Wheat Crop

Earthworm Bounty Calculated

Earthworm bounty calculated by scientists who correlated a global atlas of earthworm abundance with maps of agricultural production, taking into account soil properties and artificial fertilisers. They concluded: “Our findings indicate that earthworms contribute to roughly 6.5% of global grain (maize, rice, wheat, barley) production and 2.3% of legume production, equivalent to over 140 million […]

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Pitcher Plants

Pitcher Plants Thrive on Shrew Poo

Like all plants, pitcher plants need a source of nitrogen to grow well. Most plants get this from the soil, from nitrogen rich animal droppings which have been incorporated into the soil. Carnivorous plants can also obtain nitrogen from ‘prey’. Some species pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes can also capture animal droppings as their […]

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Great Barrier Reef

Barrier Reef ‘Re-Cover Up’

A survey of the Great Barrier Reef by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has found the northern and central reef regions have the highest coral cover seen since the regular surveys began 36 years ago. The Great Barrier reef is not one single reef but a large series of reefs along the coast […]

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Red Algae

Pollination in the Sea

A group of European researchers have studied a seaweed named Gracilaria gracilis that grows in the tidepools around Europe.  This seaweed is in a class of red algae known as Florideophyceae, and has separate male and female forms.  Unlike many marine organisms the females do not release their eggs into the water to be fertilised, […]

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Salmon in River

Melting Glaciers Make More Salmon Rivers

Glaciers in the Pacific Northwest of USA and Canada are melting and turning into streams of flowing fresh water. Scientists from the University of Birmingham have studied some of these new rivers and found salmon had colonised them when migrating from the ocean into rivers in order to spawn. These scientists have joined with Kara […]

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Polar Bear

Polar Bears Benefit from Arctic Warming

Polar bears benefit from arctic warming, according reports in ScienceDaily 23 September 2020 and Global Change Biology, 23 September 2020, doi: 10.1111/gcb.15286. An international team of scientists have studied a population of polar bears living in Kane Basin a region in the high Arctic between Ellesmere Island, Canada and Greenland. They compared the bears’ overall […]

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Fungus Unchanged For 400 Million Years

Fungus unchanged for 400 million years, as reported in Botany One 29 June 2020, and Annals of Botany 24 June 2020, doi: 10.1093/aob/mcaa113.  Scientists have studied thin sections of the fossil bearing Lower Devonian Rhynie chert in Scotland, which is dated as 410 million years old.  They found exquisitely preserved reproductive structures, known as spore-saccule […]

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Jellyfish

Jellyfish are Ecosystem Engineers

Jellyfish are ecosystem engineers reported in Hakai Magazine 19 February 2020 and bioRxiv 8 November 2019, doi.org/10.1101/784173. Tides and winds keep water flowing in most coastal regions, but in some sheltered areas among mangroves, tides and winds may not penetrate enough to keep the water moving. Scientists at University of South Florida who were studying […]

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Opossum

Possum Pollination

Possum pollination found, as described in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 12 February 2020, In Defense of Plants 16 February 2020, and Ecology, 11 February 2020; doi: 10.1002/ecy.3001.  Scientists in South America have studied an obscure plant named Scybalium fungiforme, that lives most of its life underground as root parasite, but does produce flowers that […]

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Weevil

Weevil Larvae at Sea

Weevil larvae at sea according articles in Journal of Experimental Biology, 13 December 2018, doi: 10.1242/jeb.195792. Flightless insects and small invertebrates are found all over the world, including remote islands. In order to get to such places they must cross long stretches of ocean.  Even if they are carried on rafts of vegetation they will […]

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