Tracking the Origin of Shark Fins Using DNA Zip Coding

shark fins Shark fins soup is a delicacy that led the sharks all around the globe to drastically decrease in numbers. Until recently, it was a real challenge to determine the origin of the fins and whether they came from an endangered species. This was making it difficult to prove whether the fishing was legal or not. Now we can not only tell the difference between species, but we can also determine the area from where the fins were collected. Recent studies have shown that female sharks that are born in a specific area will return to give birth there, so the population’s DNA differs by its mother’s specifics. This also means that if the population of sharks declines too much or it’s wiped out in a specific region, then it won’t be replenish by the immigration of sharks from another area.
The sharks being a very important link of the aquatic food chain, the health of the oceans depends in keeping their numbers constant. When a shark population declines under 20% of what it was in the past, then it is considered to be on the endangered list. This happened to the dusky shark and the copper shark. The ability of determining a species and its origin only from the DNA samples will represent a great help for the regulation of the global trade. This way the fishing in the regions where the sharks are scarce can be controlled so the population would have time to regenerate. The process of recovering can be a long one, since these shark species mature in about 20 years and give birth once every three years. This means that, even if humans only need a few decades to drastically reduce the shark population, the time it will take for it to replenish is that of a few centuries.

How To Prevent Birds From Colliding With Manmade Objects

Birds can collide with manmade objects and this can happen very often. The question that always intrigued the scientists is why? Since it was accepted by everyone that birds use their sight as the first of their senses when they fly, it was a mystery why they could not see the obstacles in their way. The most unpleasant thing is that collisions with pylons, turbines and power lines lead to 25% of the juvenile and 6% of the adults’ deaths of endangered species like Ciconia ciconia (or the White Stork).
People have tried to understand the reason behind these accidents and also sought to find a way to warn the birds of the danger. They failed on the most part because, until now, they also tried to make the obstacles more noticeable for human eyes and not for the birds.
Studying their way of flying, scientists have come to two relevant conclusions: one, that birds don’t always look forward when they fly, most of the times they look for prey or interesting places on the soil, so their binocular vision makes them practically blind for the obstacles ahead; and two, that birds usually can’t adjust too much the speed at which they’re flying, so at high speed and in poor weather conditions, they are not able to adjust to the changes they encounter in their path. It also seems that birds are more attuned to the direction they are flying and don’t use their sight to look into open space. It mostly seems that they are guided by their instinct to maintain the right course, and not by their eyes.
The best method to help the birds and prevent accidents, is to make them aware of the danger through alerting sounds and signals that should be placed at some distance from the obstacle to give them time to adjust their direction.

Rotational Grazing Will Result In Healthier Cattle And Thriving Wildlife

Recent studies have shown that it’s not necessary to keep the cattle on a pasture until almost complete depletion before moving them. In fact, those studies determined that it’s even healthier for the animals if they move more often from a pasture to another. This is called rotational grazing.
Let’s see why this type of grazing better is and what its benefits are. From the cattle’s perspective, grazing just a little while on a pasture before moving on, it’s better because the animals will only get the best grass, the richest in nutrients. Also, they’ll always have plenty to graze, because the place will be new all the time. This will increase their weight and productions.

From the wildlife’s point of view, having the herd of cattle there for a smaller period of time will imply they’ll be less disturbed and more time to manifest their normal behavior. Also, if the cattle won’t deplete their food source, the natural balance won’t be disturbed too much.

There is one more perspective we should look at when we consider rotational grazing: the flora’s perspective. Not being totally depleted of leaves, the plants have a better chance of recovering and replenish the grazing area. By giving it enough time, the farmers won’t feel the need to replace the indigenous flora with the exotic plants that are known to have a better productivity. The reason why maintaining the local flora is better than planting a new one, is that on the long run, the land will suffer because the soil is not use to these plants and will lose its fertility, becoming useless for agriculture and farming.

As the health of the soil is the key to success in raising cattle, rotational grazing could prove a revolutionary change in this agricultural segment and can also be one of the first ecological measures that can be applied on a large scale to protect nature and provide for the needs of humanity.

The Dangers of Fishing Too Much

Fishing too muchWhen learning about the threats and dangers that natural habitats undergo due to the lack of conscious of human beings, we have seen how the larger animals are constantly suffering and even need to be protected. However when it comes to the marine life, all types of fish be it large or small, seem to be equally affected when their habitat is endangered.

New studies that have analyzed data from the last sixty years have found that members of the food chain have been affected almost equally. Prior to these studies the common assumption was that the larger fish were more at risk and therefore regulations were imposed that limited their fishing; it was thought that the smaller fish were tougher and would survive longer.

The investigation has found that even the smaller fish are susceptible to the changes and dangers of overfishing. The numbers indicated that the small fish stocks were doubly affected by overfishing as opposed to the larger fish.

The investigators made emphasis that the results of habitat risk and changes on the ocean were different than those on land. The reason being is that on land the animals have to fight for territory which a lot of times is very limited whereas in the ocean the territory is large enough for all the different species.

Other ecologists have proposed that the changes in the fish population can also be due to the changes in the climate and that perhaps the overfishing issues helped make the problems even worse. Also the study was performed on data obtained from a few developed countries and that the pattern could be different in other areas from developing countries.

It was stated that this should be taken into consideration because overfishing can impact negatively the natural habitats of different fish species.