Current Madagascar News and Events

Current Madagascar News and Events, Madagascar News Articles.
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Online tool helps estimate COVID's true toll on sub-Saharan Africa
Although early reporting portrayed sub-Saharan Africa as being largely spared from the coronavirus pandemic, an international team led by Princeton researchers reported that determining the true impact of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa may be complicated by a tremendous variability in risk factors and obscured by surveillance challenges. The researchers developed an interactive online tool for estimating severe coronavirus infections per country based on the impact of various risk factors, such as chronic diseases and access to healthcare. (2021-02-17)

Coronavirus test from a suitcase
A portable suitcase could aid quick diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 cases in Africa. In cooperation with several African universities, scientists at Leipzig University have found that a mini-laboratory provides test results that are almost as good as a PCR test - and almost in real time. The researchers have now published their findings in the journal 'Analytical Chemistry'. (2021-02-11)

Sawfish face global extinction unless overfishing is curbed
Sawfish have disappeared from half of the world's coastal waters and the distinctive shark-like rays face complete extinction due to overfishing, according to a new study by Simon Fraser University researchers, published in Science Advances. (2021-02-10)

Southern Africa's most endangered shark just extended its range by 2,000 kilometers
A team of marine scientists led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has confirmed that southern Africa's most threatened endemic shark - the Critically Endangered shorttail nurse shark (Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum) - has been found to occur in Mozambique; a finding that represents a range extension of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles). (2021-01-26)

New population of blue whales discovered in the western Indian ocean
An international team of researchers has discovered what it believes to be a new population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean. (2020-12-21)

The 'crazy beast' that lived among the dinosaurs
New research published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology describes a bizarre 66 million-year-old mammal that provides profound new insights into the evolutionary history of mammals from the southern supercontinent Gondwana - recognized today as Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arabian Peninsula. (2020-12-18)

Paleontologists find pterosaur precursors that fill a gap in early evolutionary history
''Where did pterosaurs come from?' is one of the most outstanding questions in reptile evolution; we think we now have an answer,'' said Sterling Nesbitt, associate professor of geosciences. (2020-12-09)

The same vision for all primates
Primates process visual information similar to pixels in a digital camera, using small computing units located in their visual cortex. Scientists of the University of Geneva have investigated whether these computational units scale across the large differences in size between primates. The gray mouse lemur is one of the smallest of them and his visual processing units reveals that all primates, independent of their body size, have an equivalent computational units. (2020-12-03)

Bird with tall, sickle-shaped beak reveals hidden diversity during the age of dinosaurs
A new bird fossil helps scientists better understand convergent evolution of complex anatomy and provides new insights into the evolution of face and beak shape in a forerunner of modern birds. (2020-11-25)

Better than money? In-kind payments incentivize farmers to conserve agrobiodiversity
An innovative payment scheme for ecosystem services successfully encouraged farmers to cultivate and conserve agrobiodiversity, according to a new study of eight years of implementation in Latin America (2020-11-16)

East African Rift System is slowly breaking away, with Madagascar splitting into pieces
''The rate of present-day break-up is millimeters per year, so it will be millions of years before new oceans start to form,'' said Stamps, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech College of Science.  (2020-11-13)

Poor nutrition in school years may have created 20 cm height gap across nations
A new global analysis led by Imperial College London, and published in journal The Lancet, has assessed the height and weight of school-aged children and adolescents across the world. (2020-11-05)

Vanilla cultivation under trees promotes pest regulation
The cultivation of vanilla in Madagascar provides a good income for small-holder farmers, but without trees and bushes the plantations can lack biodiversity. Researchers from the Universities of Göttingen (Germany) and Antananarivo (Madagascar), investigated the interaction between prey and predators in these cultivated areas. They released dummy prey to determine the activity of natural enemies. The result: more prey were attacked as the proportion of trees increased. Results were published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. (2020-10-21)

Humans and climate drove giants of Madagascar to extinction
The entire endemic megafauna of Madagascar and the Mascarene islands Mauritius and Rodrigues was eliminated during the past millennium. To investigate possible drivers of this extinction, an international team of scientists constructed an 8000-year record of the islands' past climate. Their findings imply that the ecosystem was resilient to prior climate stress but ultimately collapsed with an increase in human activities. The results have now been published in Science Advances. (2020-10-16)

Scientists suggest global guidelines for sustainable use of non-native trees to protect bi
Scientists have collaborated to propose a series of global guidelines for the sustainable use of non-native tree species to help protect biodiversity and ecosystems already threatened by climate change. The new paper, published today in the journal NeoBiota, uses the Council of Europe - Bern Convention Code of Conduct on Invasive Alien Trees as a starting point, to present eight recommendations all aimed at maximising the benefits of non-native trees, while minimising their negative impacts. (2020-10-09)

Heading upriver
A river's only consistent attribute is change. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus remarked, 'No man ever steps in the same river twice.' Although this dynamic nature is often out of sight and mind, forgetting about it has led to many a historical catastrophe. (2020-09-30)

Artificial intelligence can help protect orchids and other species
Many orchid species are threatened by land conversion and illegal harvesting. However, only a fraction of those species is included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, because assessments require a lot of time, resources and expertise. A new approach, an automated assessment developed under the lead of biodiversity researchers from Central Germany, now shows that almost 30% of all orchid species are possibly threatened. The new approach could speed up conservation assessments of all species on Earth. (2020-09-28)

Study shows Latin America twice as rich in plant species as tropical Africa
Latin America is more than twice as rich in plant species as tropical Africa and is home to a third of the world's biodiversity, a new paper published today in Science Advances confirms. With tropical forests being removed at alarming rates, and likely to nearly disappear by the end of the century, this information can help focus conservation efforts in areas with the greatest biodiversity while there is still time do so. (2020-09-09)

How do stone forests get their spikes? New research offers pointed answer
A team of scientists has now shed new light on how stone forests and other natural structures are created. Its research also offers promise for the manufacturing of sharp-tipped structures, such as the micro-needles and probes needed for scientific research and medical procedures. (2020-09-07)

Madagascar: New mouse lemur species discovered
Group of researchers, from six countries, identified, genetically and morphologically, a new population of rats (Microcebus) that inhabit the same forests as another usual species previously described. The research investigation was published in two scientific articles, in Systematic Biology and in the American Journal of Primatology, and studied the smallest nocturnal primates. The work highlights the consequences of deforestation and habitat removal, accelerating an extinction of species yet to be described. (2020-07-28)

Wonders of animal migration: How sea turtles find small, isolated islands
One of Charles Darwin's long-standing questions on how turtles find their way to islands has been answered thanks to a pioneering study by scientists. (2020-07-16)

A tiny ancient relative of dinosaurs and pterosaurs discovered
Dinosaurs and pterosaurs may be known for their remarkable size, but a newly described species that lived around 237 million years ago suggests that they originated from extremely small ancestors. The fossil reptile, named Kongonaphon kely, or ''tiny bug slayer,'' would have stood just 10 centimeters tall. The study may help explain the origins of flight in pterosaurs, the presence of ''fuzz'' on both pterosaurs and dinosaurs, and other questions about these charismatic animals. (2020-07-06)

Shining like a diamond: A new species of diamond frog from northern Madagascar
Despite the active ongoing taxonomic progress on the Madagascar frogs, the amphibian inventory of this hyper-diverse island is still very far from being complete. More new species are constantly being discovered, often within already well-studied areas. So, in one of the relatively well-studied parks in northern Madagascar, a new species of diamond frog, Rhombophryne ellae, was found in 2017. Now, the discovery is published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. (2020-06-16)

A new Critically Endangered frog named after 'the man from the floodplain full of frogs'
A new species of a Critically Endangered miniaturised stump-toed frog of the genus Stumpffia found in Madagascar is named Stumpffia froschaueri after ''the man from the floodplain full of frogs'', Christoph Froschauer. The namesake of the new frog is famous for being the first, and European-wide renowned, printer from Zürich, famous for printing ''Historia animalium'' and the ''Zürich Bible''. The finding is published in the peer-reviewed open-access journal Zookeys. (2020-05-25)

Madagascar copal: New dating for an Antropocene ancient resin
The known Madagascar copal is a more recent resin from what was thought -it has about a few hundred years- and trapped pieces in this material are not as palaeontological important as thought traditionally. This is one of the conclusions of the new article in the journal PLOS ONE, whose first author is Xavier Delclòs, professor at the Faculty of Earth Sciences and member of the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona. (2020-05-19)

A study places the origin of a group of trees growing in Africa 50 million years ago
The research looked into the evolution of the Daniellia clade, a set of trees with environmental importance, and confirms that more than half its species are endangered (2020-04-29)

Marooned on Mesozoic Madagascar
In evolutionary terms, islands are the stuff of weirdness. It is on islands where animals evolve in isolation, often for millions of years, with different food sources, competitors, predators, and parasites...indeed, different everything compared to mainland species. As a result, they develop into different shapes and sizes and evolve into new species that, given enough time, spawn yet more new species. (2020-04-29)

Bizarre 66 million-year-old fossil from Madagascar provides clues on early mammals
A remarkably complete, 3-D fossil found in Madagascar has revealed clues about a group of early mammals of the Southern Hemisphere known as gondwanatherians. Guillermo Rougier, PhD, a paleontologist specializing in the study of the skull and teeth of ancient mammals, was part of an international team of scientists that has identified the bizarre creature as Adalatherium, translated as 'crazy beast,' a nod to its unusual characteristics. Their analysis was published in the journal Nature. (2020-04-29)

Indigenous knowledge could reveal ways to weather climate change on islands
Some islands have such low elevation, that mere inches of sea-level rise will flood them, but higher, larger islands will also be affected by changes in climate and an understanding of ancient practices in times of climate change might help populations survive, according to researchers. (2020-04-06)

Paleontology: Fossil trove sheds light on ancient antipodean ecology
The oldest known animals and plants preserved in amber from Southern Gondwana are reported in Scientific Reports this week. Gondwana, the supercontinent made up of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica and Australia, broke away from the Pangea supercontinent around 200 million years ago. The findings further our understanding of ecology in Australia and New Zealand during the Late Triassic to mid-Paleogene periods (230-40 million years ago). (2020-04-02)

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Herold's eye
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Southern Indian Ocean and captured an image of a well-developed Tropical Cyclone Herold at hurricane strength, east of Madagascar. (2020-03-16)

Unraveling the puzzle of Madagascar's forest cats
Michelle Sauther has long wondered where Madagascar's mysterious wild cats came from. Now, new genetic evidence delivers an answer. (2020-03-16)

NASA's Terra Satellite observes development of Tropical Storm 22S
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Southern Indian Ocean and provided forecasters with a visible image of newly formed Tropical Storm 22S, located near northeastern Madagascar. (2020-03-13)

Small farmers sink or swim in globalization's tsunami
From a synthesis of 12 cases, researchers found when smallholder farmers are connected to faraway systems, the key is to empower them to higher agency and more livelihood opportunities. (2020-02-25)

NASA catches the re-birth of zombie tropical cyclone Francisco
The low-pressure area that had once been Tropical Cyclone Francisco has been lingering in the Southern Indian Ocean since Feb. 6 when it weakened below tropical cyclone status. Since then, Francisco's remnants moved into an area of warm waters and low wind shear allowing the low-pressure area to re-organize, consolidate and re-form. NASA's Aqua satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of the zo (2020-02-14)

Habitat fragmentation imperils Madagascar's large-bodied lemurs
A new study in the American Journal of Primatology highlights the critical need for conservation efforts to protect lemurs on Madagascar. This unique ecosystem is home to more than 110 species of lemurs, but approximately 95 percent are threatened with extinction, making them the most vulnerable mammal group on Earth. (2020-02-14)

Extinction is difficult to prove for Earth's ultra-rare species
A recent study by the University of Kent has called for an increase in scientific surveys and collection of specimens to confirm the extinction of ultra-rare species. Dr. David Roberts, a conservation scientist at Kent's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, concluded from research that there is currently insufficient scientific surveys to determine whether many of the Earth's rarest species, those known only from a single specimen, still exist. (2020-02-03)

Coral genes go with the flow further than expected
Simulations reveal unexpected connections in the Red Sea basin that could help marine conservation. (2020-01-30)

Formation of a huge underwater volcano offshore the Comoros
A submarine volcano was formed off the island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean in 2018. Now an international team led by Simone Cesca from German GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ is illuminating the processes before and during the eruption. It is as if the researchers had deciphered a new type of signal from the Earth's interior indicating a dramatic movement of molten rocks. The researchers reconstructed the partial emptying of one of the deepest and largest active magma reservoirs ever discovered. (2020-01-06)

Climate change and deforestation could decimate Madagascar's rainforest habitat by 2070
A study in Nature Climate Change has found that, left unchecked, the combined effects of deforestation and human-induced climate change could eliminate Madagascar's entire eastern rainforest habitat by 2070, impacting thousands of plants, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians that are endemic to the island nation. (2020-01-02)

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