Biodiversity News -- ScienceDaily Learn about the loss of biological diversity - biodiversity - in forests, rainforests, aquatic environments and open land. What are the biodiversity hotspots? Read about biodiversity conservation efforts.

  • Surprising new study redraws family tree of domesticated and 'wild' horses
    on February 22, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    New research overturns a long-held assumption that Przewalski's horses, native to the Eurasian steppes, are the last wild horse species on Earth. […]

  • Tropical trees use unique method to resist drought
    on February 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Tropical trees in the Amazon Rainforest may be more drought resistant than previously thought, according to a new study. That's good news, since the Amazon stores about 20 percent of all carbon in the Earth's biomass, which helps reduce global warming by lowering the planet's greenhouse gas levels. […]

  • Theory suggests root efficiency, independence drove global spread of flora
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Researchers suggest that plants spread worldwide thanks to root adaptations that allowed them to become more efficient and independent. As plant species spread, roots became thinner so they could more efficiently explore poor soils for nutrients, and they shed their reliance on symbiotic fungi. The researchers report that root diameter and reliance on fungi most consistently characterize the plant communities across entire biomes such as deserts, savannas and temperate forests. […]

  • The conflict between males and females could replace the evolution of new species
    on February 21, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    New research shows that males and females of the same species can evolve to be so different that they prevent other species from evolving or colonizing habitats, challenging long-held theories on the way natural selection drives the evolution of biodiversity. […]

  • Beluga whales dive deeper, longer to find food in Arctic
    on February 20, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Beluga whales that spend summers feeding in the Arctic are diving deeper and longer to find food than in earlier years, when sea ice covered more of the ocean for longer periods, according to a new analysis. […]

  • As climate changes, so could the genes of the Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
    on February 20, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Researchers warn climate change can not only influence the geographic distribution of a species in response to changing conditions -- it could also affect the evolutionary trajectories of interbreeding species. […]

  • Biodiversity loss raises risk of 'extinction cascades'
    on February 19, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    New research shows that the loss of biodiversity can increase the risk of 'extinction cascades', where an initial species loss leads to a domino effect of further extinctions. […]

  • Dispersal of fish eggs by water birds – just a myth?
    on February 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    How do fish end up in isolated bodies of water when they can't swim there themselves? For centuries, researchers have assumed that water birds transfer fish eggs into these waters -- however, a systematic literature review by researchers at the University of Basel has shown that there is no evidence of this to date. […]

  • Birds and beans: Study shows best coffee for bird diversity
    on February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    It's an age-old debate for coffee lovers. Which is better: Arabica beans with their sweeter, softer taste, or the bold, deep flavor of Robusta beans? A new study has taken the question to unlikely coffee aficionados: birds. […]

  • The more kinds of bees, the better for humans
    on February 15, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    The bigger the area to pollinate, the more species of wild bees you need to pollinate it. […]

  • Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected
    on February 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating. […]

  • Deforestation in the tropics
    on February 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Tropical forests around the world play a key role in the global carbon cycle and harbor more than half of the species worldwide. However, increases in land use during the past decades caused unprecedented losses of tropical forest. Scientists have adapted a method from physics to mathematically describe the fragmentation of tropical forests. They explain how this allows to model and understand the fragmentation of forests on a global scale. They found that forest fragmentation in all three continents is close to a critical point beyond which fragment number will strongly increase. This will have severe consequences for biodiversity and carbon storage. […]

  • For tropical forest birds, old neighborhoods matter
    on February 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Old, complex tropical forests support a wider diversity of birds than second-growth forests and have irreplaceable value for conservation, according to an exhaustive analysis of bird diversity in the mountains of southern Costa Rica. […]

  • Scientist studies effects of wildfire management on bird populations
    on February 14, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    On the tail of California's most destructive and expensive year of firefighting ever, it might seem obvious that vegetation removal would reduce the risk of such a year happening again. But scientists are showing that in chaparral, California's iconic shrubland ecosystem, management can devastate wild bird populations and that fire-risk reduction is only temporary. […]

  • Rapid evolution of a calcareous microalgae
    on February 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Laboratory experiments are easy to control and reproduce but are insufficient to mimic the complexity of natural ecosystems. In contrast, experiments under real conditions in nature are much more complicated and difficult to control. Scientist have combined both approaches to investigate the response of a major plankton species to increasing ocean acidification. […]

  • Carefully managed fire can promote rare savanna species
    on February 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    In the first continent-wide study of the effects of fire on bird and mammal diversity in the African savanna environment, researchers have found that increasing 'pyrodiversity' boosts the variety of species of mammals by around 20 percent and of birds by 30 percent in savannas with high rainfall. […]

  • Organic food provides significant environmental benefits to plant-rich diets
    on February 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    A study of the diets of 34,000 people confirms that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is better for the planet than one high in animal products. The study also finds that organic food provides significant, additional climate benefits for plant-based diets, but not for diets with only moderate contribution from plant products. This is the first-ever study to look at the environmental impacts of both food choices and farm production systems. […]

  • Savanna fires pump Central African forests full of nitrogen
    on February 8, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Researchers are revealing the unexpected role that large-scale fires and high nitrogen deposition play in the ecology and biogeochemistry of these lush Central African forests. […]

  • Alien honeybees could cause plant extinction
    on February 8, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    New research indicates that introduced 'alien' honeybees are competing for resources with native bees and threatening the survival of plants that rely on interactions with specific pollinators. […]

  • Rapid land changes forecast for East African savannahs
    on February 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    A study, presenting a 5000-year environmental history of the popular tourist destination, Amboseli National Park in Kenya, has shown that the impact of climate change on land is more rapid than previously thought. […]

  • Nursery stock, homeowner preferences drive tree diversity in Salt Lake Valley
    on February 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    What factors shape the formation of a new urban forest? Researchers' survey of tree species diversity in the Salt Lake Valley found that diversity can be shaped by the species available in nurseries, the preferences of the homeowners, and even the tree selections of their neighbors. […]

  • Rainforest collapse 307 million years ago impacted the evolution of early land vertebrates
    on February 7, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Researchers have discovered that the mass extinction seen in plant species caused by the onset of a drier climate 307 million years ago led to extinctions of some groups of tetrapods, the first vertebrates to live on land, but allowed others to expand across the globe. […]

  • Iberian Peninsula rodents migrated due to climate change 12 million years ago
    on February 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Changes in Southwestern Europe's climate which happened between 12 and 5 million years ago had a drastic impact over the rodent communities. These profound changes in environmental conditions led to a separation between species adapted to arid environments which migrated to interior regions of the Iberian Peninsula and species adapted to humid environments thriving where Catalonia and France are today, according to a new study. […]

  • Farmed seafood and livestock stack up differently using alternate feed efficiency measure
    on February 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    A new study found that, contrary to widely held assumptions, farmed fish and shrimp convert protein and calories in feed to edible seafood at rates similar to livestock (i.e., cattle, pigs, and chickens) […]

  • Mapping the first family tree for tropical forests
    on February 5, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    More than 100 researchers have collaborated to classify the world's tropical forests according to their evolutionary history, a process that will help researchers predict the resilience or susceptibility of different forests to global environmental changes. […]

  • Ecuador: Deforestation destroys more dry forest than climate change
    on February 2, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Tropical forests worldwide are at risk. Two of the main threats are the deforestation for arable land and climate change. Scientists compared the losses due to deforestation with those that would result in extreme climate change scenarios in Ecuador. Although global warming is likely to change the distribution of species, deforestation will result in the loss of more dry forests than predicted by climate change damage. […]

  • Comprehensive study on Atlantic Forest mammals
    on February 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    The Atlantic Forest, the second most biodiverse forest system in South America (after the Amazon), once covered roughly 463,000 square miles of habitat. Today, only 8-12 percent of this original habitat space remains. Ninety-six co-authors compiled trait information on 39,850 individuals from 279 different mammal species and 388 separate populations into a single, comprehensive study on Atlantic Forest mammals to advance zoological research and to emphasize the urgency of protecting this area's biodiversity. […]

  • The disappearance of common species
    on February 1, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Scientists were able to show that currently widespread insects are threatened with a serious decline in species diversity in the near future. The research team lists fragmentation of habitats and intensification of agriculture as reasons for the decline of these 'generalists.' […]

  • A glimpse in the flora of Southeast Asia puts a spotlight on its conservation
    on January 31, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Covering only three percent of Earth's total land area, four overlapping biodiversity hotspots in South East China -- Indo-Burma, Philippines, Sundaland and Wallacea -- are estimated to be the home of the astonishing 20 to 25 percent of higher plant species in the area. While offering an insight into this extraordinary flora, a new special issue published in the open access journal PhytoKeys, contributes to the total count with seventeen new species from the region. […]

  • Evolution of China's flowering plants shows East-West divide between old, new lineages
    on January 31, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    An international team of scientists has mapped the evolutionary relationships between China's 30,000 flowering plant species, uncovering a distinct regional pattern in biodiversity. Eastern China is a floral 'museum' with a rich array of ancient lineages and distant relatives while the western provinces are an evolutionary 'cradle' for newer and more closely related species. […]