Michigan State University’s panda habitat research team has spent years collecting mountains of data aimed at understanding and saving giant pandas. Now a graduate student is working to catch crucial data that’s black, white and furry.
Vanessa Hull, 25, a Ph.D. candidate, is in the snowy, remote mountains of the Sichuan Province of China – which also is the heart of panda habitat. She’s hoping to capture, collar and track up to four wild pandas using advanced global positioning systems.
Hull, a student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is among the first since the 1990s in this crucial area to obtain permits to trap the pandas and fit them with GPS collars. She and the team will map where these elusive creatures go, effectively letting the pandas tell the researchers the habitat they like best.
“Reintroducing captive pandas into the wild is a very difficult process because pandas in captivity aren’t used to be in wild, they don’t have the survival skills,” Hull said. “The researchers in China want to collaborate with us closely.”
Scientists can mesh what the pandas tell them with that mountain of data. It can help them identify the most hospitable panda neighborhoods, learn how to preserve those and create more.
“We are very excited about this new project. It will generate lots of long-awaited important information about panda biology, behavior and interactions with human activities,” says Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Hull’s major adviser, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and University Distinguished Professor of fisheries and wildlife.
For the past dozen years, the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, led by Liu, painstakingly has gathered and crunched data on the pandas’ habitat, in collaboration with Professor Zhiyun Ouyang at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Director Hemin Zhang at Wolong Nature Reserve.
With support from the National Science Foundation, NASA, National Natural Science Foundation of China and other sources, the scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries on the give-and-take between panda and human survival in the bamboo jungles, mountains and farmland of the Wolong Nature Reserve, home of the famous panda research and breeding center.
The giant pandas are the darlings of their native China and the world. But walk through panda habitat and they’re invisible. Pandas are endangered. Estimates of panda numbers in the wild range from 1,600 to 3,000.
Pandas are particular. Nonnegotiable to the panda is a home that offers lots of choice bamboo, mature trees strong enough to hold a napping panda, ideal temperature and a comfy slope.
Pandas share their home, even in reserves, with people locked in their own struggle to survive. The logging and farming that provides humans heat for their homes and income to survive has wiped out acres of panda-friendly terrain.
Recent history is steeped in irony. China’s efforts to save the pandas have made the nature reserves an irresistible tourist attraction. Panda fans on ecotourism trips flock like groupies. This commerce and development degrades panda habitat.
Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University
Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses