Piping plover conservation in Massachusetts, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

15 August 2014

The threatened piping plover has been the focus of intensive conservation in Massachusetts. Thanks to continuing efforts by the many partners of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MassWildlife, the plover population here has come a long way since the shorebird was protected under the Endangered Species Act, from around 140 pairs when it was listed in 1986 to more than 650 pairs in 2013. Here are four examples of communities that are making a difference.

Plovers along the Atlantic Coast return to the Northeast in spring to breed and raise their young over the summer. If you’re visiting one of the region’s great beaches, look out for signage about this rare species. You can help us protect their nests and chicks:

-Respect all areas fenced or posted for protection of wildlife.
-Do not approach or linger near piping plovers or their nests.
-Please leave pets at home or on leash. Plovers perceive dogs as predators.
-Don’t leave or bury trash or food scraps on beaches. Garbage attracts predators that may prey upon piping plover eggs or chicks.
-Volunteer!

United States trees leafing out sooner than in Thoreau’s time


This video from the USA is called Henry David Thoreau‘s Walden: A Tribute.

From Boston University in the USA today:

Walden trees leafing out far earlier than in Thoreau’s time

9 minutes ago by Richard Primack

Climate-change studies by Boston University biologists show leaf-out times of trees and shrubs at Walden Pond are an average of 18 days earlier than when Henry David Thoreau made his observations there in the 1850s. However, not all plants respond in the same way, the result of which is that native species eventually may be threatened and lose competitive advantage to more resilient invasive shrubs such as Japanese barberry, according to a study published in the new edition of New Phytologist.

Walden trees

“By comparing historical observations with current experiments, we see that climate change is creating a whole new risk for the native plants in Concord,” said BU Prof. Richard Primack. “Weather in New England is unpredictable, and if plants leaf out early in warm years, they risk having their leaves damaged by a surprise frost. But if plants wait to leaf out until after all chance of frost is lost, they may lose their competitive advantage.”

The study began when Caroline Polgar, a graduate student with Primack, examined Thoreau’s unpublished observations of leaf-out times for common trees and shrubs in Concord in the 1850s, then repeated his observations over the past five springs.

“We started to wonder if all trees and shrubs in Concord are equally responsive to warming temperatures in the spring,” Polgar said. What she found was surprising. “All species—no exceptions—are leafing out earlier now than they did in Thoreau’s time,” she said. “On average, woody plants in Concord leaf out 18 days earlier now.”

In New England, plants have to be cautious about leafing out in the early spring. If they leaf out too early, their young leaves could suffer from subsequent late frost. Since leafing-out requirements are thought to be species-specific, the group designed a lab experiment to test the responsiveness of 50 tree and shrub species in Concord to warming temperatures in the late winter and early spring.

For the past two winters, the researchers traveled to Concord and collected leafless dormant twigs from each species, and placed them in cups of water in their lab. Over the following weeks, they observed how quickly each species was be able produce their leaves in these unseasonably warm lab conditions.

“We found compelling evidence that invasive shrubs, such as Japanese barberry, are ready to leaf out quickly once they are exposed to warm temperatures in the lab even in the middle of winter, whereas native shrubs, like highbush bluberry, and native trees, like red maple, need to go through a longer winter chilling period before they can leaf out—and even then their response is slow,” says Amanda Gallinat, a second-year graduate student and third author of the paper.

The strength of this study, Gallinat said, is the pairing of observations and experiments.

“Our current observations show that plants in Concord today are leafing out earlier than in Thoreau’s time in response to warm temperatures,” she said. “However, the experiments show that as spring weather continues to warm, it will be the invasive shrubs that will be best able to take advantage of the changing conditions.”

The spring growing season is of increasing interest to biologists studying the effects of a warming climate, and in coming decades non-native invasive shrubs are positioned to win the gamble on warming temperature, Primack said. The BU group is adding these findings to a growing list of advancing spring phenomena in Concord and elsewhere in Massachusetts, including flowering dates, butterfly flight times, and migratory bird arrivals.

Explore further: Warm winters let trees sleep longer.

More information: docs.google.com/file/d/0B05KETqlwfNmdnRhTHF3QTNzYkU/edit?pli=1

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FBI withheld information on Boston bombing suspects from local police


This video from the USA is called Amateur footage Boston bomb attack.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

FBI, Homeland Security withheld information on Boston bombing suspects from local, state police

11 May 2013

The Boston police commissioner and a top Massachusetts Homeland Security official told Congress Thursday that the local and state police were never informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Homeland Security of multiple warnings about Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar are the only suspects to date in the twin bombings at the downtown Boston finish line of the race, which killed three people and wounded more than 160 others. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police on April 19. Dzhokhar is under arrest at a prison medical facility outside of Boston.

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said his department had been unaware that the Russian government contacted the FBI in 2011 to warn of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radical jihadist sympathies and his plans to travel to the northern Caucasus and link up with Islamist separatist and terrorist elements from Dagestan and Chechnya. Nor had he been told, he said, that the FBI had questioned the elder Tsarnaev brother and his family, or that Tamerlan subsequently, in 2012, spent six months in the volatile region of southern Russia.

Ernest Hemingway in Cuba and the USA


This video from the USA is the film For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) – Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.

From Prensa Latina news agency:

Hemingway Writings Preserved in Cuba Sent to US

Havana, May 10 – A total of 2,000 unpublished documents written by US author Ernest Hemingway were preserved by Cuban and US specialists as part of a bilateral agreement signed in 2002.

The lot of documents by Hemingway was sent to the US and will be exhibited soon at the Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts, being the second sending from Cuba to the US cultural institution.

Ada Rosa Alfonso, director of the museum, told Prensa Latina that it is an extension of the working agreement for more than 10 years, with the objective that both nations possess a digital copy of the documents.

Specialists from the Andover, Massachusetts North Eastern Center for Document Preservation are working together with Cuban colleagues, she said.

Among the documents there is a letter written to Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman talking about Hemingway’s wish she were the starring actress in the famous film “For Whom the Bell Tolls” inspired by the novel with the same name written by Hemingway.

Another significant document is the group of letters addressed to his wife Mary Welsh, shopping lists, travelling itineraries and several of his weather considerations about the hurricanes going through the island between 1939 and 1960.

In the first part of the project, among the preserved documents there were manuscripts on his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and a sample of the script for the film “The Old Man and the Sea”, also based on a novel written by the famous US writer.

Recently restored and with more than 9.88 acres, the house and farm in which Hemingway lived in Cuba, called Finca Vigia, in San Francisco de Paula, near the Cuban capital, was bought by Hemingway in December 1940.

His yacht, called “Pilar”, was restored with its original colors, registration information and other elements, to recreate the environment that surrounded Hemingway in Cuba.

Blue shark deep diving record


This video from the USA says about itself:

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Blue Shark Adventure

Mar 12, 2013

Jonathan joins Charlie Donilon on his shark charter boat in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and learns about how shark tagging has shed light on the biology of and behavior of Blue sharks. Tagging has shown that these incredible swimmers actually migrate completely across the Atlantic ocean. Jonathan tries his hand at tagging a shark and then swims with Blue sharks. We also learn that Blue sharks are not nearly as vicious as they have been reputed to be, and the divers are actually able to pet the sharks!

From the New Zealand Herald:

Shark’s record dive into the blue

By Morgan Tait

5:30 AM Thursday Apr 25, 2013

Recently tagged male blue shark plunges 1250m off the Bay of Plenty coast in a quest for a meal of squid.

A shark broke a world record when he dived deeper than any recorded before off the coast of New Zealand this week.

Bodhi, a 2.5m male blue shark, dived 1250m deep off the Bay of Plenty coast on Tuesday, data from satellite tagging research by University of Auckland PhD student Riley Elliott has shown.

Mr Elliott tagged the shark three weeks ago off the Coromandel Peninsula as part of his study to track the habitat use and migration of blue sharks in New Zealand waters.

Bodhi is one of eight sharks monitored with tags that transmit their location to Mr Elliott’s computer, but only one of two fitted with tags that also record depth and water temperature.

“This guy went from the Coromandel out into the Bay of Plenty area and went about 100km off the Bay of Plenty. There he’s in 2000m of water at a big … underwater volcano, and for some reason he realised that he wants to go down for a dive – so he went from the surface water down to the deepest recorded depth a blue shark has ever gone.”

The previous record was held by a 1.8m female blue shark tagged in Portugal. She dived to 1160m.

Bodhi was probably chasing squid – 60 per cent of a blue shark’s diet – when he made the dive, said Mr Elliott.

“It’s unusual for sharks to dive so deep. They usually stay in the top layer of water because it isn’t efficient for an animal to do that unless they’re getting a reward, so that further supports the idea that it’s foraging.”

Mr Elliott’s study was the first of its kind in NZ waters, and such finds so early on are encouraging.

“He did 90m more which isn’t a great amount but the fact that he’s only been tagged for about three weeks and is still in coastal waters and has recorded a depth deeper than ever recorded means he’ll probably dive deeper throughout the one to three years the tag should keep giving me information.”

Professor John Montgomery, Mr Elliott’s supervisor and Leigh Marine Laboratory director, said the record was likely to be one of many to come from the work.

“I suspect this is the first of a number of very interesting findings that will come out of this study,” he said. “There’s a whole new wave of technology coming out with respect to those tags which provide really new insights into what those animals are doing and where they are.”

Mr Elliott hoped his research would increase knowledge about sharks and their behaviour and aid shark conservation projects.

Record-setting shark

• 2.5m male blue shark named Bodhi.
• Satellite tagged off Castle Rock, Coromandel, three weeks ago.
• Dived 1250m deep off Bay of Plenty coast on Tuesday.
• Previous record was 1160m dived by a 1.8m female shark tagged in Portugal.