Thirty one million Dutch Center for Biodiversity

The Ministry of Education suggests 30 million euros from the natural gas available for an initiative of the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University and Wageningen University together with Naturalis a center for biodiversity to form. With the money is a very large, joint collection consisting of 37 million plants, rocks, stuffed animals and fossils, which Dutch Center for Biodiversity (NCB) in the top 5 global state. Moreover, a joint laboratory for DNA barcoding with the Central Bureau Schimmel Cultures, with offices in Leiden and Utrecht.

Het ministerie van OCW stelt 30 miljoen euro uit de aardgasbaten beschikbaar voor een initiatief van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, Universiteit Leiden en Wageningen Universiteit die samen met Naturalis één centrum voor biodiversiteit gaan vormen. Met het geld wordt een zeer omvangrijke, gezamenlijke collectie gevormd van 37 miljoen planten, gesteenten, opgezette dieren en fossielen, waarmee het Nederlands Centrum voor Biodiversiteit (NCB) wereldwijd in de top 5 staat. Bovendien wordt een gezamenlijk laboratorium voor DNA-barcoding opgezet met het Centraal Bureau voor Schimmelcultures, met vestigingen in Leiden en Utrecht.

SOURCE: Wageningen University, 03/08/09 VIA (Netherlands)

Urban water ecology at the ESA annual meeting

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) are holding their annual meeting in Albuquerque Convention Center:

The researchers will present their results in the following sessions at the Albuquerque Convention Center:

Luis Fernando Chaves: Urban Ecosystems Poster Session, Thurs., Aug. 6, 5-7 p.m.
Tessa Francis: Urban Ecosystems Oral Session, Mon., August 3, 1:50 p.m.
Olyssa Starry: Latebreaking Urban Ecosystems Poster Session, Fri., Aug. 7, 8:30-10:30 a.m.

ESA’s 94th Annual Meeting will be held Aug. 2-7 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The meeting will include more than 3,500 scientists, students and educators, and will center around the theme, “Ecological Knowledge and a Global Sustainable Society.”

To register for the meeting, contact Christine Buckley at or 202 833-8773 ext. 211.

Tree protection measure requires flexibility

Just read Chris Grygiel of blog post about the new tree measure in Seattle that could grant developers exemption for retaining trees if the trees preclude or prohibit the development of the site. This new tree protection measure seems a ham-fisted attempt at protecting trees which are in current developments (houses, offices, etc) not future developments. I can understand the need for exemption, as cities like Seattle try to encourage development in the city to create denser (in-fill) developments on existing sites instead of allowing urban sprawl to continue unabated. However, exemptions should be given only where the tree is inspected and assessed by a qualified arborist that the tree is at the end of its life or of very poor form for it species. Developers should be encouraged wherever possible to retain all existing mature trees (including tree offsets/buffers) to maintain the green canopy of the city. The benefits of trees within a city are indisputable and the length of time it takes for new trees to mature on a development is decades.

Developers may find this stance very anti-development – however new development should occur within cities to provide denser housing, offices, and retail. This is where more flexibility in tree protection measures are needed. Flexibility would come in the form of clauses that grant exemptions if the developer can show that they are going to plant new trees or install a green roof that contributes the equivalent benefit as the tree to be removed. For a developer to provide the information for this type of exemption may increase the cost of developments as the developer will have to engage consultants to assess the green value of the new trees and green roof. However, the increased environmental cost of trees being removed may be far greater in the long term.

By Damian Holmes
3 August 2009

Argentine Rodent Devastating US Wetlands

Nutria is a rodent – Image Source – Flickr: blmurch reports

Billions of dollars are spent every year in the United States in an attempt to control invasive species. Plants and animals brought legally and illegally into the country, have created extensive damage to the ecosystem and the economy.

SOURCE: Argentine Rodent Devastating US Wetlands –

Damage control – Haaretz

Haaretz reports

The planners behind the recently opened section of Road 6 did their best to reduce the highway’s impact on the environment but admit that ‘irreversible damage’ was done

The planning concept included a comprehensive approach to landscape, out of a desire to minimize damage to plant and animal life. To reduce the amount of digging and filling in, 14 bridges with a combined length of 2.5 kilometers were erected, and three tunnels for the passage of animals were dug.

read the full article at the SOURCE: Damage control – Haaretz – Israel News

Spark Sets Eyes On China – Spark Design & Architecture Awards

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 29, 2009 — Spark Design & Architecture Awards is extending its role in the booming Chinese design industry through SparkChina. These new awards will help Chinese creative teams raise their profile globally.

The Spark Awards is open to global entries from design, advertising and media agencies, students and commissioning clients until 15th September (early entry discount applies until 15th August). In addition to the global Spark Awards site at a new dedicated Chinese language website now provides information to ease design entry submissions at


Scientists Help Find Plant DNA Barcode

University of Guelph reports

It will now be possible to genetically differentiate the more than 400,000 species of land plants in the world thanks to DNA barcoding, a revolutionary technique invented at the University of Guelph.

An international team of 52 scientists – including seven from U of G – has concluded a four-year effort to find a standard “plant DNA barcode.” Their findings appear in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials.

The research involved scientists from 10 countries. Significant elements of data gathering and analysis were conducted at the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB), which is based at U of G’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario.

Peter Hollingsworth, head of genetics and conservation at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh who led the international research team, added: “Identification is important. It’s not possible to know if a plant is common or rare, poisonous or edible, being traded legally or illegally etc., unless it can be identified. But identification can be difficult: there are a large number of plant species and some look very similar.”

Other universities involved in the study are: the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Johannesburg, Korea University, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Universidad de Costa Rica, Columbus State University, University of Wisconsin, Universidad de los Andes Aberystwyth University, University of Cape Town, Hallym University, Seoul National University, University of Copenhagen, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Imperial College London. Agencies that participated in the research include the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural History Museum in London, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the New York Botanical Garden.

SOURCE: University of Guelph – Scientists help find Plant DNA code

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