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Sponsor a fish and save Canada’s experimental lakes

Nature Newsblog - 3 hours 55 min ago

Credit: Government of Ontario

Posted on behalf of Brian Owens.

Fans of environmental science can now play a direct role in helping Canada’s unique Experimental Lakes Area continue to do the research it has done for decades.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development, based in Winnipeg, took over running the ELA on 1 April, after the federal government eliminated funding for the decades-old environmental research facility (see ‘Test lakes face closure’ and ‘Last minute reprieve for Canada’s research lakes’). The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba have stepped in to provide money to run the facility and conduct research for the next several years, but more cash is needed to restore research at the ELA to its former levels.

So IISD has turned to the public. It launched an appeal on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo seeking contributions to expand research and make the ELA less dependent on government largesse.

Along with the usual array of magnets and t-shirts offered as perks by typical crowdfunding campaigns, IISD has a few unique offers. For CAN$100 you can sponsor a plankton count in one sample of lake water, and for $200 you can sponsor a fish in one of the lakes. When your trout, white sucker or pike is caught and tagged, researchers will send you a photo of it, and keep you updated on its life for the next five years, every time it is recaptured.

And if you’re feeling really generous (and have a high tolerance for mosquito bites), $2,000 gets you a spot on a tour of the ELA. Since that might be a bit steep, there is a cheaper option. Send them $60 and a digital photo of yourself, and they will photoshop you in to a picture of Lake 239.

Categories: General, News

Scientists identify critical new protein complex involved in learning and memory

Biology News - Tue, 2014-04-22 18:58

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation.

Categories: Biology News, General

International team sequences rainbow trout genome

Biology News - Tue, 2014-04-22 18:58

Using fish bred at Washington State University, an international team of researchers has mapped the genetic profile of the rainbow trout, a versatile salmonid whose relatively recent genetic history opens a window into how vertebrates evolve.

Categories: Biology News, General

Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene

Biology News - Tue, 2014-04-22 18:58


Mice are nocturnal. When both wild type and Chrono knockout mice are kept in an environment with 12 hours of light (blue) and 12 hours of dark (white).They align their... Over the last few decades researchers have characterized a set of clock genes that drive daily rhythms of physiology and behavior in all types of species, from flies to humans. Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. A team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania wondered if big-data approaches could find them.

Categories: Biology News, General

What’s in a name? Emmett Reid Dunn and the Oedipus salamanders

Ernst Mayr Library Blog - Thu, 2014-04-17 15:07

When scientists describe a new animal species, they give it a name, according to rules of the ICZN, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.   Species names can honor a person or the place where the animal lives, or reflect the personality of the describer, as in the case of the beetle Gelae donut (Miller and Wheeler 2004).  Emmet Reid Dunn (1894-1956), who earned his PhD at Harvard under Thomas Barbour, expressed his sense of humor when naming salamanders.  Dunn’s 1921 dissertation on the Plethodontidae was expanded and published in 1926 as The Salamanders of the Family Plethodontidae.   Of the eight Oedipus salamanders that Dunn described there, two stand out: Oedipus rex and Oedipus complex.

Because names change as scientific knowledge advances, both of these names have been revised into ordinariness.   In 1944, E.H. Taylor reassigned the species within the genus Oedipus to eight separate genera, including Oedipina(Keferstein 1868) and the new genus Pseudoeurycea.

Below are references for the type descriptions, the Taylor 1944 and the Encyclopedia of Life entries for both.   The new names are more accurate, but not as clever!

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Oedipus rex, sp.nov. described by E.R. Dunn in 1921.

Common name, Royal False Brook Salamander.

E.R. Dunn, “Two new Central American salamanders”, Proceedings of the Biology Society of Washington vol. 34, pg. 143-146 (1921)

EOL record for Pseudoeurycea rex:   http://eol.org/pages/1019116/overview

Pseudoeurycea rex © 2006 Sean Michael Rovito Source: CalPhotos

 

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E.H. Taylor, “The genera of Plethodont Salamanders in Mexico, Pt. 1.”, Univ. of Kansas Science Bulletin vol. 30, pg. 189-232 (1944).

Oedipus complex, sp.nov. described by E.R. Dunn in 1924.

Common name, Gamboa worm salamander.

E.R. Dunn, “New Amphibians from Panama”, Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History vol. 5, pg 93-95 (1924).

EOL record for Oedipina complex:  http://eol.org/pages/2815206/overview/

Oedipina complex © STRI

 

 

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