Category Archives: Plants & Animals

Extermination Of Other Mega Fauna Leaves Parrots As Prime Amazon Seed Dispersers

The consideration of parrots, in addition to tapirs, monkeys, carnivore mammals, corvids, squirrels, large rodents and other large vertebrates as legitimate long-distance endozoochorous and especially stomatochorous dispersers of seeds that adjust to the megafaunal syndrome has deep implications in ecology, evolution and conservation of biodiversity. This evaluation is especially important due to the delicate conservation status of many of these species, both dispersers and large-seeded palms and trees. (Click on title for full story).

Preserving Trees In Pastures Helps Reptiles Survive

They often like woody debris, leaf litter and fallen logs, which further emphasises the importance of trees to ground features and the importance of retaining trees in grazed environments (Click on title for full story).

North America’s Song Birds At Greatest Risk From Central America’s Deforestation

The resulting analysis found that 21 species of eastern-flyway forest birds well known to U.S. birders—including Least Flycatchers, Tennessee Warblers, and Indigo Buntings—spend up to 200 days per year, on average, at their wintering grounds in Central America. And they really crammed into those southern forests: The migrants occurred in densities three times higher than at their summertime nesting areas. The researchers then modeled how changes in land-use (like converting forest to farmland or homes) and climate (like changes in temperature and rainfall) might affect both breeding and wintering areas by 2050. The computer models showed that, within 40 years, deforestation on wintering grounds will pose the greatest threat to these migratory species—even more so than habitat loss where they breed. (Click on title for full story.)

First Plant To Use Cockroach For Seed Dispersal Discovered

In forest ecosystems, cockroaches are known as important decomposers that consume dead and decaying plants. Quite unexpectedly, however, researchers have found that they also provide seed dispersal “services” for the plant Monotropastrum humile, a forest-floor herb belonging to the azalea family (Ericaceae). This entirely new mode of plant–insect interaction (Click on title for full story).

Night Pollinators Turned Off When Lights Turned On

When the sun goes down, moths, beetles and other nocturnal insects that spread pollen between plants go to work. But the latest research reveals that these creatures might be at risk from artificial lighting. (Click on title for full story.)


Planting For Monarchs: Helpful Or Really A Threat To The Species?

Planting milkweed in your garden is a really feel-good thing, but it’s not really the conservation solution, (Click on title for full story.)


Crops Control Pests By Turning Them Into Cannibals

It is not unusual for insect pests to feast on each other as well as on their staple veg, but it’s now been shown that tomato plants can team up to directly push caterpillars into cannibalism. “This is a new ecological mechanism of induced resistance that effectively changes the behaviour of the insects,” (Click on title for full story.)


Putting Defense First: Plants Reserve Richest Nectar For Defending Ants, Not For Pollinators

So-called ant-plants carefully manage the amount and sweetness of nectar produced on their flowers and leaves, a study shows.This enables them to attract ants – which aggressively deter herbivores – while also luring insects that will spread pollen. Click on title for full story.)


Invasive Plants And Invasive Earthworms: An Insidious Partnership

Earthworms affect competition among plants both indirectly, by modifying habitat, and directly, by selectively eating roots, seeds and seedlings. The changes they make in forest habitats could favor invasive plants in several ways. (Click on title for full story.)


Thorns And Spines Did Not Develop On Plants For The Reasons You Thought

The overwhelming bulk of the scientific literature on the ecological and evolutionary purpose of thorniness (or, to use biologists’ preferred terminology, spinescence) has focused on the hypothesis that mammalian herbivores are the main target. That may have been a mistake. Over the years, studies of how well sharp deterrents discourage hungry mammals have returned mixed results. (Click on title for full story.)