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Biodiversity loss shifts flowering phenology at same magnitude as global warming

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:45:35 EDT ~ Researchers have revealed that declining plant diversity -- from habitat loss, human use, and other environmental pressures -- causes plants to flower earlier, and that the effects of diversity loss on the timing of flowering are similar in magnitude to the effects of global warming. The finding could have a powerful influence on the way scientists study ecosystem changes and measure the effects of global warming. Find out more...

Climate change and an 'overlooked' nutrient: Silica

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:55:19 EDT ~ Sugar maples may have far greater silica pumping power than expected, and also may be more profoundly affected by climate change as warmer winters damage their vulnerable roots. Find out more...

Strong interaction between herbivores and plants

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:57:22 EDT ~ Important findings have been revealed on the interaction between nutrient availability and the diversity of consumer species in freshwater environments. A better understanding of this interaction will contribute to developing possibilities to maintain biodiversity in all kinds of ecosystems. Find out more...

New species discovered: Protist parasites contribute to the stability of rainforest ecosystems

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:38:27 EDT ~ Tropical rainforests are one of the most species-rich areas on earth. Thousands of animal and plant species live there. The smaller microbial protists, which are not visible to the naked eye, are also native to these forests, where they live in the soils and elsewhere. A team of researchers has examined them more closely by analyzing their DNA. They discovered many unknown species, including many parasites, which may contribute to the stability of rainforest ecosystems. Find out more...

Evolutionary biology professor explains how to 'Walk the Tree of Life'

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:03:19 EDT ~ A professor discusses why the evolutionary Tree of Life approach to biodiversity education is best, to what extent the traditional taxonomy is still used and how to teach TOL using an active learning approach. Find out more...

Enormous swarms of midges teach about interconnected landscapes

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:26:48 EDT ~ Ecologists are trying to understand why the midge population at an Icelandic lake can fluctuate by 100,000-fold across a decade, and what impact these massive swarms have on the surrounding landscape. Find out more...

Hawaiian biodiversity has been declining for millions of years

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 14:11:23 EDT ~ DNA analysis led some biologists to conclude that evolutionary diversification in Hawaii has yet to peak, but a new analysis shows the opposite: biodiversity on the island chain peaked millions of years ago and has been decreasing every since. On the older islands, because of crowding caused by shrinking land area, species were being lost long before humans entered the mix. Find out more...

How to conserve polar bears -- and maintain subsistence harvest -- under climate change

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:23:38 EDT ~ A properly-managed subsistence harvest of polar bears can continue under climate change, according to analysis that combines sea-ice forecasts with a polar bear population model. Find out more...

Flower-rich habitats increase survival of bumblebee families

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:38:26 EDT ~ New research has revealed for the first time that flower-rich habitats are key to enhancing the survival of bumblebee families between years. The results, which come from the largest ever study of its kind on wild bumblebee populations, will help farmers and policy makers manage the countryside more effectively to provide for these vital but declining pollinators. Find out more...

With climate change, shrubs and trees expand northwards in the Subarctic

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:56:09 EDT ~ Shrubs expand in the tundra in northern Scandinavia. And it is known that fixation of nitrogen from the air is in the tundra to a high degree performed by cyanobacteria associated with mosses. Also enhanced nitrogen fixation stimulates plant growth. New research shows that as taller shrubs expand into the tundra, nutrients in their leaf litter will either promote or reduce the nitrogen fixation, depending upon which shrub species that will dominate. Find out more...