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Ecology Current Events, Ecology News Articles.
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Declining sharks
Human transformation of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems is well known, but only recently have the impacts of anthropogenic forces in the open ocean been recognized. In Ecology Letters, February, Baum and Myers estimate that since the onset of exploitation in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, the pelagic shark assemblage has declined over 80%, and the oceanic whitetip shark over 99%. Unnoticed declines of this magnitude demonstrates how little we understand about the ocean. (2004-02-05)

Neighbors from hell: Infanticide rife in guillemot colony
One of Britain's best-known species of seabird is increasingly attacking and killing unattended chicks from neighboring nests due to food shortages. (2008-09-17)

NSF grant funds study to unlock secrets of biodiversity
The tropics are home to a far greater diversity of life than any other region on the planet, but the reasons for this disparity have puzzled scientists for centuries. To help shed light on the ultimate causes of biodiversity, the National Science Foundation has awarded $2 million over five years through the Dimensions in Biodiversity program to a group of researchers from five institutions, including the University of Chicago. The collaboration will investigate the biological mechanisms that drive biodiversity in butterflies. (2013-10-03)

NSU researchers discover hurricanes helped accelerate spread of lionfish
NSU researchers studied the correlation between hurricanes and spread of invasive species, lionfish, due to changes in ocean currents. (2015-03-04)

What are 3-D spider webs for?
In an article published in the January 2003 issue of Ecology Letters, researchers led by a team at Cornell University report that three-dimensional spider webs are associated with a dramatic decrease in predation by mud-dauber wasps, major worldwide predators of spiders. (2003-01-02)

Being systematic about the unknown: Grid-based schemes could improve butterfly monitoring
Butterfly monitoring schemes are at the heart of citizen science, with the general public and researchers collaborating to discover how butterfly populations change over time. To develop the concept further, a new paper in the journal Nature Conservation shows how systematically placed, grid-based transects can help schemes by reducing habitat bias. (2016-04-13)

Future climate change will affect plants and soil differently
A new European study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased. This could result in a positive feedback to the atmosphere leading to an additional increase of atmospheric CO2 levels. (2017-03-07)

Being lower in pecking order improves female tit birds' memory
When it comes to remembering where a tasty titbit was left, female great tit birds are miles ahead of their male counterparts. This ability might have evolved because the females come second when there's food to be shared, argue Anders Brodin and Utku Urhan in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. A rare case in nature in which the female of a bird species has better spatial and learning abilities than the male. (2014-12-09)

Red-neck phalarope: a migratory divide towards the Pacific Ocean and the Arabian Sea
When winter comes, populations of red-neck phalarope from the Western Palearctic migrate to two different destinations -the Pacific Ocean or the Arabian Sea- following an exceptional migratory divide strategy which has never been described in this geographical area. (2019-04-26)

Thriving hybrid salamanders contradict common wisdom
A new UC Davis study not only has important findings for the future of California tiger salamanders, but also contradicts prevailing scientific thought about what happens when animal species interbreed. (2007-09-26)

The alpine marmot spreads into the Catalan Pyrenees
Researchers from the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications and the Autonomous University of Barcelona have demonstrated, using a map of the potential distribution, the alpine marmot's capacity for adaptation in the fields of the Pyrenees. Its quick proliferation makes it a successful example of species introduction. (2010-03-09)

Ambient light influences the evolution of colour signals
In light-contrasted ecosystems, light and background colours influence evolution of animal coloration. As conspicuousness is achieved for signals rich in the colours of ambient light but poorly reflected by background, different signals are cryptic or conspicuous at different heights in rainforest. In Ecology Letters, April, Gomez and Théry compare plumages of 40 species in French Guiana, demonstrating that predators exert important pressure on coloration, whereas ultraviolet is used more in conspicuous signals to select mates. (2004-03-18)

Desert tortoises can't take the heat of roadside fencing
Desert tortoises pace back and forth and can overheat by roadside fencing meant to help them, according to a study by the University of California, Davis, and the University of Georgia. (2017-08-04)

Tropical forests -- Earth's air conditioner
Planting and protecting trees -- which trap and absorb carbon dioxide as they grow -- can help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But a new study suggests that, as a way to fight global warming, the effectiveness of this strategy depends heavily on where these trees are planted. In particular, tropical forests are very efficient at keeping the Earth at a happy, healthy temperature. (2007-04-09)

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)

The great tit, Parus major, does better in the countryside
A study by researchers at Ludwig Maximilian University and the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology shows that birds in an urban environment have fewer and smaller offspring than in rural settings. (2016-09-02)

Migratory animals carry more parasites, says study
Every year, billions of animals migrate across the globe, carrying parasites with them and encountering parasites through their travels. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology discovered that animals known to migrate long distances are infected by a greater number of parasite species than animals that do not migrate. (2018-05-08)

'Stupid strategies' could be best for the genes
Blindly copying what your parents did -- no matter how stupid it may seem -- could be the best strategy for the long-term success of your genes, according to research by the universities of Exeter and Bristol. (2011-02-28)

Blue eyes -- A clue to paternity
Before you request a paternity test, spend a few minutes looking at your child's eye color. According to studies, published this week in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, the human eye color reflects a simple, predictable and reliable genetic pattern of inheritance. The researchers show that blue-eyed men find blue-eyed women most attractive. According to the researchers, it is because there could be an unconscious male adaptation for the detection of paternity, based on eye color. (2006-10-23)

Climate change opens new avenue for spread of invasive plants
A team of researchers from the Netherlands and the University of Florida has found that plants that range beyond their normal distribution because of warming climates may have advantages over native plants. Global warming-induced biological invasions may represent an additional threat to biodiversity. (2008-11-19)

Biodiversity and resilience of coral reefs
Indo-Pacific coral reefs incorporate diverse ecosystems but changes in ecosystem function on coral reefs at regional biogeographical scales as a result of overfishing of the parrotfish. Each parrotfish ingests over 5 tonnes of structural reef carbonates per year. Human activity and ecosystem disruption are strongly correlated, regardless of local fish biodiversity. The results emphasize the functional role of species when formulating management strategies and the potential weakness of the link between biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. (2003-04-08)

A global early warning system for infectious diseases
In the recent issue of EMBO reports, Barbara Han of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and John Drake of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology call for the creation of a global early warning system for infectious diseases. Such a system would use computer models to tap into environmental, epidemiological and molecular data, gathering the intelligence needed to forecast where disease risk is high and what actions could prevent outbreaks or contain epidemics. (2016-05-19)

Magpie parents know a baby cuckoo when they see one
Cuckoos that lay their eggs in a magpie's nest so that their chicks can be raised by the latter better hope that their young are not raised together with other magpies. The chances of cuckoo fledglings raised in mixed broods being fed by their foster parents are much lower, according to research led by Manuel Soler of the Universidad de Granada in Spain. The findings are published in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. (2013-12-11)

Reforestation research in Latin America helps build better forests
A new special issue of Forest Ecology and Management features lessons learned from 20 years of tropical reforestation research in Latin America. (2011-05-17)

UF part of research team that finds equine influenza virus in camels
University of Florida researchers have found evidence that an influenza A virus can jump from horses to camels -- and humans could be next. (2014-06-24)

Biodiversity conservation - no guarantee for shortcuts
New research from scientists at the University of Sheffield published in the November issue of Ecology Letters has cast doubts on the widely held 'rule of thumb' that the conservation of a country's biodiversity can be guaranteed by focusing on protecting its threatened and endemic species. (2002-10-30)

Monitoring data confirm key predictions about extinction
Long-term monitoring of wild populations is a central tool for conserving species. Sometimes, such monitoring follows populations as they actually go extinct. In a paper now published online in Ecology Letters, Fagan & Holmes analyse the final decline of 10 populations of vertebrate animals, each monitored over at least 12 years, to provide the first empirical confirmation of two theoretical predictions about the extinction process. (2005-12-15)

Plants in cities are an underestimated carbon store
Vegetation in towns and cities can make a significant contribution to carbon storage and, ecologists say, could lock away even more carbon if local authorities and gardeners planted and maintained more trees. The study, published this week in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, is the first to quantify how much carbon is stored in vegetation within an urban area of Europe. (2011-07-11)

'Planting water' is possible -- against aridity and droughts
Together with scientists from the UK and the US, researchers from the Leibniz- Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) have developed a mathematical model that can reflect the complex interplays between vegetation, soil and water regimes. They show, for example, that in beech forests water is increasingly cycled between soil and vegetation to increase evaporation to the atmosphere, while grass cover promotes groundwater recharge. (2019-09-11)

Urban youth don't feel respected, cared about or trusted
Less than half the teens surveyed in a Cornell University study feel connected to school or community. And the older the students, the less connected they feel. (2004-03-10)

Secret life of bees now a little less secret
Many plants produce toxic chemicals to protect themselves against plant-eating animals, and many flowering plants have evolved flower structures that prevent pollinators such as bees from taking too much pollen. Now ecologists have produced experimental evidence that flowering plants might also use chemical defenses to protect their pollen from some bees. The results are published next week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology. (2011-02-01)

Nova Southeastern University researcher discovers new species of sea lily
Charles Messing, Ph.D., has discovered a new species of sea lily. Rather than naming it himself, he is auctioning off the naming rights on eBay to help raise funds for additional research. (2014-12-16)

Ants' ecosystem role is 'key'
Research on the impact of ants on their local environment has revealed they play an important role. They have a dual effect on their local ecosystem which affects both the density and diversity of other species around them, including animals much higher up the food chain. (2011-01-31)

Wetland Restoration: Addressing Asian Issues Through International Collaboration
The objective of this Symposium is to provide a forum for synthesizing existing knowledge about ecosystem processes as a foundation for effective wetland restoration in Asia. It is a joint conference that combines the international Society of Wetland Scientists with the Wetland Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (2002-04-29)

Caterpillars retrieve 'voicemail' by eating soil
Leaf-feeding caterpillars greatly enrich their intestinal flora by eating soil. It's even possible to trace the legacy effects of plants that previously grew in that soil through bacteria and fungi in the caterpillars. Researchers of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) have just published these findings in the journal Nature Communications. They are of interest not just to scientists, but also to plant growers and farmers. (2019-03-22)

National Science Foundation selects University of Colorado Denver team to study city sustainability
The National Science Foundation has selected a team of University of Colorado Denver researchers to be part of the new Sustainable Cities -- People, Infrastructures and the Energy-Climate-Water Nexus project. (2011-10-10)

Amazonian soils mapped using indicator species
Understanding the ecology and distributions of species in Amazonia is hampered by lack of information about environmental conditions, such as soils. Plant occurrence data are typically more abundant than soil samples in poorly known areas, and researchers from Finland and Brazil have now developed a method that uses both plant and soil data to produce a map of soil properties. (2019-04-17)

Reconstructing salmon populations
In a recent study published in Ecology, Deanne C. Drake, Robert J. Naiman, and James M. Helfield, all of the University of Washington, paired annual tree ring growth with catch data to determine what salmon stocks looked like 200 years ago. (2002-12-05)

Fit females make more daughters, mighty males get grandsons
Females influence the gender of their offspring so they inherit either their mother's or grandfather's qualities. (2012-01-09)

A beggars banquet -- life in a shared nest
It's not all bad for crow chicks who have to share their nest with an uninvited guest such as a cuckoo youngster. For one, they can sit back and wait for food to arrive while the cuckoo chick does all the begging for nourishment. The findings are published in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. (2015-04-15)

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