Browsing All Posts filed under »biodiversity«

Stocking up on threatened amphibians

March 27, 2017

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Zoos have an important role to play in helping to conserve globally threatened species and building public awareness of biodiversity issues. Following massive declines in recent decades, amphibians are now one of the most vulnerable animal groups, with over 40% of all amphibian species classified as threatened. Despite this collapse, relatively few threatened amphibians are […]

Floating times of riparian seeds

March 27, 2017

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Given the important role that the transport of water-borne seeds plays in the long-distance dispersal of riparian plants, surprisingly little is known about this process.   In laboratory experiments, a team of Australian and Chinese scientists measured the floating times of seeds collected from sixty species of Australian riparian plant species. Most species reached the test […]

Tree cover makes for lower fish diversity

March 27, 2017

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A pervasive feature of lowland streams, especially in areas where land has been cleared for agriculture or urban development, is a decrease in forested cover from the headwaters to the mouth. The presence or absence of streamside tree cover has a profound influence on stream ecology. Streams running through undisturbed forests typically contain large woody […]

Factoring history into threat assessments

December 13, 2016

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Genetic variation allows populations to adapt to environmental changes, and it’s often the case that threatened species exhibit low genetic diversity. Human-produced habitat fragmentation is a well-recognised cause of genetic bottlenecks, but the additional effects of larger-scale biogeographic factors are rarely considered. As an example of such biogeographic impacts, populations that have managed to survive […]

Deciding on sites for conservation

December 13, 2016

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Biodiversity conservation is hampered by the fact that many species haven’t been described and most species ranges haven’t been mapped. As a result, in selecting sites for protection, natural resource managers often resort to the use of surrogate indicators for the species that they wish to conserve. Surrogates may be other, more common, species, or […]

Low biodiversity in productive lakes

December 13, 2016

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The over-supply of nutrients to lakes (through pollution, for example) stimulates the growth of plant plankton, which blocks light from reaching bottom-dwelling algae and higher plants. Therefore, nutrient excess has the potential to reduce habitat diversity and the associated biodiversity of animal plankton, macroinvertebrates and fish. An international team of biologists looked at the relationship […]

Top predator boosts species richness – but not in alien ecosystems

December 13, 2016

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The spiny water flea Bythotrephes longimanus is a large cladoceran, a specialised carnivore and a top predator. Invasions of North American lakes by Bythotrephes have been linked to dramatic changes in food web structure and reductions in species diversity, which seems to contradict the expectation that top predators increase the evenness and diversity of aquatic […]