Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas, released as fossil fuels are burned. It is absorbed by trees as they grow and stored as wood. When trees get too hot and dry, they may close the pores in their leaves to save water, but that also prevents them from taking in more carbon. And when trees die, they release stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
The new species belong to the genus Aira, delicate herbaceous plants, which enjoy their greatest diversity in the Mediterranean Region. One of them, Aira minoricensis is a native species of the siliceous sands of Menorca. The other new species is called Aira hercynica and is widely found in the area of the Iberia Peninsula which approximately coincides with the Iberian Massif
In time for the International Day for Biological Diversity 2020, the date set by the United Nations to recognize biodiversity as 'the pillars upon which we build civilizations', a new study published in the peer-reviewed open-access journal ZooKeys describes two new to science species and one subspecies of crocodile newts from Vietnam. This manifestation of the incredible diversity of life hosted on our planet comes, however, as an essential reminder of how fragile it is.
Mapping the distribution of life on Earth, from genes to species to ecosystems, is essential in informing conservation policies and protecting biodiversity. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Adelaide developed models based on long-standing evolutionary and ecological theories to explain and map genetic diversity globally, a basal, but up-to-now hidden dimension of biodiversity.
Organisms carry long-term 'memories' of their ancestral homelands that help them adapt to environmental change, according to a new study that involved raising chickens on the Tibetan Plateau and an adjacent lowland site.
When studying the larval morphology of Toramini (Coleoptera: Erotylidae) we found that larvae of the genus Toramus attach their exuviae to their distal abdomen, with each exuvia from the preceding instar attached to the next to form a vertical pile. Exuvial attachment is facilitated by modified hook-like setae with flattened shafts inserted into the exuvia of the previous instar. We discuss the possibility that the exuvial attachment serves as a kind of autotomy -- "exuvial autotomy".
The gene-editing technology CRISPR has been used for a variety of agricultural and public health purposes -- from growing disease-resistant crops to, more recently, a diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19. Now a study involving fish that look nearly identical to the endangered Delta smelt finds that CRISPR can be a conservation and resource management tool, as well. The researchers think its ability to rapidly detect and differentiate among species could revolutionize environmental monitoring.
Why is sex so popular in nature? A new article in Genome Biology and Evolution suggests that the molecular mechanisms underlying sex and the stress response may be more tightly coupled than previously appreciated, providing a new explanation for the widespread prevalence of sex in nature.
Around 19,000 years ago, after the Late Glacial Maximum, the surprisingly heterogeneous diversity of Italians' genomic background started to develop. It is the first time that a group of scientists manages to go that back in time in retracing Italians' genetic history.
A new study from the University of Central Florida has confirmed and quantified, for the first time, the presence of microplastics in terrestrial and aquatic birds of prey in Florida, including hawks, ospreys and owls. The research, which was published online recently in the journal Environmental Pollution, is important because birds of prey are critical to a functioning ecosystem. The accumulation of microplastics in their digestive systems could lead to poisoning, starvation and death.