What makes something native?

In conservation and biology in general there is a lot of talk over whether a species is native. This can often be quite a divisive issue because when species are not native they can often be removed or not be a part of policy making. This then means that when conservation plans are put into place a decision must be made as to whether a species is native or not.

So how do you decide whether something is in fact native?

A seemingly easy way of doing this is whether a species has been living in a location for a long time. However due to the wonderful nature of the world trying to pick a starting point in time and figure out what was living there can be a tricky task. For example certain plant species have always been in the UK such as Oak trees. They are therefore classed as native. Other plant species have been brought into the UK. This can happen for lots of different reasons whether its because the plant has a medical property that humans can use or it could be that they are just pretty. Many of these species have a specific few years when they were brought in. One example of this is Rhododendron ponticum which was brought in as an ornamental plant from Spain in 1763. Its since become an invasive species and out competes a lot of native species and such its regarded as a non-native species. However some research suggests that this species was growing in the UK before the last ice age. Obviously this was a long time ago but this does then pose the question of is it a native species as it once was many years a go.

It is a complicated question that I couldn’t answer in a simple blog post. However, most native species are defined as species that originated in their location naturally and without the involvement of human activity or intervention. This definition works for the majority of cases but should be called into question every once in a while!

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ThatBiologist – Conservation Conversations

Fun fact, when I was designing the questions I wanted to include within the questions for conservation conversations I tested them a lot on my peers but also myself. To the point where I even wrote out a complete answer to each question. So if you were wondering what my answers to my questions about the life of conservationist were here you go:

IMG_1025As I start all of these off with an introduction I guess I should introduce myself. Hi my name is Laura, I am finishing off my masters degree on conservation. I love all things wildlife but have a particular passion for botany and the planty things. I’ve been writing here for a couple of years now as well as twittering in between and recently writing for the Woodland trust. You can find out the whole story on me in my about tab!

  1. Starting off with something simple, what is your favourite species and why?

My favourite species is the venus fly trap. I adore botany and I love it when plants prove to be more than just green organisms. I love all the (often) hidden characteristics plants can have and venus fly traps are just spectacular. They have such sensitivity to the outside world and the adaptations they posses just to exist in nutrient depleted areas is outstanding. Personally I don’t see how any other species could beat it.

  1. So now I’m going to quiz you about your career in this sector, firstly why did you decide to get into conservation?

I’ve loved nature ever since I could remember. I remember getting a copy of a book discussing how what we do as humans effects the world. It focused on climate change and I was horrified by what I was reading. Ever since then I knew I wanted to do something to help.

  1. Sometimes working in conservation or the environment sector can be difficult, what inspires you to keep going in your career?

How beautiful nature is in every single way. As well as the awesome power for nature to continue in the face of every adversity which I think is very admirable. That power and beauty combined just fills me with so much hope that it can and will continue. All I want to do is help that process.

  1. What’s next on your career bucket list?

A job where I can practically help nature. I’m not fussy where I just want to do some good in this world.

  1. What’s been your career highlight so far?

Being told that a project I was working on won an international award and seeing the project continue to flourish years after I’ve finished working on it.

  1. Our world is pretty amazing with lots of wonderful things happening in the natural world. What natural phenomenon would you like to see or have seen?

I am desperate to see bioluminescence at work. I think it’s one of the most fantastical things in the universe and kinda makes me believe that magic is real.

  1. If you could let the general public know one thing about conservation what would it be?

Conservation is a long process and a team sport. There is no quick fix when the environment is damaged. Just because you recycle that water bottle does not mean you fix climate change but if everyone recycles more and does it for a long period of time it does have an affect. By working as a team we can make this planet a better place. (Looking back on this answer it seems even more true with Trump removing the USA from the Paris agreement. I have lots to say on this so just wait for another blog post.)

  1. Now if you could change one thing about how the world works what would you change and why?

I’d make single use plastic products illegal. Water bottles, straws, plastic bags and those stupid 6 pack plastic rings are unbelievably damaging to nature and so pointless. If I could remove them forever I would do it in a heartbeat. (more on this soon)

Now for a little favourites quick round!

  1. Favourite sound?

The birds in the morning when the rest of the world is quiet.

  1. Favourite fact?

In October of 2014 Cards against humanity bought a 6 acre island and named it Hawaii 2 and it is now left to preserve the wildlife there. If only every card game did the same, I’m looking at you Uno.

  1. Favourite snack?

Chocolate – Specifically cold dark chocolate.

  1. Favourite word?

Brilliant

  1. Favourite curse word? 

Horse Sh*t

  1. Least favourite word?

Never. I was told once that I would never do well at university, here I am now nearing the end of my masters. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can never do something because of course you can. You can do what ever you want. Whether you should is another matter 😉

And finally…

  1. What’s your best piece of advice for someone who wants to do better for the environment?

Buy a reusable water bottle and take it everywhere with you. It’s great for your body if you drink more water, it’ll save you money and it’s far better for the environment if you don’t buy the non-reusable ones. By taking one little step to being a better earth citizen you may find you want to make more of those steps.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my answers to these questions. There will be more guests in the future I promise!

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Becoming A Master – London For Scientists

Week 25

Hello!

So the past two weeks in my life I have been preparing for my field work for my dissertation. This has included meetings with my supervisor to get my methodology down and writing my risk assessment as well as starting my background research. However I have also been taking some down time before my field work begins (its starting tomorrow eeep). This has meant for me lots of sleep and spending quality time with my better half however I live (in my opinion) in the best city in the world. So I’ve been able to go out and explore London! So I thought with this blog I would suggest a few sciencey tourist spots for people to go and find and learn more about science!

For the Beginner: The Science Museum

The science museum is just a great place to get started with science. It has a bit of everything from technology to biology to engineering. What I totally love about the museum is it has loads of bits to interact with which is great for kids (and grown-up kids) and its also 100% free to go in. I went to there cosmonauts exhibition last year and it was one of my favourite exhibitions that I have ever been too.

For the all round Biologist: The Natural History Museum

If you’re in London you will seriously miss out if you haven’t been to the Natural History Museum. It’s a stunning building and again 100% free to go in but the queues to enter can be super long at peak times. But don’t just go for the dinosaurs! The dinosaur exhibit is by far their most popular exhibit but make sure you go upstairs for the real treasures. My favourite spot is at the top of the central staircase where they keep some extra special treasures. I won’t spoil it by telling you whats in there but just go, you won’t be disappointed!

For the Botanist: The Royal Botanical Gardens – Kew!

By now it is no secret that Kew is one of my favourite places in London. It’s this strangely peaceful spot in an increasingly busy city. This is the first on my list that is not free to enter but holds some incredibly rare plants and is beautiful all year round. It has something different to see every time I go and is a botanists heaven.

For the Medic: Florence Nightingale Museum and The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret

There are so many interesting medical museums in London. But two things that remain on my bucket list are these two. Old fashioned surgery is so interesting and without there advancements the modern surgery we see today might look very different. As for florence nightingale she is another fantastic woman that I cannot help but admire and want to learn more about.

For the Engineer: The Tower Bridge Tour.

London is full of engineering prowess. Its a city with so many different levels and its construction is something I have become increasingly more interested by. Tower Bridge in itself is a tourist destination and well worth a trip across but the tour provides even more insight. The engineering behind its movement is so beautifully simple and definitely worth a trip.

Obviously there are loads more and if you like your history of science be sure to look out for the blue plaques on the wall. You’ll be sure to see some of your favourite scientist’s names out and about.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks update and I will be back next Sunday with an update on my first week of field work!

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Alfred Wallace

Last year I wrote a series called the monthly scientist. It was one of my favourite series to write so for this spotlight Thursday I thought I’d cast the spotlight on an incredible scientist!

Alfred Wallace

Alfred-Russel-Wallace-c1895.jpg

Born: 8 January 1823

Died: 7 November 1913

Noted for: Being a naturalist and explorer

Why scientist of BEDA?

What most people don’t know is that Darwin did not work alone on the theory of evolution through natural selection. Wallace actually curated the theory on his own, he then published a joint paper with Darwin which then prompted Darwins origin of species. He is also credited as being the father of biogeography and many other theories including warning colouration in animals and the Wallace effect. This interest in the environment came from his social activism. As he was one of the first prominent scientists to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity. Unlike many of his peers he wasn’t from a rich background and his trips across the globe were paid for in the sale of the specimens he collected and his publications. Altogether he was a fascinating man whose insights were vital to our understanding of the world.

“If this is not done, future ages will certainly look back upon us as a people so immersed in the pursuit of wealth as to be blind to higher considerations.”

 

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Dave Hemprich-Bennett – Conservation Conversations

11088231_10155348311470058_8464046797610362454_nHello and welcome to another episode of conservation coversations! I’m so happy to be welcoming my next guest. He’s a PhD candidate whos life kind of sounds like a dream come true to me. He’s studying conservation biology, specialising in the responses of tropical bats and their prey to deforestation. Dave Hemprich-Bennett lives half of his life in the forests of Borneo and the other in the UK! Here’s his responses to my questions.

  1. Starting off with something simple, what is your favourite species and why?

I guess that would be Hemprichs Long-Eared bat, a bat named after my wife’s great-great-great uncle. It feeds mostly on scorpions, whose venom it seems mostly immune to. These bats have been seen eating a scorpion whilst the scorpion stings them in the eye, just keeping on chewing impervious until they’ve eaten it all. And then once that’s done? They just fly off to find another scorpion, to eat and get stung by all over again. That’s pretty badass. (I agree!)

  1. So now I’m going to quiz you about your career in this sector, firstly why did you decide to get into conservation?

I’ve always been fascinated by animals, being totally obsessed with them as a small child. I didn’t actually realise that a career working with them was an option until I got to university though: I had gone there to study environmental science, with had few specific career ambitions to do with it. During the degree I had the chance to go on an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon and study Caiman (basically South American Alligators) and realised that living in rainforest, working to understand and protect them would be an awesome life.

  1. Sometimes working in conservation or the environment sector can be difficult, what inspires you to keep going in your career?

I work in tropical deforestation, which can be a pretty emotionally draining subject area. One of my study sites is a controlled deforestation experiment, where we’ve been literally watching as rainforest gets logged, studying its effects. In part it requires a certain mental distancing from a specific area or issue, but as a conservation researcher there’s two general things I try to keep in mind..

1.We may not succeed in preventing all the things that we wish to stop, but we can at least stop some of them. Its unlikely that there will be an outcome worse than not trying at all, so lets do what we can and try to make the world a better place than it would otherwise be. If some wild areas remain, with some cool stuff able to live in them, we can hold our heads up high. But lets get to work and try to keep the world as healthy as we can.

2.If we fail, if all the cool animals and systems that we work with die, at least we understood them better before they went. This is a truly terrible consolation prize, but its one that makes a certain amount of sense to me. I’m really interested in Pleistocene megafauna, the huge ‘ice age’ animals that our ancestors saw roaming around the world thousands of years ago, but sadly went extinct before we were able to document them in anything more detailed than cave paintings and sculptures. We’re able to understand a lot about these animals from their remains, but there’s inevitably a lot that we’ll never know because nobody observing them was able to write it down. I see a melancholy parallel role to field researchers in this: I wish people had been able to document for us the animals and ecosystems that no longer exist. If our job only lets us do the same for future generations, that’s at least something.

  1. What’s next on your career bucket list?

Oh gosh, this is a difficult question. I’ve had very little specific input in the direction that my career has ever taken in terms of place or species worked with: it’s all been a case of applying for the stuff I see that sounds interesting, rather than having a specific planned direction. Most of my work so far has been in tropical rainforest, I’d like to work in cloudforest somewhere: when rainforest grows up the slopes of a mountain it gets a lot cooler and wetter and can lead to some really unusual species evolving there, especially if its an isolated mountain. I’d love to catch bats somewhere like Mount Kenya, if any wealthy sponsors are reading…

  1. What’s been your career highlight so far?

Helping out on a macaw survey at dawn in the Amazon, we had to take our boat into an oxbow lake before sunrise to watch them leaving our roost. We got to watch a gorgeous sunrise over the water with river dolphins playing around us, monkeys looking down at us from the trees and macaws flying overhead, whilst several hundred waterbirds woke up in the trees around us to feed in the lake. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a beautiful view, or such a feeling of being surrounded by wonderful life. That’s a pretty special memory.

  1. Our world is pretty amazing with lots of wonderful things happening in the natural world. What natural phenomenon would you like to see or have seen?

I guess I’d love to see the northern lights. To find myself in a vast open space, looking up at an immense sky shimmering with beautiful colour? That’s definitely one for my bucket list, I really hope someday I get to see it

  1. If you could let the general public know one thing about conservation what would it be?

Its importance! We tend to think of conservation and care for the environment as a sort of luxury, something that we can jettison in times of hardship. This is pretty far from the truth: we rely on the world around us to live, from the air that we breathe and the food that we eat, to the products that we rely on for our everyday lives. The natural world provides it all and we need to take care of it for our own sakes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to go and live in a yurt in the woods, using only foods and items from our own private allotment (though if you want to do this, good for you I guess), but it does mean having a better worldwide ethos of trying to make sure that we leave to future generations a world that can support them as it has supported us.

  1. Now if you could change one thing about how the world works what would you change and why?

The small-world, isolated way that so many peoples minds work. It can be tempted to only really care about the people and world directly around you, but there’s 7 billion of us now and like it or not we’re all connected in a phenomenal number of ways. Rather than building borders and celebrating our differences, lets maybe work together to try and make the world a better place for us all?

Now for some favourites!

  1. Favourite sound?

The sound of the Helmeted Hornbill calling. It’s a bird found in Southeast Asia that’s about the size of a swan, and makes the most absurd call, it sounds like somebody incoherently drunk attempting an impression of a kookaburra. They’re great.

  1. Favourite fact?

A scientist once published a paper on how he watched a male duck mating with the corpse of another male duck that had just flown into his window. That somebody not only watched that, but took detailed notes and wrote a paper on it still amuses me to no end.

  1. Favourite snack?

I’ve always been partial to crumpets. Versatile and they taste like childhood.

  1. Favourite word?

Arsloch. Its basically just the word ‘arsehole’ in german, but I think it sounds somehow much more pleasing

  1. Favourite curse word? 

I’d better make this an English one then, I’ll go with ‘fuck’. A bad motherfucking word that can be used to tell people what a fucker they are in so many fucking ways. Fuck you.

  1. Least favourite word?

I’ve never really had that tendency to find a word unpleasant, like in the way that people find the word ‘moist’ really horrible due something with its sound and meaning? That doesn’t bother me about any specific words really. So it would probably be something like one of the myriad unpleasant-hate filled words that humanity has invented to dehumanise other people. But I’d rather not list them.

And finally…

  1. What’s your best piece of advice for someone who wants to do better for the environment?

Reduce the amount of meat that you eat, especially beef. I’m not asking for a full boycott and going vegetarian or vegan, though more power to you if you are. I try to only eat one portion of meat a week, with beef being an especially rare treat. The environmental footprint of meat is huge, with cattle being especially bad. If you can reduce the amount of meat you consume, you’ll be reducing your emissions and footprint of land use by a great amount, and if you live in the west there are plenty of meat-free options so it shouldn’t even be especially difficult.

Thank you to Dave for such an entertaining episode. I don’t know about you but this episode made me think and laugh out loud! If you want to hear more about the wonderful work he’s doing as part of his PhD and other witty bat talk then Dave is on twitter as @hammerheadbat.

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Why do moths go towards the light?! – Saturday Questions!

Hello and welcome to day 8 of BEDA! It’s going well I think?

Todays blog post is actually a little bit of a cheat post. I wrote a few months a go about starting to write for the woodland trust which you can find here. I wrote a blog post not too long a go about why moths go towards the light! So you can go find out at this link –

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/2017/03/why-are-moths-attracted-to-light/

If you ever want to find any more of my writing its all in the about laura section!

HAPPY BEDA!

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Sam Williams – Conservation Conversations

Today’s interviewee is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Venda, in South Africa. He studies the conservation ecology of large African carnivores and is currently developing a research interest in the ecosystem services provided by carnivores. As he told me One way of explaining his research is that he is trying to find out how carnivores help us and how we can help them. Here’s what Sam Williams had to say to my questions. IMG_3938

  1. Starting off with something simple, what is your favourite species and why?

Duck-billed platypus, because it’s probably the weirdest animal I have ever seen. An egg-laying mammal with an electrosensitive (why not?) duck bill? Oh, and it’s venomous.

  1. So now I’m going to quiz you about your career in this sector, firstly why did you decide to get into conservation?

I find it hard to imagine why most people would not want to get into conservation. I once gave a visitor from the UK the opportunity to help me bait leopard traps for collaring here in South Africa. He hated it, and left saying “I am so glad that I’m an accountant instead of doing this for a living”. (Getting him to help me shovel up maggot-ridden animal foetuses might have had something to do with it.) But to each their own – I am so grateful that I am not an accountant.

I got into conservation because it brings together my love of science with my desire to leave the natural environment in a better state than I found it, all while doing fascinating things in exciting places. I wake up in the mornings excited to start work, which is a feeling that not everyone gets to experience. I remember when I was little my mum advised me to find a job that I love, because it can be sad to spend so much of your life doing something that you don’t enjoy. Who doesn’t want to get paid to fly in a helicopter around African mountains, radio tracking large carnivores that you collared? Accountants, I suppose…

  1. Sometimes working in conservation or the environment sector can be difficult, what inspires you to keep going in your career?

Although I love working in conservation, it certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are just a couple of things that I wish present me could have told past me about my experiences, when I was deciding to commit to a career in conservation biology. It’s hard work and the pay isn’t great. You will work long, long hours, weekends and public holidays, and despite earning a PhD you will get paid fraction of what you could have earned if you had dropped out of school and stayed at home working at McDonald’s. It does occasionally cross my mind that future me will kick present me when I can’t afford a space holiday because I have no savings or pension, and live in a bin.

But despite the challenges, it’s really not difficult to find inspiration to keep going as a conservation biologist. I cannot think of a more rewarding career. You can have a very real, very much needed impact on the world. You could help to prevent a species from going extinct. You could help people to live in harmony with nature. You could find out something about the way the world works that no one knew before, and share that knowledge with others to build upon. Not only is the endpoint incredibly rewarding, but the journey along the way is so much fun. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it has been to live out of a hammock in the Indonesian rainforest, studying macaque ecology. To collect behavioural observations on howler monkeys in the cloud forests of Honduras. To track cheetahs, lions, wild dogs and hyaenas in Zimbabwe. To get married and start a family while living in a tent on a nature reserve at the peak of a mountain range in South Africa, while camera trapping elusive leopards. I even find working at my computer exciting – I still get a thrill out of running an analysis and finding out something new.

  1. What’s next on your career bucket list?

I don’t know about next, but it would be fun to one day discover a new species to science. The list of species that share the planet with us is going down every day. To grow that list by one, even though the species has probably been around for quite some time without us identifying it, I think would somehow feel quite satisfying.

  1. What’s been your career highlight so far?

I once met a man who told me that he (illegally) killed an average of about a dozen leopards each year on his small farm in southern Africa, in order to protect his cattle from predation. The reason he was telling me this was because he had recently shot a leopard that I had collared, and he demanded that I paid him if I wanted to get the collar back. He refused to let me do anything to help him keep his cattle safe, and he continued to kill leopards. I worked hard to turn around this inauspicious start to our relationship, and four years later he finally agreed to let my colleagues place a livestock guarding dog with his herd, which has been shown to be extremely effective at protecting livestock from predation. I ran a half-marathon to raise funds to buy and care for the dog, and as I write this, the dog is protecting his animals. Seeing that someone so disinterested in engaging with conservation efforts can change their mind, and knowing how much this could benefit a declining population of leopards, was probably my career highlight so far.

  1. Our world is pretty amazing with lots of wonderful things happening in the natural world. What natural phenomenon would you like to see or have seen?

Watching snow monkeys bathe in volcanic hot springs in Japan was definitely one off the bucket list. One day I would love to see the northern lights. And the wildebeest migration in east Africa.

  1. If you could let the general public know one thing about conservation what would it be?

Conservationists need your support – see question 15 to find out how.

  1. Now if you could change one thing about how the world works what would you change and why?

It would be nice if conserving the natural environment was a top priority for people and for governments, as humans and all other species depend on it to survive.

Now for a little favourites quick round!

  1. Favourite sound?

The sound of lions roaring and hyaenas whooping, heard through a tent wall

  1. Favourite fact?

Spotted hyaenas have a pseudo-scrotum and a pseudo-penis, through which they give birth.

  1. Favourite snack?

All the chocolate – me too!

  1. Favourite word?

Gargantuan

  1. Favourite curse word? 

Cunt nugget

  1. Least favourite word?

Yolo

And finally…

  1. What’s your best piece of advice for someone who wants to do better for the environment?

Have smaller families. Eat less meat. Turn things off when you’re not using them. Ride a bike or catch public transport when you can, instead of driving. Recycle stuff and try to cut down on waste. Be sure to vote, and do it based on environmental issues. Make sure that politicians know that if they don’t make conserving the environment a priority, they will not be elected.

Thank you so much to Sam for all those inspiring words of wisdom! Sam is one of my favourite bloggers in conservation so its an absolute honour to have him on the blog. I’d strongly recommend following him on all of the social medias. Here are all his links:

Twitter: @_sam_williams_

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samual_williams/

ResearchGate: http://researchgate.net/profile/Sam_Williams

Blog: http://samandkatyinafrica.wordpress.com

Website: http://www.samualwilliams.com

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The Monthly Scientist: Mr November

Imagine you’re going to have to have surgery in 1800, say for example your leg has a nasty wound and the only way forward is to amputate. Now surgery back then could have easily meant the end of your life. Not necessarily through the surgery itself but it would have been more than likely you would have developed an infection. Nasty ones at that, all that started to change with this months scientist:

Dr Joseph Lister

hommedia

Born: 5, April 1827

Died: 10, February 1912

Noted for: Pioneering antiseptic techniques in surgery

Why scientist of the month?

I’ll be honest, I’m really glad that medicine has come on as much as it has. One of the most important advances in medicine has been the antiseptic technique. This basically means that microbes that cause infections are tried to be kept to an absolute minimum. This is partly down to Lister, he was a surgeon that believed (correctly) microbes carried in the air that caused diseases to be spread in wards. People who had been operated on were especially vulnerable as their bodies were weak and their skin had been cut open so that germs could get into the body with more ease.

So he came up with a method to try and combat this. Everything had to be thoroughly cleaned in his surgeries including the wound itself. Then he went further by devising a machine that pumped out a fine mist of carbolic acid into the air around an operation. Using this method the number of patients that died in his surgeries greatly reduced. Like going from a 45% death rate to 15%! This gradually became common practice and then further advancements were made in the antiseptic technique to get us where we are today.

So I personally would like to thank Joseph Lister for making surgery far safer than in the 1800s!

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Save The Sharks

I hope you’ve thoroughly enjoyed this week of shark related blogs, I’ve loved writing them! Today we’re looking at what we can do to help the sharks out and whats currently being done.

Shark Conservation

Unlike other species we can’t take sharks out of the ocean and put them into captive breeding programmes. The sharks just don’t survive so all the shark conservation has to be done out in the ocean. However there is lots being done to help out our shark friends.

Legislation – By far this is the biggest way we can help the sharks. Using the law we can protect the waters they swim in as well as making it illegal to catch them for sport. This is also the best way we can stop sharks being caught and used for food as well as beauty products. The only issue with this is that often legislation has loop holes but it has been shown to help!

Ecotourism – Sharks still have a pretty bad rep, mostly thanks to the film and tv industry. Now if you’ve been reading this weeks blogs you know that this is simply not true. Well ecotourism is also a great way to do the same! If sharks have a better reputation then we can get more voices putting pressure on their governments to protect them! As well as this often ecotourism ventures will put some of the money back into more shark conservation efforts.

Knowledge – By learning more about sharks we know how to help them better. This can be done by putting more money into research. There are lots of studies going on worldwide tagging lots of different species of shark and tracking them.

How can you help?

You don’t have to be a marine biologist or conservationist to help out the sharks. There are things you can do right now to help them even if you live no where near the ocean!

  1. First things first, don’t eat shark! It’s not only bad for the shark if you eat them but it’s also bad for you. Shark meat has really high levels of mercury in it. Eating a lot of mercury can lead to damage to your vital organs and immune system.
  2. Keep shark out of your beauty products. If they contain the ingredient Squalene that is shark liver oil.
  3. Don’t buy shark products! Leave their teeth where they should be.
  4. Don’t support businesses that use sharks. Like restaurants that serve it or beauty companies that use the oils.
  5. Be aware of where your seafood comes from. Sharks often get caught up in nets and die needlessly. So look on the packet for dolphin and shark friendly seafood!
  6. Keep informed, the more you know about sharks the better and then share what you know to get more people on the shark train!

I’ve really loved writing about my favourite group of species. Shark conservation is so important to me because I want to keep all the sharks around for more people to see. They are a huge part in the marine ecosystem and must be protected. Back to normal programming next week!

More articles from the Shark Tank

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6 in 60: Number 41 – Bacteria

Hello! A new month and I’m going to be going for a full complement of blogs this month, fingers crossed it comes off (I know last month was a little sparse). Anyway on to this months theme for 6 in 60! This month it’s all about bacteria! Let’s go!

  1. Bacteria are single celled microbes. The cell structure is simpler than that of other organisms as there is no nucleus or membrane bound organelles.
  2. The control centre of a bacterial cell is a singular loop of DNA, some bacteria have extra loops of DNA and these are called plasmids.
  3. Bacteria are classified into 5 groups according to their basic shapes: spherical (cocci), rod (bacilli), spiral (spirilla), comma (vibrios) or corkscrew (spirochaetes).
  4. They produce oxygen! It has been said up to half of the oxygen in the atmosphere.
  5. Most bacteria are useful – gut bacteria produce vitamins and help people (and animals) digest their food, and bacteria in the roots help legumes (plants in the pea and bean family) get nitrogen out of the soil, which helps them to grow.
  6. Using antibiotics too often, or for diseases that don’t need them, like colds and flu (caused by viruses) can stop the antibiotics working (known as antibiotic resistance). MRSA (methicillin-resistant or Multiple-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a resistant form of a common bacterium found on the skin, which can cause infections after surgery.

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The Sources

The first three come from microbiology online, there is a huge amount of information there for the keen microbiologist. The last three come from this website, had lots of other short facts if you were interested.

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ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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