Animal heredity sheds light on survival and extinction risks

As biodiversity declines and causes reductions in the genetic variation of animals, historic genomes offer clues for conservation. By  MICHAEL ALLEN As recently as the early 1800s, thousands of Seychelles paradise flycatcher birds lived on at least five islands off the southeast coast of Africa. By the 1960s, just 28 of the winged creatures were left … Read more

Rushing to save coral reefs from global warming

Greater understanding of how corals reproduce and react to climate change will bolster conservation and restoration. By  JACK MCGOVAN Dr Núria Viladrich of Spain was forced by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 to cancel a planned visit to the US Virgin Islands, where white-sand beaches and rum-coconut cocktails weren’t the main attractions. She wanted access to … Read more

Farmer ants and drama-prone wasps in spotlight for their climate adaptation

In the face of environmental challenges, one kind of ant gets better at growing food and an African wasp species may become more cooperative. By  VEDRANA SIMIČEVIĆ Armed with headlamps and tweezers, American evolutionary ecologist Jonathan Shik and his team spent more than 100 hours lying on the floor of a tropical forest in Panama watching … Read more

Ancient chickens, cows and pigs may hold secrets to modern animal diseases

Sequencing DNA offers hope of explaining changes to farm animals and helping combat their present-day maladies. By  ANTHONY KING The dubious winners of the agricultural revolution, by sheer numbers, are obvious. Living in the world today are 30 billion chickens, 1 billion cows and almost 800 million pigs. While the dawn of agriculture was 8 000 … Read more

Elephants that once threatened Rome could help save their descendants

Ivory from an ancient shipwreck off Spain is providing data that might aid conservation of modern elephant populations. By  MICHAEL ALLEN More than 2 500 years ago a Phoenician ship, most likely a trader bringing luxury goods from the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, ran into trouble off the coast near Cartagena, Spain. The vessel hit the … Read more