in the Netherlands.

The 50ft (14.5m) young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday.

A team from the RNLI, HM Coastguard, Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and rescue divers tried to help the whale back into deeper water but it died at around 11pm the same day.

MORE: Handyman’s note to military mother will restore your faith in humanity

Handout photo issued by Kathryn Robbins of a dead sperm whale beached in Norfolk. The 50ft (14.5m) young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday January 23, 2016. A team from the RNLI, HM Coastguard, Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and rescue divers tried to help the whale back into deeper water but it died at around 11pm the same day. See PA story ANIMALS Whale. Photo credit should read: Kathryn Robbins/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
The young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in Hustnanton on Friday (Picture: PA)
It is believed the animal became distressed and injured its tail thrashing around in the shallow waters.

There are fears at least two of the other whales could become stranded, he said.

Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south looking for food but got disorientated.

‘They feed on squid and what’s probably happened is that squid came in and the whales fed upon them but ran out of food,’ he said.

Handout photo issued by Jonathon Holt of a dead sperm whale beached in Norfolk. The 50ft (14.5m) young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday January 23, 2016. A team from the RNLI, HM Coastguard, Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and rescue divers tried to help the whale back into deeper water but it died at around 11pm the same day. See PA story ANIMALS Whale. Photo credit should read: Jonathon Holt/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
They may be linked to a pod that was found washed up in the Netherlands (Picture: PA)

‘The further south they got the shallower the water gets and when they got to Norfolk, which is very, very shallow, it’s quite difficult to navigate and they tend to lose their way and actually strand.’

He believes they could have been part of a large pod, some of which beached in the Netherlands and Germany.

‘There have been 12 other sperm whales that stranded and died, six in the Netherlands and six in Germany,’ he added.

‘They were probably all in the same group, quite a big group which are usually adolescent males a few years old.’

The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, which investigates all UK strandings, will send a team of scientists to perform a post-mortem examination on the whale in Norfolk.
The 50ft young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday.

Source: Tragic end for Hunstanton whale as it dies after getting trapped in rocks

Must watch: Smithsonian zoo’s panda is out making snow angels in the blizzard

Source: Must watch: Smithsonian zoo’s panda is out making snow angels in the blizzard

Cruel animal experiments in Britain

 

This video from India says about itself:

24 September 2015

A street dog was curled up in a ball on the side of the road. He was suffering from severe mange and had completely given up hope. Just watch his transformation after we rescued him and gave him the medical care he desperately needed.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Vets used 9,000 animals in ‘disgusting’ experiments

Thursday 21st January 2016

ANIMAL welfare campaigners yesterday slammed “disgusting” experiments on dogs and other animals at Britain’s oldest veterinary school.

Animal Aid said that ongoing research at the Royal Veterinary Collegeinvolving genetically flawed dogs with the muscle-wasting diseaseDuchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) was in breach of professional ethics.

New figures obtained by the rights group show that the college used more than 9,000 animals for research in 2012, including 38 pigs, 45 horses, donkeys and mules, 76 dogs and around 3,000 genetically modified mice.

“Establishments such as the Royal Veterinary College should be healing animals, not harming them,” said Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler.

The college launched a company RVC Business in August 2014, offering contract animal testing to clients including human drug companies.

“Animal Aid is not alone in regarding the whole enterprise as disgusting and scarcely believable,” said Mr Tyler.

The college stated that it was “wholly committed to animal health and welfare.”

Source: Cruel animal experiments in Britain

DogDaz Zoo: Lynx Family Moment

Snuggle up and stay warm kiddies…!

DogDaz Zoo

Lynx by Isaac Baquero Pérez

Just like a house cat, they look so soft and cuddly – DogDaz

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Chemical engineers can help solve the climate challenge #COP21

Posted on 02/12/2015 by

COP21 logoThis week saw the start of the 21st Conference of Parties,COP21. More than 190 countries and 150 global leaders have gathered in Paris, France, to discuss a new global agreement on climate change.

The United Nations (UN) event will host around 40,000 people and runs right through until the end of next week (11 December).

The future of the natural world, and the animals and plant life that call it home, depends on the outcome of this conference. If we don’t limit global warming to 2 degrees, the consequences will be catastrophic.

Polar bearWhilst we cannot accurately predict the scale of any potential impacts now, what we do know for certain is that climate change is happening, and we have a responsibility to reduce any further damage.

Chemical engineers are part of the solution, and the IChemE Energy Centre has identified five priority areas where technology can be deployed now to help mitigate climate change.

These topics, as outlined in the IChemE Energy Centre Climate Communiqué, are:

  • energy efficiency
  • energy storage and grid management
  • carbon capture, storage and utilisation
  • nuclear
  • sustainable bioenergy

Released in a statement today, the Energy Centre says: “The technologies exist now to deliver massive energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions in all five priority areas. Taken together, they represent a pathway to a decarbonized energy system that can be realised now, as long as the agreement made at COP21 recognises that the time has come for deployment of such technologies.”

Read the Energy Centre supporting statement here.

Stefaan Simons, Chair of the Energy Centre Board, has also added: “Chemical engineers already understand the technology needed to limit atmospheric CO2 levels. Now is the time to start using it. World leaders can shift the focus from research and development to demonstration and deployment. We can give policy makers the solutions needed to mitigate climate change.”

You can watch Stef, alongside other members of the Energy Centre Board, Niall Mac Dowell and Ben Salisbury, discuss the five topics in more detail in the following video:

Over the next few days, whilst COP21 is still underway, the Energy Centre will be publishing evidence-based recommendations that cover each of the five topics on this very blog.

Stef will also present at the Paris climate talks on 10 December at an official side event: ‘Technology solutions for a 2oC world: Investing in renewables, storage, energy efficiency and CCS‘. So if you are in Paris, please join him.

There will also be an evening screening of the his side event on 10 December at it IChemE’s offices in Portland Place, London, UK – this event is free-of-charge and open to all.

Let’s all be part of the climate conversation, and make sure that the chemical engineering perspective is heard whilst the future of our planet is being decided over the next two weeks.

IChemE

COP21 logoThis week saw the start of the 21st Conference of Parties, COP21. More than 190 countries and 150 global leaders have gathered in Paris, France, to discuss a new global agreement on climate change.

The United Nations (UN) event will host around 40,000 people and runs right through until the end of next week (11 December).

The future of the natural world, and the animals and plant life that call it home, depends on the outcome of this conference. If we don’t limit global warming to 2 degrees, the consequences will be catastrophic.

Polar bearWhilst we cannot accurately predict the scale of any potential impacts now, what we do know for certain is that climate change is happening, and we have a responsibility to reduce any further damage.

Chemical engineers are part of the solution, and the IChemE Energy Centre has identified five priority areas where technology can be deployed now to help…

View original post 323 more words

Waterfall by DanielJGreenwood

Chae H. Bae - Blog

Please Read.. And view on black!

Its been a few years now since I took my very first landscape image or used a camera for that matter…Sometimes I look back at my older images from a few months ago and think to myself “what the F$@^! was I thinking!! I learn now how easy it is to fall into that rather large social media trap..And more recently learned how much of a negative impact it can have on a person or there vision. This is something I learned first hand and how I am slowly moving out of that phase, back to when I enjoyed the scene for myself more then for the crowds. For the next few months I will be embarking on a journey to witness natures beautiful moments, I will be changing a lot and evolving as far as my vision grows and also refining processing techniques…

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Baby Koalas have Loads of Spunk..!!


For more information or for request of video use please contact;

Kevin Fallon
Marketing and Creative Services Manager | Symbio Wildlife Park, Sydney
kevin@symbiozoo.com.au
+61 2 4294 1244

photoshoot and, as this viral video shows, the 10-month-old joey was a total pro in front of the camera.

Look at those angles! The dynamism! The poise! She’s a total natural.

http://ift.tt/1MCJYp4
Imogen, who lives at Symbio Wildlife Park in New South Wales, Australia, is no stranger to viral success.

Last month, she stole many hearts after a video emerged of her giving a cameraman a big hug.

Damn Tree Huggers..!! Courtesy of Bing

Also on HuffPost:

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