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Gleanings from Headline News – August 2022

Migratory Monarch Butterfly Now Endangered- IUCN Red List-Press Release – IUCN

A report published in late July shows that the migratory monarch butterfly – Danaus plexippus plexippus – has been feeling the effects of drastic changes in climate. According to this release, climate change and an increase in the occurrence of wildfires have drastically affected the world’s natural supply of milkweed, the primary feeding source for monarch butterflies. IUCN recommends that those who are capable help out by reducing the use of pesticides and by planting native milkweed. On a community level, community research can assist in this, making a community of practice like ours at ELA all the more essential. Read more here.

You Don’t Need a Microscope to See the Biggest Bacteria Ever Found – NYTimes

In a Mangrove Forest in the Caribbean, scientists have discovered the largest bacteria ever found. The bacteria was viewed as a filament shape approximately the size of a human eyelash, with an entire bacteria visible to the naked eye being one cell. The discovery of this bacteria indicates that scientists have underestimated the complexity and potential complexity of bacteria, as this giant single-celled organism (Thiomargarita magnifica) is more complex than any researcher ever thought possible. To learn more about this amazing new discovery, click here.

Agri-environment Measures Boost Wildlife Populations in Long-Term Farm Study – Science Daily

A 1,000-hectare farm in Buckinghamshire ran a decade-long closely monitored experiment on agri-environmental measures that could reduce biodiversity loss. The farm planted seed-bearing plants for birds, wildflowers to support pollinators, and tussocky grass margins to support a wide range of birds, insects, and small animals. The experiment monitored the effects on biodiversity on Hillesden farm, compared to farms without agri-environmental measures. The results were stunning. Without loss to the food yield, bird populations increased by a third, butterfly populations increased by nearly 40%, and some of the crop yields were even increased. To learn more about this study, read here.

Highest Coral Cover in Central, Northern Reef in 36 Years – Science Daily

Coral Reefs are one of the most important parts of an ocean ecosystem. They house hundreds of different species and are essential carbon sinks. The Australian Institute on Marine Science has just announced that after years of panic over mass coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, the northern region is showing the highest cover since the institute began tracking it 36 years ago. Even though the reef has experienced its fourth mass bleaching event in 7 years, it has not matched the intensity of other recent events and is not expected to lead to mass coral death. This is a welcome bout of positive news in the climate change sphere, to learn more about this good news, read here.

Discovery of the Interactions Between Plants and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi –

Researchers have spent some time looking into the mutualistic associations between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These associations are one of the most ancient observations of symbiosis, as well as one of the most broadly occurring. To find out more about how this fungus can help your garden, click here.

A rare, colorful ‘rock star’ bird is drawing feather fans to Raleigh to catch a glimpse –

Biodiversity and Bird lovers unite! A painted bunting was spotted in North Carolina earlier this month, marked by its vibrant red, green, and blue coloring. The bird is often referred to as “the most beautiful bird in North America”, and has incited a storm of tweets and travelers going to see the bird for themselves. What is the most beautiful bird you spotted this summer? For more details on this rare bird sighting, click here.

Senate Passes Historic Climate Bill- Here’s What Comes Next – Scientific American

On August 7, the United States Senate passed a sweeping bill with historic climate provisions. The Inflation Reduction Act holds 367 billion dollars in climate and energy spending. To earn bipartisan support, the bill is filled with provisions for gas and oil companies, and it has no firm caps or restrictions on emissions. Find out what happens now in the Scientific American.

Spiders might be capable of dreaming – Washington Post

A new study has found that the Evarcha arcuata species of jumping spider enters REM sleep. This may have indications of the possibility of dreams for our eight-legged friends. Read more here.

Regenerative Tourism Invites Travelers to Get Their Hands Dirty – Smithsonian Magazine

Here’s a news byte that will sound familiar to our eco-tour enthusiasts! Vacations planned around conservation activities seem to be growing in popularity, according to Melissa Hart in Smithsonian Magazine. Shortly after the pandemic began, six leisure travel organizations who had stopped planning vacations due to COVID united to form the Future of Tourism Coalition. The goal of this coalition is to mitigate the damages of traditional tourism and to form a new kind of tourism that gives back to the earth and hosting communities. For more history on regenerative tourism and tips on planning your next trip, click here.

Inclusive Dialogues Advance Conservation Across the US-Canada Border – Large Landscapes

Being that the U.S.-Canada border is the longest international border in the world, there is much to learn from it and many political borders that intersect that divide. The border is the home of many indigenous territories, most of which are the only territories left after being pushed off of larger land swathes by colonizers. For this reason, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation began a series of strategic dialogue events with several hundred attendees. A small task force from the center was formed to digest the key themes and recurring ideas from the dialogues. Their report can be found here.