Guest Blog Post: Researchers split the birdcatcher trees (genus Pisonia) into three

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  • July 7, 2020
  • Guest blog post by Marcos Caraballo The birdcatcher trees – genus Pisonia – are infamous for trapping birds with their super-sticky seed pods that would frequently entangle the body of the ‘victim’. Left flightless, the poor feathered creatures eventually die either from starvation or fatigue, or predators. Similarly notorious are the birdcatcher trees for botanists, […]

    Scientists unravel the evolution and relationships for all European butterflies in a first

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  • June 15, 2020
  • For the first time, a complete time-calibrated phylogeny for a large group of invertebrates is published for an entire continent. A German-Swedish team of scientists provide a diagrammatic hypothesis of the relationships and evolutionary history for all 496 European species of butterflies currently in existence. Their study provides an important tool for evolutionary and ecological research, meant for the use of insect and ecosystem conservation.

    Ten years of ecosystem services matrix: Review of a (r)evolution

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  • June 1, 2020
  • In recent years, the concept of Ecosystem Services (ES): the benefits people obtain from ecosystems, such as pollination provided by bees for crop growing, timber provided by forests or recreation enabled by appealing landscapes, has been greatly popularised, especially in the context of impeding ecological crises and constantly degrading natural environments.  Hence, there has been […]

    Field research in Turkmenistan’s highest mountain reveals high biological diversity

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  • July 16, 2019
  • New open-access book presents a comprehensive report on the remarkable ecosystems of the Koytendag nature reserve Situated in the extreme south-east of Turkmenistan: on the border with Uzbekistan and close to the border with Afghanistan, Koytendag presents one of the most distinct landscapes in Central Asia. Reaching elevations of up to 3,137 m, this is […]



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    Be prepared: Prioritising invasive species for strategic prevention in Durban, South Africa

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  • June 24, 2019
  • While exploring the way alien species invade cities around the world, South African PhD student Ashlyn L. Padayachee (University of KwaZulu-Natal, UKZN) and her supervisors, Serban Proches (UKZN) and John Wilson (SANBI and Stellenbosch University) remember suddenly being stricken. What they realised was that while cities were gradually starting to prepare for climate change, their responses to […]

    ‘Insectageddon’ is ‘alarmist by bad design’: Scientists point out the study’s major flaws

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Earlier this year, a research article triggered a media frenzy by predicting that as a result of an ongoing rapid decline, nearly half of the world’s insects will be no more pretty soon Amidst worldwide publicity and talks about ‘Insectageddon’: the extinction of 40% of the world’s insects, as estimated in a recent scientific review, a critical […]

    Two fish a day keep the mantid coming back to prey: The 1st fishing praying mantis

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  • September 20, 2018
  • Commonly known to predate on insects, praying mantises have occasionally been observed to feed on vertebrates, including small birds, lizards, frogs, newts, mice, snakes and turtles. Mostly, such records have either not been scientifically validated or have occurred under induced and human-manipulated circumstances. Nevertheless, no scientific data of mantises preying on fish existed until the […]

    Described 28 years post-collection, new grass species makes a strong case for conservation

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  • July 6, 2018
  • Originally collected 28 years ago in Ecuador, new species Poa laegaardiana has been just described, only to find out its prospects for surviving in its type location seem bleak nowadays. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys. When roaming in the Cordillera de los Andes of Ecuador, near the village of Facundo Vela, little did Smithsonian scientist and author, […]

    Pan-European sampling campaign sheds light on the massive diversity of freshwater plankton

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  • January 8, 2018
  • In a major pan-European study, a research team from Germany have successfully extracted environmental DNA (eDNA) from as many as 218 lakes to refute a long-year belief that vital microorganisms do not differ significantly between freshwater bodies and geographic regions the way plants and animals do. Their new-age approach to biodiversity studies resulted in the […]

    Three new species of zoantharians described from coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific

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  • January 5, 2018
  • One of them was named after the president of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, in honour of his and the nation’s support to the authors and marine conservation Three new species of zoantharians were discovered by researchers from the University of the Ryukyus and Kagoshima University, Japan, and the Palau International Coral Reef Center. Despite not being previously known, all three […]