Protecting an iconic desert one pixel at a time

When dealing with highly invasive plants in fragile ecosystems, managers need effective management tools to prioritize their time and efforts. In their recently published Data Article, Gerst and colleagues describe a new tool by the USA National Phenology Network to help invasive buffelgrass managers efficiently schedule herbicide treatment efforts. The Sonoran Desert, which covers the southern half of the Arizona, southeastern California, and large portions … Continue reading Protecting an iconic desert one pixel at a time

One-size does not fit all: Insights from a novel outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis in Northern England

The control of tuberculosis is an ongoing issue worldwide. A new study by Rossi and colleagues shows how genomic surveillance and a deep knowledge of the micro-scale landscape can provide invaluable insights on the effective control policies to tackle this issue. How do novel pathogen problems emerge? Have local conditions changed, making an outbreak more likely? How did the outbreak originate, and what will the … Continue reading One-size does not fit all: Insights from a novel outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis in Northern England

A deep learning model for pollinator plant surveys

Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) feeding on the nectar of Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) flowers © Damien Hicks Authors Damien Hicks and Christoph Kratz introduce their team’s latest research demonstrating the use of machine learning for quadrat surveys to improve accessibility and resource efficiency of current methods for floral vegetation monitoring. The nectar sugar contained in flowers is a key driver of pollinator abundance and diversity. … Continue reading A deep learning model for pollinator plant surveys

Forest regeneration can help preserve the evolutionary history of tropical wildlife

In their latest research, Farneda and colleagues show how secondary forest regeneration affects the evolutionary dimension of bat diversity in the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP) landscape, Central Amazon, Brazil. Land-use change across the tropics is pervasive, leading to widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. It is also a key driver of biodiversity loss. However, the agricultural abandonment in many tropical regions has led … Continue reading Forest regeneration can help preserve the evolutionary history of tropical wildlife

Connect the dogs: A framework to inform countrywide connectivity conservation of India’s wild dogs

Conserving threatened species requires taking a landscape or regional scale approach to maintain connectivity among populations. In a new study, Rodrigues and colleagues propose a framework for informing countrywide connectivity conservation for large carnivores, focusing on the endangered Asiatic wild dog in India. Why conserve connectivity? The increase in human footprint and rapid changes in land-use patterns threaten the existence of several endangered species. Recent … Continue reading Connect the dogs: A framework to inform countrywide connectivity conservation of India’s wild dogs

Research stories: the power of participatory research

Lead author Rachel Aronoff recalls her discovery of Hackuarium, a community laboratory, whose study on lake water quality demonstrates how meaningful environmental monitoring can be achieved with participatory research. It was late in 2015 when I first encountered Hackuarium and its ‘biohacker’ members while organising a biosensor course in collaboration with several of its members – I had never seen anything like it. Who were … Continue reading Research stories: the power of participatory research

Tracking data can provide a data-driven approach for high seas conservation

A new Policy Direction by Davies and colleagues showcases a candidate high seas marine protected area (MPA) in the Northeast Atlantic, identified primarily from seabird tracking data, that is being taken forward under a regional process: the North Atlantic Current and Evlanov Seamount (NACES) MPA, under the OSPAR Commission.  The high seas are international waters beyond any country’s jurisdiction. Although out-of-sight, beyond 200 nautical miles … Continue reading Tracking data can provide a data-driven approach for high seas conservation

Where will the whales be? Ecological forecast models present new tools for conservation

Dynamic forecast models predict environmental conditions and blue whale distribution up to three weeks into the future, with applications for spatial management. Founded on a robust understanding of ecological links and lags, a new study by Barlow & Torres presents new tools for proactive conservation. The ocean is dynamic. Resources are patchy, and animals move in response to the shifting and fluid marine environment. Therefore, … Continue reading Where will the whales be? Ecological forecast models present new tools for conservation

Taming the wild uncertainty of a multi-species reintroduction project

Reintroduction projects are becoming more complex, often involving the translocation of multiple species. In their latest research, Peterson and colleagues use ensembles of ecosystem models to compare 23 alternative reintroduction strategies on Dirk Hartog Island in Western Australia  The idea of “rewilding” has gained popularity worldwide, and there is an interesting dialogue at play around the meaning of the term – some may allude to “playing … Continue reading Taming the wild uncertainty of a multi-species reintroduction project

Supporting biological pest control with different agri-environment schemes

Biological pest control is a key ecosystem service in sustainable agriculture. In their latest research, Edina Török and colleagues investigated and evaluated the efficacy of two of the most popular agri-environment schemes (AES): organic farming and flower strips. Organic farming and flower strips both have features that are beneficial for the natural enemies of crop pests. Organic farming is considered to be an environmentally friendly … Continue reading Supporting biological pest control with different agri-environment schemes