• Electric Flowers

    Flowers are pretty and attractive for a variety of reasons. These all just means of communicating to likely pollinators. Flowers' methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, according to a new study, published today in Science Express by researchers from the University of Bristol. However, for any advert to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience. The research shows for the first time that pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers. >> Read the Full Article
  • Europe's Unexpected Immigration Problem - Wildlife!

    Animals and plants brought to Europe from other parts of the world are a bigger-than-expected threat to health and the environment costing at least €12 billion a year, a study said on Thurday (21 February). More than 10,000 'alien' species have gained a foothold in Europe, from Asian tiger mosquitoes to North American ragweed, and at least 1,500 are known to be harmful, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture, Forests

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on February 5 released "two comprehensive reports that synthesize the scientific literature on climate change effects and adaptation strategies for U.S. agriculture and forests." The effects of climate change will be profound and far-reaching, according to the two reports, which drew on more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies carried out by scientists in federal service, universities, non-governmental organizations, industry, tribal lands and the private sector. >> Read the Full Article
  • Is a Baby Giant Armadillo Cute? Yes!

    Despite weighing as much as full-grown human, almost nothing is known about the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) including its breeding and reproductive behaviors. How does mating occur? How long does pregnancy last? How many babes are typically born? Scientists are simply in the dark, but a ground-breaking study employing camera traps is beginning to change this. For the first time, scientists in the Brazilian Pantanal have documented giant armadillo breeding and the happy outcome: a baby giant armadillo (see video and more photos below). "Being part of this exclusive moment in the history of this species conservation and seeing the first picture of a baby giant armadillo was one of the most exciting moments of my career as a wildlife professional," said Danilo Kluyber, a wildlife veterinarian with The Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project. >> Read the Full Article
  • Whale Chewing

    Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. Whales are mammals, but they don’t look like the mammals living around us, as they have a triangular fluke for tail, no hind legs and no body hair. And inside their mouths, their teeth are unfamiliar too – being much simpler and peg like. A multidisciplinary team of researchers have now married together the fossil record and the embryonic development process to investigate how the whale got its teeth. In most mammals there are wedge-shaped incisors, a pointy canine, and premolars and molars with bumps and valleys that fit together like a mortar and pestle when you chew. Not all whales have teeth, but those that do, such as killer whales, have rows of simple peg like teeth, each one looking the same as the next. Whales use this spiked row of teeth to grab prey, but unlike other mammals, whales do not chew. >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: Whales to benefit from a reduction in shipping noise

    The North Atlantic right whale, along with many other whale species, is set to benefit from work by scientists to reduce the noise levels caused along shipping routes. One of the rarest of the large whales, the North Atlantic right whale is thought to have a population of just 500 individuals, and it is believed that excessive noise along shipping routes is likely to negatively affect this threatened species. The din from commercial ships makes it extremely difficult for the marine mammals to communicate with one another, which in turn means that their ability to locate food and mates, and therefore their ability to sustain a viable population, is greatly diminished. >> Read the Full Article
  • Marine pollution incidents kill thousands of seabirds - and it could be legal!

    Between 29 January and 6 February 2013, more than 500 seabirds, mainly guillemots, were killed or rendered helpless by a mystery substance from a pollution event off the south coast of England. Shockingly, these deaths and injuries may have resulted from legal shipping activity. The substance was subsequently identified as a man-made synthetic polymer known as polyisobutene, or PIB. This same substance has also caused the deaths of thousands of other seabirds in recent years in the Irish and North Seas. >> Read the Full Article
  • Elephants Poached in Gabon's National Park

    Earlier this month the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that Gabon's Minkebe Park has lost over 11,000 elephants due to poaching. Gabon contains over half of Africa's forest elephants, with a population estimated at over 40,000, however with this recent drop, WCS scientists confirm that Africa's largest elephant population has been cut in half during the past ten years. Elephants are poached mainly for their ivory, which has been an important part of Asian art for over a thousand years. Ivory can also be carved and used in everything from billiard balls to piano keys... >> Read the Full Article
  • Biodiversity Richness

    Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species. Researchers have now shown that part of Australia’s rich plant diversity was wiped out by the ice ages, proving that extinction, instead of evolution, can influence biodiversity. The research led by the University of Melbourne and University of Tasmania has shown that plant diversity in South East Australia was as rich as some of the most diverse places in the world, and that most of these species went extinct during the ice ages, probably about one million years ago. >> Read the Full Article
  • Time to eat the ugly ones...

    Last week, MEPs (members of the European Parliament) voted overwhelmingly to end the wasteful practice of fish "discards". While a victory for those concerned about the future of our fisheries, what to do with the fish currently thrown overboard remains unknown. But a food distribution system taking North America by storm, championing collaborative communities and sustainable fresh food, may be part of the answer – Community Supported Fisheries. >> Read the Full Article