The whalers, buccaneers, and other seafarers who plied the Pacific in centuries past brought rats, goats, and pigs along with them, seeding the islands they came across — intentionally and unintentionally — to establish food supplies for future voyages.While much of the destruction of Pacific island flora and fauna can be traced to those too-successful invaders, recent studies of Galapagos tortoise genetics shows that, perhaps in one case, the mariners’ resupply practices preserved species.Studies show that tortoise populations on a Galapagos island frequented by mariners contain hybrids representing two species now extinct on their home islands. Since the tortoises, which can live for months without food or water, were an important food supply for mariners, it is likely they were bought there from other islands to boost the population in a location easily accessible for resupply, according to researcher Michael Russello.Russello, an associate professor of biology at the University of British Columbia, has spent the fall as Hrdy Visiting Fellow in Conservation Biology in Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. He discussed his work and that of other researchers Monday during a talk sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History, one of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC), in the Mineralogical and Geological Museum. He was introduced by HMSC Executive Director Jane Pickering.The Galapagos tortoise is famed for its immense size and long life. Individuals have topped 500 pounds and stretched more than 5 feet long, and some have been known to reach 150 years old. Before humans arrived on the islands and tortoises began disappearing, they were the top herbivore, shaping the local environment with their slow, deliberate browsing. Their ample flesh, hardiness, and inability to escape, however, made them nearly a perfect food for sailors stopping at the islands during Pacific voyages, and hundreds of thousands were taken. Island inhabitants, meanwhile, also hunted the tortoises for meat, while the goats they introduced destroyed the vegetation on which the tortoises relied and rats killed many tortoise hatchlings.Research shows the tortoises arrived at the Galapagos about 3 million years ago, likely riding a vegetation raft from the South American coast 600 miles away. They probably arrived first on the oldest islands, San Cristobal and Espanola, and developed into new species after their populations became divided, both by dispersing to other islands and after geologic processes and sea-level change divided the larger islands on which they lived.The result is 15 described species, many limited to a single island. Until last year, four species had gone extinct. The death of Lonesome George, the last known representative of the Pinta Island species, in 2012 added a fifth to the extinction list.But that was before genetic exploration of the population on Volcan Wolf.Located at the northern point of Isabela, the chain’s largest island, Volcan Wolf is an ideal tortoise habitat and readily accessible to passing ships. The initial genetic investigation turned up hybrids with bloodlines from two islands whose populations were thought extinct: Pinta and Floreana, Russello said. Further, some were likely first-generation hybrids, the offspring of purebred individuals. They also seemed to be plentiful, with 11 hybrids found out of just 27 individuals sampled.The findings prompted a larger 2008 expedition, in which teams sampled 1,669 individuals, drawing blood, noting the locations, and marking the tortoises so they could be monitored after analysis. The work found 84 hybrids of Floreana ancestry — of which 30 were less than 15 years old — and 17 with Pinta ancestry. A follow-up expedition is planned for next year to search the area where those populations were concentrated, hoping to find pureblood individuals and bring them to a captive breeding center on Santa Cruz Island. If all goes well, those individuals will serve as founders of a restored population.“Human activity may have led to the preservation of lineages of species thought extinct,” Russello said.Russello’s work doesn’t end with wild populations. He and colleagues have conducted genetic tests of captive tortoises in zoos around the world, finding that most belong to the species found on Santa Cruz. An examination of tortoises held at the Santa Cruz breeding center turned up a pleasant surprise, however: nine more with ancestry tracing to Floreana Island.The hope of restoring tortoises to their ancestral islands has historical precedent, Russello said. Tortoises on Espanola, reduced to 14 individuals by hunting and habitat destruction from introduced goats, were brought into captivity, bred, and reintroduced on the island beginning in 1975. Coupled with a campaign to eradicate the goats, the captive-breeding program resulted in a population that now totals 2,000 individuals and is breeding naturally again.A similar approach resulted in partial success on Pinzon Island, Russello said. Though thought extinct in the early 20th century, Pinzon tortoises held on. Introduced rats, however, killed hatchlings, meaning no young turtles were making it into the population. A program begun in 1965 held hatchlings until they were 4 or 5 years old and safe from rats before reintroducing them to Pinzon. The population has reached 258, and scientists are awaiting the results of a rat-eradication campaign conducted earlier this year in hopes that natural breeding can resume.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, which has 70% of its now NOK9.7tn (€966bn) of assets in listed equities, must get ready for big swings in the fund’s value over the next three years, its manager has warned.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which runs the Government Pension Fund Global, published a document on its strategy for 2020 to 2022, saying the new three-year plan continued in the direction that had been set by the strategy for 2017 to 2019.Noting that the fund’s value passed the $1tn (€911bn) threshold in September 2017, NBIM said: “Trends and disruptions in the global economy such as increased trade barriers, low global interest rates, changing technology paradigms and climate change will affect the fund.“We should be prepared for large fluctuations in the fund’s value,” it said. Outlining four key points on the strategic direction for the next three years, NBIM said it would complement the fund’s investments in equities and fixed income by investing in real estate and renewable energy infrastructure, and exercise its ownership role to safeguard the fund’s long-term economic interests.The organisation also said it would utilise a set of diversified investment strategies in a risk-controlled and low-cost manner, and foster a global, performance-oriented and efficient investment organisation.NBIM said it plans to increase the number of external mandates it issues to 100 from 80 currently during the next three years.But although the number of contracts is set to rise, the manager plans to maintain its current strategy of having external portfolio managers managing around 5% of the equity portfolio. NBIM said it used external portfolio managers in equity markets and segments where local specialist knowledge was particularly relevant. Around two thirds of the fund’s external specialist mandates would be in emerging markets.“Except for China, Brazil and India, we expect close to all emerging market investments to be managed by external fund managers,” it said.Last year NBIM terminated NOK20bn of externally managed, environment-related mandates. Renewable energy plansLaying out its strategy for its new investments in unlisted renewable energy infrastructure, NBIM said it planned to have around 1% of the fund invested in these assets by the end of 2022.These investments would focus on Europe and North America, it said, because these regions had tested regulatory frameworks as well as experience with private funding of infrastructure assets.The primary investment focus would be on wind and solar power generation assets, NBIM said, adding that it would home in on projects with low power price risk, stable cash flow and limited risk to the principal investment.While favouring equity investments for the new renewable energy infrastructure holdings, NBIM said it could invest elsewhere in the capital structure.“We prefer direct co-investments but will consider investing in renewable funds,” it said.The manager expects to have around 20 professionals dedicated to renewable energy infrastructure.
Marion Hollins elected to 2021 class of Golf HOFUNDATED (AP) — Marion Hollins has been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.She was elected through through the contributor’s category, joining a 2021 class that so far includes Tiger Woods.Hollins was a visionary in golf course architecture. She financed and developed a club only for women in New York in the early 1920s. And she was the brains behind Cypress Point Club and Pasatiempo in California.Hollins died in 1944 when she was 51. — The Blue Jackets have signed All-Star goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (YOH’-nuhs kohr-pih-SAH’-loh) to a two-year contract worth a reported $5.6 million. The Finnish-born netminder has a 19-12-5 record, 2.60 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and two shutouts in 37 appearances this season. Korpisalo has established career highs in games played, wins and goals-against average since taking over as the starter when Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF’-skee) left via free agency last summer.WNBA-DRAFTIonescu goes to Liberty with top pickNEW YORK (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu was the No. 1 pick in Friday’s WNBA draft, going to the New York Liberty in an Oregon sweep of the top two picks.Ionescu set the NCAA record for triple-doubles and was the first college player to have over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career. UNDATED (AP) — Two of college basketball’s young stars have announced they are entering the NBA draft before completing their eligibility.The list of draftable players now includes consensus All-American and Mountain West Conference Player of the year Malachi Flynn, who will forego his senior season at San Diego State. Flynn became the most decorated player in Aztecs history in his one season at SDSU after transferring from Washington State and sitting out a year. Flynn averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds this season as the sixth-ranked Aztecs went 30-2.Cole Anthony is entering the NBA draft after just one season at North Carolina. He had been considered a likely one-and-done player and a high first-round draft prospect before his arrival in Chapel Hill. The son of former NBA player Greg Anthony set an ACC freshman record by scoring 34 points in his conference debut and finished the season averaging a team-high 18.5 points for the Tar Heels.NHL-JETS-BYFUGLIENJets, Byfuglien split Ducks teammate Satou Sabally went second to Dallas after becoming one of three juniors to forego their last year of college eligibility and enter the draft.It’s the third time in the history of the draft that the top two picks were from the same program.Lauren Cox went third to Indiana and Chennedy Carter was the fourth selection by Atlanta. Dallas took Bella Alarie with the fifth pick.Due to the pandemic, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced selections from her home in New Jersey, holding up the jersey of the player being chosen.GOLF HALL OF FAME-HOLLINS NBA players will see 25% of their paychecks taken out starting May 15 in an agreement with the league. The decision was finalized today in a board of governors meeting and was done in concert with the National Basketball Players Association.The cutback in salary has been expected for some time in response to the NBA’s shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.The NBA playoffs would have started Saturday. If none of the 259 outstanding regular season games are played, the players would lose about $800 million in gross salary.Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change.In Friday’s other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic: Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSNBA player payroll slashed due to pandemicUNDATED (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a bite out of NBA salaries. Associated Press April 17, 2020 — Von Miller says he is in good spirits and “not feeling sick or hurting” after testing positive for the coronavirus. The Broncos linebacker told KUSA-TV in Denver that he developed a cough a couple of days ago. When his nebulizer for his asthma didn’t clear things up, he decided to get tested.— The NFL will hold a practice remote draft on Monday, three days before the real thing is done in the same way. Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered all team facilities closed in March, and later required club personnel to conduct the draft from their homes. Because of the reliance on free-flowing communication, the league decided to stage a mock draft to ensure that the proceedings next week would go smoothly.— NASCAR has postponed the May 9 race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia with the state under a stay-at-home order until June 10. It gave no indication when the season will resume. NASCAR suspended its season four events into the year when sports shut down because of the pandemic. It had listed Martinsville as its first race to resume.— English Premier League clubs discussed the coronavirus testing required and scenarios that could salvage the season. The league hopes to restart on June 8, presenting an optimistically tight timeframe for players to return to game shape if social distancing is relaxed. Clubs in the three professional leagues below the Premier League have been told by the English Football League that May 16 is the earliest training sessions are recommended to start.— Nippon Professional Baseball’s season openers will not take place in May due to the new coronavirus pandemic, with no firm date set for the start. Representatives of the 12 teams decided Friday to also scrap interleague play. The removal of 18 interleague games from each team’s calendar would make for a 125-game regular season. Update on the latest sports — The Senior LPGA Championship has been canceled. It was scheduled to be played July 30-Aug. 1 at French Lick Resort in Indiana. The USGA previously canceled the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. The Senior LPGA will stay at French Lick in 2021. The new dates will be determined later.— Major League Soccer says it is pushing back restarting the season to at least June 8. Teams had played two matches before the season was suspended on March 12 because of the pandemic. The league had been looking at possibly resuming play in mid-May.— The governing body of track and field is leading a panel of Olympic sports to advise on safely organizing mass gathering events amid the coronavirus. World Athletics says the Outbreak Prevention Taskforce includes the International Institute for Race Medicine and officials from cycling, rowing, skiing, triathlon and the International Paralympic Committee.COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFTSDSU’s Flynn, UNC’s Anthony turning pro UNDATED (AP) — The Winnipeg Jets and Dustin Byfuglien (BUHF’-lihn) have agreed to mutually terminate the veteran defenseman’s contract after a lengthy dispute, potentially marking the end of his hockey-playing career.No financial settlement was part of the agreement, meaning Byfuglien walked away from the $14 million remaining on his contract for this season and next. Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said a conversation in September led him to believe Byfuglien was healthy but “had lost his desire to play in the National Hockey League.”The Jets suspended the 35-year-old for not reporting to training camp. They received a call from his agent in October that he was considering a return. Byfuglien underwent ankle surgery in October and rehabbed into the winter.Byfuglien filed a grievance through the NHL Players’ Association believing he should be paid while recovering from ankle surgery.Also in the NHL: The induction is planned for March in Florida.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
Her spirit is contagious and her attitude and work ethic reflects her being a team captain, but unlike most captains, senior goalie Stefani Szczechowski can’t always be found on the field.In the past two years, Szczechowksi has been playing second fiddle to starter Lynn Murray and has seen little time on the field for the women’s soccer team.While this would bother most, Szczechowksi’s attitude doesn’t let playing time bother her, as she constantly thinks of the team before herself, which is what any good captain would do.In her fourth season in goal for the women’s soccer team, Szczechowski, better known as “Shiz” to her teammates and friends, has been a part of some memorable moments in women’s soccer history. As a starter her freshman year, she won nine games, including a shutout of the top-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions in the Big Ten tournament. And last season, Szczechowski and her teammates won their first Big Ten tournament championship since 1994. Despite their championship, the season wasn’t all that exciting for Szczechowski.She only started three of Wisconsin’s 24 games in 2005, going 0-4-0. With the Badgers having two capable keepers and Murray playing solid all season, Szczechowski was relegated to a fill-in role.”I didn’t get as much action as I would have wanted,” Szczechowski said. “It was hard because I couldn’t get into a rhythm in net because I never knew if I was going to play or not.”When the 2005 season had completed and spring training had begun, it seemed to be a new beginning for Szczechowski. There was a new look to the team, with the Badgers losing six capable seniors and bringing in a large recruiting class, and there were new openings for team captain, a position Szczechowski thought she would be a perfect fit for. “We all got to vote for two people for the captain spots,” Szczechowski said. “After a grueling fitness session one winter day, (head coach) Dean (Duerst) gathered the team in a circle. After a lengthy speech, he announced the captains. I thought I had a positive influence on the team, and that’s one of the major roles in being captain.”When Duerst told the team Szczechowski, along with senior ball striker Kara Kabellis, would be the team captains, it was a special moment for the senior. “When he announced my name, I was thrilled,” Szczechowski said. “It was a great natural high.”And she didn’t waste any time in spreading the news.”I called my mom first and she said something like, ‘Congratulations, honey,'” Szczechowski said. “My dad was proud as well, and I also sent a mass text to abunch of my friends from home in Michigan.”Along with preparing for the season, Szczechowski took it upon herself to reach out to the incoming players. During the summer months, Szczechowski took the time to call every freshman, all 12 of them, and talk to them about women’s soccer, the campus, academics or any other question that they might have had. Although most captains wouldn’t make the effort, Szczechowski is notorious for going that extra mile to help others achieve their goals before her own.”Being one of the captains, I try to represent the team in a positive light,” Szczechowski said. “I tried to reach out to all the freshmen and be a positive role model. I always have put the team ahead of myself and would rather have the team succeed before accomplishing any personal goals”In addition to her attitude and her approachability, Szczechowski has played the past four years with the philosophy of playing with no regrets. Her fearless attitude and constant support is something the whole team feeds off of.”She’s just a ball of fire and energy,” freshman midfielder Krista Liskevych said. “She means so much to the team with her positive attitude. Whenever she’s playing or not, she’s cheering everybody on and it becomes contagious. She’s always ready to step into the net and never gets down on herself or anyone on the team.”Moreover, Stefani’s attitude and work ethic has shown, not only on the sidelines, but on the field as well. When Murray went down with an injury, Szczechowski started the next five games for Wisconsin in net, posting a record of 1-2-2. On the year, Stefani has played in eight games for Wisconsin, going 2-3-2, including a four save shut out over UC-Santa Barbara.With all the fun Szczechowski has had playing soccer in Madison, this Friday will bring forth her toughest challenge yet, playing her last home game on Senior Night when Wisconsin faces Northwestern. Needing a win to get into the Big Ten tournament, Szczechowski already has begun to rally the troops for the Badgers’ most important game of the season.”Friday is going to be a great game,” Szczechowski said. “Northwestern is going to put up a good fight. I already told my team that we certainly don’t lose to teams in purple.I’m looking forward to a great victory on Senior Night.”It’s been a long, enjoyable road for the girl they call “Shiz,” going from the “Shiz Fan Club” in Plymouth, Michigan to representing her team as the senior captain. In just four short years, the “Shiz” has turned from a timid freshman into someone who has left a powerful mark on women’s soccer at Wisconsin.”Over the past four years, I have grown as a player and a person,” Szczechowski said. “As a person, I’ve just let my personality shine through. It’s going to be a little bit of a transition to be a ‘normal’ student when the season is over. I’ve had the identity of soccer player my whole life and losing that is going to be difficult. I will miss going to practice and seeing my friends every day.”It has been a terrific experience playing soccer at Wisconsin,” Szczechowski continued. “Looking back, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”