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The mysterious case of the ornamented coot chicks has a surprising explanation

As adults, American coots have a drab color scheme, with black bodies and white bills. Their chicks, however, have an aesthetic that’s part drunk friar, part disheveled lion, and part tequila sunrise. Their faces and bald pates are bright red, while their necks are encircled in scruffy yellow-orange plumes.
Original story from The Atlantic.


Saving pumas with genomics

Genomes from mountain lions, or pumas, have spawned insights into how to encourage genetic diversification within the striking feline species and boost their health and survival.
Puma concolor – also known as cougars or panthers – were once widespread but are now mainly found in low population densities throughout western North America and much of Central and South America, and many of those are at risk of extinction.
Original story from Cosmos Magazine.



'Genius' grant goes to marine scientist who embraces flash mobs & comic books

NPR — Ecology & Environmental Biology alumna Stacy Jupiter realized how dangerous flooding was becoming in her adopted home of Fiji in 2009 when she flew back after a vacation and landed on an island in crisis. “Water was up to the roofs of the houses, and roads were cut off,” says the marine scientist, who directs the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Melanesia Program. Her research soon revealed that this uptick in floods — paired with human land mismanagement — was spreading waterborne diseases.


Alumna Stacy Jupiter wins coveted MacArthur Fellowship

UCSC Newscenter — Alumna Stacy Jupiter, a marine scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society who earned her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz in 2006, is among the 26 new MacArthur Fellows for 2019. The prestigious MacArthur fellowships, awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for “extraordinary originality and dedication,” come with a no-strings-attached award of $625,000 over five years.


Switzer Environmental Fellowship awarded to ecology Ph.D. student Melissa Cronin

UCSC Newscenter — Melissa Cronin, a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz, has been awarded a Switzer Environmental Fellowship from the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. The prestigious fellowship recognizes promising environmental leaders and provides $15,000 to support their research.
Cronin’s research focuses on threatened manta ray and devil ray populations, which are often caught as bycatch in industrial fishing operations.



A study in Elkhorn Slough reveals the increasing threat of climate change to salt marshes.

Monterey County Weekly — Between crabs burrowing into the marshes and rising oceans, a recent study led by Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in collaboration with NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System found that it is not crabs alone that are potentially causing problems for the nation’s salt marshes.