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One in 10 Hong Kong bird species is at risk of extinction

For many people in Hong Kong, talk of endangered species conjures up images of wildlife whose natural habitats are “out there”, somewhere far away – such as giant pandas in the bamboo forests of Sichuan province, polar bears in the Arctic and miniature monkeys in the Brazilian rainforest. If, like me, you are a birdwatcher, however, the list of threatened species feels far closer to home.

The importance of time-to-effect experiments rather than fixed-duration studies for evaluating chronic toxicity

Synthetic fungicides are pesticides widely used in agriculture to control phytopathogenic fungi. The systemicity, persistency and intense application of some of these fungicides, such as boscalid, leads to long periods of exposure for honeybees via contaminated water, pollen and nectar. We exposed adult honeybees in the lab to food contaminated with boscalid for 33 days instead of the standard 10-day test. Most of the toxic effects were observed after 10 days.

The southwestern willow flycatcher is facing serious environmental challenges

Of the four subspecies of willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), three have breeding grounds in California and are listed as endangered by the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife. Because the southwestern subspecies, one of those three subspecies, is listed as endangered by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, ecologists and conservation biologists have studied the birds closely for decades.

Dramatic decline of insects in the Netherlands

Scientific research commissioned by Natuurmonumenten shows that the number of insects is declining dramatically in the Netherlands. Measurements and analyses in recent decades show a decline of 54 percent (ground beetles) and 72 percent (ground beetles) in nature reserves. This represents a dramatic fall in these groups of insects, which is in line with the results of recent German, French, English and Dutch studies. And this is bad, as it has a huge impact on the cycle of life.

Irish bumblebee population in decline

Irish bumblebee populations recorded in 2017 were at the lowest since monitoring began six years ago, with marked losses in critical native species, according to the latest monitoring figures. The declines are confirmed by the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme co-ordinated by Dr Tomás Murray, senior ecologist at the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Co Waterford.

New findings raise concerns about avian malaria in Great Lakes region

The blood parasites that infect songbirds with avian malaria are far more diverse in Southwest Michigan than scientists knew, raising troubling questions about the spread of the disease and its impact on dozens of species of birds in the Great Lakes region. "Parasitism is a widely occurring interaction that drives ecological and evolutionary processes and has profound impacts on biological systems,” according to a newly published study by scientists at Western Michigan University.

Nineteenth-century poet John Clare was essentially foretelling the dire environmental state we see today

Nineteenth-century poet John Clare wove together “descriptions of the environment and accounts of human life,” making no distinction between human and natural history. The anthropologists Richard D.G. Irvine and Mina Gorji argue that this makes him in some ways a poet of our current age, the Anthropocene. He drew connections between the reduction of insect life and the corresponding diminishment of the birds and mammals further up the food chain, essentially foretelling the dire environmental state we see today. Clare recognized an inherent value in land unconnected to human use.

Birds you won’t believe are threatened with extinction

Seven birds that were once considered common and widespread are now plummeting towards extinction. Some of the species on this list will shock you. The European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur is so familiar in Europe that it even features in the second verse of the wildly popular Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Imagine if we had to change the words of the song to reflect the loss of this much-loved species…

Fewer blackbirds in Dutch gardens

The blackbird population in the Netherlands is not doing well, according to Sovon bird research. Sovon's interim figures show that 15 percent fewer blackbirds were spotted in the country so far this year, NOS reports. "We see tens of thousands less than last year. That means that you really hear fewer black birds in the neighborhood", Albert de Jong of Sovon said to the broadcaster. The blackbird is threatened by the Usutu virus, a virus transmitted by mosquitos. In 2012 this virus led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of blackbirds in Germany.