Category: Biodiversity

World’s highest plants discovered growing 6km above sea level


Coin-sized pioneers are the highest vascular plants ever found, living at more than 6100 metres above sea level on India’s dizzying Himalayan peaks

Seasonal wetlands face uncertain future


Ephemeral wetlands are poorly understood habitats and are being lost to future generations as a result of poor land-use practices, warn scientists.

Genetically Modified Bacteria Conduct Electricity, Ushering in New Era of Green Electronics


Soil bacteria modified to conduct 2000 times as much electricity as that in untreated dirt

Piranhas with human-like teeth in Michigan fuel concern over invasive fish


The large, South American tropical fish were probably illegally dumped in the Great Lakes by pet-owners who no longer wanted to keep them in aquariums

Dinosaur-surviving mammal endangered by stray dogs


Research shows the solenodon evolved more than 70 million years ago – in time to hang out with dinosaurs. But today these unique mammals face a barrage of threats including stray dogs, feral cats, invasive mongoose and deforestation.

Managing an endangered river across the US–Mexico border


A new IIASA study shows how improving communication and involvement could bring consensus solutions for the embattled Rio Grande/Bravo, which is shared between the USA and Mexico.

Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking on tiny plastic particles to North and Baltic Seas?


With increasing water temperatures comes an increasing likelihood of potentially pathogenic bacteria appearing in the North and Baltic Seas. Scientists have now demonstrated that a group of such bacteria known as vibrios can survive on microplastic particles.

Hunting for Mars-like life a kilometre below Earth’s surface


Kate Ravilious takes an 8-minute lift ride to an underground lab in Yorkshire, UK, doing research that could help NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission find life

‘Biblical’ moth influx threatens to devastate crops

Scientists have learned that cabbage and cauliflower crops could potentially be “devastated” by an infestation of moths from continental Europe.

More is better: Diversity, number of soil animals determine leaf decomposition in the forest

Small animals that decompose fallen leaves in the forest form complex food webs and are essential to a functioning ecosystem. A study comprising over 80 forests in Germany and on Sumatra (Indonesia) has now shown that two factors particularly influence this function when examined over larger landscapes: the number of animals and their species diversity. In previous studies, the connection between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning had been investigated mostly in small test areas.