Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The third annual National Endangered Species Day is May 16th, 2008. Here's another website about the event. Zoos and aquariums have special programs. I'd like to see google spruce up their logo for the day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A new species of sponge was discovered in a deep canyon off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. The name of the new sponge means "heart" in Unungan (Alaska natives).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Here is a video depicting the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia. The rainforest is being destroyed to obtain palm oil used by big business. Hearing about it is one thing, but seeing pictures of a smoking forest, trees falling, chainssaws roaring, and people fishing makes it very real. In some ways the Indonesian people remind me of the endangered animals I like to write about. They both need some outside help before it's too late.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Today I met a woman who grew up in Puerto Rico. Since I've been working on an article about bioluminescent jellyfish, I knew about the dinoflagellites in a bay in Vieques Puerto Rico. When these tiny organisms are disturbed they glow in the dark. She lit up when she talked of this Bay and traveling through it by charter boat. She told me they're so small you can't see them in your hand. Then she described scooping up a pail of water and pouring it out. In darkness, the water sparkles with tiny stars of light. How cool! I thought it would be so much fun to swim at night having every movement create glowing light. Then she mentioned the barracuda's in the water!

I found a website where you can actually buy dinoflagellites. I've never bought them so I have no clue how difficult it is to keep them or if the site is reputable, although it looks that way.

The same chemical reaction that causes a firefly to make light happens in a dinoflagellite. Scientists found out that crystal jellyfish make light differently then fireflies. It took years and years of studying these jellyfish, but now research labs all around the world are using what was discovered. It is an amazing story that will be published in December of 2008 in ChemMatters.