A group of researchers spent twelve seasons making some house sparrows bigger and others smaller. Their experiment showed how evolution works to match size to an organism's environment.
To provide a vital scientific foundation for conservation efforts, an international team has conducted a genetic analysis comparing queen conch at 19 sites throughout the Caribbean. Their findings, published Sept. 19 in the journal Diversity and Distributions, will help scientists understand how local subpopulations of conch are fragmented throughout the Caribbean, an essential first step needed to develop effective science-driven management plans and practices.
The Indonesian coral reefs, located in the so-called coral triangle, are considered amongst the richest and most biodiverse places on Earth. Surprisingly, this impressive species diversity is still poorly known. The paper, authored by an international team led by Barbara Calcinai and published in the open access journal ZooKeys, reports the presence of 94 species of sponges, including six new to science and two new symbiotic sponge associations.
Animals in the Goldilocks zone -- neither too big, nor too small, but just the right size -- face a lower risk of extinction than do those on both ends of the scale, according to an extensive global analysis.
Confusion surrounding the identity of the Painted Rocksnail, a species listed as federally threatened, has been cleared up after over 100 years of mistaken identity. Dr. Nathan Whelan and his collaborators determined that reports of the Painted Rocksnail outside the Coosa River system in Alabama were misidentifications. They found that the species is rarer and more restricted than previously thought. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
A twenty-year effort to protect and manage tiny remnants of a dilapidated forest in Benin, along with its agricultural and fallow vegetation surroundings, resulted in 14 ha of rich secondary forest, which corresponds to the size of nearly 20 sacred groves. This sanctuary now protects the critically endangered red-bellied monkey together with 52 endangered plant species. The study is published in the open access journal Nature Conservation.
Bristlecone pine and limber pine trees in the Great Basin region of the western United States are like two very gnarled, old men in a slow-motion race up the mountaintop, and climate change is the starting gun, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The study shows that the tree line has been steadily moving upslope over the past 50 years in the Great Basin.
Birds often choose their mates based on song, making it a key factor in separating species. However, analyzing spectrograms can only tell us so much -- the characteristics that birds hone in on when identifying potential mates may not be the same ones scientists notice in audio recordings. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses field experiments to 'ask the birds themselves' and uncovers as many as 21 previously unrecognized species.
In response to the alarming population declines of one of the most charismatic representatives of the megafauna, the lion, a team of international wildlife lawyers and lion experts joined efforts to assess the current and potential future role of international treaties regarding the carnivore's conservation. As a result, their review, published in the open-access journal Nature Conservation, provides concrete recommendations for optimizing the contributions of the various treaties to lion conservation.
The desert locust is an invasive species that is both well known and feared because of the large-scale agricultural damage it can cause. It is particularly closely monitored, to prevent the risks of outbreaks and invasions. Climate change could modify its distribution area, meaning a new threat to agriculture, according to a study published in the journal Global Change Biology by researchers from CIRAD and INRA.