Sixth mass extinction could destroy life as we know it– biodiversity expert

Image credit - Paul VanDerWerf, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alarming declines in the number of insects, vertebrates and plant species around the world have raised fears that we are in the midst of a sixth major extinction that could cause a collapse of the natural ecosystems we rely upon to survive. Urgent international action is needed to halt this potentially catastrophic decline in biodiversity, … Read more

Noisier waters linked to behaviour change, hearing loss in whales

Image Credit - Flickr/spezz CC BY 2.0

Studies investigating whale-watching boats and the inner ears of marine mammals could soon provide new insight into the effects of noisier oceans on cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – who depend on their hearing for navigating, finding food and communicating underwater. Noise in our oceans is increasing due to human activities such as shipping, … Read more

Cerebral palsy: studying baby steps could lead to better treatments

Image credit - Paul Eisenberg, licensed under CC BY 2.0, image was cropped

Understanding the progression from the stepping reflex to independent walking could help find new therapies for children with cerebral palsy (CP) – a movement disability caused by brain damage before, during or shortly after birth. A baby’s first steps are a magical moment – an early stepping stone towards independent walking. Children usually begin to … Read more

How scientists are piecing together the history of the moon

ANDY SMITH ASTRONOMY

In the solar system’s early days, a first Earth is thought to have been pulverised by a planet that scientists call Theia. We don’t know what it was made of or where it came from, only that it may have been the size of Mars. The powerful collision destroyed both planets so completely that scientists … Read more

‘It eats everything’ – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict

Image credit - Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Annette Ekin We’re fighting a different kind of wildfire whose behaviour experts are struggling to predict. Climate change and negligent forest management are causing higher-intensity, faster-moving fires that can generate enough energy to evolve into erratic firestorms, known as pyroCbs, in the face of which first responders can do little. ‘Traditionally we could predict the fire behaviour and the … Read more

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