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, […]

    First-ever fern checklist for Togo to help decision makers in the face of threats to biodiversity

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  • June 22, 2018
  • Ferns and their allied species, which together comprise the pteridophytes, are vascular non-flowering plants that reproduce via spores. Many of their species are admired for their aesthetics. However, despite being excellent bioindicators that allow for scientists and decision-makers to monitor the state of ecosystems in the face of climate change and global biodiversity crisis, these […]

    Poison ivy an unlikely hero in warding off exotic invaders?

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  • November 14, 2017
  • Dozens of studies have looked at the effects of Japanese knotweed on natural communities in Europe and North America. Yet Bucknell University professor Chris Martine still felt there was something important to learn about what the plant was doing along the river in his own backyard. “The more time I spent in the forests along the Susquehanna […]

    Artificial neural networks could power up curation of natural history collections

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  • November 2, 2017
  • Deep learning techniques manage to differentiate between similar plant families with up to 99 percent accuracy, Smithsonian researchers reveal Millions, if not billions, of specimens reside in the world’s natural history collections, but most of these have not been carefully studied, or even looked at, in decades. While containing critical data for many scientific endeavors, […]

    A decade of monitoring shows the dynamics of a conserved Atlantic tropical forest

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  • August 16, 2017
  • Characterised with its immense biodiversity and high levels of endemism, the Atlantic Tropical Forest has been facing serious anthropogenic threats over the last several decades, demanding for such activities and their effects to be closely studied and monitored as part of the forest dynamics. Cattle farming, expanding agricultural land areas and mining have reduced the […]

    Effects of soil and drainage on the savanna vegetation in the northern Brazilian Amazonia

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  • July 27, 2017
  • It is a well-known fact that environmental factors such as soil texture and drainage determine to a very large degree the vegetation appearance, richness and composition at any site. However, there has been little research on how these variables influence the flora in the marvellous savannas – large open areas characterised by a complex and […]