Gaming and virtual reality could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education and participation. This is what an interdisciplinary team at Florida International University strive to achieve by developing a virtual reality game (desktop version also available) dedicated to insect and plant species. Focused on imperiled butterflies, their innovative idea: Butterfly World 1.0, is described in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology.
Scientists for the first time compared complete genome data of different ethnic groups in Russia. Using a special algorithm, they traced the development history for some groups. In the future, such data can be used in other important studies: for example, it can help to identify genetic risk factors in various populations of Russian people. The results are published in Genomics.
Scientists report the first cases of foot disease for endangered huemul deer in Chilean Patagonia in a study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of California, Davis. Culturally iconic, the huemul deer is featured alongside the condor on Chile's coat of arms and is a symbol of biodiversity in the region.
Plague is an endemic disease in Madagascar. Each year there is a seasonal upsurge between September and April, especially in the Central Highlands, which stand at an elevation of more than 800m. In 2017, an unprecedented pneumonic plague outbreak hit the main island, primarily affecting the capital Antananarivo and the main port city of Toamasina.
In a paper recently published in the journal Biological Conservation, an international team of conservationists highlights the importance of tree dens as a choice for pandas raising infants in native habitats. The study, conducted in Fengtongzai Reserve in China, analyzed the difference in microhabitats of cave dens and tree dens used by female pandas. The result of the research suggests that conservation efforts need to take into account species use of microhabitats and habitat features as well as overall ecological systems.
Why do some animals eat or abandon their offspring? According to researchers at the University of Tennessee and the University of Oxford, these might actually be forms of parental care. Published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, their mathematical model shows that when overcrowding threatens offspring survival -- which often occurs due to spread of infection or competition for resources -- sacrificing a few so the most can live becomes the ultimate form of tough love.
A new citizen science study shows how urbanization may affect interactions between carnivores in small suburban forest patches, using camera trap images from Raleigh, N.C., and Washington, D.C.
The lamprey, an eel-like primitive vertebrate, is a popular organism for neurobiology studies because it has a relatively simple nervous system. It is of particular interest to those studying spinal cord injury because, unlike humans, the lamprey can regenerate nerve connections and recover normal mobility within about 8 weeks following an injury to its spinal cord.
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
During harsh winters, birds that eat conifer seeds sometimes leave their homes in northern forests and wander far from their normal ranges in search of food. A new study uses citizen science data to show for the first time that these winter movements lead to a decline in birds' population density in their breeding range the following summer, suggesting that irrupting birds succumb to the difficulties of avoiding predators and finding food in unfamiliar landscapes.