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Climate change: Improving heat tolerance in trees

Climate change: Improving heat tolerance in trees

Is it possible to improve tolerance of trees to high temperatures and other types of stress derived of climate change? A research group of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), led by Luis Gómez, a professor of the Forestry School and the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP), is studying the tolerance of trees using molecular and biotechnological tools. The research work was published in the last issue of the journal Plant Physiology. The obtained poplars in this project, with the collaboration of the Universidad de Málaga, are significantly more tolerant to high temperatures than the control trees. These […]

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Convergent evolution: New fins evolve repeatedly in teleost fishes

Convergent evolution: New fins evolve repeatedly in teleost fishes

T hough present in more than 6,000 living species of fish, the adipose fin, a small appendage that lies between the dorsal fin and tail, has no clear function and is thought to be vestigial. However, a new study analyzing their origins finds that these fins arose repeatedly and independently in multiple species. In addition, adipose fins appear to have repeatedly and independently evolved a skeleton, offering a glimpse into how new tissue types and structural complexity evolve in vertebrate appendages. Adipose fins therefore represent a unique example of convergent evolution and new model for exploring the evolution of vertebrate […]

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Increasing homogeneity of world food supplies warns of serious implications for farming and nutrition

A comprehensive new study of global food supplies confirms and thoroughly documents for the first time what experts have long suspected: over the last five decades, human diets around the world have grown ever more similar — by a global average of 36 percent — and the trend shows no signs of slowing, with major consequences for human nutrition and global food security. “More people are consuming more calories, protein and fat, and they rely increasingly on a short list of major food crops, like wheat, maize and soybean, along with meat and dairy products, for most of their food,” […]

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Spanish forest ecosystems: Carbon emission will be higher in second half of century

Spanish forest ecosystems: Carbon emission will be higher in second half of century

Spanish forest ecosystems will quite probably emit high quantities of carbon dioxide in the second half of the 21st century. This is the conclusion of a report that reviews the results obtained from the implementation of the forest simulation model GOTILWA+, a tool to simulate forest growth processes under several environmental conditions and to optimize Mediterranean forests management strategies in the context of climate change. The report was published on the latest issue of the ecology and environment journal Ecosistemas, edited by the Spanish Association of Terrestrial Ecology. Peer review was led by professors Santiago Sabaté and Carlos Gracia, of […]

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Zoos, aquariums do teach us about biodiversity, largest international study proves

Zoos, aquariums do teach us about biodiversity, largest international study proves

A new international study of zoos and aquariums shows that these family attractions do teach the public about the delicate balance between animal species and their habitats. Sociologist Eric Jensen from the University of Warwick worked with Andy Moss from Chester Zoo and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) on the largest study of its kind to assess if these facilities did achieve their public education goals. More than 6,000 visitors to over 30 zoos and aquariums across the world took part in this landmark study. Participants filled out pre- and post-visit surveys to evaluate their biodiversity understanding […]

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Smoke in the water: Understanding effects of smoke compounds on seed germination

Although seemingly destructive, wildfires help to maintain biodiversity and are an important element of many ecosystems throughout the world. Not only do fires discourage non-native and invasive species from becoming established, but the quick release of nutrients, heat, and compounds found in ash and smoke play an important role in the life cycle of the native flora. For plants that are adapted to ecosystems where fire is a regular occurrence — such as savannas, grasslands, and coniferous forests — exposure to fire may initiate seed germination or enhance plant growth. Recent research has focused on the effects of smoke. As […]

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Campaigners attack proposals to allow destruction of ancient woodlands

Campaigners attack proposals to allow destruction of ancient woodlands

Critics of the proposal warn that the proposals could result in the destruction of forests dating from around 1600. Photograph: Travelpix Ltd/Getty Images Green campaigners have urged the government not to “gamble” with England’s natural heritage after the environment secretary defended plans to allow developers to destroy ancient woodland. Owen Paterson sparked anger after defending the “biodiversity offsetting” scheme that he plans to introduce under which woodlands could be cut down to make way for new construction if developers agree to plant 100 trees for every one they destroy. Paterson said that “biodiversity offsetting” could accelerate construction, providing jobs and […]

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Worm-like mite species discovered: A species from this ‘extremophile’ family hasn’t been described for 40 years

Worm-like mite species discovered: A species from this ‘extremophile’ family hasn’t been described for 40 years

It looks like a worm and moves like a worm — sort of. But it is a previously unidentified microscopic species of mite that was discovered by a graduate student on The Ohio State University campus. Affectionately dubbed the “Buckeye Dragon Mite” by Ohio State’s Acarology Laboratory, the mite is officially named Osperalycus tenerphagus, Latin for “mouth purse” and “tender feeding,” in a nod to its complex and highly unusual oral structure. This mite doesn’t resemble a mythological winged dragon, but the snake-like Chinese dancing dragons that appear in festivities celebrating each new year. What it does not resemble is […]

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Climate change causes high but predictable extinction risks

Climate change causes high but predictable extinction risks

Judging the effects of climate change on extinction may be easier than previously thought, according to a paper entitled, “Life history and spatial traits predict extinction risk due to climate change,” published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. Although widely used assessments of threatened species, such as the IUCN Red List, were not developed with the effects of climate change in mind, a study of 36 amphibian and reptile species endemic to the US has concluded that climate change may not be fundamentally different from other extinction threats in terms of identifying species in danger of extinction. The new […]

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Illegal Free Telling Cases Keep on Being Recorded

Illegal Free Telling Cases Keep on Being Recorded

EcoLur From 10 to 21 February the Nature Protection Ministry carried out examinations and detected five cases of illegal tree felling. Particularly, Lori Territorial Division drew up two decisions on imposing administrative fines in the amount of 100,000 AMD and the damage caused to nature was calculated in the amount of 105,980 AMD. Tavush Territorial Division drew up three decisions in the amount of 150,000 AMD, and two decisions were drawn up for illegal transportation of timber.

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