MSU’s ‘Robin Hood’ approach for tracking biodiversity

Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a framework that can help scientists understand trends in biodiversity by using data from well-characterized species to provide insights on data-deficient species. The framework is published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, which provides a how-to guide for researchers and practitioners to implement.
Roughly one in seven species are classified as data deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN.
That means these species lack sufficient data for the IUCN to assert a conservation status and, consequently, their need for conservation interventions. With the new framework, researchers and their partners in conservation and wildlife management could better identify which data-deficient species are threatened and in need of help.

Plant-based food alternatives could support a shift to global sustainability

Replacing 50% of meat and milk products with plant-based alternatives by 2050 can reduce agriculture and land use related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 31% and halt the degradation of forest and natural land, according to new research.

Pollutants are important to biodiversity’s role in spread of wildlife diseases

Conventional wisdom among ecologists holds that the more species there are inhabiting an ecosystem, the less vulnerable any one species will be to a threat like a parasite. A new study of tadpoles at the University of Wisconsin–Madison illustrates how overlapping biological and environmental factors can complicate how we value protecting diverse animal communities. The researchers found that environmental pollutants like road salt influence whether increased biodiversity helps or hinders disease outbreaks in wildlife, which can complicate how we value protecting diverse animal communities.

Meet the Persian Gold Tarantula: a new species discovery just on time for Tarantula Appreciation Day 2023

The Persian Gold Tarantula (Chaetopelma persianum) is a newly described species recently discovered in northwestern Iran. In fact, the “woolly, golden hairs” the scientists observed and examined on a single specimen, were one of the features so unique that it was not necessary for additional individuals to be collected and physically studied.

Previously Overlooked Algae Toxin Widespread in Southern Indian River Lagoon

Pseudo-nitzschia spp., an algae that produces the neurotoxin domoic acid, can bioaccumulate within food webs causing harm to humans and animals. A molecular study of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon shows this algae was present in 87 percent of the water samples collected. All isolates showed toxicity, and domoic acid was found in 47 percent of surface water samples. As a nursery for many organisms that supports a high amount of biodiversity, the presence of domoic acid could negatively impact the lagoon system.

Large animals travel more slowly because they can’t keep cool

Whether an animal is flying, running or swimming, its traveling speed is limited by how effectively it sheds the excess heat generated by its muscles, according to a new study led by Alexander Dyer from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany published April 18th in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

Rutgers Expert: On Preserving the High Seas and the Life Within

Climate change. Overfishing. Seabed floor mining. These are some of the epic challenges that would be addressed by a historic United Nations treaty protecting ocean biodiversity that gained backing in early March when a significant majority of nations agreed on language supporting it. Covering the “high seas,” the enormous belt of brine spanning nearly half of the globe, the U.

U.S. birds’ Eastern, Western behavior patterns are polar opposites

Avian functional diversity patterns in the Western U.S., where species and functional richness are both highest during the breeding season, are the polar opposite of what is seen in the East, where functional diversity is lowest when species richness is high, according to new research.