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New Study Finds that Bird Ingestion of Plastic in U.S./Canadian North Pacific Among Highest in the World

ABC Media Release

A new study by U.S. and Canadian scientists has found that seabirds may be eating much more plastic trash than they have in the past, and that seabirds studied off the coast of Washington State and British Columbia are ingesting plastic at rates that are “among the highest” in the world.

The report, soon-to-be published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, was authored by Stephanie Avery-Gomm of the University of British Columbia and five other researchers (see list at end of release). The study was carried out in 2009 – 2010 and involved the analysis of 67 Northern Fulmars that washed up dead on the shores between Long Beach, Washington, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Northern Fulmars, gull-like petrels related to albatrosses and shearwaters, are particularly suitable to study when considering trends in plastic pollution because they forage almost exclusively at sea, have vast ranges and because they will forage almost anything from the surface of the water…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)      (photo: Andreas Trepte)

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Tagged as: fulmar,


Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea)

…is a species of fulmarine petrel endemic to Antarctica and surrounding islands. Like most Tubinares  the snow petrel feeds at sea for fish, molluscs and small arthropods that are either found near the surface or caught when diving. Snow petrels are solitary birds and live by themselves for a portion of their lives, but during the breeding season they will form large colonies and raise their young. After the breeding season occurs the petrels will remain faithful to each-other for the remainder of their lives.



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Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis)

…a large species of shearwater (Procellariidae) that breeds throughout the South Atlantic on Nightingale and many other Islands. Outside the breeding season great shearwaters will migrate along the east coast of South America north to the North Atlantic, where it winters in the Arctic circle. Like other procellariiform birds P. gravis is pelagic (spends most of it live at sea) and feeds mainly on fish, squid and crustaceans which are caught by plunge diving.


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Procellariiformes-Procellariidae-Puffinus-P. gravis

Images: Patrick Coin and JJ Harrison


Blue Petrel (by 0ystercatcher)


What are the tubes on seabirds for?

function of the tubes on Procellariiformes

as you may or may not have noticed several species of seabirds like albatrosses, petrels, fulmars and shearwaters all have tubes on their bills called narnicorns. These tubes earned the order their name tubenoses but what function do they serve? It turns out that these tubes help the birds remove salt from their systems  by forming a saline solution which is either dripped or ejected through the nostril. Procellariiformes also have a tubular nasal passage which helps the birds smell prey in the open ocean.



salvin’s albatros (by pablo_caceres_c)

she’s beauty and she’s grace, she’s miss united states


Chlorociboria | ©João P. Burini

Piedade, São Paulo, Brazil.

Chlorociboria is a genus of stunning blue-green cup-fungus belonging to the family Helotiaceae. The mycelium of this fungus grows through the wood of hardwoods, including poplar, aspen, oak and ash, and stains it conspicuously blue-green. The stained wood is often seen but the fruit bodies are less frequent.

The infected wood, known as ‘green oak’, was formerly used in the manufacture of Tunbridge ware, a traditional method of decoration where woods of different colours were arranged into blocks to give the desired pattern, compressed, then cut transversely into thin strips of veneer.

Distribution: America and Europe.

Fungi - Acomycota - Pezizomycotina - Leotiomycetes - Helotiales - Helotiaceae - Chlorociboria



Sea Star Locomotion

Selections from the storyboard for an upcoming animation project. I am depicting the anatomy and movements involved in sea star locomotion.

Sea stars achieve movement through a simple hydraulics system, known as the water vascular system. The sea star draws water in through the madroporite, a filter and siphon located on the top of its body. The water travels through a series of ducts, called canals, to the tube feet that sprout from the underside of the sea stars’ arms.

The tube feet extend and retract via water pressure as the bulbous top part, the ampulla, contracts and relaxes. Muscles located in the podium, the ‘trunk-like’ part of the tube foot, move the tube foot from side to side to aid in walking. The sucker at the bottom of the tube foot uses a glandular secretion to stick to substrate on the ocean floor (or the glass of an aquarium).


Some people say that manual scientific illustration will be superseded by computers and photography. I’m not convinced that’s the case.



Hyperrealistic Drawings of Everyday Objects

By Marcello Barenghi


Bacteriophage in watercolor!  Yeah, science! This piece has sold, but DO keep an eye out for more like this in my shop


16 November 2013

Kaleidoscopic Cats

Famous for his humorous portrayal of cats, English Edwardian artist Louis Wain battled with mental illness throughout his life. Pictured here are six cats he painted, which psychiatrist Walter Maclay arranged into a series (top left to bottom right) that in his view illustrated Wain’s deterioration. Whether Wain (1860-1939) suffered from the disorder we now call schizophrenia (a term first used in 1908) is still a matter for debate. However, a biological explanation linking creativity and mental illness is beginning to emerge. One example includes a variant of the neuregulin 1 gene. In humans this is linked to psychosis, but it also correlates with creativity in people of high intellectual and academic ability. This observation, while helping to dispel some of the myths surrounding mental illness, may go some way to explaining why psychotic disorders prevail across generations.

Written by Brona McVittie

Original images by Louis Wain
This work is in the public domain in the European Union
Research published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, June 2008


Study Finds Weirdos Make Better Artists

Must be an artist.

Researchershave proved that people think weirdos make better art. A team of…

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Estudio Biología Marina

Me gustan con dos de azúcar, gracias

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