The ecology within

The concept of biological control is no new idea in ecology – people have been transporting living things to control other living things since the late 18th century. The most famous examples seem to be the big failures, where biocontrols become invasive themselves – such as mongooses introduced to Hawaii to control rats but that instead decimated populations of native birds. Geneticists at the University of Queensland have now...

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When scientific fiction replaces good science

Good science writers – as with all reporters – should verify the validity of their stories before publishing, making sure to cite the peer-reviewed research detailing a new discovery. But as in the case of the purported cane toad-eating frog, an exciting enough fact with weak empirical support can sometimes take off like….well, an invasive species. In 2005 and 2006, several media sources (including the Australian Broadcasting...

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Invasive? Or just disturbed

Invasive species often succeed in new environments because they can outcompete native species within an area for some resource, such as food, mates or habitat. What’s less clear is exactly what gives them this edge over local species that should be experts at living in their home territory. A study by Joshua King and Walter Tschinkel published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences investigates just what...

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