Can habitat protection save our disappearing bats?
August 5, 2015 01:26 PM - Cléa Desjardins, Concordia University
In summertime, bats are a common feature in the night sky, swooping around backyards to gobble up mosquitos. Bats also help with crops: they act as a natural pesticide by feeding on harmful insects. But these winged mammals are now under threat. As agricultural intensification expands across the world, the conversion of their natural habitats has caused a dramatic decline in population.
4 million years at Africa's salad bar
August 5, 2015 09:18 AM - University of Utah
As grasses grew more common in Africa, most major mammal groups tried grazing on them at times during the past 4 million years, but some of the animals went extinct or switched back to browsing on trees and shrubs, according to a study led by the University of Utah.
How changing land use pattern in the Caribbean is impacting storm risks
August 5, 2015 07:22 AM - José Rodriguez-Llanes, Catholic University of Louvain, SciDevNet
Turning natural landscapes in the Caribbean into urban areas or farmland may increase the risk of people dying from floods and storms, scientists suggest.
In a study published by Scientific Reports last month (8 July), researchers from Anguilla’s health ministry and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium investigate which factors make the region more prone to deaths related to these disasters. Out of 20 variables, they found that using a greater proportion of land for agriculture and having a higher percentage of people living in urban areas were consistently linked with deadlier floods and storms.
Antarctic life is more diverse than previously thought
August 4, 2015 09:06 AM - British Antarctic Survey
The team of scientists, led by Monash University, along with colleagues from the British Antarctic Survey, University of Waikato in New Zealand, and Australian National University, looked at how recent investigations have revealed the continent and surrounding ocean is rich in species. They are also very highly diversified into a variety of distinct ecological regions that differ greatly from each other.
Ice cores show volcanic eruptions and cold climate strongly linked
August 4, 2015 07:31 AM -
Researchers find new evidence that large eruptions were responsible for cold temperature extremes recorded since early Roman times
It is well known that large volcanic eruptions contribute to climate variability. However, quantifying these contributions has proven challenging due to inconsistencies in both historic atmospheric data observed in polar ice cores and corresponding temperature variations seen in climate indicators such as tree rings.
Are septic tanks doing their job?
August 3, 2015 04:33 PM - Michigan State University
The notion that septic tanks prevent fecal bacteria from seeping into rivers and lakes simply doesn’t hold water, says a new Michigan State University study.
What you should know about America's Clean Power Plan
August 3, 2015 08:30 AM - Gina McCarthy, USEPA
Today, President Obama will unveil the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan—a historic step to cut the carbon pollution driving climate change. Here are six key things every American should know...
Trophy hunting is not the main reason for declining population of lions in Africa
August 3, 2015 07:02 AM - Lochran Traill & Norman Owen-Smith, The Ecologist
Africa has half as many lions as 20 years ago - but don't blame trophy hunting
The killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the Lion has put a welcome spotlight on the alarming decline of Africa's lions, write Lochran Traill & Norman Owen-Smith. But to save the species, we should not obsess about trophy hunting, but tackle much more serious problems - like snaring and habitat fragmentation.
UN adopts resolution to attack wildlife crime
August 2, 2015 08:14 AM -
Faced with an unprecedented surge in wildlife crime, the UN this week adopted a historic resolution committing all countries to ramp up their collective efforts to end the global poaching crisis and tackle the vast illegal wildlife trade. Initiated by Gabon and Germany and co-sponsored by 84 other nations, the UN General Assembly resolution, Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife, is the result of three years of diplomatic efforts and is the first time that every nation has acknowledged the seriousness of wildlife crime and the urgent need to join forces to combat it.
What actually causes aging?
August 1, 2015 06:57 AM - Northwestern University
When does aging really begin? Two Northwestern University scientists now have a molecular clue. In a study of the transparent roundworm C. elegans, they found that adult cells abruptly begin their downhill slide when an animal reaches reproductive maturity.
A genetic switch starts the aging process by turning off cell stress responses that protect the cell by keeping important proteins folded and functional. The switch is thrown by germline stem cells in early adulthood, after the animal starts to reproduce, ensuring its line will live on.