The Friday Five: Conservation and nature stories from around the world that caught our eye this week
Each week, countless inspiring and informative stories are published about conservation successes or discoveries in nature and wildlife around the world. Here are some of the conservation and nature stories that caught our attention the week of May 16, 2016:
Biodiversity shields fish communities from warming
A recent analysis of survey results from around the world suggests that fish communities with higher biodiversity lead to more resilient ecosystems. With data collected from tropical to polar waters, scientists found that warmer water temperatures boost fish biomass, while high fluctuations in temperatures hinder it. With warmer ocean waters, higher species diversity may help buffer the effects of climate change.
A secret forest grew for millennia in North America without anyone noticing
Researchers did not expect to find old trees in an urbanizing city just outside of Toronto. But over years of studying cliff faces and their ecology, researchers have discovered some really gnarly looking cedars that turned out to be hundreds of years old! The steep cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment have been a haven for trees that are able cling to the vertical surfaces.
A third of birds in North America threatened with extinction (Video)
The Status of the Birds Report 2016, released this week, reports that one-third (or more than 400 species) of North America's migratory birds are facing extinction. Among them are ocean and shorebird species, birds of the prairie grasslands and songbirds. The sobering news, which made ripples throughout the mediasphere this week, is a case for strengthening cross-border conservation efforts.
Reintroduction of lynx requires larger numbers to avoid genetic depletion
An international research team investigated the genetic diversity of European lynx in the Bohemian-Bavarian and Vosges-Palatinian forests in central Europe. Researchers found very low genetic diversity in introduced populations, compared to naturally occuring lynx populations.
A sneaky alligator (with a curious sweet tooth) was caught swiping a watermelon from a Florida field
And finally, something sweet to end the week: a Florida agricultural crimes sheriff was faced with a menacing reptilian watermelon thief. An alligator, estimated to be 10 feet long, was caught in the act of stealing a watermelon, and there's photographic evidence to prove it. The unusual choice of food has wildlife biologists puzzled, as melons are generally not a part of a gator's diet.