International Day for Biological Diversity

The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) takes place annually on May 22. It is a United Nations–sanctioned international day for the promotion of biodiversity issues. Created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1993 until 2000, it was held on December 29 to celebrate the day the Convention on Biological Diversity went into effect.

Biodiversity, is a portmanteau of “biological diversity,” and generally refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, biodiversity typically measures variation at the genetic, the species, and the ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity tends to be greater near the equator, which seems to be the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity. Biodiversity is not distributed evenly on Earth, and is richest in the tropics. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than 10 per cent of earth’s surface, and contain about 90 percent of the world’s species. Marine biodiversity tends to be highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. There are latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Biodiversity generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing through time,but may slow in the future.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. More than 99.9 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described. More recently, in May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described.The total amount of related DNA base pairs on Earth is estimated at 5.0 x 1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes. In comparison, the total mass of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 TtC (trillion tons of carbon). In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.

The age of the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago, during the Eoarchean Era after a geological crust started to solidify following the earlier molten Hadean Eon. There are microbial mat fossils found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone discovered in Western Australia. Other early physical evidence of a biogenic substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old meta-sedimentary rocks discovered in Western Greenland. More recently, in 2015, “remains of biotic life” were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia. Many researchers postulate that, “If life arose relatively quickly on Earth .. then it could be common in the universe.”

Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which the majority of multicellular phyla first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life. The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively. The United Nations designated 2011–2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

The date of International Biodiversity Dat was shifted to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on May 22, 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, partly to avoid the many other holidays that occur in late December. Areas of Biodiversity promoted so far include Water and Biodiversity, Marine Biodiversity, Forest Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation, Invasive Alien Species, Biodiversity and Agriculture, Biodiversity and Climate Change, ways to protect Biodiversity in Drylands, Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World, how Biodiversity affects Food, Water and Health for All, how biodiversity can help with poverty alleviation sustainable development and forest biodiversity

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World Bee day

IMG_5835World Bee Day is celebrated annually on May 20. The purpose of the international day is to acknowledge the crucial role of bees and other pollinators for our ecosytem and to mark the anniversary of the birth of Carniolan apiarist and painter Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, who was baptized 20 May 1734 in Breznica, Carniola (now in Slovenia) Although His exact birth date is not known

From a young age Janša, together with his two brothers, showed a great interest in painting (they had a studio in their barn) and all three brothers, despite being illiterate, went to Vienna and entered the painters’ academy there. His brother Lovro actually finished his studies at the academy and became a professor there, but Anton, despite a talent for painting, soon discovered that his true interests were in bee-keeping.

His interest in bee keeping came from his father who had over one hundred hives at home and neighbouring farmers would gather at the village and discuss farming and bee-keeping. In 1769 he began to work full-time as a bee-keeper and a year later became the first royally appointed teacher of apiculture for all Austrian lands and was employed as a teacher of apiculture at the Habsburg court in Vienna WhereHe kept bees in the imperial gardens (Augarten) and travelled around Austria presenting his observations in regard to moving hives to various pastures.

He became famous for his lectures in which he demonstrated his knowledge of bees. He also wrote two books in German: Discussion on Bee-keeping (1771) after his death. In his Full guide he noted: Bees are a type of fly, hardworking, created by God to provide man with all needed honey and wax. Amongst all God’s beings there are none so hard working and useful to man with so little attention needed for its keep as the bee. He is also noted for changing the size and shape of hives to a form where they can be stacked together like blocks. As a painter he also decorated the fronts of hives with paintings. Janša rejected the belief that the male bees are water carriers and assumed that the queen-bee is fertilized mid-air. He advocated moving hives to pastures. He sadly died in Vienna 13 September 1773 and following his death The Empress Maria Theresa issued a decree obliging all teachers of apiculture to use his books. His second book A Full guide to Bee-keeping was published posthumously in 1775. The UN Member States approved Slovenia’s proposal to proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day in December 2017.

David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FZS FSA

English wildlife enthusaist Sir David Attenborugh OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA was born 8th May in 1926. He is a younger brother of the late director, producer and actor Richard Attenborough and His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years. He is best known for writing and presenting the Life series, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of all life on the planet. Attenborough grew up in College House on the campus of the University College, Leicester, where he spent his childhood collecting fossils, stones and other natural specimens. He received encouragement in this pursuit at age seven, and one of his adoptive sisters also gave him a piece of amber filled with prehistoric insects. He was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and then won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge in 1945, where he studied geology and zoology and obtained a degree in natural sciences.

In 1950, he applied for a job as a radio talks producer with the BBC and attracted the interest of the head of the Factual broadcasting department of the BBC and joined the BBC full-time. Attenborough’s association with natural history programmes began when he produced and presented the three-part series The Pattern of Animals, which discussed the use of camouflage, aposematism and courtship displays among animals. Through this programme.Attenborough met the curator of the zoo’s reptile house, and they decided to make a series about an animal-collecting expedition. The result was Zoo Quest, first broadcast in 1954, which Attenborough presented. In 1957, the BBC Natural History Unit was established and Attenborough formed the Travel and Exploration Unit, allowing him to continue to front Zoo Quest as well as produce other documentaries, notably the Travellers’ Tales. Attenborough also began studying for a post-graduate degree in social anthropology at the London School of Economics, however he returned to the BBC as controller of BBC Two before he could finish the degree and became the controller of BBC Two in March 1965 but was allowed to continue sudying as well as making programmes on an occasional basis. Later the same year, he filmed elephants in Tanzania, and in 1969, he made a series on the cultural history of the Indonesian island of Bali. For the 1971 film A Blank on the Map, he joined the first Western expedition to a remote highland valley in New Guinea to seek out a lost tribe.

Life in the Freezer (1993)

As controller of BBC2 Attenborough established a portfolio of diverse and different programmes which defined the channel’s identity including music, arts, entertainment, archaeology, experimental comedy, travel, drama, sport, business, science and natural history programmes such as Man Alive, Call My Bluff, Chronicle, Life, One Pair of Eyes, The Old Grey Whistle Test, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Money Programme. He also ordered a 13-part series on the history of Western art, which was Broadcast in 1969 and set the blueprint for landmark documentaries. Others followed, including The Ascent of Man and Alistair Cooke’s America. Attenborough thought that the story of evolution would be a natural subject for such a series. He shared his idea with a producer at the Natural History Unit, who came up with the title Life on Earth and returned to Bristol to start planning the series.Early the following year, he returned to full-time programme-making, leaving him free to write and present the planned natural history epic. Attenborough became a freelance broadcaster and immediately started work on his next project, which resulted in the 1973 series Eastwards with Attenborough, which was similar to Zoo Quests . On his return, he began to work on Life on Earth. Due to the scale of his ambition, the BBC decided to partner with an American network meanwhile he worked on a number of other television projects including a series on tribal art (The Tribal Eye) and another on the voyages of discovery (The Explorers).

The Life of Mammals (2002)

Life on Earth began production in 1976 And Attenborough set about creating a body of work which set the benchmark for wildlife film-making and influence a generation of documentary film-makers. By treating his subject seriously and researching the latest discoveries, Attenborough and his production team gained the trust of the scientific community, who responded by allowing him to feature their subjects in his programmes. In Rwanda, Attenborough and his crew were granted privileged access to film Dian Fossey’s research group of mountain gorillas. new film-making techniques were devised to get hitherto unfilmable events and animals. Attenborough also managed to visit several locations around the globe in each episode, sometimes even changing continents mid-sentence. Although appearing as the on-screen presenter, he consciously restricted his pieces to camera to give his subjects top billing. The success of Life on Earth prompted the BBC to consider a follow-up, and five years later, The Living Planet was screened dealing with the theme of ecology, how living things adapt to their environment. It was another critical and commercial success, generating huge international sales for the BBC.In 1990, The Trials of Life completed the original Life trilogy, looking at animal behaviour through the different stages of life.

In 1993, he continued with Life in the Freezer, which surveyed the natural history of Antarctica, and then embarked on a number of more specialised surveys of the natural world, beginning with plants. The result, The Private Life of Plants , showed plants as dynamic organisms by using time-lapse photography to speed up their growth. Attenborough then made The Life of Birds dealing with Avian matters. Technological developments in camera technology played a big part in subsequent program’s and for the next series Life of Mammals, low-light and infrared cameras were deployed to reveal the behaviour of nocturnal mammals. Advances in macro photography also made it possible to capture natural behaviour of very small creatures for the first time, and in 2005, Life in the Undergrowth dealt with the hitherto hidden world of invertebrates.The Next series Attenborough made was Life in Cold Blood which dealt with Reptiles and Amphibians.

The Life program’s were assembled In a DVD encyclopaedia called Life on Land. Then in 2010 Attenborough made First Life — dealing with evolutionary history before Life on Earth. He has continued to work on other documentaries, and his voice is synonymous with many other wildlife documentaries including The First Eden, Lost Worlds Vanished Lives, Wildlife on One, BBC Wildlife Specials, The Blue Planet, Nature’s Great Events, Life, Frozen Planet, Wildlife on One and the Natural World. n 1997, he narrated the BBC Wildlife Specials, each focussing on a charismatic species, and screened to mark the Natural History Unit’s 40th anniversary, and continued to collaborate with the BBC Natural History Unit in the new millennium. Attenborough then narrated The Blue Planet (2001), which dealt with marine life, And Planet Earth (2006), the biggest nature documentary ever made for television. In 2011, he narrated Frozen Planet featuring the Natural History of the Polar Regions.In 2009, he co-wrote and narrated Life, a ten-part series focussing on extraordinary animal behaviour, and narrated Nature’s Great Events, which showed how seasonal changes trigger major natural spectacles.

Recently Attenborough’s documentaries have became more overtly environmentalist. In State of the Planet, he assesses the impact man’s activities have had on the natural world by using scientific evidence and interviews with leading scientists and conservationists. He has also addressed global warming (The Truth about Climate Change) and human population growth (How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?) and Highlighted the plight of endangered species in BBC’s Saving Planet Earth project in 2007, the 50th anniversary of the Natural History Unit. Attenborough is also working on documentaries for Sky’s new 3D network, Sky 3D. Their first collaboration was Flying Monsters 3D, a film about pterosaurs a second film, The Bachelor King, followed a year later, and further collaborations are planned including a series on plants, and following that, a series on the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. and a second series of First Life, which explored the origins of life on Earth.

In 2012 Attenborough celebrated 50 years in broadcasting and during this long and distinguished career he has been given many honorary degrees by British universities. In 1980, he was honoured by the Open University. He also has honorary Doctor of Science awards from the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the University of Bath. In 2006, he received the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester, “in recognition of a record of continuing distinguished service to the University.” David Attenborough was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the university in 1970, and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Leicester in 1990. He has also received the title Honorary Fellow from Clare College, Cambridge, the Zoological Society of London, the Linnean Society, the Institute of Biology and the Society of Antiquaries, snd was named as the most trusted celebrity in Britain in a 2006 Reader’s Digest poll. The following year he won The Culture Show’s Living Icon Award and was also named among the 100 Greatest Britons in a 2002 BBC poll and is one of the top ten “Heroes of Our Time” according to New Statesman magazine.

He also has the distinction of having a number of newly-discovered species and fossils being named in his honour. In 1993, a fossilised Mesozoic armoured fish discovered in Western Australia was given the name Materpiscis attenboroughi, which is also believed to be the earliest organism capable of internal fertilisation. He has also lent his name to a species of Ecuadorian flowering tree, Blakea attenboroughi, one of the world’s largest-pitchered carnivorous plants, Nepenthes attenboroughii, and one of only four species of long-beaked echidna, the critically endangered Zaglossus attenboroughi, discovered by explorer and zoologist Tim Flannery in the Cyclops Mountains of New Guinea in 1998, and In September 2009, London’s Natural History Museum opened the Attenborough Studio, part of its Darwin Centre development. An arctic research vessel has also recently been named Sir David Attenborough. Attenborough’s contribution to broadcasting and wildlife film-making has brought him international recognition. He has been called “the great communicator, the peerless educator” and “the greatest broadcaster of our time”. His programmes are often cited as an example of what public service broadcasting should be, and have influenced a generation of wildlife film-makers.

Earth Day 🌎🌍🌏

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment.It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by Peace activist John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco to honour the Earth And the concept of Peace. Earth Day was first observed in San Francisco and other cities on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in recognition of his work. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues

The day was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations where it is observed each year. About the same time a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues

The first Earth Day family had participants and celebrants in two thousand colleges and universities, roughly ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States. More importantly, it “brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.”To mark the occasion many events are held worldwide. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year..  coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, chaired by the first Earth Day 1970 organizer Denis Hayes, according to whom Earth Day is now “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.” Environmental groups have sought to make Earth Day into a day of action which changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day  under Resolution A/RES/63/278. The Resolution was introduced by The Plurinational State of Bolivia and endorsed by over 50 member states. It recognizes that “the Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and that “it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.” The term Mother Earth is used because it “reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit”. It is decided to designate April 22 as International Mother Earth Day. General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann welcomed the creation of International Mother Earth Day, saying: “International Mother Earth Day promotes a view of the Earth as the entity that sustains all living things found in nature. Inclusiveness is at the heart of International Mother Earth Day; fostering shared responsibilities to rebuild our troubled relationship with nature is a cause that is uniting people around the world.”

Charles Darwin FRS

English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, FRS sadly passed away at Down House on 19 April 1882. born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on 12 February 1809 at his family home, The Mount. The fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin, and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). He was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side. The eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. From September 1818 he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder.Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. In Darwin’s second year he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group whose debates strayed into radical materialism. He assisted Robert Edmond Grant’s investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech.

Darwin became rather bored by Robert Jameson’s natural history course which covered geology including the debate between Neptunism and Plutonism. He learned classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum, one of the largest museums in Europe at the time. Charles’ father then sent him to Christ’s College, Cambridge, for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson. His cousin William Darwin Fox introduced him to the popular craze for beetle collecting; Darwin pursued this zealously, getting some of his finds published in Stevens’ Illustrations of British entomology. He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology. Darwin had to stay at Cambridge until June. He studied Paley’s Natural Theology, which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature. He read John Herschel’s new book, which described the highest aim of natural philosophy as understanding such laws through inductive reasoning based on observation, and Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative of scientific travels. Inspired with “a burning zeal” to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick’s geology course, then travelled with him in the summer for a fortnight, in order to map strata in Wales.

After a week with student friends at Barmouth, Darwin returned home on 29 August to find a letter from Henslow proposing him as a suitable (if unfinished) gentleman naturalist for a self-funded supernumerary place on HMS Beagle with captain Robert FitzRoy, more as a companion than a mere collector. The ship was to leave in four weeks on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America. the voyage began on 27 December 1831; it lasted almost five years. As FitzRoy had intended, Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while the Beagle surveyed and charted coasts. He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates.On their first stop ashore at St. Jago, Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs included seashells. Fitzroy had given him the first volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology which set out uniformitarian concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods, and Darwin saw things Lyell’s way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology.

In Brazil Darwin was delighted by the tropical forest, but detested the sight of slavery. At Punta Alta in Patagonia he made a major find of fossil bones of huge extinct mammals in cliffs beside modern seashells, indicating recent extinction with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe. He identified the little known Megatherium by a tooth and its association with bony armour which had at first seemed to him like a giant version of the armour on local armadillos. The finds brought great interest when they reached England. On rides into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils he gained social, political and anthropological insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. Further south he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as raised beaches showing a series of elevations. He read Lyell’s second volume and accepted its view, but his discoveries and theorising challenged Lyell’s ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species. Darwin also experienced an earthquake in Chile and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the Andes he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose, oceanic islands sank, and coral reefs round them grew to form atolls. On the geologically new Galápagos Islands Darwin looked for evidence attaching wildlife to an older “centre of creation”, and found mockingbirds allied to those in Chile but differing from island to island. He heard that slight variations in the shape of tortoise shells showed which island they came from. In Australia the marsupial rat-kangaroo and the platypus seemed really unusual. The Beagle investigated how the atolls of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had formed, and the survey supported Darwin’s theorising.

imageWhen the Beagle reached Falmouth, Cornwall, on 2 October 1836, Darwin was already a celebrity in scientific circles in December 1835 after selected naturalists had been given a pamphlet of his geological letters. hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to catalogue the collections and agreed to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin’s father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking Zoologists and otherexperts to describe the huge collections.Darwin was introduced to the anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen’s surprising results included other gigantic extinct ground sloths as well as the Megatherium, a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium and a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were actually from Glyptodon, a huge armadillo-like creature. Darwin realised that these extinct creatures were related to living species in South America.Darwin wrote his first paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and read it to the Geological Society of London and presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, “gros-beaks” and finches, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches.Darwin was also elected to the Council of the Geological Society

Darwin then moved to London and joined Lyell’s social circle of scientists and experts such as Charles Babbage and writer Harriet Martineau who promoted Malthusianism underlying the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. Transmutation was anathema to Anglicans defending social order,but reputable scientists openly discussed the subject and there was wide interest in John Herschel’s letter praising Lyell’s approach as a way to find a natural cause of the origin of new species. Darwin learnt that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and what Darwin had thought was a “wren” was also in the finch group. The two rheas were also distinct species. Darwin then started writing about Transmutation of Species, and speculated about the possibility that “one species does change into another” to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as the strange Macrauchenia which resembled a giant guanaco. Darwin Speculated about lifespan, reproduction, variations in offspring to alter and adapt to different environments using the Galápagos tortoises, mockingbirds and rheas as examples postulating a single evolutionary tree containing common ancestors. While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow’s help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, he also planned books on geology.Sadly all this work took it’s toll on Darwin’s health so he took a break in the countryside in Staffordshire where he met his future wife Emma Wedgewood and also formed a new & important theory” regarding the earthworms role in soil formation which Darwin presented at the Geological Society and Darwin became Secretary of the Geological Society. Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation.

Darwin’s health deteriorated and For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress. During another break he went “geologising” in Scotland. He visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel “roads” cut into the hillsides at three heights. After recuperating he returned to Shrewsbury and Continuing his research in London, Darwin’s wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population, and asserted that human “population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio”, a geometric progression so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe & compare this to de Candolle’s “warring of the species” of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, & favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species.would result in the formation of new species.Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian Nature so that “every part of newly acquired structure is fully practical and perfected”. He later called his theory natural selection. On 29 January Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in Shropshire.Darwin’s book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs on his theory of atoll formation was also published in May 1842 and he then wrote his first draft of his theory of natural selection. Darwin completed his third geological book in 1846. He now renewed a fascination and expertise in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days classifying the barnacles he had collected on the voyage, enjoying observing beautiful structures and thinking about comparisons with allied structures.

In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Darwin visited Malvern spa and benefited from hydrotherapy. After eight years of work on barnacles (Cirripedia), Darwin’s theory helped him to find “homologies” showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions This earned him the Royal Society’s Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist & realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to diversified places in the economy of nature.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travelacross seawater to spread species across oceans.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Darwin began work on a “big book on species” entitled Natural Selection and also presented a thesis On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection to the Linnean Society.

At first There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory & Despite suffering from ill health he was getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends. Upon it’s publication On the Origin of Species proved unexpectedly popular,In the book, Darwin set out “one long argument” of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections, and states that many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive so there is a recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it changes in any manner helpful to itself, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. He put a strong case for common descent, but avoided the then controversial term “evolution”, The book aroused international interest, although there was less controversy than had greeted the popular Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation,The Church of England’s response was mixed. Darwin’s old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas, but liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.

Though Darwin’s illness kept him away from the public debates, he eagerly scrutinised the scientific response, commenting on press cuttings, reviews, articles, satires and caricatures, and corresponded on it with colleagues worldwide. Darwin had only said “Light will be thrown on the origin of man”. Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last years of his life, Darwin’s work continued. Having published On the Origin of Species as an abstract of his theory, he pressed on with experiments, research, and writing of his “big book”. He covered human descent from earlier animals including evolution of society and of mental abilities, as well as explaining decorative beauty in wildlife and diversifying into innovative plant studies.Enquiries about insect pollination led in 1861 to novel studies of wild orchids, showing adaptation of their flowers to attract specific moths to each species and ensure cross fertilisation. In 1862 Fertilisation of Orchids gave his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection to explain complex ecological relationships, making testable predictions. As his health declined, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with inventive experiments to trace the movements of climbing plants. In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called “angina pectoris” which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed anginal attacks”, and “heart-failure”.

His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”. He had expected to be buried in St Mary’s churchyard at Downe, but at the request of Darwin’s colleagues, after public and parliamentary petitioning, William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) arranged for Darwin to be buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton.Darwin had convinced most scientists that evolution as descent with modification was correct, and he was regarded as a great scientist who had revolutionised ideas. Though few agreed with his view that “natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification, he was honoured in June 1909 by more than 400 officials and scientists from across the world who met in Cambridge to commemorate his centenary and the fiftieth anniversary of On the Origin of Species. During this period, which has been called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which proved untenable. The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, brought broad scientific consensus that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. This synthesis set the frame of reference for modern debates and refinements of the theory.

World Meteorological Day

World Meteorological Day takes place annually on 23rd March and is organised by The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories which was established in 1950. TheWMO is the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a member of the United Nations Development Group. It is the UN system’s authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources. WMO has a membership of 191 member states and territories (since 4 December 2009). The Convention of the World Meteorological Organization was signed 11 October 1947 and established in 1950. WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.

As weather, climate and the water cycle know no national boundaries, international cooperation at a global scale is essential for the development of meteorology and operational hydrology as well as to reap the benefits from their application. WMO provides the framework for such international cooperation.Since its establishment, WMO has played a unique and powerful role in contributing to the safety and welfare of humanity. Under WMO leadership and within the framework of WMO programs, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services contribute substantially to the protection of life and property against natural disasters, to safeguarding the environment and to enhancing the economic and social well-being of all sectors of society in areas such as food security, water resources and transport.

The WMO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is also directly responsible for the creation of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). The IPCC has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” The WMO also promote cooperation in the establishment of networks for making meteorological, climatological, hydrological and geophysical observations, as well as the exchange, processing and standardization of related data, and assists technology transfer, training and research. It also fosters collaboration between the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of its Members and furthers the application of meteorology to public weather services, agriculture, aviation, shipping, the environment, water issues and the mitigation of the impacts of natural disasters.

WMO also facilitates the free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the environment. It contributes to policy formulation in these areas at national and international levels. In the specific case of weather-, climate and water-related hazards, which account for nearly 90% of all natural disasters, WMO’s programs provide vital information for the advance warnings that save lives and reduce damage to property and the environment. WMO also contributes to reducing the impacts of human-induced disasters, such as those associated with chemical and nuclear accidents, forest fire and volcanic ash. Studies have shown that, apart from the incalculable benefit to human well-being, every dollar invested in meteorological and hydrological services produces an economic return many times greater, often ten times or more.

The WMO play a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment through its programs. In collaboration with other UN agencies and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, WMO supports the implementation of a number of environmental conventions and is instrumental in providing advice and assessments to governments on related matters. These activities contribute towards ensuring the sustainable development and well-being of nations. They also published the International Cloud Atlas, which has been the international standard cloud atlas since 1896.

International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests, is observed annually on 21 March. It was observed for the first time on March 21, 2013, following a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012 calling for a day to be held each year celebrating forests. The occasion is intended to be a global platforms from which to inform people with an interest in forests and climate change regarding the issues facing forests and for people to share their views  and ensure that the needs of forests are suitably incorporated into any future climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.

Each year more than 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests are lost, an area roughly the size of England. As the forests disappear so do the plant and animal species that they support – 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity. forests also play a critical role in climate change including global warming: deforestation results in 12-18 percent of the world’s carbon emissions – almost equal to all the CO2 from the global transport sector. equally crucial, healthy forests are one of the world’s primary ‘carbon sinks.Today, forests cover more than 30% of the world’s land and contain more than 60,000 tree species, many as of yet unidentified.forests provide food, fiber, water and medicines for approximately 1.6 billion of the world’s poorest people, including indigenous peoples with unique cultures.

Prior to the launching of International Day of Forests in 2012 were two closely related international commemorations: World Forestry Day (established in 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), and Forest Day (convened by the Center for International Forestry Research from 2007-2012). World Forestry Day was established In November 1971, after the “States members” at the 16th session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, voted to establish “World Forestry Day” on March 21 of each year. Forest Day was established by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who convened a series of six Forest Days, in conjunction with annual meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties. CIFOR organized these events on behalf of and in close cooperation with other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

The immediate impetus for these events was a casual conversation in Oxford, England, in February 2007, between two scientists who felt the world was underestimating the importance of forests in mitigating carbon emissions and saw a glaring need for the latest forestry research and thinking to inform global policy makers and UNFCCC negotiators. They did not foresee that the conference would become one of the most influential global events on forests and climate change today.