A whale is a terrible thing to waste

22 10 2008

Oh I so want to move back to Brisbane.

The Queensland Museum has gotten first dibs on the body of a juvenile Blue Whale that died after beaching itself near Townsville.

They plan to cut away its soft tissue (a mammoth task that will take 2 days) and then display the skeleton. It would be the first complete skeleton of a blue whale in a museum anywhere in the world.

The soft tissue and other samples won’t go to waste either (I hope). They will be used in further research, first on the agenda, identifying the subspecies of this specimen.





And the song goes on

11 10 2008

Something I learned doing research with endangered Australian marsupials was that Australia has the worst record on history as far as extinctions of major animal species.

This doesn’t look set to change anytime soon.

At least my Australian European-ness can feel a little less self conscious – it seems its been that way since humans started arriving on this island.

Particularly Tasmania.

Which is still very depressing. Tasmania’s island of an island status means it does have some of the more interesting ecosystem inhabitants. With creatures like the Tasmanian devil not found anywhere else anymore.

Human arrivals to isolated islands – such as Mauritias and New Zealand – has seen severe eco-damage throughout history.

There is also a feature on this research in this month’s Australasian Science.





Where the Wild Things Were

23 09 2008

Want this book:

Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators: Where the Wild Things Were – William Stolzenburg

Must look into getting one of those Amazon wishlists and ransoming a small, cute, delicious animal on the internet… hmmmm….





Stupid Fishies

28 07 2008

Some sick and disgusting people seem happy just to prey upon ignorant marine species – lobsters can’t read maps and work out how to stay in their no-catch zone areas.

Anything that doesn’t have a backbone doesn’t deserve to be eaten. Freaks.

Anyway, in all seriousness this is pretty good news from a conservational aspect. And it does deserve a big stocker of “duh”.

I think this sort of scheme may not play so well for terrestrial species though. Not only would minimum habitat size thresholds be a bit higher, but a major factor limiting habitat size for land animals is that humans are destroying or using natural habitats. There would be no overflow space for the giant deer or koalas to move into.

Until humans start colonising the ocean floor it looks like no-catch zones may continue to work

Of course not eating fish or seafood is yet another option. I just can’t see what is so appealing about eating invertebrates – you might as well be eating worms — ewwww….