📰 EwA News Digest: What's in a name?, Giant Fish, and Climate Change in Cities

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Madeline Logan

Aug 14, 2023, 8:01:19 AM8/14/23
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Madeline Logan - August 2023 News Digest - Draft

Hi all,

This is my last new digest as a Brandeis intern. This month I wanted to focus on topics I have been talking about in the field with other EwA members.

Many of us in the field have noticed some non-representative species names often derived from the name of the person who "discovered" or, more often, formally named the species. Many of these names are from colonial tradition, and aboriginal peoples are confronted with these names when referring to the species that have been integral to their culture for thousands of years. While going back and changing the name of every species named after someone would be costly and impractical, a stricter enforcement of naming codes in the future could prevent more species names that do not accurately describe the species. For more on naming conventions and their effects, click here.

While not named after a person this newly discovered millipede was named after the city it was discovered in. The Los Angeles thread millipede has 486 legs and was found in a hiking area in urban Los Angeles. Posts on iNaturalist played an important role in confirming the presence and existence of the species. For more on the discovery of species in urban areas, click here.

Researchers have also found new discoveries in already-named and known species. In the early 1900s, trout was stocked into the historically fishless Wyoming's Wind River Mountains lakes. Recent research has discovered that the trout in these lakes have a higher number of gill rakers, which helps retain zoo plankton and provide nutrients to the trout, than trout in other habitats. This has become necessary due to the decreased zooplankton population in a habitat that has not historically been home to trout populations. This is an example of rapid evolution. For more on human-caused evolutionary changes, read here.

Also, in the world of fish, while freshwater fish populations dramatically decline due to climate change, pollution, and other habitat changes, a spotlight is drawn to the world's largest freshwater fish. Many of these massive fish are at high risk, and conservation efforts are mostly regionally focused. Some species, like the South American air-breathing arapaima, have made a recovery as a result of stricter regulations on aquaculture and fishing. For more information on giant freshwater fish, click here.

Back on land, 40 million people across the U.S. live in urban heat islands, lacking tree cover, open water, and many natural phenomena that play an important role in cooling an ecosystem. This poses significant health risks to the often low-income people that inhabit these heat islands. For more on heat islands, read here.

No discussion on how humans are impacted by climate change is complete without understanding what actions humans need to take to mitigate these effects. Net zero is when the total amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is not increasing due to human activities. For more on net zero in the UK, click here.

Thank you all for tuning into my news digests over the summer!

Signing off,


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