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Island Biology Conference, Hawai’i

This week scientists from around the world are gathering at the University of Hawai’i for the world’s first Island Biology conference. The conference is named after the seminal 1974 book by Sherwin Carlquist, and will open with the Carlquist address. For the rest of the week hundreds of scientists will present their work and share…

50th Anniversary of Rodent Eradications

In 2014 New Zealand celebrates 50 years of rodent eradications, following the confirmation of successful eradication of Norway rats from Maria Island in 1964 by the Forest and Bird Protection Society with assistance from Don Merton, and a grant of 5 pounds from the Wildlife Service. At that time only 0.5% of New Zealand’s islands…

Song Saa—Eco Luxury Meets Environmental Sustainability

By Deborah Bassett When Australians Rory and Melita Hunter first traveled to Cambodia’s remote southwest Koh Rong Archipelago in 2005, they embarked upon the journey of a lifetime. Surrounded by the clear turquoise waters of The Gulf of Thailand, the couple happened upon a set of twin islands long known affectionately to locals as Song Saa,…

Hawaiʻi Selected to Host IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most important conservation event. Held every four years, it aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development on a global scale. It includes leaders from governments, the public sector, business, UN agencies, conservation and social organizations from around…

International Island Biodiversity Day

The 22nd of May is the International day for Biological Diversity, and this year the theme is Island Biodiversity. Islands house a disproportionate amount of the world’s biodiversity: although less than 5% of the world’s land area, they are home to over 20% of the planet’s terrestrial biodiversity, and in the last 500 years 80%…

Keeping Island Biodiversity Afloat

Islands are rightfully a major focus of conservation investment. Some of the world’s most endangered species have been moved to islands, where they can be more easily monitored and are safe from threats. Invasive species can be completely removed from islands using precision eradication operations, allowing the original inhabitants of islands to flourish once again.…

Iguana Research on Gaulin Cay, Bahamas

The final installment in a series of posts by Chicago area college students enrolled in the John G. Shedd Aquarium’s Marine and Island Ecology course offered through the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA). Our students work closely with Shedd staff through both field work and onsite classes. At the end of the course,…

How Do Frogs Colonize Oceanic Islands?

When I first started this project, I figured my chances of actually finding the ancestral species, let alone the specific source population, were slim to none. But the presence of seven endemic amphibians on two tiny oceanic islands serves as a constant reminder that with enough time, anything is possible!

The Quest for Giant Treefrog Tadpoles

Finding tadpoles of the Príncipe Giant Treefrog will help identify what types of habitat this endemic species relies on, but after many years of searching for them, finding these elusive tadpoles has also become a matter of personal pride.

How Coloring Books & Playing Cards Can Help Save Rare Speicies

As part of a nine-person biodiversity and education expedition to the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, Young Explorer Rayna Bell is searching for elusive treefrogs at night and spreading knowledge about local biodiversity during the day.

Racing Against the Clock to Document Biodiversity in Africa’s Eden

With the recent discovery of offshore oil, São Toméans will soon face the challenge of reconciling rapid economic development with preserving their natural heritage. The problem is that no one knows how many species occupy the islands or how irreplaceable that diversity might be.

Galapagos Bombarded with Poison in Effort to Rid an Island of Rats

Following tests on smaller islands, the government of Ecuador today begins the second phase of dropping massive amounts of specially designed poison on a Galapagos island thought to be infested with nearly 200 million invasive rats. Introduced centuries ago by pirates, whalers and other visitors, the rodents wreak havoc among the wildlife of Galapagos by preying on eggs and hatchlings of bird and reptile species.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: In the Footsteps of Charles Darwin

In 1835 Charles Darwin arrived on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, noting in his journal that it had long been frequented, first by buccaneers, latterly by whalers–and then political dissidents exiled from mainland South America. The giant tortoises Darwin saw on Floreana have since been extirpated from the island and the prisoners and pirates exist only in history. But the scenery he described remains much the same, and a tradition of leaving mail in a “post office barrel” for collection and delivery by passing ships has endured for two centuries.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Swimming with Sea Lions

This is the second post in my account of a ten-day exploration of the Galapagos, on board the National Geographic Endeavour. In the first post, I described our arrival on the island of San Cristobal and our first visit to a Galapagos beach.     We awoke on the first full day of our expedition to…

Pacific Challenges: Urbanization Brings Change and Opportunity to Island Nations

  By Tuiloma Neroni Slade There are few places in the world where population growth and urbanization collide more starkly with vulnerability to climate change and disaster risk than in the Pacific region. As increasing numbers of Pacific Islanders move to towns and cities, the region’s long-standing tradition of rural ‘subsistence affluence’ is being eroded,…