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Conservation

The sheer density of the rainforests in Australia's far-north creates a slight problem for local conservationists. With incursions by invasive plants posing a threat to the native flora, inaccessibility for people makes it a difficult and time-consuming task to monitor the region. Now researchers from the CSIRO have developed two mini helicopters capable of hunting down the dangerous weeds from the air, significantly reducing the resources needed to preserve local plant life. Read More
If you live in an area where salmon spawn, then summer treats you to a free nature drama as the fish battle against currents, fight through rapids, struggle up tiny streams, and leap up waterfalls to return to the calm pools where they were born. Unfortunately, however intrepid the odd salmon is, they weren't built to take on a 300-ft tall hydroelectric dam. That's why Whooshh Innovations has developed a system that sucks the fish up through a plastic tube and shoots them over obstacles low and tall like so many piscatorial projectiles. Read More
Zoos traditionally hold animals in distinct enclosures into which visitors can peer. Newly unveiled designs for Givskud Zoo in Denmark, however, look to shake up this model. Zootopia will feature open landscapes for the animals into which visitor viewing points and routes will be built in a way that minimizes conspicuous barriers. Read More
Unsustainable fishing in Belize has placed growing pressure on local anglers and the country's celebrated coral reef systems. Decades of decline has led to the introduction of catch limits and even the European Union blacklisting seafood imports from Belize for a perceived lack of action against illegal fishing. In an effort to better regulate the industry, the Belize Fisheries Department has begun using drones to monitor coastal areas for unlicensed and unlawful activity. Read More
A famous red chalk on paper drawing, widely accepted as a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, is rapidly deteriorating from the effects of years of exposure to pollution, light, and heat. Worst of all, many centuries in unregulated and humid storage has led to extensive yellowing and browning of the paper. Recently, however, researchers from Italy and Poland have developed a new non-destructive, nano-level method to identify the root causes of the degradation and assist in planning appropriate conservation strategies. Read More
Fans of the abstract work of American painter Mark Rothko are in for a treat later this year. Harvard Art Museums has announced a seven-month exhibit called Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals, set to open in November featuring six panels Rothko made for Harvard in 1961 and 1962, as well as a series of related studies. Besides the opportunity to see works that have not been displayed for more than a decade, visitors will be able to see the murals in a new light, thanks to new digital restoration technology. Read More
Perhaps you've seen footage from National Geographic's "Crittercam," an underwater video camera that has been attached to animals such as sharks and whales. Well, scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the University of Tokyo have gone one better. Not only have they been putting cameras on sharks to see what they get up to, but they've also been slipping them ingestible sensors, to monitor their dietary habits. The data that they've gathered could help protect shark populations, and the overall health of the ocean. Read More
In order to better understand and protect wild stocks of salmon, it's necessary to track their whereabouts using implanted acoustic tags. Needless to say, the longer that those tags are able to transmit a signal, the greater the amount of data that can be gathered. Scientists at Washington state's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are helping make that happen, by developing batteries that have both a smaller size and higher energy density than conventional fish tag batteries. Read More

Thai soymilk company Vitamilk has rolled out a rather interesting advertising vehicle in the form of a large signboard that takes "dead" batteries and squeezes enough extra power out of them to charge smartphones. Read More

The tropical ecosystems of Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have ears, and have done for some time. These recording stations were put together with iPods and car batteries which each record 144 60-second recordings every day, and transmit them to a web-enabled base station up to 40 km (25 miles) away. From there they're uploaded to a web app with which biologists train a software algorithm to recognize the chirrups, squeaks and caterwauls of the forest's birds, monkeys, frogs and other fauna. It's all in the name of documenting wildlife, to better understand the effects of deforestation and climate change. And according to scientists at the University of Puerto Rico, it sure beats putting boots on the ground. Read More
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