Science

Great Backyard Bird Count
4:00 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

This Weekend's Great Backyard Bird Count Allows South Florida Birders To Shape Science

The painted bunting is just one of many species a South Florida birder might tally in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Credit rarvesen / Flickr Creative Commons

Dust off those binoculars and brush up on your birding skills. The 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count is on and South Florida is a historical hotbed of action.

The four-day count -- a joint effort by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada -- is a large-scale citizen-science project with participants from around the globe. There's no cost to join and it's open to birders of all levels, from the casual feeder watcher to hardcore "listers." 

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Sea Level Rise Maps
2:00 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Interactive Maps Paint A Picture Of Sea Level Rise In Florida

This map, from 1917, shows Florida before the issue of sea level rise was on the mind of many a coastal resident.
Credit perpetualplum / Flickr Creative Commons

 A new study from a German research institute identifies urban areas most threatened by sea level rise and indicates that although sea level rise has been occurring for more than a century, it's not happening at a steady rate around the globe. This is due to regional variances in temperature, circulation, and ocean density.

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Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
10:00 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Biologists Ask: Why Won't The Feds Fund Protection Of Florida's Nearly Extinct Grasshopper Sparrow?

The Florida grasshopper sparrow is facing extinction.
Credit MyFWC.com / Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

One of Florida's endemic species, the Florida grasshopper sparrow, is on the path to extinction. The bird lives only in the dry prairies south of Orlando and it's believed that less than 200 of the highly-specialized sparrows remain in the wild, though funding doesn't exist to adequately track the population. Part of the problem has been drumming up the public support -- and money -- necessary to study what has happened to the subspecies.   

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Everglades Lawsuit
5:00 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

A Lawsuit And Public Outcry: A Busy Week In The Everglades

Florida Wildlife Federation has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott in a dispute over land in the Everglades.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

The soon-to-wrap Python Challenge isn't the only headline-making activity in the Everglades this month. Florida's imperiled wetlands have been the focus of several contentious issues in the past week.   

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Community Contributor
9:00 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Miami Researchers Study If Music Can Help Save At-Risk Kids

Patrick Schmidt and Cathy Benedict, center, at the Doral chapter of the Miami Music Project.
Credit Courtesy FIU

Each of us is surrounded by music every day; music plays a significant role in our lives in many forms and settings. This understanding forms the basic impetus of the music education research we are conducting in the Florida International University School of Music with Miami teachers and children.

Our research is strengthened by the understanding that music is a diverse practice, offering the opportunity for enriching experiences to anyone interested in music – not simply the “talented.”

Social change through music

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Science
6:00 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

6 Reasons To Attend Everglades Day Festival On Saturday At Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

A rescued barred owl at Everglades Day in 2011.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

 It's often said that there is no other place in the world like Florida's Everglades. Despite man's best efforts, the 'glades endure as one of the world's most widely recognized sources of biodiversity and an example of the fragile nature of human/ecological relations.   

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Florida Panther Released
4:00 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Despite Release Of Rescued Panther, 2013 Off To A Rough Start For Endangered Florida Panther

This Florida panther was rescued as a kitten and released on January 31 of this year.
Credit Tim Donovan / FWC

The upbeat news of a Florida panther's release at the end of January was dampened by confirmation of the recent deaths of two panthers in the wild.

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Florida Environment
3:00 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Got Opinions On Florida's Environmental Future? State Agencies Want To Hear From You

The tricolored heron (as pictured here at Green Cay Wetlands in Delray Beach) is on the FWC's list of species under consideration.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

Citizen scientists and environmental stewards take note: Two state agencies are in the process of soliciting public comment on issues that could impact Florida's overall ecological outlook. 

First up is the South Florida Water Management District, which is accepting public comments on four parcels of land in the Upper Lakes Management Region located north of Orlando. These include Tibet-Butler Preserve, Shingle Creek, Lake Marion Creek and Reedy Creek, and SUMICA. 

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Florida Python Challenge
4:10 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

The Python Challenge Scoreboard So Far: 37 Less Burmese Pythons In The Everglades

The Burmese python is persona non grata in the 'glades.
Credit wildxplorer / Flickr Creative Commons

With just a little more than a week remaining in the hunt, the 2013 Python Challenge has seen the capture and (hopefully relatively swift and painless) killing of 37 Burmese pythons in the Everglades. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -- which is sponsoring the hunt -- announced the latest kill count on Tuesday morning via its official Facebook page.

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Florida Water
9:00 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Our Rivers And Springs Are Getting Sicker, Former Fla. Governor Says It's Because Of 'Bad Policies'

The Loxahatchee River in Palm Beach County is a popular spot for outdoor recreation.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

 A scathing guest column that appeared Wednesday in the Orlando Sentinel says "severe budget cuts are seriously compromising the ability of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection and Legislature and water management districts to adequately protect our state's natural resources."

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Cats and Wildlife
4:00 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Are Cats A Threat To Nature Or Simply Man's Favorite Scapegoat?

Is this the face of a killer? He would be, if given half the chance.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

A teddy bear of a cat stretches across a desk. His baseball-sized orange paws skim the keyboard as his purring body contorts into a position that exposes an expansive patch of striped belly. The tableau, which plays out in my home office on a near-daily basis, is a pleasant distraction from this week's reminder that my loyal companion is a natural born killer.

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Florida's Aquifer
4:00 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Florida's Current Aquifer Models Paint Inaccurate Picture Of State's Water Supply

Florida's current computer models for tracking underground water flow are coming up short.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Flickr Creative Commons

Understanding how water flows through Florida's aquifers is integral to maintaining  a safe and sufficient supply of fresh water, but current computer models used to monitor the state's aquifers and springs are "full of holes," according to some critics. 

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Florida's Aquifer
11:16 am
Wed January 30, 2013

How Florida's Aquifer Models Are Inaccurate, And Why That Might Be A Problem For Our Water Supply

Florida's current computer models for tracking underground water flow are coming up short.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Flickr Creative Commons

Understanding how water flows through Florida's aquifer is integral to maintaining  safe and sufficient supply of fresh water, but current computer models used to monitor the state's aquifers and springs are "full of holes" according to some critics. 

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Florida Panthers
4:00 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

The Florida Panther Was Saved By Its Cougar Cousin From Texas, Report Says

Today's Florida panther owes the Texas cougar for its survival as a species.
Credit USFWS/Southeast

Today's Florida panther is struggling for survival, but things could've been much worse, according to a recent report from the University of Florida. Research shows Florida's big cats were given a boost in 1995, when eight female cougars from Texas were brought in to help diversify the ailing Florida population, the News-Press reports.

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Baby Quails
6:00 am
Tue January 29, 2013

How Baby Quails Are Helping Baby Humans Before Returning To The Wild

Robert Lickliter, is the director of graduate studies in the Psychology Department at FIU’s College of Arts & Sciences. He leads a research team that studies quail embryos for clues about pre-term baby development.
Credit Patricia Sagastume

One day more than seven years ago, Debbie Brunson  woke up to an unfamiliar sound. She and her husband were camping on their land in the Redlands farming area. The sound she heard was that of an adult male Bob White quail.

It shocked her because she hadn't heard that bird call for over a decade.

"In Florida, there use to be quail everywhere.  But because of farming and pesticides and buildings,  they’ve disappeared," Brunson said.

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