According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides. The situation is not as simple as it seems, however, as ecologists at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) have now discovered. Under certain environmental conditions, increased biodiversity can also lead to an ecosystem becoming more unstable.
Adding to evidence that pesticide use may be abetting the decline of bumblebee, a new study reveals that daily consumption of even small doses of neonicotinoids reduces the survival of queen and male bees, which are critical to the viability of wild populations. The study also found that exposure to neonicotinoids alters the expression of many bee genes, suggesting that the chemicals may be having a greater impact on wild bee populations than previously thought.
The female of a sex-role reversed cave insect species Neotrogla has evolved a switching valve to receive more semen during mating, when a penis-like structure in the female anchors in the male 'vagina.'
In an extensive and rigorous study of animal life on the Central Arctic Ocean floor, researchers have shown that water depth and food availability influence the species composition, density, and biomass of benthic communities, according to a study published Oct. 17, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
Aerial insectivores -- birds that hunt for insect prey on the wing -- are declining across North America. Conserving these vulnerable species requires a good understanding of the factors impacting them at every stage of life. Two new studies take a deep dive into the demographic factors behind declining populations of tree swallows and show that although specifics may vary between locations, action is needed to address environmental changes affecting these birds across their geographic range.
Utah State University researchers Paul Rogers and Darren McAvoy have conducted the first complete assessment of the Pando aspen clone and the results show continuing deterioration of this 'forest of one tree.' While a portion of the famed grove is recovery nicely as a result of previous restoration, the majority of Pando (Latin for 'I Spread') is diminishing by attrition.
Since the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, the park's ecosystem has become a deeply complex and heterogeneous system, aided by a strategy of minimal human intervention. The new study is a synthesis of 40 years of research on large mammals in Yellowstone National Park, conducted by University of Alberta ecologist Mark Boyce.
The population of a tropical tree increases mostly in places where it is rare, a Brown study found.
A team of conservationists from the Royal Veterinary College, WCS, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna published a letter in this week's edition of the journal Science on the threat of the virus peste des petits ruminants (PPR) to conservation.
Shelled marine creatures living in increasingly acidified oceans face a fight for survival as the impacts of climate change spread, a new study suggests.