Largest ever space camera is ready to map a billion stars
After its successful launch in December, European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia has now taken up its position in space and is ready to survey the skies. With the help of two onboard telescopes focused onto the largest ever space camera, Gaia is estimated to catalogue nearly one billion stars in its 5-year mission.
Publication info London :Published by the author,1868-71.
Ernst Mayr Library of the MCZ, Harvard University
Scientists have demonstrated how new satellite technology can be used to count whales, and ultimately estimate their population size. Using Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery, alongside image processing software, they were able to automatically detect and count whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Peninsula Valdes in Argentina.
The new method, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, could revolutionise how whale population size is estimated. Marine mammals are extremely difficult to count on a large scale and traditional methods, such as counting from platforms or land, can be costly and inefficient.
Lead author Peter Fretwell from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), which is funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), explains, “This is a proof of concept study that proves whales can be identified and counted by satellite. Whale populations have always been difficult to assess; traditional means of counting them are localized, expensive and lack accuracy. The ability to count whales automatically, over large areas in a cost effective way will be of great benefit to conservation efforts for this and potentially other whale species.”
Previously, satellites have provided limited success in counting whales but their accuracy has improved in recent years.
Meat Ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus)
Also known as the Meat-eater Ant or Gravel ant, the meat ant is a species of rainbow ant (Iridomyrmex spp.) that occurs throughout Australia. Like most ants meat ants live in large underground nests that number around 64,000 individuals. Despite what their common name might suggest meat ants are omnivorous scavengers and will forage diurnally for whatever they can manage. Their common name comes from the fact that they are commonly used to clean carcasses. Interestingly meat ants do not have dedicated soldier and worker casts, instead they exhibit age caste polytheism which means they take on different roles in the colony at different ages. Young ants typically care for eggs and older ants form foraging parties.
3-Day Old Zebrafish Trigeminal Sensory Neurons
The trigeminal sensory neurons (the cells next to the eye) and their axons (the branches emanating from the cell bodies) are labeled by Brainbow transgenic expression. The axons of these sensory neurons extend into the brain (the horizontal bundle on the right side), where they encounter neurons within the brain. The color in the eye is due to tissue autofluorescence.
Image Courtesy: Albert Pan of Schier Lab.