Tamaraws hope to regain confidence ahead of Final 4

first_imgChinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town “Tulad ng sabi ni coach, 38 minutes kami lamang pero last two minutes na lang kami nagkamali. Kulang sa execution talaga,” said Raymar Jose following the FEU’s 73-67 loss to La Salle on Saturday.READ: Late run fuels La Salle past FEUFEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentIn control for majority of the game, the Tamaraws allowed the Green Archers to fight back and uncork a 13-2 run to finish the game. What hurt them the most was their costly turnovers in the last two minutes that sealed their doom.La Salle finished the eliminations on top at 13-1, while FEU drops to 8-5, tied with Adamson and a game behind second-place Ateneo (9-4). We are young “Sabi ni coach, heads-up pa rin kami kasi kaya naman namin,” Jose said. “Wag kaming mag-doubt dahil nandoon pa rin kami sa game.”READ: Racela on FEU’s bid for twice-to-beat: If it comes, it comesFEU wraps up its second round schedule against University of the East on Wednesday, something which Jose said will be crucial in building the team’s confidence going to the playoffs.“Yung laro namin sa Wednesday, doon na lang kami kukuha ng kumpyansa ulit. At least, sa Final Four, madadala namin yun. Yung effort naman, alam namin na kailangan na lang naming dagdagan,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. FEU’s Raymar Jose. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLosing its last three games, Far Eastern University looked far from the contender it was for most of the season.But for the Tamaraws would rather set aside the frustrations and keeping their heads in the game with the Final 4 up ahead.ADVERTISEMENT Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes EDITORS’ PICKcenter_img Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH View comments Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine PH among economies most vulnerable to virus MOST READ Chan excited to partner with rival Yap in Rain or Shinelast_img read more

Vera wants to do a Pacquiao

first_imgView comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports PH among economies most vulnerable to virus As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Pringle, GlobalPort aim to sustain strong start We are young Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 EDITORS’ PICK MOST READ Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Senators to proceed with review of VFA After retaining his title in the main event of ONE: Age of Domination late Friday night, Vera, who is also trying his hand in acting, was asked what’s his next move.“The Senate in 2019,” Vera said during the post-fight press conference shortly after manhandling an overmatched challenger in Hideki Sekine of Japan in the first round at Mall of Asia Arena. “I’m serious.”“I want to help people in the provinces. I’m just following Pacquiao’s lead,” said Vera. “I love seeing him in Senate hearings. You can’t touch Pacquiao, so if you say something wrong or incorrect, he’ll ask.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad AliThe 39-year-old Vera, a Filipino-American, said he just acquired dual citizenship last month. Filipino-American MMA star Brandon Vera plans to run for senator in 2019. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netBrandon Vera wants to follow in the footsteps of Manny Pacquiao, but he’s not planning to crossover to boxing.Vera, the ONE heavyweight champion, bared he’s keen on running for senator just like Pacquiao, who won a Senate seat last May.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

US/China trade war could boost Brazil soy export, Amazon deforestation

first_imgPresident Donald Trump is pressing hard for a trade war with China. So far, he has imposed $50 billion in tariffs on the Chinese, and threatened another $200 billion; the Chinese are retaliating. An all-out U.S./China trade war could have serious unforeseen repercussions on the Brazilian Amazon, including increased deforestation, intensified pressures on indigenous groups, and escalated climate change.The concern is that China will shift its commodities purchases, including beef and soy, away from the U.S. to Brazil. The Amazon and Cerrado biomes are already major exporters of both commodities, and are creating a boom in infrastructure construction to bring those products to market. Even without a trade war, experts expect Brazil to edge out the U.S. this year as the world´s largest soy producer.The U.S. tariffs may already be prompting a shift in trade. Trump first threatened China with tariffs in January. By April, U.S. soy sales to China were down 70,000 metric tons compared to the same period last year. Data also shows a surge in Brazilian Amazon deforestation between February and April of 2018, compared to 2017, a possible response by Brazil soy growers eager to profit from a trade war.If the U.S./China trade war results in a significant surge in Brazilian commodities production, deforestation rates there could soar. Scientists worry that Amazon deforestation, now at 17 percent, could be pushed past a 20-25 percent climate tipping point, converting rainforest to savanna, greatly swelling carbon emissions, and potentially destabilizing the regional and even global climate. Munduruku warriors wearing ceremonial face paint used to welcome village visitors. The Munduruku fiercely oppose Brazilian plans to build mega-transportation infrastructure projects in their Amazon territory. Photo by Mauricio Torres.“We are the ones who care for nature,” says Alessandra Munduruku, a young Munduruku indigenous leader in the Brazilian Amazon. “It isn’t someone coming from on high who’s going to teach us about caring for the forest.” Alessandra first joined her community’s fight for survival when it was threatened with flooding by the São Luiz de Tapajós mega-dam project. Although plans for the dam are shelved for now, Alessandra says the Munduruku still face threats to the survival of their culture and community.One unexpected menace: President Donald Trump’s bluster over tariffs and trade, which pushed up the price of Brazilian soybeans earlier this year. Since the Amazon region is a hub for soybean production, the price increase could lead to greater deforestation there. Now, with the U.S. already imposing $50 billion in tariffs on China; the Chinese retaliating equally; and Trump threatening another $200 billion in tariffs, an all-out trade war looms. The repercussions of such a war would threaten the Munduruku and the Amazon.“What affect us directly are the railway, the canal, the ports,” Alessandra says. “There are three [ports] already, and they want to build 20 more.” She is referring to the new transportation infrastructure and grain silos that dot the shore of the Tapajós River, an important Amazon River tributary, and the home territory of the Munduruku. Those silos are filled with soy being transported from Mato Grosso state, in Brazil’s interior.The Santarém fish market in the Brazilian Amazon. The Cargill commodities terminal, through which large amounts of soy move annually, looms in the background. Photo by have Thais Borges.In 2015, an indigenous alliance launched an unsuccessful protest demanding that the Brazilian government halt Amazon dam construction. Indigenous and traditional communities have since joined together to fight the expansion of commodities transportation infrastructure throughout the region. Photo courtesy of Amazon Watch.The expansion of industrial agribusiness, especially beef and soy production, in Mato Grosso and other Amazon states is steadily cutting away at the Amazon rainforest. This, along with the construction of infrastructure to support moving these products to market, is putting increased pressure on indigenous and traditional communities that inhabit the region. Researchers also point to the neighboring, lesser-known Cerrado biome as another deforestation hotspot; it too is home to numerous indigenous groups and site of a Brazilian soy and cattle boom.Even though Trump´s escalating U.S./China trade war has yet to fully make its international effects felt, it may already be impacting Brazil´s forests negatively. Data from the rainforest monitoring organization Imazon, shows a surge in deforestation between February and April of 2018 compared to last year. That timeline aligns with the President’s first threat of tariffs against China made in January.In March, Trump officially announced $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods coming to the United States. Beijing struck back by declaring $300 billion in taxes on U.S. products headed to China, including soybeans. As of May 10th, U.S. soybean sales to China were down by roughly 70,000 metric tons compared to the same period last year. This drop suggests that Chinese buyers have been seeking other suppliers just to be safe, no matter whether the trade war is on or off.Amazon rainforest converted to soy. The U.S./China trade war could cause the Chinese to replace soy purchases from the U.S., to buying from Brazil instead, resulting in a rapid rise in soy production there, leading to greater Amazon and Cerrado deforestation. Photo by Mayangdi Inzaulgarat.Map showing the extensive deforestation occurring in the northern part of Mato Grosso state between 1986 and 2016 to accommodate soy and beef production. In just 40 years, the advance of agribusiness has radically reduced forest coverage. The U.S./China trade war could lead to soy expansion in the Amazon, where it has been dramatically slowed in recent years by the Soy Moratorium. Map by Maurício Torres.Analysts say that Brazil is positioned to replace at least part of the soybeans China ordinarily buys from the U.S. as President Trump provokes the Asian trading giant’s ire. Brazil already expects to ship 56 million metric tons of soybeans to China this year, with the Amazon region and the Cerrado providing much of that amount. This year, experts expect Brazil to edge out the United States as the world´s largest producer of soybeans, growing 117 million tons.Likely in preparation for a big boost in China/Brazil commodities trade, the Chinese in 2017 offered the Brazilians a $20 billion infrastructure investment fund package, which could pay for new roads, railways and industrial waterways for soy transport – likely leading to more Amazon deforestation and more disruptions of indigenous life.Experts can clearly point to industrial agribusiness and the global trade in soy as a contributor to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. For example, forest watchdog Imazon correlates a drop in Amazon forest clearing last year to a decrease in commodity prices, including both beef and soybeans. This is the opposite of what is happening currently.Amazon deforestation is often a multi-step process, as land uses change. The process typically begins when elite land grabbers lay claim to forests. Illegal logging and land clearing for cattle production often follows. Later, old pastures are converted to soy growing. Photo by Sue Branford.Deforested plain in the Brazilian Amazon, now used for cattle. Trump’s U.S./China trade war could not only up Brazilian soy production, but also beef production, a primary cause of Amazon deforestation. Rhett A. Butler.Importantly, Amazon deforestation could trigger significant climate impacts not just in South America, but around the world. Scientists reported in Nature Climate Change that cutting down large numbers of trees in the tropics can adversely affect rainfall patterns in other parts of the world. More sobering still, renowned researchers Tom Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre warned this March that Amazon deforestation, currently around 17 percent, if pushed to 20-25 percent could result in the passing of a climate tipping point that would reduce Amazon rainfall and lead to the conversion of large swathes of rainforest to savanna. That loss of the Amazon’s ability to store vast sums of carbon could dramatically increase greenhouse gas emissions, escalating climate change to dangerous levels.Still, Jair Schmitt, Director of Brazil’s Department of Forests and Deforestation Prevention, has faith in current protection measures aimed at curbing future deforestation. These include the country’s forest code and the Soy Moratorium, a voluntary agreement arrived at by agribusiness, environmental NGOs led by Greenpeace, and the government. “Even if the demand for products can influence deforestation, it’s the market itself that is putting restrictions on illegal deforestation,” Schmitt says.The Soy Moratorium was launched in 2006 with the aim of preventing the spread of new soy plantations into the rainforest, and to directly prevent forest clearing to make way for soy. That agreement has kept new deforestation for soy production to below 1 percent in the Brazilian Amazon, but it hasn’t ended forest clearing.Critics of the Soy Moratorium say that the agreement contains large loopholes. One example: land thieves clear native forests, move cattle onto the land, then sell those pastures to soy growers, a multi-step process not counted under Soy Moratorium rules. Likewise, with the 2012 Brazilian forest code, which was recently weakened substantially by a Brazilian Supreme Court decision, according to experts.Legal Amazonia encompasses all of the Amazon biome, plus a portion of the Cerrado biome. The Amazon Soy Moratorium covers only the Amazon, and none of the Cerrado, so would not protect that biome from a surge in soy production brought on by the U.S./China trade war. The map also shows two major infrastructure projects, the completed BR-163, used to transport soy, and the as yet unpaved BR-319. Map by Mauricio Torres.Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) soy silos in Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Transnational commodities companies like ADM, Cargill and Bunge will all likely profit from boosts in Brazilian soy production brought on by a shift in trade with China. These companies have long resisted any serious attempt to slow soy expansion in the Cerrado, where soy production is experiencing a record boom. Photo by Thaís Borges.While the world has shone a spotlight on deforestation in the Amazon, it isn’t the only region where trees are felled for soy. The Cerrado, the vast savanna in north-central Brazil is presently seeing the nation’s most rapid shift from native vegetation to soy, cotton, corn. Dr. Holly Gibbs, a supply-chain researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, calls the Cerrado the new deforestation “hotspot.”“Soy is a relatively minor cause of deforestation in the Amazon” today, Gibbs says, with “cattle ranching account[ing] for 60-80 percent of the new deforestation.” Yet, because areas initially cleared for livestock can later be transformed to soy fields, that deforestation story isn’t so cut and dry. Adding to that complexity, soybeans also provide important fodder for livestock, enmeshing the two commodities further. Another complication: if Trump’s tariffs result in the Chinese imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. beef, the Chinese might then up purchases of Brazilian beef. China and other Asian nations have seen their beef consumption and imports soar in recent years – more potential bad news for the Amazon.Gibbs’ research found that even with the Soy Moratorium, more than 600 soybean farms violated the country´s forestry laws and cleared forestland illegally. The study reviewed satellite images of the Amazon gathered between 2001 and 2014 and of the Cerrado between 2001 and 2013. In addition, only 115 of those farms were banned from selling soy because of loopholes in the agreement. The Soy Moratorium only covers the portion of a plantation where soy is grown, and not the entire farm. Loopholes such as this leave wiggle room that allow for more tree removal, say environmentalists.Truck traffic on the BR-163 in the Amazon at the height of the soy harvest. The paving of the BR-163 created greater access to the rainforest, and led to surge in deforestation that is still underway. Conservationists fear that Brazil’s plans to pave the BR-319 in the Madeira River basin could pose the next major transportation infrastructure threat to the Amazon. Photo courtesy of Agência Brasil.An Amazon grain terminal at twilight. International and Brazilian agribusiness interests are pushing hard to turn the Tapajós basin and Madeira basin into an industrialized commodities transportation corridor to handle expanded soy production coming out of Brazil’s interior and being shipped ultimately to China and Europe. Photo courtesy of Mayangdi InzaulgaratConservationists also warn against the rapid expansion of infrastructure needed to ship commodities. New roads, railways and industrial waterways directly cause Amazon deforestation, while also dramatically increasing rainforest access for land thieves, illegal loggers, cattle ranchers, soy growers, mining operations, and new settlers.One organization that is challenging unregulated agribusiness growth is Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA), the Socio-Environmental Institute, an NGO dedicated to social and environmental justice. ISA’s Rodrigo Junqueira says the prospect of a U.S./China trade war is exciting soybean growers: “[They] are betting that an increase in demand is going to put pressure on the market, and so whatever [legal] restrictions exist will be dropped.“If the demand increases, and Brazil becomes a more important supplier as a result, soybean cultivation will increase in the Cerrado and the parts of the Amazon that are suitable,” Junqueira maintains. He adds that a surge in global soy demand will almost certainly produce “a territorial dynamic that will lead to new deforestation.”For Alessandra Munduruku, agribusiness expansion poses an existential threat to the Munduruku people. “The fight is for our land. The fight is for a little bit of land,” she says. “Even if people come to talk [to us] about forest management, capitalism comes to teach you to be ‘sustainable.’ But that mini-capitalism is where individualism begins.” Individualism, she says, with its built-in competiveness, will ultimately lead to the end of the forest, the demise of community-focused indigenous cultures, and to the end of the Munduruku.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.The Brazilian Amazon continues to be at serious risk from deforestation, despite the protections provided by the nation’s forest code and the Amazon Soy Moratorium. Trump’s U.S./China trade war seems likely to worsen the deforest threat, according to analysts. Photo by Mauricio Torres. Article published by Glenn Scherer Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, China’s Demand For Resources, Controversial, Dams, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, Featured, Flooding, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Rivers, Roads, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

New pilot whale subspecies revealed: Q&A with marine biologist Amy Van Cise

first_imgFor centuries, Japanese seafarers have noted two distinct types of pilot whale in their waters: One with a squarish head and dark body, the other a bit bigger with a round head and a light patch on its back.The two types have long been officially classified simply as forms of the same species, short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), but a new genetic study finds that they are actually distinct subspecies.The finding is just the latest shake-up of the cetacean family tree after the discoveries of new whale species in recent years.Mongabay spoke with the new study’s lead author, Amy Van Cise, a marine biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, about the science of whale taxonomy and what her team’s discovery means for the conservation of short-finned pilot whales. For centuries, Japanese seafarers have noted two distinct types of pilot whale in their waters. One, known as Naisa goto, has a squarish head, an almost entirely dark body and lives in southern Japan; the other, known as Shiho goto, is a bit bigger, has a round head and a light patch on its back and lives in northern Japan. The two types were first described scientifically in 1760, in a classic Japanese natural history of whales, but have long been officially classified simply as forms of the same species, short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). A genetic study published early this month finds that the two types are actually two distinct subspecies.Short-finned pilot whales have been recognized as a single species, but a recent study found that two unique subspecies actually exist: the round-headed “Shiho” type, left, and the square-headed “Naisa” type, right. Image by Natalie Renier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.Moreover, while Naisa short-finned pilot whales live in tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, in the Pacific they keep to the west while Shiho stay mainly in the east (plus northern Japan). It was the immense, food-poor expanse of the central Pacific that drove the two subspecies apart evolutionarily, the study authors contend, and not any obvious barrier like a continental landmass.The finding is just the latest shake-up of the cetacean family tree. The discovery of several new species in recent years has prompted wonder that animals as large and captivating as whales and dolphins could elude discovery in the depths of the sea.Mongabay spoke with the lead author of the new study, Amy Van Cise, a marine biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, about the science of whale taxonomy and what her team’s discovery means for the conservation of short-finned pilot whales.Amy Van Cise. Image by Julia Fiedler.Mongabay: Can you start by describing short-finned pilot whales? Amy Van Cise: Sure. Short-finned pilot whales are actually not whales. They’re dolphins; they’re in the dolphin family [Delphinidae]. They’re the second-largest dolphins [after] the killer whale. And they look a little similar to killer whales. They’re very large. They don’t have any coloration the way killer whales do, so they’re just mostly a large black dolphin. They have a sister species called the long-finned pilot whale [G. melas].Short-finned pilot whales are actually pretty understudied. There’s a lot that we don’t know about them. But there are some scientists who have done some pretty good studies on them more locally. For example, they know that a lot of these animals, at least in the more coastal populations, tend to prefer the slope region of the ocean. And that’s probably because they eat squid, and that’s squid [habitat]. They’re very deep-diving animals; they can [dive] up to 800 meters [2,620 feet].I know some dolphin species like to ride boat wakes and they can be curious about people. What are short-finned pilot whales like, behaviorally?The most notable characteristic about them is that they are very highly social. They always travel in these groups of like 30 or more. Those groups are very stable. A study that I did a couple years ago showed that those are actually immediate family members. There is a photo ID study that used 20 years of data and showed that the smallest groups spend nearly 100 percent of their time together; and those are immediate, like mom-dad-sister-brother, relationships. And then those small groups will sometimes meet up with other small groups and form a larger group [of 30 or more].When you’re in a boat approaching these animals in the groups, they kind of are interacting amongst themselves and a lot of times they’re not really paying attention to the boat. That allows us a chance to observe their behaviors really closely and just watch them interact with each other, which is always really cool.How do they interact with each other? You see a lot of dyads, actually. Two animals tend to swim always right next to each other.Are these mother-calf pairs? We don’t know all the time what they are. Sometimes it is male dyads, so definitely not always mother-calf pairs. But they look to be socially stable dyads that continue for years and years and years.We’ve [also] come upon groups [with] a really interesting group structure, where you get the large whales at the front and then all of the females and the young are kind of in the middle of the group. And then you get the two large males in the back, in what seems to be kind of a defensive type structure. I don’t think that we know much about them having any predators. It could be for something else, [such as] making sure the young don’t wander off and get lost.Amy Van Cise, left, and colleague Annie Gorgone of the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration photograph short-finned pilot whales in Hawaii. Image by Robin Baird, Cascadia Research Collective.How did you get started on this question of short-finned pilot whales’ taxonomy? There’s been this hypothesis in the general scientific community for quite some time now. Probably back in ’80s Japanese scientists started publishing papers showing that off the coast of Japan there were these two very different morphological types, groups of animals with very different body plans. Then, in the early 2000s another scientist started collecting some tissue samples. He was able to show that there was a genetic basis for the difference between these two groups and that it extends outside of Japan.So that was kind of where we were when I was first introduced to short-finned pilot whales. The first study that I did [in 2016] looked at that genetic pattern throughout the entire Pacific Ocean and then a little bit in the Indian and Atlantic oceans as well. And we used a pretty simple genetic marker, but we found interesting and unexpected patterns in the way the animals were distributed. Everybody expected them to have a temperature-based distribution, so they expected to see a northern type and a southern type and that those two types would be kind of a cold water and a warm water [type]. But we didn’t find that at all. We found that there was a split down middle of the Pacific Ocean and there was an eastern type and a western type.After we did that study we realized that we really should look more in depth to see just exactly how different these two types are and whether it’s a global pattern. And that was the basis of this study. So we sent an email out to the marine mammal [scientific] community and we asked for potential collaborators around the world to send us [tissue] samples of short-finned pilot whales. We got a lot of responses from areas where we didn’t previously have samples from, which was great. And so we were able to expand the study geographically to cover more of the range of these animals. We complemented our previous work with more technologically advanced [genetic] markers. Having the samples from a broader range really allowed us to say ‘now we know on a global level what’s happening with these animals.’ And that is one of the basic requirements of making a taxonomic recommendation, is that you have to be able to say that the pattern that you see is occurring throughout the entire global range of the species.A Naisa type short-finned pilot whale. Image (c) 2019 S. Cerchio.Your paper mentions that these two types of short-finned pilot whale were originally described in 1760, and of course they must have been known about locally much longer than that. Why did it take 260 years for taxonomy to catch up? Basically in the early 1800s there was a great renaissance or blossoming of describing of species all over the world. And it happened for whales as well as a ton of other taxa. And so you just got naturalists and scientists all over the world separately and individually describing all these species. Short-finned pilot whales actually had upwards of 20 different species descriptions and different scientific names for these species. It was later, in the mid-1900s, when scientists started to look at all these and decided they’d gone too far, they’d named the species too many different times. And so for short-finned pilot whales along with a bunch of different species, they synonymized all these names and said ‘OK, all of these animals that we were considering to be 20 different species of short-finned pilot whale are just one.’I think it was then that the information about these two different morphological types got lost. And then it was ‘rediscovered’ in the 1980s by these Japanese scientists who were working with Japanese whalers. The whalers, as far as I know, kind of always had that information. But it was just a matter of getting it to the scientists and then the scientists publishing it. It was something that the scientific community learned a second time, basically.When you look at the pictures of them they look quite different. So it seems sort of intuitive that they should be split in that way. Is that being overly simplistic? It’s a little bit. I don’t know if you necessarily want to call everything that looks a little bit different different. You might end up with just tons and tons of different species.Which is what they did. Yeah. There’s a really interesting debate in the taxonomy world. We have two different sides and we call them the splitters and the lumpers. And it’s actually kind of funny that geneticists usually fall among the splitters rather than the lumpers.When you’re asking if two things are separate species or subspecies, at the species level you’re looking for a lack of mating in the wild. If in the wild, in their natural habitat, those two animals would not mate then we can call them different species. For the subspecies designation it’s a little more hazy, it’s a little more like can we show that these two animals are basically on two separate diverging evolutionary tracks, and that if left alone will become a separate species over time?That’s a little bit difficult to prove. So we try to use sometimes a combination of morphology and genetics, and sometimes people look at other characteristics, like mating behaviors or feeding behaviors, to show that the animals are different. It usually ends up being a combination of multiple different data types to build a really strong argument.A Shiho, top, and a Naisa short-finned pilot whale, bottom. Both types live in the Pacific Ocean, Naisa mainly in the west and Shiho mainly in the east (plus northern Japan). Naisa also live in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Images courtesy of NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (top) and Cascadia Research Collective (bottom).Were there any surprises to you in this work? I think probably the most surprising thing to me was that we didn’t get a third subspecies in the Atlantic Ocean. The only reason that surprised me is because I am human therefore I am kind of land-centric and I think of land as being this big important barrier to animals that are trying to travel around. And so I’m thinking ‘Oh well if we have two subspecies in the Pacific Ocean there’s clearly going to be a third subspecies in the Atlantic Ocean. But it turns out that that’s not true. There’s more migration and mixing happening around the southern tip of Africa than there is in the Pacific. To me that was the most interesting thing: that the middle of the Pacific, where it’s just this big barren food desert, is a greater barrier to these animals than the continent of Africa.What are the conservation implications of there being two subspecies of short-finned pilot whale?The fact that they’re considered one species globally means that they’re managed as such. But if there are two different subspecies of short-finned pilot whale, then management bodies are going to look at each of those subspecies differently. And that might change the way local populations are managed. In the United States we manage stocks of short-finned pilot whales in Hawaii, in the eastern Pacific off the coast of California and Oregon and Washington, and then in the Atlantic Ocean. In Hawaii the population estimate is in the neighborhood of 20,000 animals. So that seems to be a healthy population. In the California Current, on the other hand, the population estimate is somewhere around 500 animals. So if you consider the population a different subspecies than the one in Hawaii then you’re going to have to treat it differently from a conservation standpoint. You’re going to have to develop a management plan that’s suited to a population of 500 animals of the subspecies rather than two stocks of the same type of animal.A Shiho type short-finned pilot whale. Image courtesy of NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center.What kind of management questions would come into play? The threats that they face are very local. In some areas there are hunts for pilot whales. Those are in Japan, the Faroe Islands, and then in some areas of the Caribbean. And there could be some hunts in the South Pacific as well. In the United States, with stocks that we manage, they can be caught in long-line fisheries. That happens off the coast of California and also off the coast of Hawaii. They seem to be sensitive to anthropogenic noise and navy sonar. They come in contact quite a bit with local tourism boats, but I’m not sure if that’s an actual threat for them. So I’d say fishing and noise are the two biggest [threats].Short-finned pilot whales are a species that tend to strand in these large groups. So whenever you hear stories about a group of 30 or 50 or 100 animals that stranded on a beach somewhere, a lot of times that’s short-finned pilot whales. To my knowledge, nobody’s figured out yet why they strand the way they do. But when they do, you’re losing what seems to be basically an entire social group. If one animal in that group strands they all strand together.There’s been a fair bit of juggling among cetacean species, like with the discovery of Omura’s whale [Balaenoptera omurai] and then a new kind of killer whale just a couple months ago. What does this all say about the state of our knowledge of whales? It’s kind of amazing that we’re finding these giant creatures that nobody knew about in the ocean. The ocean is vast and incredibly understudied. We think we know a lot more about it than we actually do. There are all these places in the ocean where people really just haven’t been and haven’t looked. And, you know, the more you look the more you find. So I think that’s the first thing that’s happening.The second thing that’s happening is just kind of an artifact of the way we’ve historically done science, which is that in order to describe a species you need to have a morphological specimen. And that usually ends up being a set of skull measurements or something very difficult to come by for animals that live out in the middle of the ocean where we don’t really have access to them. And on top of not really having access to them, we don’t really condone killing these animals for science. I don’t think we should be killing these animals for science either, [but] it makes it very difficult to get those skulls. And so that’s where genetics has come in and it’s just kind of opened up new worlds for us. Animals that we suspected were different species or different subspecies for a really long time, we’re now able to prove that they are.Short-finned pilot whales in the Canary Islands, Spain. The animals often travel in pairs or “dyads” that remain stable for many years. Image by Tony Hisgett via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Are there any key takeaways that you care to leave us with? From a conservation standpoint I think it’s important to recognize different subspecies or species before you lose them. I think that as a society we would all be extremely sad to have lost a species simply because we didn’t recognize that it existed in the first place. Right now we’re racing against the clock for so many of these species and we’re just losing diversity right and left all around us. And those are the ones that we know about; at the same time there are probably all of these different subspecies and species that we don’t even know exist.We can’t conserve what we don’t know. So if we’re going to try to properly conserve the biodiversity in the world around us we need to have an accurate picture of what that is.This interview has been edited for length and clarity.Banner image: A short-finned pilot whale in the Canary Islands, Spain. Image by Gustavo Perez via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).CitationsVan Cise, A.M., Baird, R.W., Baker, C.S., Cerchio, S., Claridge, D., Fielding, R., … & Oleson, E.M. (2019). Oceanographic barriers, divergence, and admixture: Phylogeography and taxonomy of two putative subspecies of short‐finned pilot whale. Molecular ecology.Mahaffy, S.D., Baird, R.W., McSweeney, D.J., Webster, D.L., & Schorr, G.S. (2015). High site fidelity, strong associations, and long‐term bonds: Short‐finned pilot whales off the island of Hawai ‘i. Marine Mammal Science, 31(4), 1427-1451.Van Cise, A.M., Martien, K.K., Mahaffy, S.D., Baird, R.W., Webster, D.L., Fowler, J.H., … & Morin, P.A. (2017). Familial social structure and socially driven genetic differentiation in Hawaiian short‐finned pilot whales. Molecular ecology, 26(23), 6730-6741.Van Cise, A. M., Morin, P. A., Baird, R. W., Lang, A. R., Robertson, K. M., Chivers, S. J., … & Martien, K. K. (2016). Redrawing the map: mt DNA provides new insight into the distribution and diversity of short‐finned pilot whales in the Pacific Ocean. Marine Mammal Science, 32(4), 1177-1199.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? 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