sheerdarwinism:

The WWF and the Zoological Society of London have released a new analysis that shows the earth has lost 50% of its vertebrate wildlife in the last 40 years.

This steep decline of vertebrates was calculated by analysing 10,000 populations of more than 3,000 species. The data was then used to create a ‘Living Planet Index’ (LPI), to reflect the state of all 45,000 known species of vertebrates. And the result is this - in the last 40 years, we have managed to kill 50% of all earth’s known vertebrates. And remember, this analysis didn’t include invertebrates, so the total overall loss could be much, much higher.

The fastest declines are in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have dropped 75% since 1970. Freshwater rivers often represent the end of a system, where effluent often ends up.

The graph above shows the causes of vertebrate decline based on analysis of 3,430 species’ populations. As it stands, we are cutting down trees for soy, timber, and beef faster than they can grow. We are hunting animals faster than they can reproduce. We are pumping water out of rivers faster than rainfall can replenish them. And we are pumping out carbon faster than can be absorbed (and even then, the absorption of carbon dioxide by oceans is another issue).

The photos above show just some of the animals that have been experienced serious declines in the last 40 years. As reported by The Guardian:

David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all. But 2015 – when the countries of the world are due to come together to agree on a new global climate agreement, as well as a set of sustainable development goals – presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the trends.

“We all – politicians, businesses and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.”

Reblogged from dendroica

libutron:

Basket Star - Astrocladus cf. euryale

Basket stars are a group of ophiuroids (Ophiuroidea - Euryalida - Gorgonocephalidae) in which the five arms are very branched. Most of them remain hidden during the day but come out at night, extending their arms into the water to trap food particles.

The Basket Star Astrocladus euryale (in the photos) is a species native to South Africa, whose arms are branched successively and are covered with pale spots. Sometimes this Basket star is commonly referred to as Gorgon’s Head.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Andrew Taylor | South Africa (2006-2007) | [Top] - [Middle] - [Bottom]

Reblogged from talkzoology

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

In the dark of the ocean, some animals have evolved to use bioluminescence as a defense. In the animation above, an ostracod, one of the tiny crustaceans seen flitting near the top of the tank, has just been swallowed by a cardinal fish. When threatened, the ostracod ejects two chemicals, luciferin and luciferase, which, when combined, emit light. Because the glow would draw undesirable attention to the cardinal fish, it spits out the ostracod and the glowing liquid and flees. Check out the full video clip over at BBC News. Other crustaceans, including several species of shrimp, also spit out bioluminescent fluids defensively. (Image credit: BBC, source video; via @amyleerobinson)

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

In the dark of the ocean, some animals have evolved to use bioluminescence as a defense. In the animation above, an ostracod, one of the tiny crustaceans seen flitting near the top of the tank, has just been swallowed by a cardinal fish. When threatened, the ostracod ejects two chemicals, luciferin and luciferase, which, when combined, emit light. Because the glow would draw undesirable attention to the cardinal fish, it spits out the ostracod and the glowing liquid and flees. Check out the full video clip over at BBC News. Other crustaceans, including several species of shrimp, also spit out bioluminescent fluids defensively. (Image credit: BBC, source video; via @amyleerobinson)

Reblogged from theletterkilleth

libutron:

The Olm - Proteus anguinus 

This strange creature is commonly known as the Olm, a rare cave salamander belonging to the species Proteus anguinus (Caudata - Proteidae), which is only found in Europe. 

The Olm is perfectly adapted to live in caves. As it spends its entire life in darkness, Proteus anguinus has very poorly developed eyes and is blind. It also lacks pigment in the skin, giving its body a pasty white appearance, Its pink hue is due to blood capillaries near the skin, and as its translucency shows the contours of the internal organs. 

This salamander does not undergo a clear metamorphosis and retains many juvenile features, such as gills, throughout its life. It is long-lived, potentially reaching up to 58 years of age.

The Olm is restricted to subterranean aquatic habitats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Italy and Slovenia. The species is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Darko Visek | Locality: Rokina, Croatia, 2008] - [Bottom: ©National Geographic | Locality: Divje Jezero, Idrija, Slovenia]

Reblogged from dont-panic-zoology