Biogeography

Biogeography is the study of the distribution of animals.


Using Clouds to Map Ecosystem Boundaries

Cloud cover based on 15 years of satellite observations captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.Cloud cover based on 15 years of satellite observations captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.

Researching clouds and their impact on ecosystems and species could help researchers find an entirely new way to see the Earth. By looking at clouds, researchers can add a layer of evidence to existing theories and practices of conservation of land and animals.

How Climate Change is Affecting the Forests of the Sierra Nevada

Map showing the study area in the northern Sierra Nevada ecoregion, California, USA, above 914 m elevation (3000 feet).Map showing the study area in the northern Sierra Nevada ecoregion, California, USA, above 914 m elevation (3000 feet). Source: Wright et al., 2016.

Climate change is causing certain key species in the Sierra Nevada mountains to change where they are growing according to a study published by the journal California Fish and Game.

Geography of Microbiomes

(a) Configuration of sampling site in Flagstaff office 1. This configuration was similar to those set up in all offices. Signs on the wall adjacent to wall sampling plate describe the project, as request that the materials not be touched. (b) Diagram of single sampling plate illustrating nine sampling swatches (circles) of three different materials, one row for tracking equilibrium relative humidity of the materials (Row #1), one row for infrequent sampling (Row #2), and one row for frequent sampling (Row #3). (c) Samples were collected from rows 2 and 3 of all sampling plates from three offices in each of our three cities in four intensive sampling periods over the course of one year. Coloring of sampling swatches in this figure illustrates the change in bacterial Phylogenetic Diversity over the year.(a) Configuration of sampling site in Flagstaff office 1. This configuration was similar to those set up in all offices. Signs on the wall adjacent to wall sampling plate describe the project, as request that the materials not be touched. (b) Diagram of single sampling plate illustrating nine sampling swatches (circles) of three different materials, one row for tracking equilibrium relative humidity of the materials (Row #1), one row for infrequent sampling (Row #2), and one row for frequent sampling (Row #3). (c) Samples were collected from rows 2 and 3 of all sampling plates from three offices in each of our three cities in four intensive sampling periods over the course of one year. Coloring of sampling swatches in this figure illustrates the change in bacterial Phylogenetic Diversity over the year. From Chase el al, 2016.

Researchers have determined that geography seems to be the most influential factor in determining what kinds of microbial life would be found in a variety of local office settings.

Using Song Meters to Count Frog Populations

California Red-legged Frog Photo Credit: G. Fellers, U.S. Geological SurveyCalifornia Red-legged Frog Photo Credit: G. Fellers, U.S. Geological Survey

Conservationists are using cameras, acoustic sensors, and other audio recording devices to isolate the sounds of the red-legged frog among the cacophony of other nocturnal amphibians in the Watsonville Slough in Santa Cruz County.

How Many Trees are There in the World?

Map of the world's forests. Source: Crowther et al, 2015.Map of the world's forests. Source: Crowther et al, 2015.

According to the latest research, the total number of trees in the world is 3.041 trillion (that’s 3,041,000,000,000).  The revised number is almost eight times more than the previous estimate of 400 billion trees.  Previous estimates were based solely on satellite imagery, whereas the new estimates used calculations based on how much of […]

Map of the World Without Humans

The natural diversity of large mammals is shown as it would appear without the impact of modern man (Homo sapiens). The figure shows the variation in the number of large mammals (45 kg or larger) that would have occurred per 100 x 100 kilometer grid cell. The numbers on the scale indicate the number of species. Credit: Soren FaurbyThe natural diversity of large mammals is shown as it would appear without the impact of modern man (Homo sapiens). The figure shows the variation in the number of large mammals (45 kg or larger) that would have occurred per 100 x 100 kilometer grid cell. The numbers on the scale indicate the number of species. Credit: Soren Faurby

In a world without humans, elk and buffalo would roam the Great Plains and elephants might still trumpet across Europe.

Gap Analysis

GAP ecological gap analysis map. Map: USGS.GAP ecological gap analysis map. Map: USGS.

Gap analysis is a way of mapping different areas of biodiversity for researchers and conservationists to detect potentially endangered species as well as other political, ecological, and demographic features of the same region. Gap analysis is incredibly helpful for discovering the effectiveness of current conservation efforts as well as determining […]