Category Archives: Ecology

‘Species repulsion’ enables high biodiversity in tropical trees

Veronique Greenwood writes: For ecologists, tropical rainforests hold many enigmas. A single hectare can contain hundreds of tree species, far more than in forests closer to the poles. Somehow these species coexist in such dizzying abundance that, as naturalists and ecologists have sometimes noted, tropical forests can feel like botanical gardens, where every plant is… Read More »

Elephants never forget war

Charles Digges writes: If, as the saying goes, elephants never forget, then the elephants in the wildlife haven of Gorongosa National Park probably remember Mozambique’s civil war better than some humans do. So indelible are the memories of the country’s 15-year-long civil war, which raged from 1977 to 1992, that they are written in the… Read More »

‘Catastrophic’ loss: Huge colonies of emperor penguins saw no chicks survive last year as sea ice disappears

CNN reports: As rapidly warming global temperatures help push Antarctica’s sea ice to unprecedented lows, it’s threatening the very existence of one of the continent’s most iconic species: emperor penguins. Four out of five emperor penguin colonies analyzed in the Bellingshausen Sea, west of the Antarctic Peninsula, saw no chicks survive last year as the… Read More »

What happens when the heat repeats?

Kylie Mohr writes: For two years now, scientists, shellfish managers, and tribes have been working to understand how the heat dome that settled over the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2021 affected the places where the ocean and land meet. That heat wave was like nothing in memory. Temperatures soaring as high as 121… Read More »

Critics of ‘degrowth’ economics say it’s unworkable – but from an ecologist’s perspective, it’s inevitable

Shutterstock/Matt Sheumack By Mike Joy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington You may not have noticed, but earlier this month we passed Earth overshoot day, when humanity’s demands for ecological resources and services exceeded what our planet can regenerate annually. Many economists criticising the developing degrowth movement fail to appreciate this critical point… Read More »

Earth’s story is not about dynasties but communities

Riley Black writes: The worst day in the entire history of life on Earth happened in the northern springtime. On that day, the last of the Age of Dinosaurs, a roughly seven-mile-wide chunk of rock that had been hurtling towards our orbit for millions of years slammed into Earth’s midsection and immediately brought the Cretaceous… Read More »

How Costa Rica saved its biodiversity

CNN reports: Pedro Garcia nurses a plate of seeds on his lap. “This is my legacy,” he says, tenderly picking up the seed of a mountain almond – a tree which can grow up to 60 meters (200 feet) tall and is a favored nesting spot for the endangered great green macaw. Aged 57, Garcia… Read More »

Modern ‘sixth mass extinction’ event will be worse than first predicted, says report

GrrlScientist writes: Tragically, the global mass extinction event that we find ourselves in the midst of will be even worse than originally predicted, according to a recent study (ref). The international team of scientists came to their conclusion after analyzing population trends data for more than 71,000 animal species — including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians,… Read More »