Earth & Climate 

Two-and-a-half-year expedition ends in world’s most biodiverse protected area

After a two-and-a-half-year expedition through the world’s most biodiverse protected area, the Identidad Madidi explorers have concluded their epic quest of completing a massive biological survey of Madidi National Park, uncovering more than 120 potentially new species of plants, butterflies and vertebrates in the process, according to WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society).

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Earth & Climate 

How coyotes conquered the continent

Coyotes now live across North America, from Alaska to Panama, California to Maine. But where they came from, and when, has been debated for decades. Using museum specimens and fossil records, researchers from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University have produced a comprehensive (and unprecedented) range history of the expanding species that can help reveal the ecology of predation as well as evolution through hybridization. Their findings appeared in ZooKeys in May.

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How wheat can root out the take-all fungus

In the soils of the world’s cereal fields, a family tussle between related species of fungi is underway for control of the crops’ roots, with food security threatened if the wrong side wins. Beneficial fungi can help plants to protect themselves from cousins eager to overwhelm the roots, but it’s a closely fought battle.

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Earth & Climate 

The chestnut gall wasp — The threat of an invasive species with clonal reproduction

A molecular study carried out on the chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus, has revealed the absence of genetic variability in this invasive species, a chestnut-tree parasite, in Europe. This is due to the fact that the wasp’s reproduction is strictly parthenogenetic, that is to say the females produce more females without having to be fertilized by a male. This is the main conclusion of the research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, carried out by researchers from the INDEHESA Research Institute of the University of Extremadura, the University of Córdoba, CREAF and the CSIC-UCLM-JCCM Hunting Resources Research Institute.

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Advanced biofuels can be produced extremely efficiently, confirms industrial demonstration

A chance to switch to renewable sources for heating, electricity and fuel, while also providing new opportunities for several industries to produce large numbers of renewable products. This is the verdict of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, who now, after ten years of energy research into gasification of biomass, see an array of new technological achievements.

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