Ecosystems

Hot new imagery of wintering bats suggests a group behavior for battling white-nose syndrome
July 6, 2017 08:00 AM - USGS

Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada. The study by researchers with Massey University in New Zealand and the USGS was published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.  

Krill hotspot fuels incredible biodiversity in Antarctic region
July 6, 2017 07:19 AM - Oregon State University

There are so many Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean that the combined mass of these tiny aquatic organisms is more than that of the world’s 7.5 billion human inhabitants.

Scientists have long known about this important zooplankton species, but they haven’t been certain why particular regions or “hotspots” in the Southern Ocean are so productive.

How grassland management without the loss of species works
July 5, 2017 04:40 PM - Technical University of Munich (TUM)

The intensive management of grasslands is bad for biodiversity. However, a study by the Terrestrial Ecology Research Group at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has brought a ray of hope: If different forms of management are optimally distributed within a region, this can lead to higher yields without the loss of insect species. In ideal cases, this will allow even more species to find habitats that are optimal for them. What is crucial here is that management is planned at the landscape level.

Ancient fungi could help Canada's future northern forests
July 5, 2017 04:28 PM - University of British Columbia Okanagan campus

As Canada’s vast boreal and tundra ecosystems experience dramatic warming due to climate change, trees are rapidly spreading north. New research from UBC’s Okanagan Campus suggests some of these trees could be getting help from a surprising source: fungi that have lain dormant underground for thousands of years.

“The idea that long-dormant, symbiotic fungi could help trees migrate during periods of rapid climate change has been around for decades, but no one had taken it seriously enough to investigate,” says the study’s co-author Jason Pither, associate professor of biology at UBC Okanagan. “Could fungi actually remain dormant and viable for thousands of years and be resurrected by plants growing today? Our research suggests it’s possible.”

The big ecological roles of small natural features
July 5, 2017 04:14 PM - University of Maine

Ecologists and conservationists have long recognized that keystone species have major ecological importance disproportionate to their abundance or size. Think beavers, sea stars and prairie dogs — species that keep a ecosystem balanced.

Similarly across landscapes, the keystone concept of disproportionate importance extends to other ecological elements, such as salt marshes in estuaries.

Remote Amazonian cities more vulnerable to climate change
July 5, 2017 03:47 PM - Lancaster University

Amazonians living in remote cities are more vulnerable to flooding and droughts than more accessible centres, researchers at Lancaster University have discovered.

Bacteria collaborate to propel the ocean 'engine'
July 5, 2017 02:57 PM - University of Warwick

Essential microbiological interactions that keep our oceans stable have been fully revealed for the first time, by researchers at the University of Warwick.

Dr Joseph Christie-Oleza and Professor David Scanlan from the School of Life Sciences have discovered that two of the most abundant types of microorganism in the oceans – phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria – collaborate to cycle nutrients, consequently, drawing carbon from the atmosphere and feeding the ecosystem.

Decoding life under our waters to ensure species' survival
July 5, 2017 08:05 AM - University of New Brunswick

Four hundred million lines of text: that’s how much data is in a single gene-sequencing file when Scott Pavey’s team receives it. If you wanted to scan it manually, and generously assume it would take one second per line to look at, it would take you 12 and a half years of reading around the clock to get through it all.

'Perfect storm' led to 2016 GBR bleaching
July 4, 2017 04:05 PM - James Cook University

Researchers from James Cook University and the Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgiumsay unprecedented oceanographic conditions in 2016 produced the perfect storm of factors that lead to a mass coral bleaching.

JCU’s Professor Eric Wolanski said even in very warm years with a summer el Nino event, such as 1998, there was no massive coral bleaching in the Torres Strait and only small to moderate bleaching in the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Concurrent hot and dry summers more common in future
July 4, 2017 03:59 PM - ETH Zurich

In the past, climate scientists have tended to underestimate the risk of a co-occurrence of heatwave and drought. This is the conclusion of one of the first studies to examine compound climate extremes.

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