North America’s skeleton crew of megafauna

Proc.Royal Soc.B:Biological Sciences  January 11 2017
 
What North America’s skeleton crew of megafauna tells us about community disassembly
Matt Davis
 
Abstract
 
Functional trait diversity is increasingly used to model future changes in community structure despite a poor understanding of community disassembly’s effects on functional diversity. By tracking the functional diversity of the North American large mammal fauna through the End-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction and up to the present, I show that contrary to expectations, functionally unique species are no more likely to go extinct than functionally redundant species. This makes total functional richness loss no worse than expected given similar taxonomic richness declines. However, where current species sit in functional space relative to pre-anthropogenic baselines is not random and likely explains ecosystem functional changes better than total functional richness declines. Prehistoric extinctions have left many extant species functionally isolated and future extinctions will cause even more rapid drops in functional richness.

The Electric Vehicles are Coming — Global Sales Likely to Exceed 1 Million During 2017

robertscribbler

Electric vehicle (EV) performance has been improving so quickly and prices have been falling so fast that the internal combustion engine (ICE) wouldn’t be able to compete for much longer. You will soon be able to get Porsche performance for Buick prices and when you get that, neither Porsche nor Buick are able to compete.Tony Seba

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We talk a lot here about tipping points. Often this is in the negative sense when it comes to climate change. But when it comes to electrical vehicles, which is one of the key renewable energy technologies that has the capacity to mitigate climate harms, it appears that the world is rapidly approaching a much more positive kind of economic tipping point.

Steadily, markets are opening up to a new wave of far more capable electric vehicles. And this is good news — because the combination of wind + solar +…

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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: ‘Medicine of the Wolf’ Wisconsin premiere comes to Barrymore Theater Oct. 19, 2016

Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife

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PUBLICITY PHOTO

Julia Huffman, producer and director of the award-winning documentary film “Medicine of the Wolf”

“Filmmaker Julia Huffman travels to Minnesota wolf country to pursue the deep intrinsic value of perhaps the most unjustly maligned animal on the face of the planet.” ~ “Medicine of the Wolf” press release

In celebration of Wolf Awareness Week, the Humane Society of the United States and Wolves of Douglas County present the Wisconsin premiere of “Medicine of the Wolf” Wednesday evening, Oct. 19, at the Barrymore Theater in Madison.

Julia Huffman’s award-winning film features Minnesota native Jim Brandenburg, a nature photographer who has worked 30 years as a contract photographer for National Geographic and is author of “Brother Wolf: A Forgotten Promise.” Brandenburg’s book starts off with a heart-rending letter from one who evolved with us: the wolf.

The film, with testimonials by Jane Goodall and John Vucetich, a wolf biologist, is…

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The Human World Has Never Experienced A Time When Global Sea Ice Was So Weak and Reduced

robertscribbler

Neven — one of the world’s most beloved sea ice trackers — has again taken a break from his much-earned sabbatical to issue yet one more warning on the state of global sea ice.

His report, based on this month’s bombshell National Snow and Ice Data Center statement, can best be described as an urgent call for action on the part of the global community to redouble efforts aimed at reducing the wide-ranging and expanding harms caused by the terrible warming trend we have artificially forced upon our world.

Neven is a kind, honest, and open soul. He is also one of the smartest and decent fellow bloggers I have had the good fortune of encountering in my many travels during my last four years of covering the slow motion global train wreck caused by our widespread and vastly irresponsible burning of fossil fuels. In other words, the…

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NOAA– Atmospheric CO2 Increased by 2.77 Parts Per Million During 2016

robertscribbler

According to NOAA, carbon dioxide — a key heat trapping gas — increased its atmospheric concentration by 2.77 parts per million during 2016. This was the third fastest rate of increase in the NOAA record following 2015 at a 3.03 ppm annual increase and 1998 at a 2.93 annual increase.

Earlier trends had indicated that 2016 might be on track to beat 2015 as a new record year (and a month by month comparison for the first 11 months of 2016 pointed toward a record rate of rise). These concerns, thankfully, did not materialize as atmospheric rates of accumulation slowed down during December of 2016 — which helped to push the overall year to year comparison lower (NOAA’s year-on-year rate of growth is based on a December to January comparison). Nonetheless, the high rate of atmospheric increase for 2016 remains a matter of concern.

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(2015…

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Antarctica is About to Lose a 2,000 Square Mile Chunk of Ice — And it Could Mean the End of the Larsen C Ice Shelf

robertscribbler

It’s happened before. Ice shelves on the northern Antarctic Peninsula released large chunks of ice into the Southern Ocean as the world warmed up. They developed a concave shape which became unstable. Then they collapsed.

The ultimate collapse of Larsen A occurred in 1995. In 2002, further up the Antarctic Peninsula, the larger Larsen B Ice Shelf succumbed to the same fate. And it is thought that such losses haven’t happened to this section of Antarctica in at least 11,000 years and possibly as long ago as 100,000 years.

(NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides this narrative describing the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. Video source: JPL.)

But in the present world, one where human fossil fuel emissions have forced global temperatures above 1 C hotter than 1880s averages, the stability of many of the great great ice shelves is now endangered.

Larsen C Ice Shelf…

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Hudson Bay to Experience Periods of Above Freezing Temperatures, Possible Rainfall During January of 2017

robertscribbler

Earlier this morning, warm winds rushing in from the south ahead of an extensive frontal system draped across central and eastern North America pulled 32 + degree Fahrenheit (0 + C) temperatures into the southern coastal area of Hudson Bay. These temperatures were around 30 to 35 degrees (F) above normal. An odd event to say the least. One that would have been far less likely to happen without the added kick provided by global warming in the range of 1.2 C above 1880s averages.

hudson-bay-above-freezing-january-11

(Temperatures rose to above freezing at around 4 AM EST along the southern shores of Hudson Bay on January 11, 2017 according to this GFS model summary. Middle and long range forecasts indicate that at least two more such warming events will occur over this typically frigid region during January. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Such a kick has been pushing climate zones northward —…

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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: State legislators sponsor ‘Irrational Hatred of Wolves Rally’ Sept. 15

Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife

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WILD EARTH GUARDIANS GRAPHIC

Respiratory problems, health, calving, weather, diseases and injury cause 90 percent of unintended cattle losses. Wolves account for two-tents of a percent. Coyotes, 3 percent. Bears, one-tenth of a percent. Graphic by Wild Earth Guardians.

“You start looking and you realize nothing killed this. They died from a multitude of things: birthing problems, old age, bad hooves, cut by barbed wire. There were an awful lot of things attributed to predation that really were not.” ~ Carter Niemeyer, former Wildlife Services district manager

“When Nancy Warren, executive director of the National Wolf Watcher Coalition, heard that Wisconsin state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, planned a Great Lakes Wolf Summit for Sept. 15 in Cumberland, she contacted Tiffany’s office to offer to educate participants on the role of wolves in healthy ecosystems and answer questions about how to coexist with wolves while…

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Honoring the Spirit of the Wind — A Farewell to Fellow Climate Scribbler David T. Lange II

robertscribbler

Over the following days everything in PDX dried out — the air, trees, soil. There was a snapping sensation as all moisture was expelled. Like … second crack (coffee roasting). I felt it. It smelled acrid… It’s no wonder the Pacific Northwest is burning in explosive wildfires.David T. Lange in his description of impacts caused by the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge during 2015.

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To say that climate change is a crisis intertwined with a vast burning-driven damage to human, plant, and animal bodies caused by particulate air pollution and its related 7 million annual (human) deaths is the very epitome of understatement. No-one knew this better than my good friend and fellow scribbler David T Lange.

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(David T Lange took this photo from beneath the hot dome of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge during the summer of 2015. At the time, wildfire smoke from blazes sparking off…

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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Nearly 5,000 bears will be killed in annual Wisconsin bear murder Sept. 7-Oct. 11

Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife

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APPALACHIAN BEAR RESCUE VIA BING IMAGES
Bear cub

“We say these animals have an intrinsic right to exist, but they are also providing economic and ecological services that people value.” ~ William Ripple, Department of Forest Ecosystems, Oregon University

Bears and all beings have an intrinsic right to exist. Killing a bear is as close to killing a human as is possible when killing another species.

I watched an American Indian tribal gathering to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dogs were unleashed on indigenous people standing peacefully to protect sacred land. The judge ruled that the destruction of sacred burial grounds can continue, while a suit on the continuation of the overall project is pending. Laws are often unjust, favoring outdated but entrenched power structures.

I see a lot of parallels in that situation to the constant assault on our peaceful wildlife for the recreation of the most cruel and…

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