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Ecology: 1/25 of 67
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Hunting for lugworms for fishing bait at Brighton beach. Photo: Martin Thomas via Flickr.

Lugworms suffer toxic impact of acidifying oceans

Alex Kirby

30th October 2014

A common marine worm key to the richness of many coastal ecosystems is being damaged by the increasing ocean acidification that was thought to imperil mainly shellfish and coral, writes Alex Kirby. It's an unwelcome sign of more unexpected ecological changes to come. more...
In Ghana, more than 100,000 straw coloured fruit bats are harvested as bushmeat every year. But the country is not affected by the Ebola epidemic. Photo: Diana Ranslam, CC BY-NC.

Ebola: don't blame the bats!

Alexandra Kamins, Marcus Rowcliffe & Olivier Restif

23rd October 2014

Bats serve as a natural reservoir for the Ebola - but we cannot blame them for the epidemic. In Ghana alone people eat over 100,000 fruit bats a year as 'bushmeat', yet the country has escaped the epidemic. Much more research is needed to discover the mechanisms of transmission, and to devise effective, appropriate interventions. more...

Future NOW

8 November 2014

Will Gethin

Taking place in the run up to Bristol's year as Green Capital 2015, this groundbreaking spiritual ecology conference calls for Consciousness Revolution. more...
Japanese knotweed makes short work of concrete and tarmac. In its native habitat, it has learnt to crack up volcanic rock. Photo: Rob Tanner.

Japanese knotweed - could a tiny insect tame the monster?

Kate Constantine

17th October 2014

Since Japanese knotweed won a gold medal in 1847 as 'interesting new ornamental of the year', it has become far too much of a good thing, writes Kate Constantine. But could the oriental triffid be tamed following the UK introduction of a specialist pest from Japan's volcanic uplands? more...
Bamboo Shark in Indonesia's Lembeh Straits. With high levels of CO2, the species' survival is reduced by 40%. Photo: Steve Childs via Flickr.

Acidifying seas endanger sharks' survival

Tim Radford

12th October 2014

Scientific studies show that as carbon dioxide acidifies the oceans, sharks are less able to detect prey, and their chances of survival are reduced, writes Tim Radford - with serious consequences for ocean ecology. more...
The view down the borehole through half a mile of the Antarctic ice to Lake Whillans. Photo: Reed Scherer / Northern Illinois University.

Abounding life! 4,000 microbes thrive in Antarctic lake beneath the ice

Helen Thompson

15th September 2014

Beneath half a mile of ice scientists have uncovered the first hard evidence of a life in a subglacial lake, writes Helen Thompson. And not just life, but a complex ecosystem comprising thousands of microbial species. Could Jupiter's frozen moon Europa be hiding lakes like this? more...
A male Onthophagus vacca, the species of dung beetle being released this week in Western Australia. Photo: CSIRO.

Australia - exotic beetles fly in to clean up the cattle dung

Jane Wright

5th October 2014

After rabbits, foxes, brambles and the cane toad, you would have thought Australia would have had enough of invasive exotic species, writes Jane Wright. Wrong! CSIRO scientists are introducing a French dung beetle, in the hope it will lead to fewer flies, improved soil fertility and structure, and greater carbon sequestration. more...
The familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI.

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...
Whale shark and diver. Photo: Robin Hughes via Flickr.

The cetacean brain and hominid perceptions of cetacean intelligence

Captain Paul Watson

22nd August 2014

Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? Paul Watson questions man's monopoly on advanced brain power, and finds a planet suffused with a far deeper intelligence than our own. more...
The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA.

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...
Few whales survive a close shave with a ship’s propeller. This is one of the lucky ones. Photo: Alisa Schulman-Janiger, CC BY.

To save blue whales, move California shipping lanes

Luke Rendell

29th July 2014

Long after Blue whales have ceased to be hunted, their numbers have failed to record substantial increases, writes Luke Rendell. Are ship strikes to blame? A 15-year scientific study says the answer may be yes - and advises moving California shipping lanes. more...
Artisanal fishing nets at the Cobb, Lyme Regis, Lyme Bay. Photo: geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Simplifying the sea - ecocide in the English Channel

Horatio Morpurgo

25th July 2014

A new report on the Channel's fisheries is a timely reminder of the ecological trend to 'simplification' as whole trophic levels are stripped away by over-exploitation, writes Horatio Morpurgo. Yet the government's profit-focused vision of 'sustainability' is missing the essential element - allowing the recovery of marine ecosystems. more...

Ecology: 1/25 of 67
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Barn swallow chicks (Hirundo rustica) at Arrábida (Quinta do Camalhão), Setúbal, Portugal. This insectivorous species is among those impacted by imidacloprid. Photo: Jose Sousa via Flickr.

It's not just the bees! 'Neonic' pesticides linked to bird declines

Helen Thompson

17th July 2014

A study published today in Nature shows a strong correlation between concentrations of a popular neonicotinoid pesticide in water, and bird declines, writes Helen Thompson. Regulators are under pressure to tighten up, but the industry still claims there's 'no substantiated evidence'. more...
Red wolves are clinging on to existence in a few thousand kilometres of the southeastern US. Photo: B. Bartel / USFWS, CC BY-SA

Red wolf extinction fear as US budget cuts bite

Joseph Hinton

7th July 2014

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has done pioneering conservation work to save North America's endangered Red Wolf, under threat from shooting and inter-breeding with coyotes. But now federal budget cuts are putting all that - and the Red wolf itself - at risk. more...
Neonicotinoid insecticides are killing more than just bees - entire farmland ecosystems are being poisoned. Photo: honeybees (Apis mellifera) on wild fennel, Albany, California, by Jack Wolf via Flickr.

Neonicotinoids are poisoning entire farmland ecosystems

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

2nd July 2014

The widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is causing a neurotoxic overload afflicting entire farm ecosystems from earthworms to bees, other pollinators and birds, writes Damian Carrington. A collapse in food production may inevitably follow. more...
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) in Russia's Altai Mountains. Photo: Sergey Yeliseev via Flickr.

The grouse shooting industry is out of control - it must be regulated

Martin Harper / RSPB

27th June 2014

Intensive grouse shooting on England's uplands is doing huge damage to fragile ecosystems, writes Martin Harper - and to the 'protected' hen harrier. It's high time to bring this industry under control with a new licencing system. more...
The Arctic Red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, is causing ecological havoc as it devours its way down Norway's coast. It can reach a leg-span of 1.8m. Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Wikimedia Commons.

The Arctic shipping boom - a bonanza for invasive exotic species

Natasha Geiling / Smithsonian

27th June 2014

As the Arctic warms and its ice melts, growing numbers freight ships are reaping big savings from the 'Arctic short cut'. But this is creating a huge risk of invasive species spreading in ballast water and on hulls - disrupting both Arctic and temperate ecosystems. more...
a female Monarch Butterflyen (Danaus plexippus) laying an egg on a Mexican Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica ) at the Tyler Arboretum. Photo: © Derek Ramsey via Wikimedia.

Heavy herbicide use on GMO crops raises Monarch butterfly extinction fear

John Pleasants

10th June 2014

Thanks to herbicide use on GMO crops in the US and Canada, Monarch butterfly numbers have crashed - the milkweeds the larvae feed on now survive mainly in 'conservation reserve' land and roadsides - and there's a 5% chance the Monarch will be extinct within 100 years. more...
A forest web, caught in a passing sunbeam. Photo: Julia Hodgson.

Living symphonies in the forest

Laurence Rose

6th June 2014

A new and deceptively sophisticated installation is about artists, audience and nature itself connecting in real time, writes Laurence Rose, who visited a Living Symphony in Thetford Forest. more...
Trial at Glyn Farm, Anglesey, 2007: foreground - susceptible; background - Sarpo clone. Photo: Sarvari Trust.

Potato blight - there's no need for GMOs!

Sophie Brown / Sustainable Food Trust

10th June 2014

GM companies are exploiting the launch of a new blight-resistant GMO potato to make their case for an EU-wide relaxation of rules restricting GM crops. But as Sophie Brown discovers, we have all the answers to blight already, without a GMO in sight! more...
A Navajo Hotshot firefighter in Division A battles the West Mullan Fire in the Lolo National Forest, MT, July 2013. Photo: USDA via Flickr.com.

Let the forests burn - the ecology depends on it!

Monica L. Bond, Chad T. Hansen & Dominick A. Dellasala

12th May 2014

Forest fires are invariably portrayed as fiercely destructive environmental calamities. But for the native forests of the American West, large fires are essential to ecological renewal. Contrary to the mantras of logging companies and forest service officials, we suppress them at our peril. more...
A giant tree of the Congo basin rainforest. Photo: Corinne Staley via Flickr.com.

Congo rainforest 'browning' as temperatures rise

Tim Radford

30th April 2014

Scientists have found that the world's second greatest rainforest, the Congo, is losing its green, writes Tim Radford. As temperatures rise and rainfall reduces, the forest canopy is taking on a browner hue, and this could be an early signal of worse damage to come. more...
A wolf in the Transylvanian forest at dusk. Photo: Istvan Kerekes / AFIAP.

Bullets and false statistics - Transylvania's wolves in peril

Luke Dale-Harris in Transylvania

29th April 2014

On paper, Romania has a thriving wolf population. But Luke Dale-Harris finds that the official view is based on erroneous figures from hunting associations who are, bizarrely, responsible for wolf conservation. The truth is that the wolves are at serious and growing risk. more...
Deep sea fishing off Rockall is causing trouble down below. Photo: Irish Defence Forces, CC BY-SA.

Our deep sea wonderlands must be valued - and protected

J. Murray Roberts

1st May 2014

For just 8% of the fish landed, extraordinary, beautiful, ancient, diverse deep sea habitats are routinely destroyed by fishing gear. And as J. Murray Roberts writes, it's all for a one-off hit as the fish are so slow to grow and reproduce. If the same damage happened on land, there would be uproar. more...
Hedgehog. Photo: Hugh Warwick.

Should we cull our badgers to save our hedgehogs?

Hugh Warwick

24th April 2014

New scientific research shows that culling badgers can increase local hedgehog numbers. As UK hedgehog populations continue to decline, Hugh Warwick asks - are badgers to blame? Or does the real problem lie elsewhere? more...

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