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Old 2021-01-17, 20:42   #56
Dr Sardonicus
 
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Insect decline in the Anthropocene: Death by a thousand cuts
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Nature is under siege. In the last 10,000 y the human population has grown from 1 million to 7.8 billion. Much of Earth’s arable lands are already in agriculture (1), millions of acres of tropical forest are cleared each year (2, 3), atmospheric CO2 levels are at their highest concentrations in more than 3 million y (4), and climates are erratically and steadily changing from pole to pole, triggering unprecedented droughts, fires, and floods across continents. Indeed, most biologists agree that the world has entered its sixth mass extinction event, the first since the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million y ago, when more than 80% of all species, including the nonavian dinosaurs, perished.
No buzz for bees: Media coverage of pollinator decline
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Abstract

Although widespread declines in insect biomass and diversity are increasing concerns within the scientific community, it remains unclear whether attention to pollinator declines has also increased within information sources serving the general public. Examining patterns of journalistic attention to the pollinator population crisis can also inform efforts to raise awareness about the importance of declines of insect species providing ecosystem services beyond pollination. We used the Global News Index developed by the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign to track news attention to pollinator topics in nearly 25 million news items published by two American national newspapers and four international wire services over the past four decades. We found vanishingly low levels of attention to pollinator population topics relative to coverage of climate change, which we use as a comparison topic. In the most recent subset of ∼10 million stories published from 2007 to 2019, 1.39% (137,086 stories) refer to climate change/global warming while only 0.02% (1,780) refer to pollinator populations in all contexts, and just 0.007% (679) refer to pollinator declines. Substantial increases in news attention were detectable only in US national newspapers. We also find that, while climate change stories appear primarily in newspaper "front sections," pollinator population stories remain largely marginalized in "science" and "back section" reports. At the same time, news reports about pollinator populations increasingly link the issue to climate change, which might ultimately help raise public awareness to effect needed policy changes.
Beetle keeps rivals off scent of food buried for offspring
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Some beetles go to great - and disgusting - lengths for their children.

They scout for a dead mouse or bird, dig a hole and bury it, pluck its fur or feathers, roll its flesh into a ball and cover it in goop - all to feed their future offspring.

Now scientists think that goo might do more than just slow decay. It also appears to hide the scent of the decomposing bounty and boosts another odor that repels competitors.
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Old 2021-02-26, 12:13   #57
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Monarch butterflies down 26% in Mexico wintering grounds
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MEXICO CITY (AP) - The number of monarch butterflies that showed up at their winter resting grounds in central Mexico decreased by about 26% this year, and four times as many trees were lost to illegal logging, drought and other causes, making 2020 a bad year for the butterflies.

The government commission for natural protected areas said the butterflies' population covered only 2.1 hectares (5.2 acres) in 2020, compared to 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres) the previous year and about one-third of the 6.05 hectares (14.95 acres) detected in 2018.

Because the monarchs cluster so densely in pine and fir trees, it is easier to count them by area rather than by individuals.

Gloria Tavera, the regional director of Mexico's Commission for National Protected Areas, blamed the drop on "extreme climate conditions," the loss of milkweed habitat in the United States and Canada on which butterflies depend, and deforestation in the butterflies' wintering grounds in Mexico.

Illegal logging in the monarchs wintering rounds rose to almost 13.4 hectares (33 acres), a huge increase from the 0.43 hectare (1 acre) lost to logging last year.
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