An Urgent Mission
The Living Earth CollaborativeTM is a center for biodiversity that brings together three world-class organizations–Washington University, Missouri Botanical Gardens, and the Saint Louis Zoo. The collaborative transcends geographic and political boundaries to conserve biodiversity and sustain life on Earth.
Living Earth Collaborative News
Published 04/-5/19 by Erin Heffernan in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo: Hillary Levin
“Train is a conservation detection dog, one of the more unusual research tools for tracking elusive animals in the wild, and works alongside Washington University biology researcher Karen DeMatteo. The two have spent years on projects aimed at tracking carnivores in a biologically important stretch of Argentina and monitoring mountain lions in the U.S.” Read more
Published 02/18/2019 in ‘Scientific American’
Photo: Jill Utrup/USFWS Flickr
“Saint Louis Zoo is the only institution in the world that’s breeding Ozark hellbenders, and they’re doing it well. Since 2011 their program’s parent hellbenders have laid more than 6,500 eggs that have resulted in the births of more than 5,100 tiny hellbender hatchlings. That’s critically important, because the species isn’t doing well outside the zoo walls. Ozark hellbenders are admittedly hard to count in the wild—they’re nocturnal and live under big rocks in remote rivers—but the most recent estimates suggest that the adult population has fallen from about 27,000 just a few decades ago to around 600 today.” Read more
Published 10/17/2018 in The Ampersand
Arts & Sciences alumna and St. Louis Zoo program coordinator Monica McDonald has joined forces with Emily Wroblewski, assistant professor of biological anthropology, to study monkey DNA. Their work will provide essential data for future efforts to protect animals in the wild. This project received a Living Earth Collaborative seed grant in Spring 2018.
Published 10/4/18 in The Ampersand
Parnell’s mustached bat, Pteronotus parnellii
To help determine forest restoration goals in Costa Rica, postdoctoral scholar Rachel Reid will travel to Central America this winter to explore a cave long inhabited by bats. The work is supported by WashU’s Living Earth Collaborative. Reid’s team includes Bronwen Knoecky, Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at WashU; Christine Edwards, a plant conservation geneticist at the Missouri Botanical Garden; J. Leighton Reid, an assistant scientist at the Missouri Botanical Garden; and Xinyi Liu, Assistant Professor of Archaeology.
Published 7/21/18 in The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
The Missouri Botanical Garden recently began a 2-year partnership with the Gareev Botanical Garden in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. Scientists from the garden took a trip to the region to tag trees in the field and engage in capacity-building initiatives with local people whose livelihoods depend on the harvesting of wild fruits in the forests. These fruits are abundant and closely related to many US crop species including apples, plums and almonds. The scientists believe that the introduction of wild genes into US crops may increase their resistance to disease and their ability to cope with climate change.
Published 7/12/18 in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo by Tim Vizer
The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has something big planned: an expansion of the insect lab to nearly twice its current size. The Butterfly House’s employees have “tens of thousands of mouths to feed every morning” says Tad Yankoski, entomologist, and are short on space. The new insect lab will also be visible to visitors, giving them a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes. The institution is aiming to break ground in November 2019.