Despite commitments, Brazil’s beef sector tainted by purchases from protected lands in Amazon basin

Despite improvements by meatpackers to keep their supply chains free of cattle grazed on protected or illegally deforested lands, many slaughterhouses in Brazil — the world’s top beef exporter — continue to purchase illegally pastured animals on a large scale. A new study published Oct. 18 in the journal Conservation Letters underscores the depth of the problem.

University of Kentucky-led project awarded $2.5 million by NSF to study climate change, biodiversity

A study led by the University of Kentucky has been selected for funding by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) “Biodiversity on a Changing Planet” program, an international, transdisciplinary effort that addresses major challenges related to climate change. The five-year project has been awarded nearly $2.5 million.

Climate change leads to invasive insect expansion on West Coast

Climate change has led to warming temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, leading some insect species to expand their range into more northerly oak savannas, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Three New Species of Black-Bellied Salamander Found in Southern Appalachian Mountains

Three new species of black-bellied salamander have been discovered by a research team led by R. Alexander Pyron, the Robert F. Griggs Associate Professor of Biology at the George Washington University. The new salamanders, which are found in the southern Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States, stem from black-bellied populations that were long considered to be a single species.

Study points to Armenian origins of ancient crop with aviation biofuel potential

Camelina, also known as false flax or Gold-of-Pleasure, is an ancient oilseed crop with emerging applications in the production of sustainable, low-input biofuels. Multidisciplinary research from Washington University in St. Louis is revealing the origins and uses of camelina and may help guide decisions critical to achieving its potential as a biofuel feedstock for a greener aviation industry in the future.

The space between us

Tree beta diversity — a measure of site-to-site variation in the composition of species present within a given area — matters more for ecosystem functioning than other components of biodiversity at larger scales. The finding has implications for conservation planning.

Measuring diversity from farm to fork: A new report evaluates 10 Mediterranean countries

What foods comes to your mind when you think about “The Mediterranean Diet”? For most people, the term evokes strong associations with fresh, minimally-processed ingredients – olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, followed by fish and animal products – together making up a form of local food production and consumption that holds societal, economic, and cultural benefits.

Global Bird Populations Steadily Declining

Staggering declines in bird populations are taking place around the world. So concludes a study from scientists at multiple institutions, published today in the journal Annual Review of Environment and Resources. Loss and degradation of natural habitats and direct overexploitation of many species are cited as the key threats to avian biodiversity. Climate change is identified as an emerging driver of bird population declines.

Researchers Discover New Species of Salamander From Gulf Coastal Plains Hotspot

A team of researchers led by R. Alexander Pyron, the Robert F. Griggs Associate Professor of Biology at the George Washington University, has discovered a new species of swamp-dwelling dusky salamander from the Gulf Coastal Plain of southeastern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama.

World’s New Stream Frog Found in Myanmar: Chula Researcher Indicates Its Ecosystem Is Intact

A biologist from the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University working with researchers from Germany and Myanmar has discovered two of the world’s newest stream frogs in Myanmar highlighting the remaining diversity of ecosystems in Southeast Asia and cautions all those involved of the need to conserve our forests before our valuable wildlife become extinct.

Brains and brawn helped crows and ravens take over the world

Crows and ravens are well known for their black color and the harsh “caw” sound they make. They are intelligent birds that use tools, solve complex abstract problems and speak a volume of words. But what is less well appreciated is how diverse they are. Their diversity is accompanied by their ability to live all over the world in a variety of habitats.

Nationwide maps of bird species can help protect biodiversity

New, highly detailed and rigorous maps of bird biodiversity could help protect rare or threatened species. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison developed the maps at a fine-enough resolution to help conservation managers focus their efforts where they are most likely to help birds — in individual counties or forests, rather than across whole states or regions.

Development of a curious robot to study coral reef ecosystems awarded $1.5 million by the National Science Foundation

A grant by the National Science Foundation to researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Syracuse University aims to open new avenues of robotic study of coral reefs by developing autonomous underwater vehicles capable of navigating complex environments and of collecting data over long periods of time. The team led by WHOI computer scientist Yogesh Girdhar aims to build a robot capable of navigating a reef ecosystem and measuring the biomass, biodiversity, and behavior of organisms living in or passing through a reef over extended periods of time.

FAU Receives NSF Grant to Explore Trait Evolution Across Species

The NSF grant will enable scientists to elucidate trait evolution across species using statistical and supervised machine learning approaches to vigorously and accurately predict general and specific evolutionary mechanisms that also will be applicable to various genomic and transcriptomic data for evolutionary discovery.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution collaborates to bring video installation to United Nation Headquarters

Beginning Tuesday, September 21 and running evenings (8–11pm EST) through Friday, September 24, artist collective SUPERFLEX will project Vertical Migration onto the facade of the United Nations Secretariat Building, the UN’s signature 39-story tower. Coinciding with the 76th UN General Assembly, Vertical Migration is a dramatic, 505-foot (154-meter) video installation that draws attention to the role that the ocean—particularly the little explored region known as the ocean twilight zone—plays in global climate.

Meeting biodiversity, climate, and water objectives through integrated strategies

Managing a strategically placed 30% of land for conservation could safeguard 70% of all considered terrestrial plant and vertebrate animal species, while simultaneously conserving more than 62% of the world’s above and below ground vulnerable carbon, and 68% of all clean water.

Food claiming to have ‘wild mushrooms’ rarely does

Harvesting wild mushrooms requires an expert eye, making products containing wild fungi expensive. Due to minimal food regulations, it’s nearly impossible to know what species are actually contained within. Sequencing revealed food products labeled with wild mushrooms mostly contained cultivated fungi and some mushrooms poisonous to humans.