There was a special ‘Insight’ section in Nature this week (1st June 2017) with comments, reviews, letters and even an Editorial about Biodiversity. As one of the Editors (Alun Armstrong) writes in his Introduction to the special section, “Shepherding our planet's remaining biodiversity through the current era of human population growth, environmental degradation and climatic change is one of the most pressing challenges we face. A return to past ecosystem configurations is not possible. But policies can be put in place to help avert further losses and to maintain ecosystem functions. At stake is not just the viability of the ecosystems on which we depend, but also the very richness of life, in all its colour and complexity.”
Publication date: 6 June 2017
A new paper led by CBER scientists presents an approach to improve predictions of species distributions by incorporating the role of interactions between species. The new method shows promise for improving estimates of species ranges, which will have great practical value across a range of applications, including predicting the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, designing better conservation areas, and anticipating the spread of invasive species and zoonotic diseases.
Publication date: 10 May 2017
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of personnel and funds are preventing MPAs from reaching their full potential. After four years compiling and analyzing data on site management and fish populations in 589 MPAs around the world, Dr. David Gill and co-authors, including Dr Sarah Whitmee from CBER, discovered that shortfalls in staffing and funding are hindering the recovery of MPA fish populations. While fish populations grew in 71 percent of MPAs studied, the level of recovery of fish was strongly linked to the management of the sites. At MPAs with sufficient staffing, increases in fish populations were nearly three times greater than those without adequate personnel. Despite the critical role of local management capacity, however, only 35 percent of MPAs reported acceptable funding levels and only 9 percent reported adequate staff to manage the MPA.
Publication date: 27 March 2017
Flower-rich habitats are key to enhancing the survival of bumblebee families, according to new research involving UCL scientists.
Publication date: 24 March 2017
CBER scientists Georgina Mace, Ben Collen, Richard Pearson and Carole Dalin have been awarded a grant by the Wellcome Trust to evaluate sustainable food systems, healthy diets and the impact of environmental and population changes on food production, as part of a major new international collaborative project led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Publication date: 26 January 2017
The global map of alien bird species has been produced for the first time by a UCL-led team of researchers. It shows that human activities are the main determinants of how many alien bird species live in an area but that alien species are most successful in areas already rich with native bird species.
Publication date: 13 January 2017
When taking pictures photographers try to capture the best angle, the perfect composition, and the ideal light. It is almost as if they were building the image themselves and the result, as we know, can be really impressive. On the other hand, when setting up automatic cameras to record wildlife none of the photographer’s concerns are high in my list of priorities; I’m simply aiming to obtain records of animals. These photographic records are the data I use in my research, and with them I can test hypothesis and describe patterns about the ecology of elusive species. In my PhD, for example, I’m using data from automatic cameras to investigate the effectiveness of parks and natural reserves in protecting large mammals in the Brazilian Cerrado. So, a blurred photo featuring only part of a maned wolf’s body or a distant and dull armadillo almost out of the frame is all I need to identify the species and have the much-needed data for analysis.
Publication date: 6 December 2016
The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change launched on Monday 14th November, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Lancet.
Publication date: 15 November 2016
Dr. Seirian Sumner recently joined CBER, her work seeks to explore the interface between behavioural ecology, biodiversity and conservation. She uses a combination of field ecology and genomics techniques to address questions about how and why animals live in societies.
Publication date: 6 November 2016
CBER's PhD Student, Charlotte Selvey, was recently interviewed by the popular BBC One programme, Countryfile. In her
interview she describes how her PhD research will help evaluate the role of
birds in insect pest control in apple orchards.
Publication date: 31 October 2016
To understand the impact of human mediated threats on biodiversity, scientists frequently turn to data that quantifies human impact on species. A key metric for this is species extinction risk, and the primary source of such data is the IUCN Red List.
Publication date: 24 October 2016
The often opportunistic nature of biological recording via citizen science initiatives can lead to data that are biased towards particular species, places or seasons. However, such biases may give valuable insight into volunteers’ recording behaviour.
Publication date: 14 September 2016
As part of her MRes project with CBER, Jennifer Choyce spent two months in Bermuda looking into the impacts of climate change on calcifying species associated with Sargassum seaweed. Here, she talks about her experience on the project.
Publication date: 20 July 2016