Living room conservation: Gaming & virtual reality for insect and ecosystem conservation

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  • April 18, 2019
  • Gaming and virtual reality could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education and participation. This is what an interdisciplinary team at Florida International University strive to achieve by developing a virtual reality game (desktop version also available) dedicated to insect and plant species. Focused on imperiled butterflies, their innovative idea: Butterfly World 1.0, is described in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology.

    Citizen scientists discover 6 new species of beetles in Borneo

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  • December 6, 2017
  • Scientists estimate that 80% of the world’s animal and plant species are still unknown. Although the work of taxonomists (whose job is to describe and name those) is appreciated by the general public, funding for taxonomy is dwindling. Moreover, while the areas hosting most of the unknown biodiversity are under threat, time is running out. […]

    Nature Conservation Special: Guidelines for the monitoring of beetles protected in Europe

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  • August 31, 2017
  • In a follow-up to a recent special issue, 8 research articles outline a set of verified guidelines for the monitoring of 5 saproxylic beetle species listed in the Habitats Directive In a set of eight research publications, scientists tested various methods for the monitoring of five European saproxylic (i.e. dependent on dead wood) beetle species […]

    A Bed & Breakfast in L.A. reveals the lifestyle of a secretive fly species

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  • August 29, 2017
  • For nearly 30 years, Dr. Brian Brown knew about a mysterious unidentified phorid fly species, whose females would often be spotted flying above mushrooms, while the males were nowhere to be found. Little did anyone know that this years-long puzzle would be solved once and for all after a surprising call came in earlier this […]

    Efficiency of insect biodiversity monitoring via Malaise trap samples and DNA barcoding

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  • December 5, 2016
  • The massive decline of over 75% insect biomass reported from Germany between 1989 and 2013 by expert citizen scientists proves the urgent need for new methods and standards for fast and wide-scale biodiversity assessments. If we cannot understand species composition, as well as their diversity patterns and reasons behind them, we will fail not only […]

    Foreign beetle species recorded for the first time in Canada thanks to citizen science

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  • November 21, 2016
  • With social networks abound, it is no wonder that there is an online space where almost anyone can upload a photo and report a sighting of an insect. Identified or not, such public records can turn out to be especially useful — as in the case of an Old World beetle species — which appears […]

    Being systematic about the unknown: Grid-based schemes could improve butterfly monitoring

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  • April 14, 2016
  • 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. Rapidly increasing in number […]

    Undergraduate student takes to Twitter to expose illegal release of alien fish in Japan

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  • March 1, 2016
  • Posing a significant threat to the native biodiversity in Japan, specifically that of threatened aquatic insects, some alien fishes, such as the bluegill, have become the reason for strict prohibitions. All activities potentially capable of introducing the species into the wild are currently punishable by either a fine of up to 3 million yen for […]

    Flickr and a citizen science website help in recording a sawfly species range expansion

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  • September 11, 2015
  • Social network Flickr and citizen science website BugGuide have helped scientists to expand the known range of a rarely collected parasitic woodwasp, native to the eastern United States. Partially thanks to the two online photograph platforms, now the species’ distribution now stretches hundreds of miles west of previous records. Previously known from only 50 specimens […]