30-10-2010 - Expedición Malaspina 2010

Artículo en Español:
El próximo mes de noviembre partirá de Cádiz la expedición Malaspina 2010, un proyecto interdisciplinar liderado por el Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) que pretende evaluar el impacto del cambio global en el océano y estudiar su biodiversidad. La expedición toma su nombre del marino Alejandro Malaspina, quien a finales del siglo XVIII dirigió la primera expedición científica de circunnavegación española y de cuya muerte se cumplen 200 años en 2010.

Durante nueve meses, los buques de investigación oceanográfica Hespérides y Sarmiento de Gamboa recorrerán entre ambos más de 42.000 millas náuticas de navegación. La mayor parte corresponderá al Hespérides, en una ruta que, desde Cádiz, recalará en Río de Janeiro, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Ciudad del Cabo, Perth, Sidney, Honolulú, Panamá, Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena y Cádiz. Por su parte, el Sarmiento de Gamboa realizará una ruta desde Las Palmas de Gran Canaria a Miami. En cada parada se realizarán actos y conferencias para dar a conocer las consecuencias del cambio global, la importancia de la investigación marina y la expedición Malaspina. El equipo realizará pruebas en 350 puntos y recogerá 70.000 muestras de aire, agua y plancton desde la superficie hasta los 5.000 metros de profundidad.
Fuente/Source: muyinteresante.es

30-OCT-2010 - Avispas, hormigas y mantis de 50 millones de años

ambar-india Artículo en Español:
Centenares de artrópodos preservados en 136 kilogramos de ámbar de 50 millones de años en la India revelan la enorme biodiversidad de la India, que no estaba tan aislado como se pensaba hasta ahora, según un estudio publicado en la revista Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Tras descomponer el ámbar usando disolventes extrajeron especímenes completos y bien conservados de más de 700 antiguos insectos (hormigas, termitas, moscas, abejas, mantis…), arañas y crustáceos pertenecientes a más de 55 familias, así como abundantes restos de plantas y hongos.

English Article: Hundreds of arthropods of 50 million years preserved in 136 kg amber in India reveal the enormous diversity of India, which was not as isolated as previously thought, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). After breaking the amber using solvents extracted complete and well preserved specimens of over 700 ancient insects (ants, termites, flies, bees, praying mantis ...), spiders and crustaceans belonging to more than 55 families as well as abundant remains of plants and fungi.

24-Oct-2010 - Mystery of the chupacabra monster likely solved (Misterio del monstruo chupacabras probablemente resuelto)


Frozen head of a so-called Chupacabra in Cuero, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  Artículo Español/English

English Article:
The mystery of the legendary chupacabra, a beast said to drain the blood of domestic animals at night, has been solved according to a scientist at the University of Michigan.

Biologist Barry OConnor says that most chupacabra sightings are probably linked to coyotes with mange, a disease caused by mites burrowing under the skin of coyotes.

Mange leaves coyotes with extreme hair loss similar to that described by people who claim to have seen chupacabra. Analysis of alleged chupacabra carcasses by scientists has usually turned up evidence of mange, which is caused by the same species of mite (Sarcoptes scabiei) that triggers the itchy rash known as scabies in people.




Severe cases of mange can leave wild dogs susceptible to bacterial skin infections, producing a foul odor in addition to hair loss and thickening of the animal's skin. The end result: "an ugly, naked, leathery, smelly monstrosity"—an animal characterized by "chupacabra syndrome."



 



The weakened condition of mange-infested animals may lead them to hunt easier prey: domestic animals.

Mange can also affect non-canine species. In Australia, there are cases of wombat cubracabra, while in other areas serious mite infections can cause weakened-squirrels to fall out of trees, according to OConnor.

The myth of the chupacabra dates back to 1987 when Puerto Rican newspapers El Vocero and El Nuevo Dia reported on mysterious deaths of animals which were said to have been drained of blood. Its name, coined by Puerto Rican comedian Silverio Pérez, translates to "goat sucker." The creature is sometimes blamed for the disappearance and loss of goats, chickens and other farm animals. It is described as "dog-like, rodent-like or reptile-like, with long snouts, large fangs, leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and a nasty odor."
Source/Fuente: mongabay.com

Artículo en Español:
El misterio del legendario chupacabras, una bestia que sorbe la sangre de los animales domésticos en la noche, se ha resuelto de acuerdo con un científico de la Universidad de Michigan.
El biólogo Barry O'Connor dice que la mayoría de los avistamientos de chupacabras se deben probablemente a los coyotes con sarna, una enfermedad causada por ácaros que cavan túneles bajo la piel de los coyotes.
La sarna provoca en los coyotes extrema pérdida de cabello similar al descrito por personas que afirman haber visto chupacabras. En el análisis de las carcasas de supuestos chupacabras analizadas
por los científicos han aparecido pruebas de la sarna, que es causada por la misma especie de ácaro (Sarcoptes scabiei) que provoca la erupción cutánea con picor conocida como la sarna en las personas.
Los científicos creen que los monstruos chupacabras son en realidad los coyotes con casos graves de sarna, como el animal en la foto. (Imagen cortesía de la Universidad de Michigan)
 

Scientists believe legendary chupacabras monsters are actually coyotes with severe cases of mange, like the animal pictured here. Image courtesy of the University of Michigan


Los casos graves de la sarna pueden dejar a los perros salvajes susceptibles a las infecciones bacterianas de la piel, produciendo un olor fétido, además de la pérdida del pelo y engrosamiento de la piel del animal. El resultado final: "un monstruo de cuero feo, desnudo y maloliente"-un animal caracterizado por "el síndrome de chupacabras."
La condición debilitada de los animales infestados de sarna puede llevarlos a cazar la presa más fácil: los animales domésticos.
La sarna también puede afectar a especies que no son perros. En Australia, hay casos de cubracabra wombat, mientras que en otras infecciones graves del ácaro puede causar debilitamiento-ardillas que caen de los árboles, según O'Connor.
El mito del chupacabras se remonta a 1987, cuando en Puerto Rico los periódicos El Vocero y El Nuevo Día informaron sobre muertes misteriosas de animales a los que se les había succionado la sangre. Su nombre, acuñado por el comediante puertorriqueño Silverio Pérez, se traduce como "chupa cabras." A la criatura a veces se le culpa por la desaparición y pérdida de cabras, pollos y otros animales de granja. Se describe como "parecido a un perro, parecido a un roedor o semejante a un lagarto, con hocicos largos, largos colmillos, de cuero o piel escamosa, de color gris verdoso y un olor desagradable."

Source/Fuente: mongabay.com

13 Stunning Photos From 10-Year Sea Census (13 Fotos impresionantes de 10 años de Censo Marino )

  Artículo Español/English

Nota: Aquí les dejo unas fotos de animales marinos publicadas por la National Geographic que parecen venidos de otro planeta con una breve descripción de los mismos . Espero que las disfutéis y dejéis algún comentario de que os han parecido.

Brief Note: Here are some photos of marine astonish animals published by National Geographic that seem from another planet with a brief description of them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and leave your comments.

 

Beautiful but Deadly
Photograph courtesy Ian MacDonald, Florida State University
"Stunningly beautiful but deadly," the Gulf of Mexico's Venus flytrap anemone (pictured) acts much like its terrestrial namesake, stinging its prey with an array of tentacles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The species' native Gulf—along with the Mediterranean Sea, Chinese waters, the Baltic Sea, and the Caribbean Sea—are the ocean regions most under threat from human activities, according to Census of Marine Life scientists.
For instance, nutrients in sewage and fertilizer washed from the land are degrading these marine habitats by creating oxygen-free "dead zones," the report says.
What's more, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may worsen these dead zones, as well as wield untold damage to the animals at the bottom of the food chain.



Dumbo of the Deep

Photograph courtesy David Shale
Found in 2009, a deep-sea "Dumbo octopus" (pictured) may look like it's all ears—but the protrusions are actually fins that help propel the animal through the darkness a mile (1.6 kilometers) under the sea.

Netted during a Census of Marine Life expedition to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, this Dumbo is among the thousands of census-documented creatures that live without ever knowing sunlight.
Reaching six feet (two meters) in length and weighing 13 pounds (6 kilograms), the jumbo Dumbo species is the largest of the octopus-like creatures of the mollusk genus Grimpoteuthis.

Yeti Crab

Photograph courtesy A. Fifis, IFREMER

Its fuzzy, winter-white coat might look at home in the Himalaya, but the yeti crab was discovered skittering around hydrothermal vents about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) under the South Pacific off Easter Island (map) in March 2005.

The 6-inch (15-centimeter), blind crustacean—officially Kiwa hirsuta—is among the more than 6,000 new species discovered during the Census of Marine Life, a ten-year effort to document all sea life that concluded Monday.

(See "Six-hundred-year-Old Worms Among Surprises of Ten-year Sea Survey.")

The project's 500-plus expeditions have also amassed a visual legacy as unique as the organisms uncovered—from which National Geographic News has selected these images as the 13 best of the census. (Read more about the yeti crab.)


Poisonous Sea Slug

Photograph by Darlyne A. Murawski, National Geographic, from the book Citizens of the Sea
The poisonous sea slug Phyllidia ocellata, which lives on coral reefs, was found during a Census of Marine Life expedition. Its vibrant coloration warns predators that this slug is off the menu, according to the National Geographic Society book Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life.

Baby Slipper Lobster

Photograph courtesy Peter Parks, SeaPics.com, from the book Citizens of the Sea
This baby slipper lobster, found during a Census of Marine Life expedition, is completely transparent, though as the creature grows, a thick shell will cover it.
The lobster's bizarre eyes may confuse predators while it floats among plankton, or tiny animals, according to the new National Geographic Society book Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)

Blue Christmas

Photograph courtesy John Huisman, Murdoch University
At the slightest touch, these "Christmas trees" temporarily disappear down a hole faster than you can say "Grinch." It's a defense mechanism of the Christmas tree worm, most of which resides in a tunnel it carves into live coral.
Photographed off Australia's Lizard Island (map) by a Census of Marine Life expedition, the two blue trees are actually a single worm's "crowns"—each spiral is a series of tentacles used in breathing and in passive feeding on tiny, floating foodstuffs.

Sea Angel
Photograph courtesy Kevin Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College
A 2005 Census of Marine Life expedition to the Arctic Ocean captured a so-called sea angel, Clione limacina, at about 1,148 feet (350 meters) underwater. Despite its nickname, this little angel apparently doesn't mind showing a little skin: It's actually a naked snail without a shell, scientists said in December 2009.

Such marine snails—most of them the size of a lentil—are widely eaten by many species, making them the "potato chip" of the oceans, biologist Gretchen Hofmann, of the University of California, said in a 2008 statement.

Clione limacina was also among the hundreds of species found living at both Poles during the Census of Marine Life, startling scientists. (See "Odd, Identical Species Found at Both Poles.")

Mr. Blobby

Photograph courtesy Kerryn Parkingson, NORFANZ
Affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Blobby," this fathead sculpin fish was discovered in 2003 in New Zealand during a Census of Marine Life expedition, according to the Australian Museum in Sydney.
Fathead sculpins—named for their large, globe-like heads and floppy skin—live in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans at depths of between about 330 feet (100 meters) and 9,200 feet (2,800 meters).
(Related: "Bizarre Gelatinous Fish Found in Brazil.")
Now preserved in 70 percent ethyl alcohol at the Australian Museum, Mr. Blobby's nose has shrunk—"and he no longer retains his 'cute' look," according to the museum's website.

"Terrible" Lobster

Photograph courtesy Tin-Yam Chan, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung
This blind lobster, discovered in 2008 during a Census of Marine Life expedition, belongs to a rare genus—Thaumastochelopsis—of which there were previously only four known specimens of two Australian species.
The lobster was given the scientific name Dinochelus ausubeli, which is derived from the Greek dinos, meaning terrible and fearful; chela, meaning claw; and ausubeli, in honor of Jesse Ausubel, a co-founder of the Census of Marine Life.
The lobster likely uses its exaggerated claw, or cheliped, to defend against other crustaceans.

Fiery Colony

Photograph courtesy Kevin Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College
Discovered in 2005, this new physonect siphonophore is a colonial animal, made up of many repeated units—such as the nectophores, or swimming bells, on the right half above, which provide propulsion for the colony.
Many specimens of Marrus orthocanna were observed between 980 feet (300 meters) and 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) deep during a 2009 Census of Marine Life expedition.
Reaching 10 feet (3.1 meters) in length, some siphonophores are among the largest animals in the deep sea, experts say.

Collective Jellyfish Cousin

Photograph courtesy Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
This pink siphonophore, Athorybia rosacea, was found during a Census of Marine Life expedition in the Sargasso Sea (see map) in the eastern Atlantic.
Like the Portuguese man-of-war (see picture), the new creature is actually a colonial organism, made up of many animals.


Squidworm

Photograph courtesy Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Squid? Worm? Initially, this new species—with bristle-based "paddles" for swimming and tentacles on its head—so perplexed Census of Marine Life researchers that they threw in the towel and simply called it squidworm.
Found via remotely operated vehicle about 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) under the Celebes Sea (see map) in 2007, the four-inch-long (ten-centimeter-long) creature turned out to the first member of a new family in the Polychaeta class of segmented worms.

Night Watch

Photograph courtesy Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum
Researcher Niel Bruce of the Museum of Tropical Queensland studies marine specimens in a lighted aquarium off Australia's Lizard Island (see map) in an undated picture.
The massive Census of Marine Life inventory "was urgently needed for two reasons," final census report author Mark Costello said in a statement.
"First, dwindling expertise in taxonomy impairs society's ability to discover and describe new species. And secondly, marine species have suffered major declines—in some cases 90 percent losses—due to human activities and may be heading for extinction, as happened to many species on land."

Fuente/Souce: National Geographic

20-Oct-2010 - Bruselas prohíbe clonar animales para destinarlos a alimentación (Brussels prohibits cloning to be allocated to food )

Artículo en Español:

Durante los próximos cinco años no podrá haber en los estantes de los supermercados europeos ni filetes ni leche procedente de terneras o vacas clonadas. Tampoco productos obtenidos de cualquier otro animal concebido mediante esta técnica que permite crear ejemplares genéticamente idénticos a otro. 
La Comisión Europea anunció ayer que propondrá una suspensión de cinco años a la clonación de animales para producir alimentos y lo más probable es que el Consejo Europeo no ponga problemas para aprobar a esta iniciativa.No es que hasta ahora se pudieran adquirir este tipo de productos en las tiendas. Hacía falta un permiso europeo para lanzar al mercado estos alimentos, como apunta el presidente de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria, Roberto Sabrido. Y, hasta el momento, las autoridades sanitarias europeas no han recibido ninguna solicitud para comercializarlos. La moratoria frenará la posibilidad de conceder estas autorizaciones y dará un tiempo de reflexión para analizar las ventajas y los inconvenientes de la comercialización de derivados animales clonados.
La medida se apoya en varios aspectos. Uno de las que más ha pesado es, según la Comisión, las dudas sobre el sufrimiento animal derivado de esta tecnología.
Otro es el principio de precaución. No existen pruebas científicas que demuestren la existencia de riesgos para la salud por el consumo de estos productos.  
Fuente: El País
English Article:
Over the next five years can not be on the shelves of European supermarkets neither calves fillets or milk from cloned cows, nor any other products derived from animal conceived through this technique to create genetically identical copies to another. The European Commission announced yesterday it will propose a five-year suspension of animal cloning for food production and most likely the European Council put no trouble passing this iniciatiative. Not is possible acquire these products in stores. Europe needed a permit to bring to market these foods, as noted by the president of the Spanish Food Safety Agency, Roberto Sabrido. And, so far, the European health authorities have not received any applications to market them. The moratorium will stop the possibility of granting such authorization and provide a time of reflection to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the marketing of cloned animals derived.The measure is based on several aspects. One of the most important is, in the Commission, some doubts about animal suffering resulting from this technology.Another is the precautionary principle. "There is no scientific evidence to prove the existence of health risks from consumption of these products". 
Source: El País