Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH). The researchers say their findings on UK biodiversity between 1970 and 2015, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, may provide evidence that efforts to improve air and water quality could be paying off.
Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades. The research adds to growing evidence of what some scientists have called an “insect apocalypse”, which is threatening a collapse in the natural world that sustains humans and all life on Earth. A third study shows plummeting numbers of aquatic insects in streams.
Neonicotinoid insecticides, also known as neonics, are doing more than killing bees and other insects in record numbers, according to a report issued last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an international environmental advocacy group. Neonics, the council says, are contaminating New York State’s soil and water and “hollowing out ecosystems from the bottom up.”
A team of scientists from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and New Zealand tracked dung beetles in 30 forest plots scattered throughout the Brazilian state of Pará from 2010 to 2017. In total, they counted more than 14,000 dung beetles from 98 species. They also monitored how effectively the beetles were moving dung out of the plots, and how many seeds they were dispersing.
Ob Bachstelze (Motacilla alba), Wiesenpieper (Anthus pratensis) oder Rauchschwalbe (Hirundo rustica): Die Zahl der von Insekten lebenden Vögel ist in den vergangenen 25 Jahren europaweit deutlich zurückgegangen. Laut einer im Fachjournal Conservation Biology veröffentlichten Studie sank sie durchschnittlich um 13 Prozent. Rund die Hälfte aller Vogelarten in Europa ernährt sich von Insekten. Noch erschreckendere Zahlen hatte vor zwei Monaten die Naturschutzorganisation Nabu (Naturschutzbund Deutschland) unter Verweis auf eine Zählung des European Bird Census Council genannt.
The emergence of Hexagenia limbata mayflies, throughout the Great Lakes and parts of the mid-Atlantic region, is nearly a religious event in angling circles. Each year in early June, these enormous mayflies blanket the landscape, emerging by the billions each night, smothering waterways, riverbanks, roadways and more with thousands of tons of trout-candy biomass. Not long ago, these historic and essential emergences were almost wiped out. By 1970, Hexagenia were gone from large swaths of the Midwest.
The May 2019 newsletter of the Saitama Ecosystem Conservation Society describes how, before the introduction of neonicotinoids in the 1990s, numberless brilliant red akiakane or autumn darter dragonflies could be seen around rice fields in the fall. Experiments by Japanese dragonfly expert Tetsuyuki Ueda of Ishikawa Prefectural University showed how the pesticides reduced the number of surviving dragonfly nymphs to a small fraction, and that the chemicals persist for years in the soil of rice paddy fields.
Two papers about the future of the planet appeared within a month of each other (June/July 2015): "Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction" was the first. The 6 authors calculated the average rate of vertebrate losses over the last century and compared it with the background rate of losses. They estimated it to be up to 114 times the background rate and asserted that this rate of losses of biodiversity indicated that a sixth mass extinction is already under way.
Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L., 1758), the largest and most size-dimorphic species of grouse, is decreasing in number throughout its man-modified range in the boreal forests of the Palaearctic. Poor reproduction owing to direct and indirect effects of commercial forestry is considered a main cause of the decline. We studied brood habitats in a pristine forest in northwestern Russia to identify key elements in habitat selection in the natural environment of this species.