The latest in a regular series of posts to biodiversity-related* items that have caught my attention during the week:
- One of the unintended (and sometimes intended) consequences of greening our cities may be “eco-gentrification”, as property prices increase and low income families are displaced – this interesting article from The Guardian discusses the phenomenon and its possible solutions.
- The evidence against neonicotinoid pesticides, and specifically their effect on bee populations, continues to mount. In this recent blog post, Philip Strange provides a very useful summary of the findings of some recent studies. The latest research was also covered on the BBC News website and I was struck by this quote from Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the Crop Protection Association, which represents the firms that produce neonicotinoid pesticides: “The latest studies in Nature must be seen in the context of ongoing campaign to discredit neonicotinoid pesticides, regardless of what the real evidence shows.” As if that’s how science actually works! All of us scientists gang together to discredit things. Clueless, and clearly fighting a desperate rear-guard action. There was also some interesting expert reaction on the Science Media website that’s worth reading.
- China continues to throw up new species of birds, both fossil (from 125 million years ago) and living – the Sichuan bush warbler has been know about since 1987, but only just described. A nice example of the Slow Science praised by Brian McGill.
- The tree of life just got more complex: a newly discovered phylum of prokaryotic microbes has genetic features in common with the eukaryotic domains (animals, plants, fungi, etc.) and provides clues as to how complex, multicellular life may have evolved. Here’s links to the abstract of the original paper and to a summary on the BBC News website.
- Finally, as I write this, the results of the General Election are coming in and it looks very likely that the UK will have a majority Conservative government for the next five years. What that means for controversial, large scale developments such as HS2, and for wildlife, biodiversity, and the state of the UK’s ecosystems more generally, remains to be seen. It could be a bumpy few years.
Feel free to recommend links that have caught your eye.