Environment Forum

On Antarctic safaris, remember to bring a microscope

Many people hope to come back from a wildlife safari with close-up pictures of lions or elephants – this picture below is my best attempt from a search for the largest land animals in Antarctica.

If you look hard you can see a reddish blob at the tip of the thumb — it’s Antarctica’s most aggressive land predator, an eight-legged mite known as Rhagidia.

Pete Convey, a biologist at the British Antarctic Survey (that’s his thumb), says that such tiny creatures evolved in Antarctica over tens of millions of years — they can freeze their bodies in winter in an extreme form of hibernation.

Penguins, seals and whales are the best known animals in Antarctica, but none live year-round on land, where the biggest creature is a flightless midge whose name is ”Belgica antarctica” and who’s about 0.5 cm long.

Global warming could mean problems for some of these tiny creatures if it keeps going — the Antarctic Peninsula where Pete showed us the creatures has warmed by about 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) over the past 50 years, the fastest rate in the southern hemisphere.

Maps, Online Communities and Games for the Environment

Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and will be a regular contributor. ReutersThomson is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

Earlier this year, GV Environment listed the web2.0 tools for environment activism. Since then many more tools have been developed to help concerned citizens make decisions about their carbon footprint and engage with others using maps and games. This post will highlight some mashups, online communities, carbon footprint calculators and one online game.

Mashups

Rory of Carbon Smart Blog announced the Greening Africa Map by outlining the goal of the google map mashup and asking others to send in information about projects to be included.

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