Hydrophis donaldi - news

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venomdoc
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Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 16th, 2012, 11:53 pm

http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/snak ... 6474489731

Rio Tinto want to dredge the one spot we've ever found them. Love the weasel words from the anonymous state official. How can we know if it won't impact without any studies being done?! "A State Development spokesman said dredging would be minimal and was not thought to impact on the snake." The bureaucratic equivalent of 'trust me, I won't cum in your mouth'

The link to the original paper describing it
http://www.venomdoc.com/downloads/2012_ ... onaldi.pdf

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by justinm » September 24th, 2012, 8:21 am

So we're still mining for Bauxite? I would think that with all the cans we have some recycling could keep us going for a while... Sad to see a snake this new, already threatened.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Bryan Hamilton » September 24th, 2012, 10:56 am

IndigoBlue,

Are you really comparing scientific collection (which is necessary to describe a new species) with large scale habitat destruction?

You seem to lack a sense of proportion or understanding of basic conservation.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 24th, 2012, 12:10 pm

Actually no Indigo, we have not killed every single snake we have seen. We collected only enough as was needed for statistical robustness and now we are milking for venom and releasing immediately back into the ocean.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Shane_TX » September 24th, 2012, 6:00 pm

Professor Fry said he supported Rio, but due diligence was needed.

"Rio is a good company and they are not out to see any animal go extinct, but at the very least they need to pony up some money to do some extra survey work," he said.
" The bureaucratic equivalent of 'trust me, I won't cum in your mouth'
I'm not involved in the game, but you did endorse them. Would it be far-fetched for me to consider that Rio finances some things on your end?

Shane

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 25th, 2012, 4:39 pm

Yes far fetched. I recieve no money or support in any way from Rio Tinto, or Comalco who used to own the mine. The type of mining they do at Weipa is one of the least destructive. The bauxite they are after is only present in the first meter or so of soil. They do a fantastic job of revegetating the zones and have also locked up lots of land in the native state. Having worked up there since 97 I've seen zones that were mined and then revegetated. They are virtually indistinguishable from the untouched areas. Further, there is almost no pollution of the bay from the mining operations. Very much an example of best practice. They are actually quite concerned about the marine environment being affected both directly by the dredging and indirectly by silting. This is all in stark contrast to the travesty that is going on on the other side of the cape in Gladstone.

I am not against the sustainable utilisation of natural resources as long as it does not decimate the environment in the process.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by reptilist » September 25th, 2012, 4:59 pm

Justinm,
The idea that recycling metals will ever replace mining is not even close to being a reality.

Bryan,
I appreciate your balanced approach to resource exploitation vs nature preservation.... Unfortunately, the almighty dollar will win, again.

(Yes, I do work in the mining industry but I would be glad to switch sides to join any enviro activist organization who can match my salary.)

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by -EJ » September 26th, 2012, 6:22 am

I'm sorry but couldn't resist... the irony of this post is exceptional.
reptilist wrote: Unfortunately, the almighty dollar will win, again.

(Yes, I do work in the mining industry but I would be glad to switch sides to join any enviro activist organization who can match my salary.)

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by jimoo742 » September 26th, 2012, 8:24 am

Yeah, rather off putting. The almighty damn dollar indeed.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 1:47 pm

You really have no idea how science works do you? It seems rather evident you are simply an internet know-it-all with naive, idealistic opinions that are not grounded in reality. As was patiently explained to you in a previous thread, but obviously fell on deaf ears or illiterate eyes, to describe a new species does indeed sacrificing specimens. Not only due to the stringent requirement that any new species description be linked to a holotype lodged in a recognised scientific museum, but several specimens must be examined to determine genetic variability and also whether any morphological variances are due to abberance or are indeed valid markers.

We have seen and released three more now that we do not need to collect anything other than venom. We will be back in the Gulf in October hunting for more of these and the two other new species we have discovered in the Gulf.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by gbin » September 27th, 2012, 1:52 pm

IndigoBlue wrote:... I think too many scientists and others have gotten the idea that pickling whatever they can is going to do some good when it really comes down to the egos of whom is doing it.
And I think it's hard to believe the degree of willful ignorance you're displaying, here. Scan some journals in the biological sciences sometime and see if you can find any articles in which our knowledge of a species was advanced, very possibly substantially, through the use of preserved specimens. If you can't, it's simply because you're unwilling to see what's abundantly there to be seen (as I said, willful ignorance).

Sometime you might try actually getting to know a few scientists before continuing to denigrate us as a group, too.

Finally, a couple of questions I'm curious to hear you answer given what you've written above: Is it your belief that animals can somehow manage to never die? Or that this would be a desirable thing if it were possible?

Gerry

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 2:08 pm

What part of 'it is a requirement to lodge a specimen of any new species' do you not understand? This is clearly stated in the rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. That way the findings can be independently verified by other scientists. Rather than 'trust me this is what we saw'. And perhaps you could tell me how we can examine the internal anatomy (which contains many diagnostic characters) without sacrificing the specimens? Or do you have x-ray vision to go with your omniscience?

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 2:27 pm

Really? List them. Please tell me how we can examine post-orbital bone structure for example

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 3:06 pm

And how do you propose to keep a sea snake alive while x-raying it? They are incredibly delicate creatures that are extraordinarily difficult to keep alive in captivity. I ought to know since I have kept more sea snakes in captivity than anyone else. Some required 10,000 liter coral tanks.

Further, X-ray will not give the resolution. CT-scanning is needed for that.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 3:20 pm

It cannot be conserved if it is not validly described as a species.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 3:35 pm

You have a terminal case of willful ignorance. You are the weakest link. Good bye.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Bryan Hamilton » September 27th, 2012, 3:37 pm

IndioBlue,


Knowing the bone structure allows the species to be validly described. If its not described it cannot be conserved or protected from dredging. So knowing the bone structrure does a hell of a lot of good for the population.


You do realize you are badgering one of the world's foremost experts on venomous reptiles? I would be very intrested in seeing some species descriptions that you have written using alternative, non-lethal methods. How many species have you described?

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 4:08 pm

Extreme specialists such as the Hydrophis types are impossible to keep alive in captivity. They require such unique microhabitats that it is impossible to replicate in captivity. Combined with their very high metabolism, they will die of starvation within two weeks. So it is not a case of me not being able to answer your question, rather talking to you is like trying to convince a creationist. You will not change your ignorant position despite the abundant evidence presented to you. Thus, you are now formally taxonomically classified as a troll and the best way to deal with a troll is to not feed it.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by gbin » September 27th, 2012, 4:32 pm

IndigoBlue wrote:Gerry, animals are going to die no matter what. It's inevitable...
Ok, but I'm still interested in hearing your response to my second question. Do you think it would be preferable for them to never die? Is it really as simple for you as life = good, death = bad, period?

Gerry

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by venomdoc » September 27th, 2012, 4:32 pm

[insert sound of crickets chirping here]

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by azatrox » September 27th, 2012, 8:05 pm

Indigo...

I've (surprisingly) followed this thread from beginning to end, and all I hear is you talking about how there are "other ways" to describe new species and stating that said descriptions can be done without killing animals.

You have been asked numerous times by numerous parties to describe how you would go about describing a new species without holotypes...It has been explained to you that without certain readily identifiable (and distinguishable), characteristics (which are only available from holotypes) it is impossible to scientifically describe a new species.

You have yet to answer any questions pertaining to the numerous issues/questions put before you. Instead, you want to sit there and antagonize and state what YOU think is the case over and over again. Enough already....

Fish or cut bait...Bryan has responded (ad nauseum I might add) to YOUR inquiries, and it's time for YOU to do one of two things...Either respond in kind or go away.

-Kris

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by gbin » September 27th, 2012, 8:19 pm

I have to agree with Kris, Indigo. Not only have you blown off others' numerous requests for a clear explanation of what you think should be done to satisfy the needs for scientific collection without relying on the practice, but you haven't even bothered to answer a very simple, general question that I asked you to try to gain some understanding of the basis of your outrageous bias against the practice. Maybe you're under the impression that you can be persuasive here merely by staging seemingly irrational and certainly unwarranted attacks against scientists/scientific work you obviously know little or nothing about, but if so you're quite mistaken.

Gerry

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by VanAR » September 27th, 2012, 8:23 pm

Maybe you're under the impression that you can be persuasive here merely by staging seemingly irrational and certainly unwarranted attacks against scientists/scientific work you obviously know little or nothing about, but if so you're quite mistaken.
This is 'Murica, where the uninformed, uneducated, wilfully ignorant opinion is just as valid as the informed, educated, expert statement.

:crazyeyes:

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by gbin » September 27th, 2012, 8:49 pm

I reckon that's what they mean by "fair and balanced," Van. :(

Gerry

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Shane_TX » September 27th, 2012, 8:59 pm

Silly boys. The USA is not an issue in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Capish.

Why dredge to those depths when Oz welcomes you with open arms.

Shane

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by justinm » September 28th, 2012, 5:05 am

How would you do scale counts on a live animal? We need a specimen on the record for comparative anatomy for future findings. The collected specimens are for the greater good of the scientific community. Besides God is killing babies, kittens and puppies everyday! Maybe you should talk to him about that as well...

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by jimoo742 » September 28th, 2012, 5:35 am

So, scientists are wrong on the proper process for describing animals? Are people proposing that description of species becomes a non-science based activity then?

"anything and everything"? Really? A bit of a stretch.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 28th, 2012, 5:50 am

Great thread. I came for "Rio Tinto" (a company that's made headlines here in Sarawak of late) and stayed for the very educational bar fight :-)

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by jimoo742 » September 28th, 2012, 5:58 am

IndigoBlue wrote:They don't have to pickle every single thing and multiple numbers to do so. There are other ways to get specimens as well such as dors. I know that can not be done obviously with sea snakes but as I stated before, there are other ways to get needed data without killing it.

And not a stretch at all. Like others above have all said, the only way they describe anything is from pickled specimens. So that basically means anything living that has been described and everything that we know of.

I've never met a scientist in my lifetime that "pickle every single thing" they collect. But yes, initially, multiple specimens are needed. And no, scientifically, a holotypes/paratypes ARE needed. If you want to do away with the current system, please go ahead and try to move scientists out of the realm of taxonomy and move it to your way of doing things. Good luck with that. There is nothing wrong with killing a few animals for the benefit of science. People WAY too often conflate wildlife conservation with protection of individual animals. It is a very different thing. (Greenpeace was great at blurring this important line).

And yes, every living species that is described (for the most part) should have a holotype in a collection somewhere (though many are lost / destroyed over the years). There are very many good reasons for that.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by azatrox » September 28th, 2012, 6:13 am

“Actually Kris I did. I already explained that if one wanted to examine bone structure for instance, an xray could be done. venomdoc said it would take too long as it obviously just would not fit into his way of doing things. I also stated that blood and/or tissue samples can be taken for analysis. Scale clippings from snakes or even shed skins can be used. I even said that more can be done by actually witnessing behavior from live specimens which you just can not get with a dead animal.

Just because the scientific community says it must be done this way does not mean it is the only way. Scientists are wrong many times again and again.

And Van, just because someone does not completely agree with your way of thinking does not make you the more educated.”


Indigo,

And how does one go about keeping specimens alive given the inherent challenges already outlined? I understand where your intent is, and no one wants to see blatant slaughter of animals, but the logistics of your alternatives are not realistic given real world constraints.

I think there’s some confusion here re: conservation. By conservation I don’t think most people mean that every single animal should be spared. Rather, I think the generally accepted idea is that the species/population of animals should be preserved. With animals not previously known to science, one must first establish that the animal in question is in fact a new species….after all, you can’t conserve an animal that doesn’t exist. Modern science requires that we have holotypes for newly described species. I cannot think of any species that has been described by science that does not have holotypes. Now, in order to get holotypes, it is necessary for a small number of animals to die. That’s just the way it is. One cannot prove the existence (and corresponding need for conservation) of a new species based upon x rays and vials of blood/tissue. As Bryan explained, often there are anatomical features unique to a species that are not contained/expressed in x rays, tissue samples, shed skins, photos, etc. If one has to sacrifice some specimens to ensure that the species remains viable, then that’s a pretty small tradeoff (especially considering the alternative).

Yes….if you are a scientist, and that’s what you do for a living, you are bound by the accepted practices of science. You may not agree with that, you may wish it was different, but disagreement and wishing it wasn’t so does not change a thing. So it’s not BRYAN’S “way of doing things”….It’s SCIENCE’S way of doing things…Methinks the target of your argument is a bit misplaced. If you want to rail away at the killing of specimens “in the name of science”, then rail away at science itself.

-Kris

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by azatrox » September 28th, 2012, 6:20 am

"Easily with photos and/or shed skins. The problem I have here is it's ok for scientists to pickle anything and everything they can for that "greater good" you stated. But god forbid someone collects an animal because the scientists do not want you to touch it. It's become a we can do it society but you can not.

Last I checked, the Indigo reintroduction programs used live animals. Not pickled ones."


Wait a minute....back up a second....

Often, if an animal is protected from collection, it's protected by legislation....Legislation that is enacted by legislators and enforced by law enforcement....Neither of these entities are "science" and neither have anything to do with the scientific aspects of conservation. Scientists do not pass legislation regulating what you ca and cannot collect. Doesn't work that way.

As far as the indigo reintroduction, you're comparing apples and oranges....the goals of describing a new species and reintroducing a previously existing species into former habitat are COMPLETELY different....Therefore, there are different methodologies and ways of doing things.

-Kris

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by azatrox » September 28th, 2012, 6:56 am

"My argument is that scientists kill off way more than really is needed. I can understand the desire by them to have a specimen in their collection but it has gotten to the point now that I think it is being overdone. We hear on here many times that over collecting can have an impact on a species. Yet what about all that collecting done for museums? And nine sea snakes of which were the only ones found at that time? Why nine? One wouldn't suffice? And venomdoc is applauded for it. Yet if someone else were to go and collect just one of those sea snakes for their own personal reasons, they would be criticized for it. Museums and collections now seem to almost compete on whom has the most. But if it's all done for science, people feel that it's just the way to do things.

Part of the other problem is that people feel in order to make a name for themselves, they pickle what they can. While specimens are already available, they go and pickle another one. And the next person does the same. It's being done on a level where one wonders why previous specimens aren't used since they already exist. But no, that person has to pickle their own. And when you look at how many are doing that, the numbers really add up. And it's not even necessary."


Indigo,

And on what evidence are you basing your contention that scientists are pickling anything that moves? What you’ve heard? On what basis are you claiming that species are being “over pickled”? Is it your personal feelings or can you back up your claim with facts? I’ve herped with scientists…And no one collected a thing except photos. I’m sure others can relate similar experiences. Are you upset because things are being collected or because the scientists are the ones doing this collecting? Your argument is starting to get a little blurry so please explain.

I’ll accept for a moment that 9 sea snakes represented the entire population of sea snakes and Bryan collected them all…I’ll do this to illustrate a point. If this was the case, then the population was doomed anyway….We’ve already accepted in previous posts that animal death is inevitable. If the entire genetic existence of this species consisted of 9 animals, then it could not be conserved. So why get all bent out of shape? Even if only one animal was collected….or that animal had been eaten by a shark….or struck by lightning….or otherwise ceased to contribute to the gene flow….The entire species would cease to exist. So again….logistically speaking, what is the difference between collecting one animal and 9 if 9 represented the entire population? On a more realistic note, one would NOT have sufficed because part of describing a new species entails describing variation within a species and you can’t do that with one specimen.

Indigo, the more I hear you talk, the more I get the feeling that you are just anti-academia.

-Kris

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by jimoo742 » September 28th, 2012, 7:09 am

IndigoBlue wrote:My argument is that scientists kill off way more than really is needed. I can understand the desire by them to have a specimen in their collection but it has gotten to the point now that I think it is being overdone. We hear on here many times that over collecting can have an impact on a species. Yet what about all that collecting done for museums?

Relatively little collecting is done for museum specimens. Especially very little collecting for well known species, other than some range extensions.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by gbin » September 28th, 2012, 7:36 am

azatrox wrote:Indigo, the more I hear you talk, the more I get the feeling that you are just anti-academia.
From what I can tell, Indigo's anti- all kinds of things. I can't remember when I last witnessed anyone with so many chips on his/her shoulder, and in this case it appears increasingly obvious that they're all unfounded and in a number of instances downright irrational. I don't know whether Indigo's for real or is just playing at this, i.e. a troll, but maybe it would be best to treat him/her as a troll, regardless. Certainly s/he's impervious to reason.

Gerry

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by ratsnake » September 28th, 2012, 7:38 am

Indigo,
Have you ever been on an expedition to a remote part of the world? How would you get things like x-ray machines and ct-scanners there when just getting yourself there is near impossible? How would one even know what to look for internally in a new species that externally looks similar or identical to existing species? New species are sometimes discovered years after they were collected because no one had figured out what to even look for. On some expedition large numbers of new species are collected in the field with very limited time available in that country. How could you predict what will be important data to collect for future use? What small details will be needed in future research? Have you ever walked throw a collection and looked at all of the locations and dates from where animals were collected and realized that parking lots and building are now there? There is a real tangible feeling that you can relate to when you see it first-hand that you can’t get from photos and data.

Mark Pyle

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by azatrox » September 28th, 2012, 8:23 am

Kris, I think no matter what I state, you are going to have an answer for it anyway so I really have no desire to list out all the details of who's pickling what. And your comment on that population of sea snakes being doomed anyway has to be one of the funniest things I've heard in a while. You are basing that on your assumption and opinion only and face it, you really have no idea.


I didn't ask for "all the details of who's pickling what"....I asked on what basis are you coming to that conclusion....Big difference. As far as having an answer for everything, if anything I'm asking more questions than I am providing answers...I'm asking you to provide answers....A request that is still outstanding.

My sea snake example was done to illustrate the point that whether one collects one snake or 9 snakes, it makes little difference in terms of the overall population. If this is "one of the funniest things you've heard in awhile", then why is it such a bone of contention with you that Bryan collected the snakes that he did? The reality is that if Bryan (or anyone) was able to collect 9 snakes in a single trip, then the population has to be greater than 9 snakes....that is unless every snake in the population happened to be (exposed) in that locale at the same time, on the same day, etc....So statistically improbable as to be considered impossible with more than a reasonable amount of confidence.

-Kris

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by regalringneck » September 28th, 2012, 8:58 am

... i hear what indigloe is hitting on, much like us here in az killing every jaguar we can ... to conserve them ...
... there are often other approaches to methodologies if one wants to be creative, but i think the real crime here is 2-fold and why aren't our local drama queens bitching about the locality being given out here ... jajaja ... i know i know; like the repugni-CONS that spawn them; the rules are for leetle sheeples ... and finally VD; whats up w/ those tats ... :P

Image

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Lizardman1988 » September 28th, 2012, 9:04 am

IndigoBlue wrote:Kris, I think no matter what I state, you are going to have an answer for it anyway so I really have no desire to list out all the details of who's pickling what. And your comment on that population of sea snakes being doomed anyway has to be one of the funniest things I've heard in a while. You are basing that on your assumption and opinion only and face it, you really have no idea.
Ever hear of population genetics? No? I didn't think so. There is a genetic limit for how many individuals are needed to sustain a population, usually somewhere in the 100s of individuals. If the population becomes too small, genetic drift occurs, which reduces the genetic diversity of the population. Eventually, every individual is inbred, and therefore not able to adapt to habitat changes, compete for resources, or even function. If 9 individuals is all that is left, that species is functionally extinct already.

Stop being so dogmatic, and maybe you'll learn a thing or two.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by jimoo742 » September 28th, 2012, 9:10 am

IndigoBlue wrote:
Mark, I can definitely understand that getting equipment and such to remote areas is not an easy task. There are other ways to get data but sometimes I think the easier route is what is taken.

Indigo, If you would like to fund and promote this new way of doing things, that changes the methodology that has worked well for centuries, and have work to convince the scientific world that your proposed methodology works better for the breadth and scope for cataloging the life that exists on this planet, I will eagerly follow your work.

Good luck.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by gbin » September 28th, 2012, 9:52 am

venomdoc wrote:[insert sound of crickets chirping here]
You had it right, vd. I'm out.

Gerry

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Antonsrkn » September 28th, 2012, 11:48 am

This has been an interesting read, I'm not sure why some of you are even still participating, I would have given up some time ago and assumed Indigo is a troll. Indigo is obviously willfully ignorant and refuses to listen and just keeps coming back with the same statements the error of which has been explained to him by numerous different people numerous times.

Lizardman1988 wrote:Ever hear of population genetics? No? I didn't think so. There is a genetic limit for how many individuals are needed to sustain a population, usually somewhere in the 100s of individuals. If the population becomes too small, genetic drift occurs, which reduces the genetic diversity of the population. Eventually, every individual is inbred, and therefore not able to adapt to habitat changes, compete for resources, or even function. If 9 individuals is all that is left, that species is functionally extinct already.

Stop being so dogmatic, and maybe you'll learn a thing or two.
I definitely don't want to argue, but I would be happy to discuss. I just had to point out that this statement isn't accurate. Genetic drift certainly reduces the heterozygosity in a population but even at high levels of g. drift a population isn't doomed to extinction. You have to remember that while certain alleles can disappear other ones and characteristics that they code for may be selected for through natural selection or some other process. Theoretically this could actually lead to increased fitness for a population, please don't misinterpret what I'm saying here- I'm not saying that genetic drift is a good thing or that it is typically positive...I'm just saying that its not impossible that it would have a positive effect in certain rare cases. In fact, genetic drift can be one of the driving forces behind evolution. You are right, genetic drift can lead to decreased ability to adapt to change, but it is highly unlikely it would lead to a animal not being able to function as there are too many other variables selecting against that simultaneously. Of course high polymorphism is a positive thing to have within a population as the population will be able to adapt to more and may be less vulnerable to things like diseases. Like the Irish Potato plague, I'm not completely sure but I believe one of the reasons it was so devastating was because of the low polymorphism, so all the potatoes were vulnerable and affected rather than some having a resistance. Having said that there are numerous animal species with surprisingly low genetic diversity that seem to be doing fine or are not exhibiting any negative signs. The European (Iberian) lynx has been found to have had historically low genetic diversity and doesn't seem to be impacted by this, same with several species of albatross, and I recall some sort of Asian deer that has been inbreeding for many generations with no ill effects. Not to speak of many plant and nematode species which practice the ultimate form of inbreeding (selfing), without significant ill effects. There are many papers out there that have found surprising results in relation to lack of inbreeding depression in small isolated population. Also I would like to say that a species is by no means functionally extinct if there are only 9 individuals left over. There will certainly be a genetic bottleneck in that situation but there have been numerous examples of species coming back from the brink... A few examples I can think of from the top of my head are Elephant seals and European Bison. The elephant seals total population went as low as 20-30 animals but since then they have made a comeback and populations are growing. Every single European bison is descended from a herd that consisted of something like 12 animals. Too much depends on the animal itself like lifespan, offspring, maturity age, mortality, range to use blanket statements like saying that if there are only 9 animals its basically already extinct and that there has to be a minimum of 100s. Also we dont know the breeding habits of many of these animals very well either, certain breding practices can promote genetic diversity, for example negative assortative breeding which promotes heterozygosity. Either way I guess the long and short of it is that high levels of Genetic drift do not invariably lead to extinction and its not the same thing as inbreeding either. Genetic drift occurs in populations of various sizes it just happens much faster in smaller ones and is a natural process. Thats enough for now, I feel like i'm rambling...

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by azatrox » September 28th, 2012, 12:06 pm

Also I would like to say that a species is by no means functionally extinct if there are only 9 individuals left over.

Excellent points and interesting conversation. I would simply add that in order for a population to rebound from tremendously low numbers (like 9 or 12), I imagine in this day and age there would have to be some pretty aggressive conservation efforts undertaken....But if we can't even establish the endangered animal as a valid species, such efforts are tremendously hampered. Therefore, we're kind of back where we started with what is required in order to validate something as a species.

-Kris

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Joshua Jones » September 28th, 2012, 12:20 pm

IndigoBlue wrote: Last I checked, the Indigo reintroduction programs used live animals. Not pickled ones.
Last I checked, the Indigo reintroduction programs didn't classify the species. Scientists did that. Using holotypes....

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Joshua Jones » September 28th, 2012, 12:31 pm

BTW, Regalringneck, your statement isn't entirely accurate, either. Macho B was collared, released, and then illegally trapped at the hands of two guilty people. He was later euthanized due to, "kidney failure," although some beleive it may have just been dehydration. AZGFD was trying to keep him alive, and in the wild. These two people just screwed that up.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by chris_mcmartin » September 28th, 2012, 1:18 pm

Joshua Jones wrote:AZGFD was trying to keep him alive, and in the wild. These two people just screwed that up.
Why keep a jaguar alive, rather than pickling it? :?

I'm going to attempt to "read into" Indigo Blue's argument by asking: what if, instead of pickling a specimen of Species X, [assume here it's not extremely rare, only 9 left, difficult to keep, etc], it were maintained ALIVE by an individual or institution? What if hundreds of animals, with locality and date-of-capture data, were similarly maintained and networked so that interested researchers could access any of those animals for blood samples, scale/tail clips, behavioral observations, breeding, and so on? And then WHEN the specimen died, it was THEN pickled and deposited into a collection? Would that be an acceptable protocol in the eyes of either "side" of the argument? Has it been previously attempted?

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by VanAR » September 28th, 2012, 3:09 pm

I'm going to attempt to "read into" Indigo Blue's argument by asking: what if, instead of pickling a specimen of Species X, [assume here it's not extremely rare, only 9 left, difficult to keep, etc], it were maintained ALIVE by an individual or institution? What if hundreds of animals, with locality and date-of-capture data, were similarly maintained and networked so that interested researchers could access any of those animals for blood samples, scale/tail clips, behavioral observations, breeding, and so on? And then WHEN the specimen died, it was THEN pickled and deposited into a collection? Would that be an acceptable protocol in the eyes of either "side" of the argument? Has it been previously attempted?
The only problem I can see with using this approach for holotypes is that years in captivity can change features of the organism that may be important to later investigations. After some time in captivity, they may have grown larger than is average for their population, their color patterns may change with captive diets and/or light restrictions, or they show signs of living longer than is normal in the wild (increased rates of cancer, etc.). These factors don't necessarily affect identification, but if anyone wants to use the specimen for morphological/physiological study in the future, then the animal won't necessarily be representative of the wild population.

You would also have to factor in the logistics of captivity- adequate cage space for animals, food, pay for someone to care for the animals, heightened animal ethics/care scrutiny that comes along with working with live animals, potential escape/safety issues if the animal is venomous, etc. These aren't insurmountable problems by any means, but given the shoestring budget many museums are on these days, it would be more cost-effective, and possibly (in extreme cases) also more humane for the animal to simply euthanize them.

Van

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Antonsrkn » September 28th, 2012, 5:11 pm

I would simply add that in order for a population to rebound from tremendously low numbers (like 9 or 12), I imagine in this day and age there would have to be some pretty aggressive conservation efforts undertaken....But if we can't even establish the endangered animal as a valid species, such efforts are tremendously hampered.
Absolutely agree, no argument from me there.
Therefore, we're kind of back where we started with what is required in order to validate something as a species.
Haha yes, just to be clear I am in complete support of Dr. Fry here, he is doing what is necessary and will accomplish much more for conservation than any of the bleeding heart types who label all pickling as bad. The only reason I chose not to try to explain anything to Indigo, about why sacrificing some animals is necessary, is that smarter people than myself had already tried and he just chose not to listen. So I wasn't going to waste my time.
chris_mcmartin wrote: I'm going to attempt to "read into" Indigo Blue's argument by asking: what if, instead of pickling a specimen of Species X, [assume here it's not extremely rare, only 9 left, difficult to keep, etc], it were maintained ALIVE by an individual or institution? What if hundreds of animals, with locality and date-of-capture data, were similarly maintained and networked so that interested researchers could access any of those animals for blood samples, scale/tail clips, behavioral observations, breeding, and so on? And then WHEN the specimen died, it was THEN pickled and deposited into a collection? Would that be an acceptable protocol in the eyes of either "side" of the argument? Has it been previously attempted?
I think Van nailed it with his explanation. One other thing I could think of that would cause problems with this approach, is that it would take a long time to describe a new species, say you have some sort of long lived animal. You would have to wait for it to kick the bucket before doing any intrusive anatomical investigating that might be necessary to describe it as a new species. Perhaps that time would have been better spent getting protection in place for the new species. But I think the biggest issue is like what Van said it isn't really cost-effective, I wouldn't think there's a whole lot of money flying around for that kind of project, and that approach would use up too much of it that could be better spent on other conservation issues. Plus if its not a rare species whats the harm in pickling a few, and the researchers would have better more valid data if they got their behavioral observations, breeding info, blah blah in wild settings.
Has it been previously attempted?
The closest thing I can think of is the Amphibian Ark, not exactly the same as what you're talking about but there are some parallels.

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by chris_mcmartin » September 28th, 2012, 5:36 pm

Good points from Van and Anton...some of which I had also considered myself. I must clarify that I'm not referring to yet-to-be-described species, but rather established ones where representative animals from certain populations, from certain snapshots in time, are desired. I could see value in having that kind of live specimen in a sort of "stud book."

Not sure how much it happens these days, but I have examples of behavioral studies done (one that comes to mind is something along the lines of reactions of Coleonyx to various snake musks) where several dozen lizards were wild-caught for the study, then euthanized...I understand why they weren't released, but surely some could be farmed out to other interested parties for other studies (or merely to "put them out to pasture" after surving their purpose)?

VanAR wrote:You would also have to factor in the logistics of captivity- ...given the shoestring budget many museums are on these days,
That's the genius of the burgeoning "citizen-science" movement--get other people to do your work (e.g. maintaining the animals) and on their dime (paying for food/caging/electricity)! :lol:

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by VanAR » September 28th, 2012, 6:00 pm

Not sure how much it happens these days, but I have examples of behavioral studies done (one that comes to mind is something along the lines of reactions of Coleonyx to various snake musks) where several dozen lizards were wild-caught for the study, then euthanized...I understand why they weren't released, but surely some could be farmed out to other interested parties for other studies (or merely to "put them out to pasture" after surving their purpose)?
It's common for animals to be traded amongst researchers after projects finish. The only limitations are whether previous conditions could bias the subsequent investigation, whether the animals will live long enough to be useful- which can be a problem for many lizards, and whether you can find someone who has a need for the animals. However, once they are euthanized and put into a collection, they still remain useful as sources of tissue, DNA, and morphological examinations. Having groups of animals from a given area over some amount of time is also extremely useful in planning future research. For example If you want to study some reproductive mechanism, specimens can give you an idea of what time of year is best to observe it in the wild.
That's the genius of the burgeoning "citizen-science" movement--get other people to do your work (e.g. maintaining the animals) and on their dime (paying for food/caging/electricity)!
Definitely a good idea, where possible. The trouble is finding people whose schedules are open enough to be of consistent help, in addition to some of the bureaucratic stuff like permitting, animal ethics eligibility, etc.

Van

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Re: Hydrophis donaldi - news

Post by Joshua Jones » September 28th, 2012, 6:22 pm

I agree with the points that Van has made here. I would also like to point out that Dr. Fry mentioned the fact that some Hydrophis species are near-impossible to keep alive in captivity. For many reptiles that go off food in captivity, it should also be noted that starvation can also cause significant physiological changes in some animals. Not exactly conducive to providing identifying characteristics for a holotype.

On the idealist side of the coin, say you do this and the animal refuses to feed. Sure, you'll get your specimen soon enough. But at what cost? What good have you done for the individual animal that is somehow better than what the euthanasia would accomplish more quickly and humanely?

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