Hibernation linked to longer lifespan of bats

Hibernation linked to longer lifespan of bats

Why bats? A mammals lifespan tends to be linked to its body size. So in theory, the larger the species, the longer it will live. Bats seem to be an exception to this rule with an unusually long lifespan for their body size. Some are shown to live more than four times longer than similar sized mammals. The big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) is the most common bat in North America. A 2022 study on a colony of bats in Ontario, Canada has been looking into their unusually long lifespan of up to 19 years and found a link between longevity, biological ageing and hibernation! A previous study had contributed to the discovery of “longevity” genes. The more recent research suggests that these genes are very closely associated to those related to hibernation. How do they know? A biological process involved in the way in which genes are expressed, called DNA methylation, was measured to find that changes in this process took place in certain...
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Finding a plastic pollution solution

Finding a plastic pollution solution

If you search for plastic pollution news articles you will find that it is at least weekly if not daily that there is something plastic related to talk about. Most recently as an example, published by the BBC on the popularity of artificial grass. There is so much information out there with where we are going wrong, what we can be doing to help and what is and isn’t working. Writing a single blog on this topic is not the easiest, especially with where to start. We all know that plastic pollution is an issue. Campaigns, research and projects have been ongoing for years highlighting the problems, what needs to be done and what can be done but is it just getting worse rather than better? Plastic pollution is literally everywhere. It has been found deep in ocean trenches, uninhabited islands, Antarctica and even inside animals. The scale of plastic pollution is summarised in the UN’s Pollution to Solution report. You don’t need...
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Beavers on the return to the wild?

Beavers on the return to the wild?

In 16th Century Britain the Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) was sadly hunted to extinction for its fur, meat and scent glands. Beavers are known as a keystone species or ecosystem engineers, meaning that they benefit the area around them. This has resulted in projects across the UK trialling the re-introduction of beavers to the wild starting with large enclosures at nature reserves. Beaver Benefits Creation of dams and ditches which aids in the formation of wetland habitat Wetland habitat holds more water in the landscape which filters silt and agricultural chemicals from the water Wetlands are crucial to combatting climate change due to the capturing and storage of carbon and the reduction of greenhouse gases Reduction of flooding Encouraging new species into the area, increasing biodiversity Changes in vegetation composition and diversity (Summarised from current project information by the Wildlife Trusts.) Consideration for the wider release of beavers into the wild is now able to take a step forward with DEFRA announcing legal protection for the species from October 2022...
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Do protected areas benefit wildlife?

Do protected areas benefit wildlife?

A new study published in the journal Nature suggests that there is room for improvement when it comes to protected areas and their impact on wildlife. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): “A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” This includes areas such as national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty. When you look at the definition of a protected area by the IUCN and as the findings of this study would suggest, it’s not just as simple as selecting an area on the map and calling it a protected area. Especially when research indicates that wildlife populations in protected areas are not necessarily any better off than those in unprotected ones. As reported by the BBC, the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) is taking place in the...
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Biodiversity – the variety of all life on earth

Biodiversity – the variety of all life on earth

More than 40,000 species are threatened with extinction. With this being a worrying statistic in itself, the loss of each individual species is part of the much wider concerns of biodiversity loss. Biodiversity is as crucial for human life as it is for the ecosystem. The variety of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms in an ecosystem work together to benefit each other and keep the habitat sustainable. Benefits of biodiversity to humans are known as ecosystem services examples of these include: Forests that reduce flood risks Coastline protection from sea level changes Regulation of pollution by wetlands Even something as simple as a walk in the park to ease anxiety The smallest of changes can have large consequences to a species and its ecosystem. There are many causes of biodiversity loss, many worsened by the impacts of the human population. Big steps are needed in sustainable consumption and production and tackling climate change to think about making up for the biodiversity already lost and how to move forwards...
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Emergency use of neonicotinoid pesticide to put bees at risk

Emergency use of neonicotinoid pesticide to put bees at risk

A recent article by BBC News highlights the approval of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam for sugar beet crops in England in 2022. The pesticide is banned from outdoor use in almost all EU countries due to the risk to pollinator populations. The emergency is a risk of viruses spread by aphids which could potentially affect 70% of the national sugar beet crop and has come a relief to farmers. The government advises that the decision has not been made lightly and contingencies have been put into place following the use of the pesticide. However, the potential risk to pollinating insects, soils and rivers has been met with criticism by The Wildlife Trusts and other conservation organisations questioning the government ignoring expert advice.   Do you think the benefits outweigh the potential risks? ...
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