Research

Communicating why pollinators matter could help save them and ensure food security worldwide, researchers say

International researchers met in Leiden (Netherlands) in early March, to discuss the latest research on pollinators and stress the need to communicate their value more actively to citizens and policy advisors. Better science communication, backed by more research funding, could help ensure sustainable pollination worldwide. Read more »

The Jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas, is endangered due to habitat loss and human persecution

Today, jaguars are an endangered species throughout their natural habitat in the Americas, and have almost been completely eliminated from the United States. Photo by cuatrok77/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A recent study, published in the journal Mammalia, shows how researchers used GPS technology and new analytical techniques to produce the first rigorous estimates of jaguar spatial needs and movements in the Gran Chaco and Pantanal ecosystems of Paraguay. Read more »

Mountains become islands: ecological dangers of increasing land use in East Africa

Much of the natural forest vegetation between Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro vanished between 1976 and 2000. Illustration: Andreas Hemp.

The mountains of East Africa are a treasure trove of biodiversity. However, their ecosystems may be at a higher risk than previously realized. Dr. Andreas Hemp and Dr. Claudia Hemp have discovered that Mount Kilimanjaro is turning into an "ecological island". Agriculture and housing construction have eliminated the natural vegetation that used to serve as a bridge to the surrounding area, enabling the diversity of species to develop to its current levels. Neighbouring mountain regions are presumably also being isolated from their surrounding areas. Read more »

Sea Level Rise is Accelerating

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Global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data. This acceleration has been driven mainly by increased ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica, and it has the potential to double the total sea level rise projected by 2100, according to lead author Steve Nerem, a scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the University of Colorado.

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The genome of millet sequenced

Le pilon et le mortier s'utilisent pour égrener les céréales et les moudre. Village aux alentours de Réo, Burkina Faso. © IRD / Daina Rechner

A study coordinated by an international consortium of French (IRD), Indian and Chinese researchers has enabled the genome sequence for millet to be obtained for the first time. This discovery improves our understanding of the organisation and evolution of the genome of this cereal, which provides food security of the poorest people in the world. Secondly, because it provides new prospects for selecting or improving varieties of millet which may be better equipped to cope with climate change for almost 100 millions people. Read more »

Coordinated Automated Road Transport - a transport r-evolution?

A new report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) explores how connected vehicles and intelligent systems could change transport and the (r)evolution these changes could bring to people's lives. Read more »

Weed cover in olive orchards enhances the ecosystem’s capacity as a CO2 sink

In the experiment, instruments measuring high frequency (10Hz) variables like CO2 concentration in the air, wind velocity and direction.

Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR) studied the effects and benefits of maintaining vegetation, or weed cover, in olive grove soil. In a recently-published article in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, these scientists showed their results after a year of measuring an olive grove in Jaen (SE Spain), which show that weed cover significantly increases carbon uptake, acting as a sink for one of the principal greenhouse effect gases, CO2. Read more »

How much plastic have humans made?

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(Credit: UC Santa Barbara)

Humans have created more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, a new study suggests.

The study provides the first global analysis of the production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, including synthetic fibers. Read more »

Leaf beetles: Even a tiny dose of pesticide will impair reproduction

Dr. Thorben Müller is studying how pesticides affect leaf beetles. This research was supported by Bielefeld University’s Young Researchers’ Fund. Photo: Bielefeld University

The number of insects in Germany is declining rapidly – in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, it has dropped by three-quarters within only 25 years. In a new study, biologists at Bielefeld University show the effects of pesticides and how even slight traces lead to long-term damage to beetles. One finding is that leaf beetles lay roughly 35 per cent fewer eggs after coming into contact with traces of a frequently used pesticide – a pyrethroid. The researchers also showed that female offspring develop malformations through the poison. Read more »

Ocean warmth predicts US drought and fire risk

Folsom Lake, California, in November 2015: Drought prediction is improving. Image: By Vince Migliore via Wikimedia Commons

By Tim Radford, Climate News Network Read more »

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