The best blogs on biodiversity?

Looking for some good blogs about biodiversity? Here are some of my old favourites and some new discoveries. There’s something for everyone here, but I’d like to know your top tips too.

To see why I produced this list and what I think is missing from it, you can read the accompanying post: Five vacant niches in the biodiversity blogosphere . Or you can read that later and continue here to my list of old favourites and new discoveries.

Here goes… (in no particular order)

First up is the Earth Watch blog by the BBC’s Richard Black. He has a fantastic grip on what biodiversity really means. He shares his analysis in the most accessible of ways, and his blog is one of the few mainstream media sites to give biodiversity the time and space it deserves.

Other good sources of original news and commentary are Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth blog at the New York Times, the Yale Environment 360 blog, the independent journalist Stephen Leahy, and George Monbiot and other bloggers at The Guardian. Note that these journalists all focus on other issues too, and you are far more likely to find posts on climate change than on biodiversity at their blogs.

Another commentator whose blog I only just found is biologist Marcelino Fuentes. His Biopolitical blog explores the ways science and social policy about environmental issues can combine or clash (as an example, see his post on the environmentalist’s paradox).

Mongabay.com is one of the best places to go online for news about forests, conservation, wildlife and biodiversity — and for well-written summaries of the latest academic research on these topics. Though it is more of an online magazine than a blog, it has a dedicated biodiversity news blog, which collects all of the site’s biodiversity content into one place.

Our World 2.o, the blog from the UN University, also has a dedicated (and well-presented) biodiversity channel, while Corey Bradshaw’s Conservation Bytes discusses conservation science and its impacts (or lack of) on global biodiversity.

O Eco is a Brazilian site with a strong focus on biodiversity, forests and sustainable development. It has a separate project — O Eco Amazonia — that shares stories (in Portuguese, English and Spanish) from the nine countries that share the Amazon basin.

Brazil-based Tim Hirsch’s Earth Matters also covers biodiversity and forests, among other things, while the UN Redd Programme Blog discusses moves to tackle climate change by limiting deforestation in developing nations — and what this means for forest-dependent people.

Wildlife Direct has a whole collection of biodiversity-related blogs — including Bushmeat in Kenya and Bornean Sun Bear and Island Biodiversity Race — which are easy to browse through to find something interesting.

Another four blogs that deserve a special mention for sharing (and presenting) stories about nature so well are: Myrmecos and Marvelous in Nature and The Artful Amoeba and The Sticky Tongue.

Next up is Resilience Science, whose enticing subtitle is “coping with ecological surprise in a human dominated world”. This blog’s collective of authors are researchers who study resilience in social-ecological systems. They recently published an interesting paper on The Environmentalist’s Paradox, and you can find them blogging on all sorts, from ecological crises to urban ecology.

Related blogs that focus on the links between people and nature include Human Landscapes, and the blog from Japan’s Satoyama Initiative which aims to conserve human-influenced environments and the traditional practices for managing them that people have developed and used sustainably over a long time.

The British Ecological Society’s Ecology and Policy Blog and the Ecological Society of America’s Ecotone provide news and views on the interface between ecological research and public policy. Both are more international in scope that their titles suggests.

Surprisingly few blogs focus heavily on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the international law that aims to conserve biodiversity and ensure that it is used in a fair and sustainable way (though Blogging Biodiversity did in the past).

For NGO perspectives  you can follow a network of civil society organisations at the CBD Alliance, which also produces the UndecoverCOP blog during the international negotiations that take place each year to refine the CBD.  TK Bulletin is also useful for posts about the traditional knowledge that for many communities goes hand-in-hand with the sustainable use and management of biodiversity.

For a more market-oriented view of our natural world, then the Eko-Eco blog is the place to be. It discusses how to incorporate the value of ecosystem services into our economic system, and is a joint project of Ecosystem Marketplace and EKO Asset Management Partners. The Ecosystem Services Blog (which I hope takes off again soon).

International organisations with blogs about biodiversity include Conservation International and the Zoological Society of London. Its EDGE (evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered) blog tells the stories of species that are not only rare, but also have very few close relatives.

For specific areas of biodiversity news or research or policy you can try out the Invasive Species Blog (which tracks one of the biggest threats to biodiversity worldwide), the RTSea blog (on marine and coastal biodiversity), the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog set up by Luigi Guarino and Jeremy Cherfas, and the like-minded Agrobiodiversity Grapevine.

For taxomony and systematics, try Morgan Jackson’s Biodiversity in Focus or if you want to get really technical — and visually treated —  then see Biodivertido, where a group of bloggers share their experiences in bioinformatics.

You will also find scientists blogging at the Pimm Group website, The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS (National University of Singapore) and at the Encyclopedia of Life blog.

Blogs with a national or regional focus include: Bionesian – Pacific Biodiversity, Phil Gates’s The Cabinet of Curiosities about nature in the North-East of England, and Mario Balzan’s BioBlog, which has a special focus on the Mediterranean and its insects.

Two travel blogs that are worth are look are David Without Borders (by Canadians David Aimé and David Fabregand) and Gaia Vince’s Wandering Gaia, which covers broader topics than biodiversity alone. I’m not sure what will happen to these sites when Gaia stops wandering and the two Davids are back within their own borders, but I guess they will keep on blogging.

Also seemingly time-bound is the Parasite of the Day blog, which the American Society of Parasitologists is using to highlight one parasite per day during 2010, the UN International Year of Biodiversity. Parasitologists never get bored of new parasites so I hope they keep blogging into the next year and beyond.

Last but not least I recommend Paolo Viscardi’s Zygoma – which is home to the weekly challenge that is the Friday Mystery Object.

Okay, I have written more than a thousand words on this post so it is time to stop and hand over to you… I’m sure there are many excellent blogs out there that are new to me, so please do share any suggestions you have by adding a comment with a description and a link to the blog.

You can read about what I think is missing in the accompanying post: Five vacant niches in the biodiversity blogosphere.

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28 Responses to The best blogs on biodiversity?

  1. T V Padma says:

    This is a great and very interesting list. Thumbs up.

    • mikeshanahan says:

      Thanks Padma. If you can recommend some good biodiversity blogs from India I would love to hear about them. Especially any looking at biodiversity registers, access and benefit-sharing or traditional knowledge.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the mention. And lots of new stuff there to explore. So thanks too for the round-up.

  3. Stephen says:

    Some new sites for me, quite helpful. And thanks for the mention. For the record I’d much rather write about biodiv than yet another climate change story (think I’ve done 3/400 by now).

  4. muddygreen says:

    Thanks for this resource, Mike. You’ve just added about half an hour to my morning browse of RSS feeds.
    You cited a couple of key blogs on agricultural biodiversity, but I think this area is still somewhat neglected given its importance. It cuts two ways. Biodiversity is essential to supply the genetics we will need to adapt agriculture to future challenges, while at the same time agriculture must adapt to better accommodate biodiversity.
    I put up a couple of short articles on this theme on my own new blog, here and here.
    My blog isn’t about biodiversity per se, but about the interface between agriculture and the environment and “triple-bottom-line” agriculture. Biodiversity is a central theme.

  5. Hi – if you are looking for biodiversity blogs from India, you might want to take a look at EcoLogic, blog of the Nature Conservation Foundation. We’ve got a wide range of places and issues covered, mostly written by students of ecology and conservation.
    Cheers, Pavithra, NCF.

    • mikeshanahan says:

      Thanks Pavithra – I checked out EcoLogic and it is just the kind of blog I was hoping to learn about. I love the opening paragraph in Rishi Kumar Sharma’s post called Weaving and spinning stories in the middle of fieldwork.

      Spiti is fascinating in so many ways that it is difficult not to get bewitched by one of its myriad spells. Beauty comes in several avatars here. It can be in the form of the last silken rays of the soft sun illuminating a lofty mountain peak, a nimble footed Ibex feeding comfortably in a treacherous terrain or a Buddhist prayer flag fluttering in the wind.

      What follows is a great piece of writing.

      Thanks for sharing it.
      Mike

  6. CJAB says:

    Thanks for the mention of http://ConservationBytes.com, Mike. Also – I’ve been doing some more coverage of the CBD lately. CJA Bradshaw

  7. Winnie Bird says:

    Thanks for the great list! As usual, an avalanche of information and commentary out there to keep up with.

  8. Pingback: Nibbles: Kew, Diversity, Allanblackia and Acacia, Pulses, GIS, Poverty, Early morning flowering, Agrobiodiversity and climate change, Breeding, Genebanks, Perenniality, Blogs, AGRA, Potato diversity, Witchweed

  9. Pingback: Blogs sobre biodiversidade « Teia Viva

  10. Dave says:

    Thank you for listing the blogs.

  11. Elsa Tsioumani says:

    Thanks for the mention Mike, and for a great list!

  12. Nan Woonton says:

    Excellent Mike! Thanks for mentioning the Bionesian blog – it’s also great to read through the other blogs listed. Kia manuia.

  13. PaoloV says:

    Thanks for the mention Mike – not sure I deserve it, unless it’s for showing the tiniest tip of the biodiversity iceberg.

    Loving ‘Under The Banyan’ by the way – good analyses and interesting angles on biodiversity issues. As an aside, is the name taken from Woody’s story?

  14. Phrang Roy says:

    Thank you for this initiative. Are there any blogs on agricultural biodiversity, local food systems and indigenous peoples?

  15. Tommy says:

    Thank you for listing the Parasite of the Day blog, the admin of that blog is very happy about that. While it is true that we parasitologists never get bored of new parasites, there is only 24 hours in a day. So there is certainly no shortage of parasites – just parasitologists with time to blog about them! As full-time academics, it is difficult enough trying to find that “career vs rest of life” balance let alone keeping up a full-time blog!

    We do hope that the blog will achieve its objective in highlighting a hidden, and thus often overlooked aspect of biodiversity – that a very significant percentage (most likely the majority) of life on this planet are parasitic organisms.

  16. NAVEEN says:

    That was very informative and well written. Mentioned below is an excerpt of an article on Traditional Knowledge.

    “Misuse of traditional knowledge and measures to prevent the same have been attracting attention since the turmeric patent controversy. After successfully revoking turmeric patent claims that formed part of traditional knowledge, the Indian government has taken numerous initiatives ranging from legislative and policy changes to documentation and creation of a library of information (TKDL). With the press and media joining the effort, the awareness with respect to rights of traditional knowledge holders , actions against traditional knowledge misuse, policy initiatives and so on has been increasing. The TKDL has been playing an important role in revoking and preventing patents on traditional knowledge. Industry and public reaction with respect to patent filings involving traditional knowledge has been aggressive and many times emotional…….read more at http://www.patentpill.com/2010/10/traditional-knowledge-use-or-misuse.html

  17. Jana A.S. says:

    hello.. please can anybody give me an idea about a good biodiversity topic for my research?? :)

    • mikeshanahan says:

      Hi Jana, can you tell us something about where you are, how long you got have for your project and why you are doing a project?

  18. Daniel Hudon says:

    I keep coming back to this list… as well as your post about vacant niches… thanks for posting. Daniel
    econowblog.blogspot.com

  19. Hugo Costa says:

    This isnt a blog but is a good project about marine life. If you guys want to visit go to http://skaphandrus.com/

    Have a nice day

  20. Carolyn says:

    Hi guys, let talk about more on Biodiversity, like the Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/BiodiversitySg/192709707407538

  21. Have a look at fishfullthinking.wordpress.com for updates on biodiversity projects the EA are working on in the SE

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