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New Evidence Concerning the Dinosaurs’ Extinction

Swamp Stomp

Volume 18, Issue 25

The extinction of the dinosaurs has been a mystery that has gripped the attention of people of all ages, from children with plastic dinosaur figurines to adults eagerly awaiting the release of the next Jurassic Park film. Recently, scientists have uncovered some clues that may help lead to obtaining the full story of how the dinosaurs went extinct, but these clues lie in a much more familiar animal than dinosaurs: birds.

Birds trace their ancestry all the way back to the dinosaurs. Many, including chickens, can trace their ancestry to a specific species of dinosaur, Archaeopteryx. Scientists have now begun to classify birds as being related to either ancient ground-dwelling or tree-dwelling species. They also discovered that the tree-dwelling birds, discovered via fossils, all became extinct due to the asteroid that killed the other dinosaurs 66 million years ago. In other words, all the birds that we see outside today, from cardinals to penguins, can be traced back to only ancient ground-dwelling birds. What does this tell us about the mass-extinction event that killed the dinosaurs? It also killed all the trees!

This deforestation is further confirmed by the species of ferns that exist today. Paleobotanist Antoine Bercovici of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC studied the spores and pollen of ferns found in rock layers that formed in the years after the asteroid impact. He discovered that all these ferns could be traced back to only two species of ferns. This indicated that there was a mass extinction of ferns species, resulting in rapid recolonizing by the two surviving species of ferns. Bercovici says this is seen today as well “when ferns recolonize lava flows in Hawaii or landslides after volcanic eruptions.”

This new evidence may seem small, but it is another piece in the giant puzzle that is the extinction of the dinosaurs. Scientists may now know why tree-dwelling birds living in the Cretaceous period died after the asteroid hit, but they still cannot explain why certain species of ground-dwelling ancient birds also died in this event. Scientists are excited to continue piecing together the evidence that will one day, completely answer the question, “What really happened when the dinosaurs went extinct?”


Pickrell, John. “How did Dino-Era Birds Survive the Asteroid Apocalypse?” National Geographic. National Geographic. May 24, 2018. Web. May 30, 2018.

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Wetland Biologist

Ecology and Environment, Inc. is seeking an experienced Wetland Biologist in our Chicago, IL office. This position will perform, lead and manage environmental field studies including wetland delineations, threatened and endangered plant surveys, and habitat assessments. Our successful candidate must have a strong understanding of the federal, state, and local permitting and environmental review processes for energy projects including pipelines, transmission facilities, and renewable energy projects and demonstrated abilities at project management, project-related research, and technical writing.

•Wetland field team lead and project management
•Coordinate and lead field teams in performing biological surveys for wetlands and waterbodies
•Manage environmental impact assessments and habitat mitigation tasks / projects
•Ensure that project teams work together to achieve results; set performance targets for staff, provide inspiring leadership and direction, and actively identify and resolve issues
•Understand and account for project contract requirements, assuring that commitments are met in accordance with deliverables, schedules, and with the appropriate level of quality
•Prepare NEPA documents and obtain the necessary environmental and other required local, state, and federal permits including Clean Water Act 401/404 permits and jurisdictional determinations
•Provide expertise current regulatory and scientific standards
•Lead federal and state agency coordination and negotiation
•Understand and stay current with appropriate regulatory requirements and scientific standards
•Provide advice and guidance to E & E staff on regulatory requirements and scientific standards
•Business development
•Seek out and identify potential project opportunities and develop client relationships
•Assist in preparing proposals, work plans and cost estimates

•Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Biology or a related discipline
•5+ years of wetland delineation/evaluation/classification; environmental consulting experience preferred
•Experience in project management and performing, managing and leading field surveys, and teams
•Experience in delineating and permitting impacts to wetlands pursuant to federal, state, and local regulations
•Demonstrated knowledge of the USACE Wetland Delineation Manual and Regional Supplements
•Experience with tablet-based field data collection and Trimble hand-held GPS units
•Excellent leadership and interpersonal communication skills
•Strong organizational, analytical, and strategic planning skills with attention to detail and a high quality of work in a pressure environment
•Strong project management and technical writing skills
•Ability to elicit cooperation from a wide variety of, disciplines, and experts including senior management and clients
•Ability to travel to support business needs, walk for several miles, work in extreme temperatures, rough terrain and work independently in remote areas

Desired Qualifications:
•Possession of a Professional Wetland Scientist Certification
•Strong botanical skills
•Experience in agency (State Lands) consultation in the Midwest
•Knowledge of major federal statutes and implementing regulations (NEPA, CWA, CAA, etc.)
•Experience developing client relationships and identifying business opportunities

We are a global network of innovators and problem solvers, dedicated professionals and industry leaders in scientific, engineering, and planning disciplines working together with our clients to develop technically sound, science-based solutions to the leading environmental challenges of our time. E & E offers opportunities for growth in a team-oriented environment. Candidates must be eligible to work in the U.S.; Visa sponsorship will not be provided. Please view our website at www.ene.comto apply on-line. Local candidates preferred.

Ecology and Environment, Inc. is an EO and AA employer – M/F/Vets/Disabled/and other protected categories.

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The Nicaragua Canal: Economic Opportunity or Environmental Catastrophe?

Swamp Stomp

Volume 18, Issue 24

In June of 2013, the Nicaraguan National Assembly approved of the construction of a canal to be built through Nicaragua by the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group. The canal is expected to cost around $40 billion, provide Nicaragua with 250,000 jobs and significantly increase the national GDP. On the surface, one can understand why the government of the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, with nearly 45% of its citizens below the poverty line, may find this deal attractive. However, the canal’s construction, which has already been postponed twice, has raised concerns by conservation scientists, environmental activists, and indigenous Nicaraguans about the environmental and social impacts the canal may have on the country.

The 173-mile long canal is currently projected to bisect Nicaragua starting from the mouth of the Brito river on the Pacific coast, where it will cut through to lake Cocibolca and on eastward through the Tule and Punta Gorda rivers to the Caribbean sea. Lake Cocibolca is Central America’s largest freshwater lake and is not only Nicaragua’s primary source of fresh water, but is also home to a variety of endemic fish species as well as thousands of indigenous families who fish the lake for subsistence. Conservationists fear that the introduction of saltwater from the ocean entering the lake via the canal could disrupt the lake’s ecosystem, threatening not only its biodiversity but also the livelihoods of thousands of people. There is the additional possibility of invasive ocean species being inadvertently transported into the lake from ships passing through and wreaking havoc on endemic populations.

The canal would also cut through the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a reserve stretching from southern Mexico to Panama that allows endangered mammals, such as jaguars, to migrate from north to south across their native habitat. Experts at Panthera, a group of scientists dedicated to the protection of large cats, warn that such a disruption could do significant harm to the already small jaguar population (500 individuals) in Nicaragua. Perhaps the most troubling consequence of the canal would be the displacement of some 120,000 farmers and members of the indigenous Rama, Ulwa, Garifuna, and Miskitu communities that live along the canal’s proposed route. This displacement would not only unjustly confiscate land from indigenous groups that have been marginalized since Spanish colonial times, but would also threaten their unique languages and cultures, representing a net loss of human cultural diversity.