A new type of blow fly spotted in Indiana points to shifting species populations due to climate change. Researchers at IUPUI have observed the first evidence of Lucilia cuprina in Indiana, an insect previously known to populate southern states from Virginia to California.
A University of Colorado Denver-led research team for the first time developed reliable genetic markers known as nuclear microsatellites for the whitebark pine, a discovery that could improve the tree's prospects for survival. Whitebark pine, which is declining rapidly nearly range-wide, is currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and colleagues have found that corals living in more productive waters take advantage of the increased food availability. The findings reevaluate scientific understanding of how corals survive and could aid predictions on coral recovery in the face of climate change.
According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides. The situation is not as simple as it seems, however, as ecologists at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) have now discovered. Under certain environmental conditions, increased biodiversity can also lead to an ecosystem becoming more unstable.
Leah Gerber, a professor at Arizona State University, led a team of researchers who developed a tool, called the Recovery Explorer, that can be used to help guide conservation scientists in making decisions on how to best use limited funds to conserve the greatest number of species. The tool was developed in collaboration with US Fish & Wildlife Services scientists in a two-year project supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.
A new collaborative study has investigated Arctic shrub-snow interactions to obtain a better understanding of the far north's tundra and vast permafrost system. Incorporating extensive in situ observations, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists tested their theories with a novel 3D computer model and confirmed that shrubs can lead to significant degradation of the permafrost layer that has remained frozen for tens of thousands of years. These interactions are driving increases in discharges of fresh water into rivers, lakes and oceans.
In the Mediterranean region, there are numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in low-lying coastal areas. In the course of the 21st century, these sites will increasingly be at risk by storm surges and increasing coastal erosion due to sea-level rise.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that the swell of infestations of winter ticks -- which attach themselves to moose during the fall and feed throughout the winter -- is the primary cause of an unprecedented 70 percent death rate of calves over a three-year period.
Aerial insectivores -- birds that hunt for insect prey on the wing -- are declining across North America. Conserving these vulnerable species requires a good understanding of the factors impacting them at every stage of life. Two new studies take a deep dive into the demographic factors behind declining populations of tree swallows and show that although specifics may vary between locations, action is needed to address environmental changes affecting these birds across their geographic range.
Can humans drive economic growth, meet rising demand for food, energy and water, and make significant environmental progress? The short answer is 'yes,' but it comes with several big 'ifs.' New research shows that we can put the world on a path to sustainability if we make significant changes within the next 10 years.