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By TIMOTHY B. WHEELER and TIMOTHY B. WHEELER,Timothy Wheeler covers environment for The Baltimore Sun | June 14, 1992
In the steamy rain forests of Costa Rica, farmers, former bartenders, housewives and truck drivers are collecting thousands of tropical plants and insects and stuffing them into ,, boxes, jars and plastic bags.Once cataloged and freeze-dried, they will be shipped to the United States for study in the laboratories of Merck & Co. Inc., this country's biggest drug manufacturer.In a high-tech form of prospecting, Merck is paying $1 million to sample Costa Rica's mushrooming national collection of bugs, flowers and dirt.
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NEWS
By Jay R. Thompson, For The Baltimore Sun | September 8, 2013
Pasadena resident Bill Hubick and Jim Brighton of Easton stand on a wooden overlook at the edge of a shallow pond at Wooten's Landing Park in the Harwood area of southern Anne Arundel. It's silent, except for animals. On a whim, Brighton asks Hubick to name every creature he can hear. After a brief silence, Hubick begins: "Carolina wren, Carolina chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, green frog, Acadian flycatcher, white-eyed vireo …" It's a moment of levity, but one that illustrates how immersed Hubick, 36, and Brighton, 42, are in their mission.
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By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | January 12, 2008
What does "diversity" have to do with gardening? It seems to be the new catchphrase. You probably mean "biodiversity," which is a concept that's as old as Mother Nature. What's new is the realization of what a big bonus biodiversity is to the gardener. A natural landscape has a mixture of many species of native plants. It provides food and habitat for a host of native animal species, such as insects, birds and amphibians. These species eat pest insects and pollinate plants. When their food source on one plant is finished, they can move to another type of plant.
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2013
Leading a tour of the Soldiers Delight area of western Baltimore County on Sunday afternoon, Paula Becker, an ecologist with Maryland's Department of Natural Resources, was pleased to report the first blooming of serpentine chickweed - a plant as rare as it is splashy in spring. And while that might not constitute earth-shattering news, it is certainly reassuring to those monitoring the health of the plant. Serpentine chickweed grows in the shallow serpentine soil of the strange, hilly grasslands of the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, at 2,000 acres the largest remaining ecosystem of its kind in the country.
FEATURES
By Ann Egerton and Ann Egerton,Special to The Sun | April 1, 1994
Bruce Leopold has crammed fruit trees and shrubs and "thousands" of plants from bloodroot to sea lavender to Joe Pye weed into his one-third-acre yard. The Ruxton psychiatrist says that some of his neighbors probably think "it looks like Dr. Seuss has gone mad."But Dr. Leopold says he has achieved what he wanted, "a breadth of flora and fauna," or what some are now calling a "biodiverse" garden.Landscape designer and nurseryman Robert A. Schultz calls it gardening with, instead of against, the grain.
NEWS
September 6, 1993
Biodiversity is a hot topic in scientific circles. No one knows just how many species of plant and animal life inhabit the Earth. But with the disappearance of rain forests and other native habitats, many people are alarmed at the rate at which species are vanishing.Scientists worry about diminishing biodiversity because nature is often the source of cures for killer diseases. For instance, just as the virus that causes AIDS sprang from nature, there is always the possibility that some plant or animal will hold the key ++ to a cure -- if the species doesn't disappear before scientists discover its usefulness.
NEWS
By Newsday | January 6, 1993
This may sound apocalyptic, but ant expert and autho Edward O. Wilson warns bluntly that "the sixth great extinction spasm of geological time is upon us, grace of mankind."Only during rare instances in the earth's 4.6-billion-year history have species been driven into extinction as rapidly as they are disappearing now, Mr. Wilson observes in his new book, "The Diversity of Life."Extinctions of the past -- such as the great die-off recorded in fossils and rocks from 65 million years ago -- were cataclysmic, probably caused by the impact of a huge meteorite or by massive volcanic eruptions.
NEWS
February 5, 2005
Ernst Mayr, 100, one of the world's leading evolutionary biologists and a longtime Harvard University faculty member, died Thursday at a retirement community in Bedford, Mass. His work in the 1930s and 1940s, while a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, established him as a leading neo-Darwinist, supporting a theory of evolution that is a combination of Darwin's natural selection theory and modern genetics. In his travels in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Dr. Mayr showed, unlike Darwin, that species can arise from isolated populations.
NEWS
By BARBARA TUFTY | August 1, 1994
Washington. -- Why save the whale? What is the need for the fiery skipper butterfly on our lawns or roadsides? What use is a white trout lily growing in the woods? A Gila monster slinking across a desert? A tiger raging through the Satpura forest of India? What use are these things?You might just as well ask: Why do we need fingernails? What use are five toes? Do we really need music? Poetry? Math? What use are dalmatians? Collies? Siamese cats?Or even, what use is a human being?There is no simple answer.
NEWS
April 22, 1993
The United States celebrates Earth Day today with its bona fides as a nation dedicated to preservation of the world environment somewhat restored. Last year this country took a public relations shellacking when President Bush found himself all alone among the major powers in refusing to sign a treaty to slow the disappearance of endangered species and in forcing the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to accept a policy to combat global warming that lacked specific...
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | January 12, 2008
What does "diversity" have to do with gardening? It seems to be the new catchphrase. You probably mean "biodiversity," which is a concept that's as old as Mother Nature. What's new is the realization of what a big bonus biodiversity is to the gardener. A natural landscape has a mixture of many species of native plants. It provides food and habitat for a host of native animal species, such as insects, birds and amphibians. These species eat pest insects and pollinate plants. When their food source on one plant is finished, they can move to another type of plant.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,Sun foreign reporter | November 30, 2007
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- High in the Silvermine nature reserve, proteas here and there unfurl skyward like floral fireworks in soft pink and yellow. Guy Midgley's eye is drawn elsewhere, though, to ugly brown lesions on the otherwise green landscape - dead protea plants. "Nobody's quite sure what's going on," says Midgley, a plant scientist, scanning the bushy vegetation. But he suspects global warming is behind the recent protea "die-back," in which one-third of the plants have shriveled up in some parts of the Western Cape region.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and David Kohn and Scott Calvert and David Kohn,SUN STAFF | May 15, 2005
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Some of the viruses are already notorious, such as Ebola and HIV. Others have less familiar names: Marburg and Lassa fever. But they share one feature: All have emerged in recent decades from sub-Saharan Africa, perplexing scientists and, in the case of HIV, killing millions. Africa is now recognized as an ideal incubator for new pathogens: It has rapidly growing human populations and high biodiversity, along with widespread poverty, poor medical care and, in many countries, armed conflict that forces civilians to flee far from their homes.
NEWS
February 5, 2005
Ernst Mayr, 100, one of the world's leading evolutionary biologists and a longtime Harvard University faculty member, died Thursday at a retirement community in Bedford, Mass. His work in the 1930s and 1940s, while a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, established him as a leading neo-Darwinist, supporting a theory of evolution that is a combination of Darwin's natural selection theory and modern genetics. In his travels in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Dr. Mayr showed, unlike Darwin, that species can arise from isolated populations.
NEWS
By Alexander Stille and Alexander Stille,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | November 28, 2002
NEW YORK - For most of her career, Christine Padoch did her environmental research in distant, exotic locations like the rainforests of Amazonia and Borneo, while Steven Handel studied evolution in the Galapagos Islands. Now Padoch, an ecological anthropologist, takes the subway from her job at the the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx to count exotic vegetables at the green markets of Queens, while Handel, a professor of evolutionary biology at Rutgers University, is studying the vegetation that grows along the tracks of the New Jersey transit railway - a true test, if ever there was one, of the survival of the fittest.
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | June 17, 2001
It is dusk and the air is still and damp as Walter Davidson and his son Sean, 15, tramp through the grass along the edge of a pond in Sewell's Orchard, Columbia, shooing mosquitoes and listening intently for telltale froggy sounds. This night in June, they hear only bullfrogs - three of them - one at the far end of the pond and two nearby. "My observation is there's not as many frogs out there as last year," Walter Davidson, 52, says after the three-minute visit is over. The Davidsons are two of the more than 2,000 volunteers monitoring 1,200 ponds across the nation - including more than 100 in Howard County - as part of Frogwatch USA, a long-term program to count places where frogs live as a way of charting the effects of environmental changes humans might not notice quickly, said Sam Droege, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center near Laurel.
NEWS
By Alston Chase | January 16, 1996
IN MANY CULTURES, beliefs about nature form the bedrock of what people believe about ethics, politics and social life.One might cite as examples the natural-law tradition that dominated political thinking during the Middle Ages, the state-of-nature theories of the Enlightenment or the evolutionary theories of the 19th century. For much of American history, the dominant political consensus could be traced to British philosopher John Locke's ideas about a rational humanity and a benevolent nature.
NEWS
November 19, 1995
THE EXTINCTION of species is nothing new; neither is the role of humans in hastening the process. A new report from the United Nations Environment Program notes that the prehistoric colonization of the area around the Pacific and Indian oceans by humans, and by animals like rats, dogs, rabbits or pigs who live near humans, may have led to the extinction of as many as one-fourth of the world's bird species.That fact helps lend some perspective to recent findings that the rate of extinction of species is speeding up. Yet no one knows exactly how many species of plants and animals inhabit the Earth; by one estimate, only about 13 percent, or some 1.75 million of a total of about 13 or 14 million, have been scientifically described.
NEWS
May 6, 2000
The biological diversity of the United States is far richer than previously imagined, embracing more than 200,000 known species and more major ecological zones than any other country. Indeed, scientists who compiled the inventory, collected over the past quarter-century, estimate that the eventual number of species found, ranging from microscopic marine jaw worms to 12-foot polar bears, could be two or three times as large. The biological profile - the most complete analysis of the health and location of American wildlife - was drawn by a network of scientists organized by the Nature Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that buys land to protect natural habitat.
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