Saturday, December 24, 2011

Birds, ecosystem services and economy

Do you know that birds help states/towns local economies? Birds are providing ecosystem services for people, and their beauty has an economic value for the places they depend on/ their habitats. Do you know how many people travel as tourist to see birds in Florida, Michigan, or Wisconsin? And how many people go around the globe to places in the tropics, high mountains or deserts in search of feathery beings. The more rare, the more exciting a bird is for bird watchers. Some people would go to almost the end of the see puffins? By doing so they are making themselves happy and at the same time contributing to those local economies. There are great revenues for localities, for small and large business and for entire cities based on the whereabouts of birds.

Types of ecosystems services provided by birds: provisioning (for example food), regulating (for example, participating in the cycling of nutrients); cultural (people identify with birds, for example, in the U.S., the bald eagle represent the strength of the country); other types of services are calling supporting services (e.g., birds serve as pollinators for crops and also control pest). 

Roles of birds in the ecosystem:

  • predators
  • pollinators
  • scavengers
  • seed eaters/seed dispersers
  • prey or food for other species (or humans/recreational activities such as hunting)
  • ecosystem engineers (some species have the ability to transform/or drive ecosystem change)
  • other services driven by bird behavior: participation on nutrient cycling, feeding nutrients to plants. In some urban areas, the presence of excess of birds such as geese in nearby lakes may cause pollution or health concerns. By contrast, the presence of birds in other areas, e.g., eagles or kingfish in a river attract tourists. 
  • Other services: birds can benefit agriculture (by controlling pest or providing pollination services to crops such as grapes or coffee); birds may cause crop loses by predating in a cash crop. 
  • Migratory birds participate in ecosystem process at broad scales. They may transfer products from an area to another. Birds have been linked to the spread of invasive species at regional levels and to the spread of zootic/animal transmitting diseases such as viruses. 

Jedicka, Greenberg and Letourneau, 2011. Avian conservation practices strengthen ecosystem services in California vineyards.

Whelan and Marquis, 2008. Ecosystem Services provided by birds.  Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1134:25-60.

Kellerman, Johnson, Stercho and Hackett, 2008. Ecological and economic services provided by birds on Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee farmsConserv Biol. 2008 Oct;22(5):1177-85.

How to identify birds eggs? And how are humans 'like' eggs?

How do scientist or bird watchers identify bird eggs?
- by anatomical comparisons and also using molecular tools.
What does an amateur needs to identify the eggs of different bird species?
-anatomical comparisons or a careful look at the egg morphology: egg color, size, and texture.
-In addition you need to learn about the behavior of the birds, nesting habits, type of preferred habitat and so on.
-a good actualized birds egg field guide.
-a lot of practice!
Imagine that you could see just an egg and say, this is a crane, a parrot, a woodpecker, a tern,or an specific species of owl? Wouldn't it be impressive? And you may wonder what is that for? How can it help anybody?
Because several species of birds have been treatened by human ways--habitat destruction or change, pesticides, illegal trades, and yes even egg collecting, some species of birds are protected. In the United States, the Endangered Species Act is the regulation that have been brought about to protect these species and their habitats. If you like to know more about endangered species please see the UICN Red list of threatened species; or endangered species -The global list of endangered species [earth endangered species]
Collecting birds eggs is against the law for many birds. As for those that are not protected, think about it twice or as many times you need. Why would you need their eggs? It is expensive to produce eggs. It takes a lot of energy...and they do it with the hopes to pass their genes. Let those eggs where you see them. Let them become new birds, part of the food chain or rotten eggs.
If you come across one endangered species eggs, take a picture and an information about the site. Many phones allow you to save the location. Inform your local Audubon chapter and write a petition to establish protected that particular area.
read more:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How People and Animals Learn ( Source PNAS- Oct 2011)

How do we learn by instruction and experience-- and how does negative negative feedback may influence our learning

Mattew Walch and John Anderson both scientists at the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon, have corroborated through probabilistic experiments and modeling that humans and animals learn from trial-and-error interactions, experiences with the environment, but also through non-experiential situations that are recorded in the neural reward pathways.

The researchers made use of electroencephalograms (EGG), separated by components, and a set of paired cues to  validate the viability of reinforcement learning as a model of behavioral adaptation-- and/or as the result of neural reward pathways. 
They hypothesized that because learning through trial error is inefficient and potentially dangerous for humans, other mechanisms of learning may be highly valuable. The ability to learn from non-experiential exposure was found to be not only advantageous, but also rewarded (assimilated through neural pathways.)
The researchers studied instruction or the lack of it as their model for behavioral adaptation through neural pathways. The participants were given probabilistic assignments, and the events were tracked and scored for later analysis. The test groups were separated as follow:

Test group 1: received feedback indicating response reward--after each task.
Test group 2:  received the same feedback given to test group 1 and additional instructions about the reward probabilities, before they conducted another task.

The researchers found that "instruction eliminated participants’ reliance on feedback." By contrast, negative responses related to feedback and the event-related potential, both associated with neural reward prediction errors keep adapting with experience. Both groups benefited from experience.

The research findings suggest that while instruction may influence or control behavior right away, certain neural responses must be learned from experience.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How much BP is giving back after the Gulf Disaster: the value of ecosystem services

Do you remember the underestimates of the total amount of oil being delivery to the ocean? It was not unexpected, the fact that it made people furious causing them to stop buying BP gas, did make them least a little.

Does it make you furious now to know that from an estimated of 40 billions, the company is paying as little as 7 million? When I first saw BP website and if you look no further, you may even be happy to know they appear to be involved in research and are showing themselves as environmental/peoples concerns. Perhaps, they are, don't get me wrong. I believe in the power of change. Yet I also think  that MATH or dollar numbers has long recognized by business people, and pretty much any body else as a good estimate of the value we give to anything from our clothing to the water we drink and the gas we pay at the pump. Do you want shrimp and fish from the may have it and you will need to pay the price. Shall those clamps you are having for dinner include also a good dosage of oil? Of course not, yet that is what many people got for a while.

So look at the numbers:

"BP said today it expects the cost of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster to be $7.7bn (£4.8bn) bigger than previously thought, pushing the total bill to nearly $40bn." Weiner, The Guardian, UK. Nov 2, 2010
BO oil spill costs hits 40-billion-dollars by November 2010

Total BP paid or approved money for claims: $7,517,983,789  This number includes both government and private business.

How much more they will assign to clean the Gulf, to conduct independent or government research? How much are they willing to give back to compensate for the damages....and how much would be acceptable if they would decide to close the gap between $40 billions and 7 millions? Perhaps a major problem is that that decision lies on them. And, we know most business would try to minimize what they consider loss of money while increasing their profits.

Could we ask them to value ecosystem services, both those for the public and those for their business. If they don't could we assign acceptable money * money exchange for damages?

Why is it that many business are not able and not willing to care for the land that provides them with resources/or in this case the ocean?

Are the utilitarian views, or even Christian base views responsible for us appropriating nature at such a large degree that we(business) can profit from nature without considering long-term consequences?

In fact, our definition of Economy=resources base good,  and resource scarcity. The more scarce the resource is the more people are willing to pay for the good.  Less gas, more money for BP and more possibilities for oil companies to keep drilling. These companies are sure that we are not stopping our oil/fuel dependence  any time soon. The business of oil is an stable business and good it has great prospects.

With incentives this companies were able to profit when the rest of the economy had been falling down...What does this tell us? It shall tell us that they can give more back.

So why don't they feel the need to support the very systems that support them? Could it be that they prefer to promote scarcity?

Why is that society at large, and politicians--in theory the representatives of society-- do not ask oil companies to be accountable for prevention measures, for proper maintenance of their engineering devices, and structural systems, and in this case for pay offs after the damage has been already made?  And, if the companies said their share holders are who determine the decision-making...why is it there is no way to regulate the value of the few in comparison with the values/goods and services for the majority?

It is already time for re-evaluations, for policy changes, for transparency, and for the public/governments to ask for more accountability from business that profit from Nature Resources. We can't keep supporting corporate behaviors that are causing enormous problems to humanity and to the natural resources that are not only here to serve us, but are the house of planets earth other species...that contribute to the biochemical balance we need to survive.

Lets correct the course or the corporate centric_ship!

Claims from BP webpage

PaymentsAmount Paid
Gulf Coast Claims Facility Payments (Individuals & Businesses) 1$5,499,978,386
Gulf Coast Claims Facility Payments (Fund for Real Estate Brokers and Agents) 1$54,434,575
Claims Paid by BP Prior to August 23rd (Individuals and Businesses)$395,619,857
Total Payments to Individuals and Businesses$5,950,032,818
Response and Removal Advances$476,640,000
Response and Removal Payments 2, 3, 4, 5$773,332,953
Loss of Revenue$27,792,276
Increased Public Service Costs$2,401,888
Payments to Government for Advances and Claims$1,280,167,117
Payments to Individuals, Businesses, and Governments for Advances and Claims$7,230,199,935
Other Payments 6$285,241,352
Total Payments (Includes Advances, Claims, and Other Payments)$7,515,441,287
Trust Payments$5,852,586,080
Non-Trust Payments$1,662,855,207
Approved Additional Government Payments (In Process for Payment)$2,542,502
Total Paid or Approved for Payment$7,517,983,789
1 Data provided by GCCF as of 10/31/11
2 Includes payments made to Federal government and other government entities.
3 Includes $260 million of the $360 million committed for Louisiana Berm Project.
4 Includes amounts paid prior to August 23, 2010 via Unified Command.
5 Includes government requests paid by BP Claims Process prior to August 23, 2010.
6 Includes payments for Research, Tourism, Behavioral Health, Contributions, and Other Response Payments.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For the Love of Nature and Fellow Human Beings: A Tribute Wangari Muta Maathai

For the Love of Nature and Fellow Human Beings: A Tribute Wangari Muta Maathai

In 2004, Professor Wangari Maathai of Kenya, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her contributions to environmental conservation, government reforms, and social and environmental justice. She was also recognized for the creation of The Green Belt Movement, a group whose viIn 2004, Professor Wangari Maathai of Kenya, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her contributions to environmental conservation, government reforms, and social and environmental justice. She was also recognized for the creation of The Green Belt Movement, a group whose vision is to tie environmental conservation to people's empowerment.

Professor Maathai knew that empowered people could ask their governments to respect their rights and to do what is right. She was a scholar and also an activist for human rights and democracy.

Professor Mathai have leave behind a legacy of trees and earthy voices to follow on the task.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our inner fish a fossil from our past

In the book Our Inner Fish, a Fossil From Our Past, Neal Shubin tells the story of the discovery of a missing link in our evolutionary history. More than that, this book tells a story of scientific quest and persistence. The scientists involved went through many hardships and set backs, which many forget are truly the behind the scenes in science. This is how science works.

The fossil was “a low fin fish, with scales, neck, lungs and gills. A fish with limbs, wrist joints, and elbow joints but no fingers.”
“These fish had the ability to live in shallow water and mud—the interface between water and land” he says. Shubin and his team had unveiled a missing link, a piece of our own evolutionary history.
Read more:
Our inner fish a fossil from our past

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do cave visitors and enthusiast spread the white nose disease that affect bats?

If you have visited a cave recently, make sure to sterilize your equipment, and even your clothes and shoes before visiting another site. Scientists who study bats are concerned about the spread of fungal spores from one cave to another. Before entering a cave, you may need to fill a survey or leave behind items that have been using during visits to other caves. It is important to cooperate with such requests to avoid being a disease vector.

Bats are part of healthy ecosystems. Around the world there is a great diversity of bats. Some bat species serve as predators of insects thereby controlling pest.  Some bats also provide ecosystem services by pollinating plants. A great number of bats species are frugivorous, and thus they help with seed dispersal.  A few bat species eat fish or frogs, and only a handful of species are known to feed on blood. Other animals such as snakes and birds of prey such as owls need bats as their food source.  Many plants and soil communities also benefits from bat feces known as 'guano', which is a powerful fertilizer. Overall bats are a diverse group and play key roles in natural, agro-ecosystems, and even farms.

Ecosystem Services by bats controlling pest are calculated to be around 3 billions/year --yet perhaps underestimated (Paul Cryan, USGS). Bats pollination, seed dispersal, insect controlling services or just their own value as mammals within ecosystems hasn't been estimated

More on white nose bats and potential human carriers
The News: Fungus sweeps across the country, killing bats (White nose fungus that affects bats likely transmitted by humans)
Smithsonian magazine

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why do we care about the solar system and space explorations?

Understanding the Universe seems to be a fundamental question for ourspecies. Scientists-- physicists, planetary scientists, and cosmologists lead the quest for answers about the origin of the Universe and the space in general. Yet, the search for answers to big questions requires multidisciplinary approaches.

We are able to map the human genome and we are able to learn about small particles such as nanoparticles. Yet, the unifying equation or theory that explains the Universe and all there is--and thus our own existence is not in our hands.
Read the complete article about why we seek to learn about the universe in my hubpage blog MSantana

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gardening with Wildlife: Attracting Butterflies

Habitats such as prairies and wet prairies, wetlands and all sizes of native gardens are particularly welcoming to butterflies--and can help with their conservation.

You will notice that plants preferred by butterflies have a flower or influorescence (group of flowers) that resembles a landing structure.These plants flowers are many times as attractive as their butterfly pollinators. Imagine all sort of colors from humble daisies and margarites, to attractive gay feathers, purple cone flowers.

Read more
Gardening with Wildlife: Attracting Butterflies

Biofuel business a growing sector

The potential for the biofuel industry is enormous. Currently, biofuels provide less net energy in comparison to coal. Ethanol provides 60% of energy compared to coal while biodiesel provides 86% (Bourne, 41), yet the abundance of biomass in the planet suggests that biofuels could meet consumers’ needs if managed appropriately.
Innovations and decrease in cost competitiveness in comparison to current fossil fuels may allow the broad implementation of biofuels as alternative fuels in the transportation sector as well as in the power sector (electricity/gas).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Helping Those Amazing Hummingbirds: Hummingbird Feeders

The best long-term strategy to help hummingbirds in their migration routes is planting flowers, specially perennials. Flowers are however not always available for these tiny travelers, thus complementing their diets with sugar solutions help them to survive. Read more Helping Those Amazing Hummingbirds: Hummingbird Feeders

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Green economy, technology and the future

In 2009, a group of economists calculated that we need 22 billion to reduce climate change (Source: video by The Economist and X-Plane). What do you think other economists, business people, and politicians would say about such spending?The video shows how many new green business we have and the trends looking toward the future. Is it good? Is that the solution we need?

Read more

Para la version en espaƱol dirijase a mi blog Voces de la Tierra: Ciencia y Ambiente

Endangered Cats: Snow Leopards (Unca unca)

Snow leopards are endangered cats that live in the mountains of Central Asia. They weight 60-120 lbs and are relatively small in size. They are about 4-5 feet (1-2.5 m) in body length. The tail is about 36 inches (91 cm).  They are a little larger than an ocelot if you are familiar with ocelots, or about the size of a yellow Labrador retriever.
Snow leopards are not leopards, scientists from Texas A&M University, William Murphy and Brian Davis found that they are  more closely related to tigers. 
These cats like many other top predators are carnivorous. Most carnivorous species reproduce at slow rates compared to smaller vegetarian animals. Large animals like wild cats, require a lot of energy and large habitats or territories to find their prey and mate. 
Because of human induced habitat, climate change and other factors, the populations of most wild cats including snow leopards, are highly constrained concerning habitat and resources. Later however, as they encounter live stocks and pray on them, they are also threatened by hunters and ranchers.  These human-wildcat encounters have increased with time. In general the cats are the losers, though with some efforts that scenario can change.

Education, ecotourism, and the implementation of fences have been suggested as ways to help wild cats including snow leopards. You too could help wild cats. Below are some resources for free donations, monetary donations, and volunteering. 

The author Mirna Santana is an ecologist.

News on Snow leopard:
New York Times
National Geographic: Snow leopard and other cats
To learn more about wild cats:
To make a donation for wild cats:
The wild cat fund wild cats (donate by clicking, free)
Wildcat conservation legal aid society
Donate to small wild cats

Monday, July 18, 2011

Earthy Voices: Science, Environmental Issues, and Reflections on Nature: New hopes for the White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)

Earthy Voices: Science, Environmental Issues, and Reflections on Nature: New hopes for the White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)

New hopes for the White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)

 Conservation International announced the existence of viable populations of critically endangered northern white-cheeked crested gibbons, Nomascus Leucogenys, in the highlands of Central Vietnam near Laos. The 455 individuals of this highly vocal species were found very high on the mountains, far from human settlements.
The most common threats for this species are: poaching, trafficking, habitat loss, climate change (e.g., driven changes of habitat/or changes in food resources; drought).

Picture source:
News Source: Conservation International

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome Back: California Condor

I am please to spread the news about the recovery of the California Condor Gymnogyps californianus--a species previously at the verge of extinction. This large bird is 45-55 inches tall and weigh 17-25 Lbs. The wing-span--open wings is 9.5 feet (2.89 m)  in the categorized within the New World Vultures. To learn more about the California Condor biology visit the CACO California Condor Recovery Program /California Condor Restoration.  Biologist from the CACO program say that the condor is intelligent and playful. They have learn a lot about the species through human-condor interactions.

Condors as other vultures feed or dead or still matter. The California condor forages along side beaches and grasslands. It perches on large trees and human made structures. It nests  mostly on the cliffs, but perhaps it used have a greater variety of nesting sites and habitats before its range was restricted. Its population range comprised from British Columbia to Northern Mexico--at the times of Clark Lewis explorations (1940s). Nowadays, the birds still forage in an area of approximately 150 miles (241 Km) but it is found in the wild mostly in California.

 Susceptibility: condors feeding along the ocean are still eating a derivates of ,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethane, best know as DDT a pesticide that thin the shell of their eggs. DDT is currently banned inthe use but the birds continue to suffer from its effects because the chemical is allowed elsewhere as a control of mosquitoes. Because DDT was link to acid rain and also because of its effects on wildlife,  in particular birds. Ecologist Rachel Carson reported the thinning of the eggs and mass mortality of birds in the book Silent Spring (1962). DDT is also a likely human carcinogen (US Environmental Protection Agency). Because hatching in the wild was very low (15%), the eggs are now collected and incubated. Collection/incubation have increased hatching success to 70% . The majority of birds are rise and trained in captivity for future releases to the wild. We ought  these success the US Fish & Wildlife, The CACO program. Other organizations involved are the Oregon Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Ventana Wildlife Society, The Peregrine Fund, and Audubon.

 Other issues affecting condor population: loss of habitat, human expansion, heavy metal pollution, water pollution. A few cases of shot animals had been reported too. In addition the condors have eaten lead bullets that also weaken or poison them. The low variability in the species gene pool, because of the previous crash is also a potential limitation.

Currently there are close to 400 California condors and about 180 of them are in the wild.

What can you do?
These magnificent birds still need your support. You can inform others about the different projects to restore their populations. You can inform others about how lead ammunition and pesticide pollution affect them. You could also request their protection. You could tell hunters to leave carcases for them to feed on. Finally you could get directly involved through volunteering opportunities or by donating to Organizations that work on this or other species recovery.

Lets rise awareness about endangered or threatened species!

See more news about the California Condor:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: California Condor Profile
Oregon Zoo, Portland OR, California Condor Conservation
Ventana Wildlife Society: Condor Videos
Peregrine Fund: California Condor Restoration
Audubon California: what can you do to help condors

More News:

Populations of California Condor Are Increasing

What is DDT:
Learn more about DDT and its effects for human health and wildlife

Friday, April 15, 2011


Earth: She—is simple and yet complex. She is in constant evolution. Change is her only constant. Find a reflection about this picture at Earth-Faces 

Images of Nature: A magnificent tree and its shadow

The tree and its shadow: There is so much energy in a single tree away from its own shadow.
Botanical name: Cavanillesia platanifolia (H. & B.) H.B.K. The tree common name is cuipo. It is an emergent, deciduous tree from Central America. It can grow as tall as 60m (196.8 feet)  and 2.5 m trunk diameter (8.2 feet). During the dry season the tree loses its leaves and it produces reddish flowers and later big winged fruits that allow the recognition of the tree from far distances. This plant is one of the favorite nesting sites of the Harpy eagle.
Drawing by Mirna Santana August 3, 2008.

Calculate Your Ecological Footprint

Calculate Your Ecological Footprint

Do you have any idea about how your demand for resources may impact the planet? The ecological footprint is an estimate that give you a hint about how your lifestyle may impact earth resources.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Consequences of a major nuclear accident for Japan

Consequences of a major nuclear accident for Japan

In a small place what happens in one coast may affect the whole. What is happening in Japan aside the earthquake is a lot of people being fearful of nuclear contamination. They do not believe in all what they heard from the government or the energy companies. A big mobilization is going on. Part of it is promoted by the government and part by the citizens themselves.
Consequences for the nation, individuals and the environment. At individual level there are lost of homes and jobs, changes in life-style and economies.
At the national level: economic changes, governance, new policies, and energy crisis. How do they cope as a nation?
For the nuclear industry: loss of credibility and alternative paths, new deals and efforts to contain the damage.
Other economies: suppliers earnings may rise with increase demands. The market place is for now supported by the government.
For the environment: long-term environmental pollution, the magnitude is yet to be seen.
What would be the extend of the disaster? It remains to be seen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nuclear Crisis in Japan By Day

Nuclear Crisis in Japan By Day

Here I present a day by day update of the major developments concerning the situation at the nuclear reactors 1-4 in Japan, after the earthquake. This is a synthesis that starts on March 11, when the earthquake occurred up to date. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why am I skeptical about that microbe in a meteorite being an alien species?

It appears that people are making a buzz with this new publication by Dr. Richard Hoover, a scientist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Though you may think it would be pretty cool if this is all true, and hence an indicator that life came from space, which I here don't deny nor do I support. I am open to the possibility of it though. I would like to clarify that my piece refers to this particular fragment of a meteorite containing 'life' and this form of life being assumed to be from outside planet earth, why so?

Many scientists have been invited to give their opinions. I will like to contribute my 2 cents here based in my knowledge as ecologist, microbial scientist, and earth link.

1. The scientists argue that this form of life has not been described before. Lets us do not forget that only 1-2% of the potential microbial species has been described. This particular form may have been in that 98% of undiscovered or non-described species. A set of microbes have been assigned codes because their dnr/rna has been recorded but we still don't know much about them. I also doubt we have been at this point able to put all existing records together.
2. Planet earth has the conditions for like-species so what makes this particular taxa unique and potentially non-terrestrial? Is there any evidence that this piece of asteroid was never in contact with air particles, dust, water or soil from our planet?
3. Several missions from planet earth have visited the space so do we have any idea about the possibility of terrestrial forms being dispersed on the space-- and remaining there as dormant? If planets such as Jupiter and some moons or goldilocks planets (have similarities with the earth) could provide clues for life in the space, why would not we look there instead of at a random piece or fragment of meteorite, which initial conditions we don not know at all.
4.Just for a moment turning science fiction into reality and considering the possibility of space crafts from other planets or universes visiting us, what would they have brought? What would they have taken?
5.Do we really know what other forms of 'living things are we looking for? What if the other forms could not be defined in terms of the same structures of the earth.
6.Physicists said that of most the elements that are present in our planet are present elsewhere. Would that means that we are looking for alike organisms in all places bacterias adapted to rich iron for Mars or the predominant conditions on other planets. This bring me back to the point, why do we care about this meteorite?

I do think there is very likely life somewhere else. Would not it be nice if we were so unique here on planet earth? Would it being unique will help us to appreciate our planet much more said physicist Brian Cox during a recent visit to Madison, WI. Yet, I imagine that Dr. Cox like many other scientists, and the rest of humanity hope for life somewhere else.

Astrobiology is indeed a very exciting field. It can provide many clues about the evolution of life on our own system...and it may also provide the ultimate hope of finding other places where our species would potentially thrive. If there is life in other planets or meteorites that would give us some hints about possibilities for our own species. It will help us to understand a lot of things.

I am highly enthusiastic about Astrobiology as a human endeavour I am still not convinced by this particular fragment providing the clues that we need. I am not unique in this view.In an article that was published by the Washington Post other scientist point out some of the weakness of the study--which in part have to do with not following the ways any biological study with perform a test for species identity. Further than that, the scientists who promote the study argue that they publish such
inconclusive and highly publicized results just to stir up the discussion (Scientist skeptical of meteorite alien life.) I suppose to bring about the old question, is there life outside planet earth. Does good science needs to surrender to the media? Isn't the old science ways good enough? Lets do good science and if there are noteworthy results those shall be announced to the press. Instead they lifted a veil and stirred the emotions of the public that for so long has hopes about the ultimate answer science could provide about such fundamental and even philosophical questions of whether or not we are alone as a 'thinking species' in the Universe.
Is there life somewhere else, perhaps there life in this fragment? I don't know. I remain skeptical. They need more research and they need some convincing ways to prove us that other possibilities of that life being from planet earth could be safely discarded. I am waiting. The "what if" will remain open until we get more news.

Synopsis and Official Statement as published in:
Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol 13, March, 2011

Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites
Richard B. Hoover, Ph.D. NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Dr. Hoover has discovered evidence of microfossils similar to Cyanobacteria, in freshly fractured slices of the interior surfaces of the Alais, Ivuna, and Orgueil CI1 carbonaceous meteorites. Based on Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) and other measures, Dr. Hoover has concluded they are indigenous to these meteors and are similar to trichomic cyanobacteria and other trichomic prokaryotes such as filamentous sulfur bacteria. He concludes these fossilized bacteria are not Earthly contaminants but are the fossilized remains of living organisms which lived in the parent bodies of these meteors, e.g. comets, moons, and other astral bodies. The implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets.
Members of the Scientific community were invited to analyze the results and to write critical commentaries or to speculate about the implications. These commentaries will be published on March 7 through March 10, 2011.

Official Statement from Dr. Rudy Schild,
Center for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian,
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Cosmology.
Dr. Richard Hoover is a highly respected scientist and astrobiologist with a prestigious record of accomplishment at NASA. Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis. Our intention is to publish the commentaries, both pro and con, alongside Dr. Hoover's paper. In this way, the paper will have received a thorough vetting, and all points of view can be presented. No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough analysis, and no other scientific journal in the history of science has made such a profoundly important paper available to the scientific community, for comment, before it is published. We believe the best way to advance science, is to promote debate and discussion.