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Particularly hard on foxes and bears Study finds oilsands change forest fauna

first_imgEDMONTON – Research suggests even underground oilsands mines have profound effects on the forest community that vary from animal to animal.“What you’re seeing in the oilsands is a change in how that landscape works,” said University of Victoria ecologist Jason Fisher, who works for the Alberta government agency Innotech.Fisher’s paper, published in the journal Frontiers In Ecology, looked at the effects of forestry and in-situ oilsands mines on 10 mammals from moose to wolves to squirrels. It found some species were winners and some were losers, but all were affected.“I didn’t expect to find an effect on red squirrels or snowshoe hares,” Fisher said. “The fact we found these consistent large effects on the entire mammals community was quite a surprise to me.”Fisher’s paper looked at 3,000 square kilometres of forest north of Cold Lake, Alta., that was heavily logged and criss-crossed by roads, seismic lines, well pads and other energy industry features. All the oilsands development in the area is in situ, meaning the bitumen is mined from beneath the surface without large open pits.“It’s an area of intensive development,” Fisher said.He and co-author Cole Burton set up wildlife cameras at 62 sites and set about documenting animal life. They studied species that could be photographed: wolves, deer, moose, bears, coyotes, lynx, foxes, hares, squirrels and a type of weasels called fishers.Three years, 141,000 photos and a complicated statistical analysis later, they had a clear picture of how industrial features were affecting the animals.The impacts were complex.Cutblocks, with their open shrubbery, were good for moose but bad for hares. Seismic lines were great for coyotes but terrible for bears. Trails were good for lynx but bad for fishers. Squirrels were fine with trails but disliked well sites.On average, Fisher found man-made features led to a decreased presence of moose, black bears, fishers and foxes. They were particularly hard on foxes and bears.But those features led to the other six species studied being more common, especially white-tailed deer.“A carnivore that makes its living by chasing things through the woods, then that species is going to do well,” said Fisher. “If you increase resources for something that can exploit (shrubby) vegetation, that’s the kind of species that does well.“For species that don’t rely on movement through a forest or (shrubby) vegetation, those are the losers.”No species was unaffected. That means a study of one species — say, caribou — can’t deliver a complete picture of how development affects ecosystems, Fisher said.“By trying to fix the problem symptom by symptom, you miss the underlying problem, which is the fundamental change to the landscape.”Scientists are just starting to sort through the tangled web of life in Canada’s northern forests, said Fisher. But they’re making progress, he said, and their work needs to be consulted as governments consider development.“We can’t demonize any of these industries. This is the net result of a bunch of things happening on a landscape all at the same time.“To not include cumulative effects assessment in a scientific way is to ignore a lot of the information we have available.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960last_img read more

Nobel winning scientist to boycott top science journals

first_img In the article Schekman claims that scientific research is being “disfigured by inappropriate incentives.” He maintains that the top science journals are artificially inflating their stature by keeping the number of articles they publish low. He asserts that the practices of the top journals is causing undo difficulties with young researchers who have become convinced the only true measure of success is publication in one of the top tier journals.He continues by suggesting that because the top tier journals are run by editors, rather than scientists, it’s often the flashiest articles that get published, rather than the best or most relevant.Schekman offered hints of his dissatisfaction with the publication process when he took a position as an editor at eLife, an online science journal that prints research papers—it’s also peer reviewed, but doesn’t charge an access fee.In his article he suggests that many researchers and organizations cut corners in order to focus more clearly on the “wow” factor and as a result the number of papers being retracted by science journals is on the rise, which of course includes some very high profile instances, such as by some who are supposedly involved in the cloning of human embryos.Schekman also takes issue with the concept of paper quality being linked to impact factor (a metric that describes how often a paper is cited)—suggesting it might be as much of an indicator of a hot topic, or even an article that is simply wrong, as it is for describing good science.He concludes by adding to the chorus of supporters of open-access journals and suggests that those that offer funding for research join the effort, as they are jointly responsible for the maintenance of the flawed status-quo due to continuing to base decisions on article representation in high profile journals, rather than on overall quality of work or appearance in lower tier journals.Editors from Nature, Life and Cell have all responded to Schekman’s accusations, and for the most part have denied that their articles are popularity based—insisting that article acceptance is based strictly on science and quality. Explore further Randy Schekman. Credit: James Kegley/Wikipedia , Nature Citation: Nobel winning scientist to boycott top science journals (2013, December 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-12-nobel-scientist-boycott-science-journals.html , Cell This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —Randy Schekman winner (with colleagues) of the Nobel Prize this year in the Physiology or Medicine category for his work that involved describing how materials are carried to different parts of cells, has stirred up a hornet’s nest in the scientific community by publishing an article in The Guardian lashing out at three of the top science journals—Science, Cell and Nature. Flawed sting operation singles out open access journals © 2013 Phys.org Journal information: Sciencelast_img read more

Enchanting eastern hues

first_imgShowcasing the work of three budding artists, Strokes from the East, a group art exhibition by Kolorbox captures the nuances and diversity of human experience across space and time. The first edition of the three day exhibition will kick off on 28 June in India Habitat Centre. The three artists, Dilip Oinam, Sandeep Jigdung and Deenabandhu Marndi, come from Manipur, Assam and Orissa, respectively.   Their works shall bring alive the local milieu of their birthplace as the artists set down to paint the picturesque landscapes of Manipur, Assam and Orissa.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Known for his larger than life solitary figures, from innocent children to women and couples, Oinam’s paintings are drawn from his personal experiences and mythologies. The multi-layered, complex and painstaking treatments in his works enhance the element of drama. Currently, he is based out in Delhi and has done many group shows. Jigdung is counted as one of the contemporary faces of art in the North-East. His works predominantly reflect his experiences of the place of his birth. The vivid and dominating greens in his canvas can almost be considered as a tribute to his vision and impression of the North-East. His current series of work, again characterized by shades of green, is a celebration of both nature and human existence.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixUsing photoink, Marndi depicts people and faces, realistically. His take on art is said to have a semi-autobiographical resonance. He is believed to draw from his memories and experiences of growing up in rural Orissa to articulate his humanistic view of life.Interestingly, their lives have been influenced by experiences out of their native states. Oinam who hails from Manipur is a BFA graduate in painting from the Delhi College of Art; coming from Assam, Jigdung did his MFA from College of Art in Delhi; and Marndi settled down in Delhi after completing BFA from Orissa. All these factors play a role in their lives that are inextricably linked with their existence. Watchout for a dash of metrolife leaving its impressions on the Eastern landscapes.WHERE: India Habitat CentreWHEN:  28 -30  June, 11 am to 8 pmlast_img read more

Bidding adieu to Premchand via theatre

first_imgThe curtains were drawn up, the lights dimmed as the Premchand Thetare festival took off in the Capital. With celebrations spread over five days with ten memorable stories of the bard enacted by school children on the capital stage.The final day of the festival put forth the plays titled Namak ka Daroga and Sachchai ka Uphaar. As many as 400 children from 10 different schools of the capital came together to participate in the workshop and festival that paid homage to one of Hindi Language’s most revered writers. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’While students from Darshan Academy enacted Namak ka Daroga, which was directed by Vipur Pachauri and assisted by Mohini Sangar, students from DAV Public School Dwarka enacted Sachchai ka Uphaar, directed by Amardeep Garg and assisted by Prashant Negi.The plays were presented by students who have spent their summer vacation honing their literary and theatrical skills at a workshop organised by the Hindi Academy under the Department of Art, Culture and Languages over a month. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix’We are sure when these children go back to their schools they will stir in others a greater interest in Hindi literature and its magnificent writers,’ said Dr Harisuman Bisht, renowned author and Secretary of Hindi Academy.’Premchand is a writer without whom Hindi literature cannot be imagined or talked about. He was a writer who went deep into the roots of Indian society and presented a true picture of it. So if we want to bring our children closer to Hindi literature, the job has to begin with Premchand,’ added Bisht.The Is Greeshma Premchand Hain Bachchon Ke Sang workshop was conducted by 10 directors chosen by the Academy to pay a tribute to Premchand.last_img read more