Flowers make it rain (and then some)

The Amazon rainforest—with its millions of creaking, chirping and buzzing insects, sticky frogs, vibrant birds, and unique fish—may owe its diversity primarily to flowers, said researchers from the University of Chicago. And, they say, just as flowering plants formed the building block of biodiversity in this region, their removal could result in a cascade of declining diversity. According to authors Kevin Boyce and Jung-Eun Lee of a...

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From the Community: forming a biodiversity body and taxing tomatoes

Representatives from around 90 countries approved the formation of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Nature and Scientific American collaborated on a survey to analyze the public’s interest in science and the history of the tomato’s taxonomy in the United States is reviewed. Here are some stories in ecology from the second week in June. Bulldog bats: Scientists from the Free...

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Biodiversity is a delicate recipe

Picture a simmering pot of vegetable broth, the condensed flavors the basis for what will become a hearty corn chowder. Looking at the recipe, you know that before the broth was introduced, onions and garlic were sautéed in olive oil until they grew translucent. Then flour was added to form the roux. And you know after the broth is added, potatoes, corn and other assorted vegetables will be left to simmer. But would you have known all...

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From the Community: Biodiversity in urban, isolated, marine and ancient settings

Millions of microbes found buried under the seafloor, fossils reveal the life of giant cockroaches and marine invertebrate struggles, a rare bird haven is explored in Colombia and urban ecologists address pollination in Harlem. Here’s the latest ecological news for the second week in April. Promiscuous pollen: Using scanning electron microscope images, Jonathan Drori of the BBC explains the link between pollen promiscuity and...

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From the Community: moth’s green islands, poison arrow frog controversy and life in unlikely places

Poison dart frog, Dendrobates auratus Credit: Dirk van der Made Moths create green islands in leaves, bats navigate long distances using a geomagnetic field and volcanic lake shows unexpected biodiversity. Here is what’s happening in ecology for the first week in April. Green islands: As leaves cease photosynthesis production in preparation for winter, leaf-miners use bacteria to protect islands of green for the growth of larvae. Read...

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Life between extinctions: cracking open the Cretaceous period

Earth during the Cretaceous period Credit: Ron Blakey One hundred million years ago, Earth experienced its first great peak in biodiversity. Flowers emerged and with them pollinators, dinosaurs towered over newly evolved mammals and marsupials, the steaming jungles were teeming with newly arrived ants and termites, and the oceans were filled with gigantic, air-breathing reptiles. This was life during the Cretaceous period, Earth...

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Mites and poor diet contribute to honeybee decline in Europe

Two timely reports have surfaced this week regarding the decline of honeybee populations in Europe, and France has taken action in an attempt to curb the falling numbers.  A recent study linked honeybee health and plant biodiversity In a study published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, scientists have found that managed honeybee populations across Europe have dropped an average of 20 percent over the last 20 years, with England...

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Reduced predator populations lead to algal blooms

Algal blooms are a phenomenon in which algal populations in a marine area proliferate rapidly, creating a water-column shield that blocks sunlight and oxygen. These blooms are usually attributed to rises in nitrogen levels from human agriculture and industrial runoff, which fertilize the algae. But a study in the current issue of Ecological Applications shows that overfishing of top fish predators can also lead to algal blooms....

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