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Biodiversity

Howler monkeys are among the species the researchers used to train the system (Photo: Anto...

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

UK architectural firm Blue Forest has revealed its plans to build a large nest-like treeho...

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

Map of Life is a new Google Maps-based website, which indicates the distribution of almost...

Ever wondered if a certain species of animal can be found where you live? The Map of Life website aims to answer this question. A Yale University-led project built on a Google Maps platform, it lists virtually all of the vertebrate animals that can be found at any one point in the world.  Read More

The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) has been developed to allow researchers...

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

The upper toothrows of the giant rat compared to the skull of a common rat (Image: Ken Apl...

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

The Bumblebee City Nesters

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

The OceanCam is an affordable solution to record high definition videos of the ocean depth...

It's often said that we know more about the depths of the Universe than the ocean floors of our own planet, but this might soon change with OceanoCam, a newly-developed cheap underwater camera for capturing high-definition video at great depths, aimed at both research community and the entertainment industry.  Read More

Among more than 350 species found in the eastern Himalayas is the world's smallest deer, t...

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

Yellow crazy ants  Image: CSIRO

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 Podcast  Read More

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