Biodiversity & Conservation

Communicating why pollinators matter could help save them and ensure food security worldwide, researchers say

International researchers met in Leiden (Netherlands) in early March, to discuss the latest research on pollinators and stress the need to communicate their value more actively to citizens and policy advisors. Better science communication, backed by more research funding, could help ensure sustainable pollination worldwide. Read more »

The Jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas, is endangered due to habitat loss and human persecution

Today, jaguars are an endangered species throughout their natural habitat in the Americas, and have almost been completely eliminated from the United States. Photo by cuatrok77/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A recent study, published in the journal Mammalia, shows how researchers used GPS technology and new analytical techniques to produce the first rigorous estimates of jaguar spatial needs and movements in the Gran Chaco and Pantanal ecosystems of Paraguay. Read more »

Mountains become islands: ecological dangers of increasing land use in East Africa

Much of the natural forest vegetation between Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro vanished between 1976 and 2000. Illustration: Andreas Hemp.

The mountains of East Africa are a treasure trove of biodiversity. However, their ecosystems may be at a higher risk than previously realized. Dr. Andreas Hemp and Dr. Claudia Hemp have discovered that Mount Kilimanjaro is turning into an "ecological island". Agriculture and housing construction have eliminated the natural vegetation that used to serve as a bridge to the surrounding area, enabling the diversity of species to develop to its current levels. Neighbouring mountain regions are presumably also being isolated from their surrounding areas. Read more »

How much plastic have humans made?

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(Credit: UC Santa Barbara)

Humans have created more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, a new study suggests.

The study provides the first global analysis of the production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, including synthetic fibers. Read more »

Leaf beetles: Even a tiny dose of pesticide will impair reproduction

Dr. Thorben Müller is studying how pesticides affect leaf beetles. This research was supported by Bielefeld University’s Young Researchers’ Fund. Photo: Bielefeld University

The number of insects in Germany is declining rapidly – in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, it has dropped by three-quarters within only 25 years. In a new study, biologists at Bielefeld University show the effects of pesticides and how even slight traces lead to long-term damage to beetles. One finding is that leaf beetles lay roughly 35 per cent fewer eggs after coming into contact with traces of a frequently used pesticide – a pyrethroid. The researchers also showed that female offspring develop malformations through the poison. Read more »

‘Omnipresent’ effects of human impact on England’s landscape revealed by University of Leicester geologists

Junkin’s Quarry, Nuneaton, representing an example of Worked Ground that was active from the 1840s to the 1980s.

‘Omnipresent’ signs demonstrating the effects of human impact on England’s landscape have been revealed by researchers from the University of Leicester.

Concrete structures forming a new, human-made rock type; ash particles in the landscape; and plastic debris are just a few of the new materials irreversibly changing England’s landscape and providing evidence of the effects of the Anthropocene, the research suggests. Read more »

Plastics leave permanent indestructible legacy

Stomach contents of an albatross chick photographed in the Pacific in 2009. Image: By Chris Jordan (via US Fish & Wildlife Service HQ)

By Tim Radford, Climate News Network
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Henderson Island: the remote paradise with the world's biggest plastic problem

In the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, far from the urban, developed world, there is a small, lush, green island with white sand beaches. However, this uninhabited, remote corner of the tropics—Henderson Island—also has a trash problem. Read more »

Aquaculture is main driver of mangrove losses

Mangroves provide coastal protection and habitat for several species. Shahnoor Habib Munmun | Wikimedia Commons

By Dyna Rochmyaningsih

Expanding aquaculture in South-East Asia over the last two decades has been the main driver of mangrove loss in the world, says a study published in PLOS One this month (June 2017).
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Neonicotinoid insecticides linked to wild bee decline across England

English oil seed rape field (© Heather Lowther / Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

Exposure to neonicotinoid seed treated oilseed rape crops has been linked to long-term population decline of wild bee species across the English countryside, according to research published in Nature Communications. Read more »

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