Find out the latest wildlife news: tasty bites of new scientific discoveries in an exciting and uncomplicated shape.
Here you can read, summed up in plain words (not in scientific jargon), some new and very interesting research findings.
I love research and researchers (see Wildlife people are amazing) but I must admit many peer review publications are just too hard to read for entertainment.
Yet this is sad because research is actually amazingly entertaining. Especially when cool wildlife is involved.
This will come as no surprise to all of you Nature lovers: interaction with our beautiful wild planet increases our well-being.
Would you believe it?
Enjoying the beauty of Nature, such as its beaches, is good for you!
The connection has been proved in a review published in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, an American peer-reviewed scientific Journal.
The researchers screened the scientific literature for evidence of the impact of Nature on well-being at different level of interactions:
What they found is that globally, interacting with Nature had positive effects.
Positive effects on health are widely recognised and can include quicker recovery after an illness and in general, improved mental and physical health.
Other benefits are more of a spiritual, inspirational, philosophical or identity or self-improvement nature ; such as increased patience, self-discipline, attention, spirituality, sense-of-place and belonging, being part of something bigger than oneself, and in general, happiness.
The abstract of the paper, entitled: "Humans and Nature: How Knowing and Experiencing Nature Affect Well-Being" can be viewed but you will have to pay for the full text.
Wildhelpers, November 2013
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ 2013 is just out... And it's not good news...
The Red List compiles scientific data and gives a conservation status for all species on which we have appropriate data.
When you hear a species is endangered, we know it thanks to the work done by IUCN.
And the latest news from IUCN are pretty grim:
In total, 20,934 of the 70,294 species assessed are threatened with extinction!
See more details of the results directly on the IUCN website in this article: World’s oldest and largest species in decline – IUCN Red List.
Time to act!
Wildhelpers, July 2013
For us and other animals to live on Earth, we need our ecosystems to work: we need them to clean our water, recycle nutrients, regulate our climate.
For a long time it has been thought that the ecosystem functions (water cleaning, nutrient cycling, food production etc.) relied on common species, species that were numerous enough to provide lots of labour, in a way!
This has sometimes lead to a controversial conservation position: that we could afford to lose rare species without the ecosystem to stop working.
Well, interestingly, new research has just proven otherwise...
Indeed based on a study of three very different ecosystems: coral reefs, tropical forests and alpine meadows, researchers have proven that often rare species provide some unique and fundamental functions.
For example, a rare huge tree in the rainforest of Guyana was a very important insurance policy in case of fire and drought.
The importance of this discovery? CRITICAL!
If rare species are essential for our planet to keep working, we cannot afford to lose them! Thus we need ensure we are preserving all species: common and rare.
Check more details about this fascinating discovery for free: Rare Species Support Vulnerable Functions in High-Diversity Ecosystems.
Wildhelpers, June 2013.
Scientists have just released the results of a 9 years study on frogs (and other amphibians such as toads and salamanders) across the US.
And the results are... pretty sad. All the species studied, everywhere across the US, are declining!
Some of the amphibians species were known to be in trouble before the study. But what was not expected is that even the species that are thought to be "all good" are actually declining.
Another unexpected results was that the most dramatic declines were observed in protected areas managed for the preservation of the environment: it seems we are just not able to protect our frogs even where we try to...
Why are all our frogs disappearing? There might be several causes: habitat loss (usual suspect), pollution, invasive species and a killer disease (Chytrid fungus).
The whole study is available freely if you'd like more details on this widespread frog decline.
Wildhelpers, May 2013
Frogs are in trouble all around the world... Here a beautiful Australian frog.
Giant squids have been a mystery for centuries, and they are the origin of many legendary sea monsters.
They are very hard to study: they live deep in the oceans, and had never been seen alive until recently. The only proof science had of their existence for a long time came from giant scars on sperm whales, telling us stories of fights we cannot imagine!
But scientific have been focusing on these animals, getting samples from whales' stomachs (nice job that would be!) and even getting a first footage of a giant squid swimming of Japan.
The latest findings of all the recent scientific efforts show that the squid remains found all around the world come from only one species.
This means these incredible giants (squids can reach up to 18m long!) are able to travel the entire oceans during their life time...
Not a bad achievement for an invertebrate hey!?
Wildhelpers, May 2013