150,000 nature illustrations from around the world enter the public domain thanks to the the Biodiversity Heritage Library

A huge collection of flora and fauna illustrations have just entered the public domain. Hyperalleric writes:

Had he lived in our time, Thoreau would’ve been thrilled to know that the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world’s largest open-access digital archive dedicated to the natural world, is now offering more than 150,000 high-resolution illustrations for copyright-free download.

These public domain images belong to an archive of more than 55 million pages of literature about earth’s species of flora and fauna. They include animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries across the world. Some of the illustrations date back to the 15th century.

The library sees the sharing of these documents as part of combating the climate crisis:

“To document Earth’s species and understand the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change, researchers need something that no single library can provide — access to the world’s collective knowledge about biodiversity,” the library says on its website.

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Watch crane collapse onto boat, causing a terrible oil spill in the Galapagos Islands

In the Galapagos Islands, a shoreside crane toppled over while loading a shipping container onto a barge, capsizing the boat and causing a terrible oil spill of hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel. It was Charles Darwin's 1835 studies of the Galapagos Islands's biodiversity that sparked his theory of evolution by natural selection. From ABC News:

(The site of the spill,) San Cristobal Island is one of more than a dozen in the Galapagos, which is home to rare wildlife species and one of the world's most protected natural destinations. The remote islands are roughly 600 miles away from Ecuador, the country that owns them.

Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno said he declared the state of emergency when the collision first occurred but said the situation was under control as of early Monday.

"Thanks to the timely intervention of several institutions, we have it under control. I am in permanent contact with @normanwray and the COE is activated to watch over the galapagueños," Moreno said in a tweet translated from Spanish. The COE is Ecuador's Emergency Operations Committee .

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Scientist finds shimmering blue moths last seen in 1887

A Polish entomologist has observed and recorded footage of a bee-like moth called the Oriental blue clearwing. Read the rest

China plans to ban ivory trade “within a year or so.” US official: Yes it's a “huge” deal.

During his visit to Washington last month, China's President Xi Jinping vowed to stop the commercial trade in ivory in his nation, but didn't say much about when or how. Read the rest

That Arctic doomsday seed vault? There's backup copies of cannabis in there, too. Lots.

This week, the "doomsday seed vault" (as it's known in headlines, anyway) made the news because scientists made the first "withdrawal" from the remote arctic store. But there's another reason to be excited about the underground vault on Norway's Svalbard archipelago. Weed! And when shit gets real, we're gonna need it. Read the rest

How monoculture farming changes biodiversity

This image, taken by artist David Liittschwager shows the plants and animals collected in a square meter of South African public park over the course of 24 hours.

This image, from National Public Radio, illustrates the plants and animals found over the course of two nights and three days in an Iowa cornfield.

Robert Krulwich has a fascinating piece about the ways food systems affect ecological systems. How efficient is too efficient?

Via On Earth

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Overjoyed frog gives unicorn chaser a run for its money

Photographer Joel Sartore has been shooting nature for 20 years—long enough to amass a great collection of images you can check out at the New York Times.

“The whole point of this project is to really be able to look these creatures in the eye and get to know them,” he said. The animals are beautiful in their variation, their proximity yielding expressions most humans would interpret in emotional terms — anger, humor, pride.

For instance, I interpret this photo as a frog that has just won the Publisher's Clearinghouse.

Ironically, that's probably not actually an expression of happiness. In the Times article, Sartore says the species is known for its vicious reaction to potential predators.

See the full slideshow at the New York Times

Visit Joel Sartore's website

Thanks, Tim Heffernan!

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