Influential conservation papers of 2014

Useful information to add to your reading list. Thanks to Professor Bradshaw.

splash2Another year, another arbitrary retrospective list – but I’m still going to do it. Based on the popularity of last year’s retrospective list of influential conservation papers as assessed through F1000 Prime, here are 20 conservation papers published in 2014 that impressed the Faculty members.

Once again for copyright reasons, I can’t give the whole text but I’ve given the links to the F1000 assessments (if you’re a subscriber) and of course, to the papers themselves. I did not order these based on any particular criterion.

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Researchers Assisted By SDSC In Novel Wildlife Tracking Project–Not

A team including researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research has developed a novel methodology that for the first time combines 3D and advanced range estimator technologies to provide highly detailed data on the range and movements of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian wildlife species.


GR:  What a load. The field of ecology isn’t “entering the era of Big Data,” it’s entering he era of big extinction.  The technology and techniques this article describes are great except that we are entering a period of decline where the causes of decline, not the details of individual species condition and behavior should be the focus.  All the fine young remote sensors need to shift to lobbying and protesting big oil and calling for human population decline.

Captured Birds Fitted with “Geolocators” to Study Migration Flyways

“A new paper by Dr. Jeremy Ross from the University of Oklahoma describes the use of tiny devices strapped to birds’ backs called geolocators, which capture the individual migration routes of  lark sparrows in North America. By sensing the light levels, these backpacks can pinpoint the location of a bird anywhere in the world, even if retrieving the data-logger can sometimes pose a major problem.”


GR:  Animal cruelty outside the lab?  Does the geolocator bother the bird at all? Is it irritating or physically limiting?  Were its capture and the geolocator installation traumatic? It seems unlikely that any bird would volunteer to carry a backpack for the rest of its life just so someone could satisfy his curiosity. Oh, you say the researchers are acquiring knowledge that can be used to protect birds?  So why are so many bird species declining? Could it choose, the bird might prefer that the researchers seek to find ways to preserve essential habitat and eliminate the herbicides and insecticides that poison its food.

Other animal research posts