Biodiversity is changing rapidly in many places all over the world. However, while the identities of species in local assemblages are undergoing significant changes, the number of species is on average remaining relatively constant. Thus, changes in local assemblages do not always reflect the species losses occurring at the global scale. These findings are based on observations by a team of scientists led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the University of St Andrews.
Local biodiversity of species - the scale on which humans feel contributions from biodiversity - is being rapidly reorganized, according to a new global analysis of biodiversity data from more than 200 studies, together representing all major biomes. The findings are important as historically, "it has been surprisingly difficult and controversial to find signals of ... global trends in biodiversity in the context of local ecosystems," write Brita Eriksson and Helmut Hillebrand in a related Perspective.
Modern Melanesians harbor beneficial genetic variants that they inherited from archaic Neanderthal and Denisovan hominins, according to a new study. These genes are not found in many other human populations, the study adds. The results suggest that large structural variants introgressed from our archaic ancestors may have played an important role in the adaptation of early modern human populations and that they may represent an under-appreciated source of the genetic variation that remains to be characterized in our modern genomes.
A new technique for analysing satellite images may help scientists detect and count stranded whales from space. Researchers tested a new detection method using Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite images from Maxar Technologies of the biggest mass stranding of baleen whales yet recorded. It is hoped that in the future the technique will lead to real-time information as stranding events happen.
A new study, published in Science, which focuses on mapping biodiversity change in marine and land ecosystems shows that loss of biodiversity is most prevalent in the tropic, with changes in marine ecosystems outpacing those on land. The research, led by scientists from the University of St Andrews, in collaboration with leading universities across Europe, the USA and Canada, including McGill, aimed at reaching a consensus about variation in biodiversity change.
An article recently published in Science, entitled "The global tree restoration potential", presents what it calls "the most effective solution at our disposal to mitigate climate change". The lead author is Jean-François Bastin, an ecologist affiliated with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich).
Despite their important ecological role as decomposers, termites are often overlooked in research. Evolutionary biologists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have constructed a new family tree for this unassuming insect brood, shedding unexpected light on its evolutionary history.
Fossils of ancient arthropods discovered in linear formation may indicate a collective behaviour either in response to environmental cues or as part of seasonal reproductive migration. The findings, which are being published in Scientific Reports this week, suggest that group behaviours comparable to those of modern animals existed as early as 480 million years ago.
Though our understanding of the anatomy of the earliest animals is growing ever more precise, we know next to nothing about their behaviour. Did group behaviour arise recently or is it primeval? To answer this question, researchers from the CNRS, the University of Poitiers, UBO, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University*, Cadi Ayyad University (Marrakech, Morocco), and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) studied fossilized Moroccan Ampyx trilobites, which lived 480 million years ago.
Scientists from the Instituto de Neurociencias CSIC-UMH in Alicante, Spain, under the supervision of Professor Angela Nieto, have discovered the molecular mechanism that ensures the right equilibrium needed in left-right signaling cascade during development for the correct leftward positioning of the heart.
New research from King's College London and The Open University could help explain why memory in old age is much less flexible than in young adulthood.
Through experiments in mice the researchers discovered that there were dramatic differences in how memories were stored in old age, compared to young adulthood. These differences, at the cellular level, meant that it was much harder to modify the memories made in old age.
Solutions found in nature should be our first line of defence against the increasing number of climate change-related natural disasters, say experts from the University of Surrey.
Surrey's Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), led by Professor Prashant Kumar, is working with collaborators across Europe as a part of the OPERANDUM project that aims to manage the rising impact of severe weather and climate related hazards across European and non-European territories using nature-based solutions (NBS).
Flash drought is a new phenomenon with increasing prominence under global warming. The drought develops rapidly without sufficient early warning, and has stricken the world with severe impacts during recent years, such as the droughts over central USA in 2012 that caused billions of dollars of economic losses, southern China in 2013 that affected 2 million hectares of crops in Guizhou and Hunan provinces alone, and those over southern Africa in 2015, and northern USA in 2017. This raises an urgent need to investigate flash drought risk and its underlying drivers in a changing climate.
Scientists have detected primordial chemical signatures preserved within modern kimberlites, according to new research by a multi-national team involving a University of Alberta scientist. The results provide critical insight for understanding the formation of Earth.
"Knowing the chemical signature of Earth's original building blocks is the holy grail of geochemistry," said Graham Pearson, author on the study. "This knowledge can help us understand the formation of the planets in the solar system as well as their relationship to each other."
The discovery of a nearly complete dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes langstoni specimen is providing critical information for the evolution of theropod dinosaurs, according to new research by a University of Alberta paleontologist.
The 76-million-year-old species was long thought to be so closely related to Velociraptor from Mongolia that some researchers even called it Velociraptor langstoni--until now.