Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Photo Contest Winner!

We got some nice photos for our photo contest, from the colors of spring to life in the aquarium. Even in the handful of photos that we got you can see how much biodiversity adds to the simple visual aesthetic of our lives.

The photo that co-judge Alex Coverdill and I decided to go with for our contest winner is shown at left, by Camille Dupaquier.

Look at this old stump of a tree. Is it still living? There's a few twigs here and there that don't seem to have gotten the message that the tree is done for and they're still giving it their best. And in a hollow niche in the center, passing through the eye of the tree, as it were, a squirrel has been momentarily caught. You know that in the next instant the squirrel will be gone, but here it is framed by the tree. On its own, the tree is fascinating and full of character but I find it poignant that the squirrel is caught in the spotlight.
The Tree of Life (Darwin's metaphor for how species are related) is full of niches that different species specialize in. In this International Year of Biodiversity, we should become aware of which niches are disappearing and what we can do to halt it. Thanks for a provocative photo Camille!

Speaking of provocative, here's another image that I've been meaning to post regarding endangered species (click on the image to enlarge it). Apart from the disturbing facts at the bottom (the global population of tigers has fallen 97% in the last century), the figure shows that Ecuador and the USA have the most endangered animal species, with 2211 and 1203, respectively. As the subtitle says, here's a look at some countries with the greatest potential for both disaster and improvement.

Let's hope it's the latter.


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