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Preview: Brightsurf Science News :: Biodiversity News

Biodiversity Current Events and Biodiversity News from Brightsurf

Biodiversity Current Events and Biodiversity News Events, Discoveries and Articles from Brightsurf

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Skewed sex ratios causes single fathers to bring up the young

Wed, 25 Apr 18 00:08:30 -0700

When the balance of the sexes is skewed towards one gender, parents are more likely to split up, leaving the father to care for the offspring, says a study from an international team of scientists studying bird populations.

Purdue archaeologists on ancient horse find in Nile River Valley

Wed, 25 Apr 18 00:09:20 -0700

An ancient horse burial at Tombos along the Nile River Valley shows that a member of the horse family thousands of years ago was more important to the culture than previously thought, which provides a window into human-animal relationships more than 3,000 years ago.

Audit finds biodiversity data aggregators 'lose and confuse' data

Mon, 23 Apr 18 00:00:30 -0700

Both online repositories the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) were found to 'lose and confuse' portions of the data provided to them, according to an independent audit of ca. 800,000 records from three Australasian museums. Genus and species names were found to have been changed in up to 1 in 5 records, and programming errors caused up to 100 percent data loss in some data categories.

Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence genomes of 1.5 million species

Mon, 23 Apr 18 00:01:00 -0700

An international consortium of scientists is proposing a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all eukaryotic species on the planet, an undertaking the researchers say will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity. Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth.

Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence DNA from all complex life on Earth

Mon, 23 Apr 18 00:16:30 -0700

An international consortium of scientists is proposing what is arguably the most ambitious project in the history of biology: sequencing the DNA of all known eukaryotic species on Earth.

Trees are not as sound asleep as you may think

Fri, 20 Apr 18 00:08:00 -0700

High-precision three-dimensional surveying of 21 different species of trees has revealed a yet unknown cycle of subtle canopy movement during the night. The 'sleep cycles' differed from one species to another. Detection of anomalies in overnight movement could become a future diagnostic tool to reveal stress or disease in crops.

Business in Key Biodiversity Areas: Minimizing the risk to nature

Fri, 20 Apr 18 00:07:30 -0700

A roadmap for businesses operating in some of the most biologically significant places on the planet has been issued this week by the Key Biodiversity Area Partnership involving 12 of the world's leading conservation organizations -- including IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Small changes in rainforests cause big damage to fish ecosystems

Thu, 19 Apr 18 00:06:50 -0700

Using lasers, researchers have connected, arranged and merged artificial cells, paving the way for networks of artificial cells acting as tissues.

Evolution: Urban life leaves behind traces in the genome of bumblebees

Wed, 18 Apr 18 00:14:10 -0700

Bumblebees living in the city have genes that differ from their relatives in the countryside. Although genetic differences are minor, they may influence how well the insects adapt to their habitat. These differences in genetic makeup are an indication that urban life does impact the evolutionary trajectory of a species, write researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Leipzig-Jena in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Study: Coal mining reduces abundance, richness of aquatic life

Wed, 18 Apr 18 00:05:40 -0700

Coal mining, under current US regulations, has significantly reduced the abundance and variety of fish, invertebrates, salamanders, and other aquatic life in streams, according to a new study from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Green digitization: Botanical collections data answer real-world questions

Wed, 18 Apr 18 00:12:10 -0700

Scientists are digitizing the wealth of data attached to herbarium specimens and using those data to address questions ranging from species identification to global climate change. This special issue explores methods, challenges, and applications of these collections data, with articles addressing topics including globally unique identifiers, deep learning and computer recognition, and citizen science initiatives.

More than 12,000 marine creatures uncovered during West Java deep-sea exploration

Tue, 17 Apr 18 00:13:00 -0700

Scientists who participated in the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018 had collected more than 12,000 creatures during their 14-day voyage to survey the unexplored deep seas off the southern coast of West Java, Indonesia.

A new Listeria species from Costa Rica identified

Tue, 17 Apr 18 00:03:00 -0700

Listeria costaricensis is the official name given to the new bacterial species described by investigators from the Costa Rican Institute of Technology and the WHO-collaborating center on Listeria at Institut Pasteur.

Marine fish won an evolutionary lottery 66 million years ago, UCLA biologists report

Tue, 17 Apr 18 00:07:10 -0700

Why do the Earth's oceans contain such a staggering diversity of fish of so many different sizes, shapes, colors and ecologies? The answer, a UCLA-led team of biologists reports, dates back 66 million years ago, when a six-mile-wide asteroid crashed to Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and approximately 75 percent of animal and plant species worldwide.

Smooth dance moves confirm new bird-of-paradise species

Tue, 17 Apr 18 00:07:50 -0700

Newly publicized audiovisuals support full species status for one of the dancing birds-of-paradise in New Guinea.

A new hope: One of North America's rarest bees has its known range greatly expanded

Mon, 16 Apr 18 00:01:00 -0700

The Macropis cuckoo bee is one of the rarest bees in North America, partly because of its specialized ecological associations. It is a nest parasite of oil-collecting bees of the genus Macropis which, in turn, are dependent on oil-producing flowers of the genus Lysimachia. However, new data from Canada, published in a paper in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal, greatly expands the known range of the cuckoo, and has implications for its conservation status.

Climate change mitigation project threatens local ecosystem resilience in Ethiopia

Mon, 16 Apr 18 00:13:10 -0700

To increase forest cover in the Global South in order to mitigate climate change does not always have positive effects, as shown in a new study undertaken by Stockholm University in southern Ethiopia. It can also threaten biodiversity and the survival of unique alpine plants.

Logging in tropical forests jeopardizing drinking water

Mon, 16 Apr 18 00:01:20 -0700

A team of researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and other groups have found that increasing land clearing for logging in Solomon Islands-even with best management strategies in place -- will lead to unsustainable levels of soil erosion and significant impacts to downstream water quality.

Discovery of switchblade-like defensive system redraws family tree of stonefishes

Thu, 12 Apr 18 00:11:40 -0700

A study from the University of Kansas appearing in the journal Copeia details for the first time evolution of a 'lachrymal saber' unique to stonefishes -- a group of rare and elaborately dangerous fishes inhabiting Indo-Pacific coastal waters. The new finding rewrites scientific understanding of relationships among several groups of fishes and reveals a previously unknown defensive strategy -- also, it likely will fuel a few nightmares.

Scientists to build the avian tree of life

Wed, 11 Apr 18 00:00:30 -0700

With the support of the National Science Foundation, scientists have embarked on a large-scale project to build the evolutionary tree of all bird species using cutting-edge technologies to collect DNA from across the genome. This project, called OpenWings, will produce the most complete evolutionary tree of any vertebrate group to-date.

Droughts mean fewer flowers for bees

Wed, 11 Apr 18 00:16:20 -0700

Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows.

New study reveals that the center of the world's marine biodiversity is in danger

Tue, 10 Apr 18 00:08:00 -0700

Research led by Swansea University's Bioscience department have found that the world's center of biodiversity is under widespread threat of losing a key marine resource.

Species hitch a ride on birds and the wind to join green roof communities

Fri, 06 Apr 18 00:05:40 -0700

New research suggests that species that live on green roofs arrived by hitching lifts on birds or by riding air currents.

Sowing strips of flowering plants has limited effect on pollination

Fri, 06 Apr 18 00:05:10 -0700

Many pollinating insects benefit from a small-scale agricultural landscape with pastures, meadows and other unploughed environments. In landscapes dominated by arable land, they lack both food and nesting places. Sown flower strips can increase the availability of food for pollinating insects, and are therefore assumed to benefit pollination. However, new research from Lund University in Sweden shows that the effect of the sown flower strips on pollination is limited and cannot compensate for the advantages of a varied landscape.

The blue whale genome reveals the animals' extraordinary evolutionary history

Fri, 06 Apr 18 00:05:00 -0700

For the first time, scientists of the German Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, Goethe University and the University of Lund in Sweden have deciphered the complete genome of the blue whale and three other rorquals. Surprisingly, the genomes show that rorquals have been hybridizing during their evolutionary history. In addition, rorquals seem to have separated into different species in the absence of geographical barriers. This phenomenon, called sympatric speciation, is very rare in animals. The study has just been published in

Experts propose method to monitor ocean health

Thu, 05 Apr 18 00:00:10 -0700

It's important to closely monitor how climate change and our increasing use of the oceans are affecting important marine resources and ecosystems.

Ancient origins of viruses discovered

Wed, 04 Apr 18 00:07:40 -0700

Research published today in Nature has found that many of the viruses infecting us today have ancient evolutionary histories that date back to the first vertebrates and perhaps the first animals in existence.

The great acceleration reaches new heights

Wed, 04 Apr 18 00:07:30 -0700

An international team of researchers, including researchers at Edysan laboratorie (CNRS / Université de Picardie Jules Verne) has observed an acceleration in the increase of biodiversity on mountain peaks in Europe. This is a new indicator of the 'great acceleration': an increasingly rapid inflation of different parameters around the world (glacier retreat, coral bleaching, etc.) seen in recent years as a result of climate change. Mountain ecosystems could be seriously disturbed as a result.

Dispatch from the field II: Students describe an elusive spider while stationed in Borneo

Tue, 03 Apr 18 00:05:20 -0700

Students taking part in a recent ecology field course in Borneo described the first male of an elusive species of orb-weaving spider known for its striking red and blue colors. Despite being stationed in the field, they managed to compile their manuscript and submit it to the technologically advanced open-access Biodiversity Data Journal. A few days post-submission, their article was published along with all underlying biodiversity data ready to access and reuse.

One species described multiple times: How taxonomists contribute to biodiversity discovery

Thu, 29 Mar 18 00:00:10 -0700

While working on a rare little known group of Oriental wasps that likely parasitize the eggs of grasshoppers, locusts or crickets, not only did a team of four entomologists discover four previously unknown species, but they also found that another four species were in fact one and the same. Their study, published in the open-access journal Zookeys, is a fine example for the important role played by taxonomists in puzzling out the Earth's biodiversity.

Human-centered design is key to forming partnerships for large-scale conservation success

Thu, 29 Mar 18 00:02:00 -0700

The findings, published in PLOS ONE on March 9, question previous assumptions in the field that the payments themselves are the most effective motivator of participation.

Salvage logging is often a pretext for harvesting wood

Tue, 27 Mar 18 00:15:40 -0700

An increasing proportion of the world's protected forests are subject to extensive logging activities. The practice is called 'salvage logging' and allegedly aims to protect, e.g. areas of windthrow against bark beetle infestation. However, a Würzburg study has found that this instrument is used far too often.

Norfolk's iconic swallowtail butterfly at risk from climate change

Tue, 27 Mar 18 00:13:10 -0700

New research reveals that Norfolk's butterflies, bees, bugs, birds, trees and mammals are at major risk from climate change as temperatures rise. Researchers carried out the first in-depth audit of its kind for a region in the UK to see how biodiversity might be impacted in Norfolk as the world warms. The study finds that the region's Swallowtail Butterfly, which can't be found anywhere else in the UK, is at risk -- along with three quarters of bumblebee, grasshopper and moth species.

Chance is a factor in the survival of species

Mon, 26 Mar 18 00:15:00 -0700

In a major study, biologists at Lund University in Sweden have studied the role of chance in whether a species survives or dies out locally. One possible consequence according to the researchers, is that although conservation initiatives can save endangered species, sometimes chance can override such efforts.

Rocky habitats need to be protected for endangered amphibians to survive

Mon, 26 Mar 18 00:09:50 -0700

An international team of scientists led by the University of Plymouth has published research in the PLOS ONE journal showing that rare amphibians living on rocky plateaus in western India are in desperate need of greater protection as their habitats are being eroded.

When the Mediteranean Sea flooded human settlements

Thu, 22 Mar 18 00:14:20 -0700

Around 7,600 years ago, the emergence of agricultural settlements in Southeastern Europe and subsequent progress of civilization suddenly came to a standstill. This was most likely caused by an abrupt sea level rise in the northern Aegean Sea. German Researchers in Frankfurt and colleagues of the University of Toronto have now detected evidence in the fossils of tiny calcifying marine algae preserved in seafloor sediments.

Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral

Thu, 22 Mar 18 00:09:20 -0700

A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.

How trees coexist. New findings from biodiversity research published in Nature Communications

Wed, 21 Mar 18 00:13:10 -0700

One of the most fascinating topics in ecology is the exploration of interactions between plants, specifically in long-lived organisms, such as trees. In this context, it is generally assumed that tree-tree interactions are dominated by competition for resources such as light, water or nutrients.

Land under water: Estimating hydropower's land use impacts

Thu, 15 Mar 18 00:14:40 -0700

One of the key ways to combat global climate change is to boost the world's use of renewable energy. But even green energy has its environmental costs. A new approach describes just how hydropower measures up when it comes to land use effects.

Five major new biodiversity assessments to be launched as 750 world experts and policymakers meet

Thu, 15 Mar 18 00:10:10 -0700

Leading scientists and other experts from around the world will convene for eight days with policymakers from more than 115 countries to finalize landmark reports on biodiversity, nature's contributions to people and issues of land degradation and restoration. The sixth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (#IPBES6), chaired by Sir Robert Watson, begins Saturday at the Intercontinental Hotel, Medellín, Colombia.

A lesson from Darwin

Wed, 14 Mar 18 00:05:10 -0700

When British naturalist Charles Darwin traveled to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he took notice of the giant kelp forests ringing the islands. He believed that if those forests were destroyed, a significant number of species would be lost. These underwater ecosystems, Darwin believed, could be even more important than forests on land.

Predicting an insect community structure based on genomic variation in a tree species

Tue, 13 Mar 18 00:16:00 -0700

Researchers have discovered a rule to predict an arthropod community structure based on the genomic variation in a foundation tree species.

Climate change risk for half of plant and animal species in biodiversity hotspots
Up to half of plant and animal species in the world's most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked. Even if the Paris Climate Agreement 2