Scientists have provided new insights on the relationship between plant diversity in forests and the diversity of organisms involved in their decay, such as bacteria and fungi.
Angel sharks are sharks, but with their peculiarly flat body they rather resemble rays. An international research team led by Faviel A. López-Romero and Jürgen Kriwet of the Institute of Palaeontology has now investigated the origin of this body shape. The results illustrate how these sharks evolved into highly specialised, exclusively bottom-dwelling ambush predators and thus also contribute to a better understanding of their threat from environmental changes. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
A long-term study on cycads in Guam has revealed how rapidly invasive species devastated the native Cycas micronesica species and the key factors that have influenced the plant's mortality. The research -- conducted by the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center at the University of Guam and the College of Micronesia-FSM -- is published in the May 2020 issue of Diversity, a peer-reviewed journal published by MDPI.
Soils harbour a substantial part of the world's biodiversity, yet data on the patterns and processes taking place below ground does not represent all relevant ecosystems and taxa. For example, tropical and subtropical regions largely remain a blind spot when it comes to soil biodiversity. This is one of the results of a new study published in Nature Communications and led by scientists from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Leipzig University (UL).
A half-century of controversy over two popular bird species may have finally come to an end. In one corner: the Bullock's Oriole, found in the western half of North America. In the other corner: the Baltimore Oriole, breeding in the eastern half. Where their ranges meet in the Great Plains, the two mix freely and produce apparently healthy hybrid offspring. But according to scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, hybridization is a dead end and both parent species will remain separate
A comprehensive study on a group of unique ectoparasitic fungi associated with insects and other arthropods in Belgium and the Netherlands was published in the open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal MycoKeys. In their paper, the scientists provide identification details about a total of 140 species, including nine species that represent new country records and two species new to science, with one of them named after the 2020 quarantine period, imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers have discovered why the tropics and a handful of other areas across the globe have become the most biodiverse places on the planet.
An international group of scientists published a paper, Aug. 1, 2020, in a special edition of the journal Biological Conservation that lays out an ambitious global conservation plan for parasites. A separate paper also found that the responses of parasites to environmental change are likely to be complex, and that a changing world probably will see both outbreaks of some parasites and a total loss of other parasite species.
Inbred birds don't live as long and have fewer offspring. Inbreeding is equally harmful regardless of where the birds live.
Metabarcoding allows scientists to extract DNA from the environment, in order to rapidly detect species inhabiting a particular habitat. While the method is a great tool that facilitates conservation activities, few studies have looked into its applicability in monitoring species' populations and their genetic diversity, which could actually be critical to assess negative trends early on. The potential of the method is confirmed in a new study, published in the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Metabarcoding & Metagenomics.