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Whooping cranes form larger flocks as wetlands are lost -- and it may put them at risk
on April 2, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Over the past few decades, the endangered whooping crane (Grus Americana) has experienced considerable recovery. However, researchers found that habitat loss has led whooping cranes to gather in unusually large groups during migration. While larger groups are a positive sign of species recovery, the authors say that a disease outbreak or extreme weather event could inadvertently impact this still fragile population.
Where lions roam: West African big cats show no preference between national parks, hunting zones
on March 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm
West African lions are a critically endangered subpopulation, with an estimated 400 remaining and strong evidence of ongoing declines.
What can be learned from the microbes on a turtle's shell?
on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm
Researchers have found that a unique type of algae, usually only seen on the shells of turtles, affects the surrounding microbial communities. It is hoped that these findings can be applied to support the conservation of turtles. Previous research has shown that a diverse microbiome can protect animals against infections.
As the ocean warms, marine species relocate toward the poles
on March 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm
Since pre-industrial times, the world's oceans have warmed by an average of one degree Celsius (1°C). Now researchers report that those rising temperatures have led to widespread changes in the population sizes of marine species. The researchers found a general pattern of species having increasing numbers on their poleward sides and losses toward the equator.
Local community involvement crucial to restoring tropical peatlands
on March 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm
New research has found that local community involvement is crucial to restoring Indonesia's peatlands -- unspoilt peatlands act as a carbon sink and play an important role in reducing global carbon emissions. They are also a crucial habitat for birds and animals, including endangered species such as orang-utans and tigers.
Plants and animals aren't so different when it comes to climate
on March 25, 2020 at 12:20 am
A new study reveals that plants and animals are remarkably similar in their responses to changing environmental conditions across the globe, which may help explain how they are distributed today and how they will respond to climate change in the future.
Pablo Escobar's hippos may help counteract a legacy of extinctions
on March 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm
When cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, the four hippos in his private zoo in Colombia were left behind. Since then, their numbers have grown to an estimated 80-100 in the country's rivers. Scientists and the public alike have viewed the hippos as invasive pests that should not run wild in South America. Now a new study by an international group of researchers challenges this view.
Reanalysis of global amphibian crisis study finds important flaws
on March 20, 2020 at 2:16 pm
Last year in the journal Science, a research review concluded that the chytrid fungus caused the decline of at least 501 amphibian species, of which 90 have gone extinct. A team has reanalyzed a study, finding that the paper's main conclusions lack evidence and are unreproducible. The authors argue that transparent data collection and analysis are crucial -- both for science and conservation efforts.
Sea otters, opossums and the surprising ways pathogens move from land to sea
on March 19, 2020 at 4:52 pm
A parasite known only to be hosted in North America by the Virginia opossum is infecting sea otters along the West Coast. A new study elucidates the sometimes surprising and complex pathways infectious pathogens can move from land to sea to sea otter.
Improving success of giraffe translocations
on March 19, 2020 at 4:51 pm
In two new studies, an international team of researchers identifies the ideal composition of a group of giraffes to be translocated for conservation purposes and provides guidelines for all aspects of the translocation process.
Crop diversity can buffer the effects of climate change
on March 18, 2020 at 6:37 pm
Researchers found that farms with diverse crops planted together provide more secure, stable habitats for wildlife and are more resilient to climate change than the single-crop standard that dominates today's agriculture industry.
One of Darwin's evolution theories finally proved
on March 18, 2020 at 1:56 am
Scientists have proved one of Charles Darwin's theories of evolution for the first time -- nearly 140 years after his death. Researchers discovered mammal subspecies play a more important role in evolution than previously thought. Her research could now be used to predict which species conservationists should focus on protecting.
Unraveling the puzzle of Madagascar's forest cats
on March 16, 2020 at 6:14 pm
Biologists have long wondered where Madagascar's mysterious wild cats came from. Now, new genetic evidence delivers an answer.
Environmental DNA in rivers offers new tool for detecting wildlife communities
on March 12, 2020 at 6:23 pm
Ecologists report this week on a new method of identifying an 'entire community of mammals' -- including elusive and endangered species that are otherwise difficult to monitor -- by collecting DNA from river water.
Crocs' better parenting skills could make them more resilient to climate change
on March 11, 2020 at 3:20 pm
The ability of crocodiles to survive mass extinctions could be in part due to their more hands-on approach to parenting, say scientists.
Sea turtles have a deadly attraction to stinky plastic
on March 9, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Sea turtles around the world are threatened by marine plastic debris, mostly through ingestion and entanglement. Now, researchers have new evidence to explain why all that plastic is so dangerous for the turtles: they mistake the scent of stinky plastic for food.
Endangered species on supermarket shelves
on March 6, 2020 at 5:25 pm
Imagine purchasing products from your local grocer, only to find out that those products are comprised of critically endangered species! That's what a team has recently discovered on Hong Kong supermarket shelves.
Sea level rise impacts to Canaveral sea turtle nests will be substantial
on March 4, 2020 at 7:14 pm
The study examined loggerhead and green sea turtle nests to predict beach habitat loss at four national seashores by the year 2100. When comparing nesting density with beach loss at the sites, they found nesting habitat loss would not be equal. By 2100, Canaveral would lose about 1 percent of its loggerhead habitat; the others will lose approximately 2.5 to 6.7% each. Canaveral's loss is smaller, but the impact greater because of nesting density.
Apes' inner ears could hide clues to evolutionary history of hominoids
on March 3, 2020 at 4:33 pm
Studying the inner ear of apes and humans could uncover new information on our species' evolutionary relationships, suggests a new study.
Directed species loss from species-rich forests strongly decreases productivity
on March 2, 2020 at 4:33 pm
At high species richness, directed loss, but not random loss, of tree species strongly decreases forest productivity. This is shown by data from a big forest project in China. Previous studies based on random species loss could therefore bias the predictions of how more realistic extinction scenarios are likely to affect ecosystem functioning.