Tuesday, 22. February 2011
Unpleasant, small and simple – infectious particles without a cell membrane that get by with only a little genetic information - and parasitise and kill their involuntary hosts. That is the classical view of viruses, and they are not all that popular with human beings for this reason. But we ought to be grateful to them – because it seems that we would not exist if it were not for them: they play an unexpectedly important role in the environment. Curtis Suttle and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver are among those seeking to assess their roles.
Continue reading "The Secret Rulers – Without Viruses the World..." »
Tuesday, 30. November 2010
The Call of the Great Bears - Conservationists demand better protection for grizzlys from British Columbia
They are the reason why many tourists come: the grizzly bears. Large, charismatic animals like these draw people who want to observe them in the wild. Bears are no different from whales in this. British Columbia profits from its reputation of being a state where wilderness still exists – although this reputation is at risk: through rainforest deforestation, road construction, growing industrial areas and agricultural expansion. Although roughly 16,000 grizzlys still live in BC – because in some areas population figures have been corrected downwards - the real question is how long the animals will still manage comparatively well.
Continue reading "The Call of the Great Bears - Conservationists..." »
Tuesday, 2. November 2010
Steep steps lead down the cliffs from the campus of the University of British Columbia to Wreck Beach. Those who descend get an impression of what the underbrush should look like that Peter Arcese of the Centre for Applied Conservation wishes for: a riot of ferns and bushes growing man-high, with birds hopping about in the branches. But this is now history on many islands off the west coast of Canada: practically nothing is growing any more amid the Douglas firs, maples and red cedars, what was once a biosphere with an abundance of plants and animals is becoming impoverished, and the singing of birds in spring is becoming fainter.
Continue reading "Environmental Disasters with Big Brown Eyes..." »
Monday, 25. October 2010
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity – the 10th UN Convention on Biological Diversity is currently meeting in Nagoya, Japan. But are we human beings really prepared to make room for nature once again? After all, we will have to cut back. The re-introduction of beavers into the Eifel region over 20 years ago was accompanied by protests. And the uproar can flare up again and again if one of these large rodents goes looking for a new brook for its living space. To say nothing of run-ins with bears (oh, yes, good old Bruno).
Continue reading "Learning to Share for the Sake of Nature " »
Monday, 5. October 2009
Where are the salmon? We’ve traveled up the Fraser, sought out fish experts and heard what the Indians have to say. We heard Alexandra Morton’s theories, and those of her opponents. And with every visit, the picture changed a little bit, like a kaleidoscope. For some, Sea Lice are to blame, or rather, their secret helpers, the salmon farms. For others, the saw mills, development on the banks, the “Pacific Railway,” the commercial fisheries. Still others suspect Russian trawlers at work or overfishing by the First Nations or El Nino and its aftermath. Everything is possible, not much is refutable. “Salmon” is not only an animal, but also a system, a complex web of interests and truths, whose leader is silent and spends most of its existence in inscrutable oceans. Continue reading "“Something’s going on out there…”" »
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