Browse, graze, mate: Food and company help animals in captivity

From tongue rolling alpacas to irritable yaks and perturbed pigs, new research has lifted the lid on why some farm and zoo animals cope well with captivity and others display signs of stress.

Researchers from Aberystwyth and Portsmouth universities in the UK have published the first large-scale study to identify which species of hoofed animals, known as ungulates, are better suited to captive environments and which require better husbandry if kept in captivity.

Diverse landscapes at the heart of bee conservation

New research from the University of Georgia revealed that mixed land use – such as developments interspersed with forest patches – improves bee diversity and is leading to new solutions for bee conservation. The researchers hypothesized that development would negatively affect bee diversity, but the results of the study were surprising. They found that small amounts of development actually had a positive impact on the number of bee species present in a given area.

Virtual reality gives humans a turtle’s-eye view of wildlife

A virtual reality simulation designed by a University of Oregon professor could help spur people to environmental action. Participants in Project Shell don a virtual reality headset and take on the body of a loggerhead sea turtle, sporting flippers instead of arms. During a 15-minute immersive experience, they journey from a hatchling to an adult turtle, dodging hazards like ships and wayward fishing gear.

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.

These stunning 3D models of coral reefs are a crucial research tool

Martínez Quintana has created stunning 3D digital models that visualize the surface of coral reefs in painstaking detail. The artful re-creations aren’t just beautiful: They’re also filled with data on the distribution of young corals, known as recruits, that scientists are analyzing.

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.

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.

The effects of embodying wildlife in virtual reality on conservation behaviors

AbstractEfforts to mitigate environmental threats are often inversely related to the magnitude of casualty, human or otherwise. This “compassion fade” can be explained, in part, by differential processing of large- versus small-scale threats: it is difficult to form empathic connections…

Improving Georgia land conservation through algorithms

A team of University of Georgia researchers has created a model to help land developers and public officials identify the land that is best suited for conservation. Led by Fabio Jose Benez-Secanho, a former UGA graduate student, and Puneet Dwivedi, associate professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, this first-of-its-kind algorithm considers a variety of factors not included in other models when calculating the value of land for conservation.

UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have impact on textile wastewater pollution research

The world’s research effort into wastewater pollution caused by the textiles industry has increased threefold over the past five years, according to a new analysis released this week in the lead up to Earth Day (Friday 22 April).

Novel Tag Provides First Detailed Look into Goliath Grouper Behavior

A study is the first to reveal detailed behavior of massive goliath groupers. Until now, no studies have documented their fine-scale behavior. What is known about them has been learned from divers, underwater video footage, and observing them in captivity. Using a multi-sensor tag with a three axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer as well as a temperature, pressure and light sensor, a video camera and a hydrophone, researchers show how this species navigates through complex artificial reef environments, maintain themselves in high current areas, and how much time they spend in different cracks and crevices – none of which would be possible without the tag.

UC San Diego Physicist Helps Launch National Network Examining Earth’s Planetary Limits

University of California San Diego Physics Professor Tom Murphy is among five authors of an essay, appearing in the November 2021 issue of the journal Energy Research & Social Science, that cautions current levels of worldwide economic growth, energy use and resource consumption will overshoot Earth’s finite limits.

Iowa State’s Schulte Moore named 2021 MacArthur Fellow

Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State University, has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow for her groundbreaking research as a landscape ecologist building more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. The prestigious awards, sometimes called “genius grants,” identify scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and others who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and who show promise for important future advances.

Genotyping Reveals Significance of Mesophotic Reefs for Florida Keys’ Coral Recovery

Researchers are the first to compare the genetic structure and genomic diversity of paired shallow and upper mesophotic coral sites in the Northern and Southern Dry Tortugas and the Lower and Upper Florida Keys. Results suggest that while vertical connectivity between paired shallow and mesophotic populations can vary, certain mesophotic coral populations are important for maintaining the long-term survival of this ecologically important coral species throughout the Florida Keys and should be considered in future management strategies.

UCI is No. 2 in Sierra magazine’s 2021 ‘Cool Schools’ ranking of sustainability leaders

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 9, 2021 — The green streak continues! Sierra magazine has named the University of California, Irvine No. 2 overall in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among U.S. and Canadian universities and colleges, marking the 12th time in a row that UCI has placed in the top 10 of the widely acclaimed list.

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.

Reconnecting the People, Plants and Animals of the Kendall-Frost Marsh

UC San Diego’s Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve has received an $85,000 grant from Honda to create an integrated research and public engagement program centered on bringing Native American perspectives and cutting-edge science into the management and access decisions needed to ensure the marsh’s survival as a community asset.

Low-cost 3D Method Rapidly Measures Disease Impacts on Florida’s Coral Reefs

A low-cost and rapid 3D technique is helping scientists to gain insight into the colony- and community-level dynamics of the poorly understood stony coral tissue loss disease responsible for widespread coral death throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic. They adapted Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry to generate 3D models for tracking lesion progression and impacts on diseased coral colonies. They combined traditional diver surveys with 3D colony fate-tracking to determine the impacts of disease on coral colonies throughout Southeast Florida.

Low-cost 3D Method Rapidly Measures Disease Impacts on Florida’s Coral Reefs

A low-cost and rapid 3D technique is helping scientists to gain insight into the colony- and community-level dynamics of the poorly understood stony coral tissue loss disease responsible for widespread coral death throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic. They adapted Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry to generate 3D models for tracking lesion progression and impacts on diseased coral colonies. They combined traditional diver surveys with 3D colony fate-tracking to determine the impacts of disease on coral colonies throughout Southeast Florida.

What’s Killing Coral Reefs in Florida is Also Killing Them in Belize

Only 17 percent of live coral cover remains on fore-reefs in Belize. A study finds new evidence that nitrogen enrichment from land-based sources like agriculture run-off and sewage, are significantly driving macroalgal blooms to increase on the Belize Barrier Reef and causing massive decline in hard coral cover. With only 2 percent of hard coral cover remaining in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, it’s too late to save that reef, but there’s still hope for the Belize Barrier Reef.

Baylor Study Evaluates Biodiversity Impacts of Alternative Energy Strategies

Climate change mitigation efforts have led to shifts from fossil-fuel dependence to large-scale renewable energy. However, renewable energy sources require significant land and could come at a cost to ecosystems. A new study led by Ryan McManamay, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor University, evaluates potential conflicts between alternative energy strategies and biodiversity conservation.

‘An unexplored world right beneath our feet:’ Cave ecologist on the importance of caves in discussions on conservation, caves on other planets

Jut Wynne, director of NAU’s Cave Ecology Lab, talks about cave health all the time. But during 2021, the International Year of Caves and Karst, he and other researchers are inviting the rest of us to consider all the ways these ecosystems contribute to society without us even knowing it.

Seabirds face dire threats from climate change, human activity — especially in Northern Hemisphere

Many seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere are struggling to breed — and in the Southern Hemisphere, they may not be far behind. These are the conclusions of a study, published May 28 in Science, analyzing more than 50 years of breeding records for 67 seabird species worldwide.