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Biodiversity

Science

Study suggests there could be more species on Earth than stars in our galaxy

Biologists at Indiana University believe we may have only discovered a mere thousandth of a percent of the species on our planet. To put a number on it, that means the 10 million or so species identified so far represent a drop on the ocean of as many as one trillion total species. As a point of comparison, consider that current estimates suggest that our home galaxy the Milky Way may contain between 100 and 400 billion stars. This is a big number, with possibly big implications. Read More

Environment

The trees have ears: Automating wildlife detection in the tropics

The tropical ecosystems of Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have ears, and have done for some time. These recording stations were put together with iPods and car batteries which each record 144 60-second recordings every day, and transmit them to a web-enabled base station up to 40 km (25 miles) away. From there they're uploaded to a web app with which biologists train a software algorithm to recognize the chirrups, squeaks and caterwauls of the forest's birds, monkeys, frogs and other fauna. It's all in the name of documenting wildlife, to better understand the effects of deforestation and climate change. And according to scientists at the University of Puerto Rico, it sure beats putting boots on the ground.Read More

Architecture

Blue Forest reveals designs for new Biodiversity Nest Treehouse

UK architectural firm Blue Forest, which has a background in the design and construction of luxury treehouses and lodges, has revealed its plans to build a large nest-like treehouse in the Eden Project’s Humid Tropics Biome. Located in Cornwall, UK, the Eden Project is the world’s largest conservatory, and the planned Biodiversity Nest will sit high amidst its treetops as part of a new Rainforest Canopy Walk. Read More

Science

'Digital observatory' allows global information-sharing to protect biodiversity

Thousands of organizations around the world are working towards protection of ecosystems, yet the sharing of data is extremely limited and often localized – swathes of information that could be important are unknown, unpublicized and from a global perspective, wasted. The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA), developed by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), could pave the way for a new era of understanding. It aims to bring together multidisciplinary data allowing researchers and decision-makers the means to assess, monitor and forecast protected areas globally.Read More

Science

Archaeologists unearth gigantic rat bones in East Timor

I’ve always thought of rats as being quite small and lightweight creatures – even verging on dainty. Well someone forgot to tell the rats in East Timor to keep an eye on their calorie count…archaeologists have discovered rodent bones that suggest the biggest rat that ever lived weighed about six kilograms. That’s about as much as a three month old baby!Read More

Environment

Insects to get luxury accommodations in London parks

A competition in London has designers vying for the attentions of a type of lodger not usually considered when drawing up the plans for a hotel: insects. British Land and the City of London Corporation chose to celebrate the year of biodiversity by holding a competition to see who could design the best "hotel" for insects. It's narrowed the list of entrants down to five finalists, with one winner to be selected by public vote and another to be selected by a panel of experts. Read More

Science

Nature can still surprise us: more than 350 new species found in Himalayas

You’d think there’d be nothing new in the world to discover, but Mother Nature still has a few surprises up her sleeve. According to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), scientists have discovered 353 new species in the eastern Himalayas over the past decade. They include a ‘flying frog’ that glides using long webbed feet, fossil evidence of a 100 million-year-old gecko, and the world’s shortest deer which, when fully grown, stands just 20 inches tall. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Invasive Alien Species threatening global biodiversity

While the implications of climate change for biodiversity have been widely recognised, the insidious effect of invasive alien species (IAS) on global biodiversity stays under the radar. Last Friday was the United Nations’ International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) and the International Convention on Biological Diversity sees IAS as “one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, and to the ecological and economic well-being of society and the planet”. “Increasing globalisation has led to greater movement of new species around the world, and native species killed or stressed by global change will all too often be replaced by these weeds and feral animals,” says CSIRO Biodiversity Research Director, Dr Mark Lonsdale. CSIRO PodcastRead More

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