The Friday Five: Conservation and nature stories from around the world that caught our eyes 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 August 15, 2016.
Mosses: An unlikely hero
While we may not constantly think about simple everyday tasks such as breathing, let's take moment to appreciate early land plants such as mosses and their contributions to our air. A new study conducted by the University of Exeter suggests that the reason why Earth is able to sustain high levels of oxygen is because of these green, spongy superheros from more than 470 millions ago.
Zombie-like honeybees found near Nanaimo
Thanks to a community of citizen scientists on a website called ZomBee Watch, a BC beekeeper named Sarah Wallbank has unveiled the first sighting of "zombie" honeybees near Nanaimo. Discovered in July, these honeybees have been infected with deadly parasitic maggots, which live off the honeybee host. The maggots make the bees buzz around frantically like zombies before dropping to the ground and dying in a few hours. With the global honeybee population already on the decline, many are worried about this new threat that has just entered Canada.
The adorable stubby squid might just be nature's best Pokémon
Not many marine organisms are a shade of vibrant purple almost too good to be true, with big googly eyes that looks like it came from a craft store. But the sighting of a stubby squid 2,950 feet deep off the coast of California matching that description has captured the hearts of many. Commonly found in the Northern Pacific, from Japan to Southern California, the stubby squid has two long tentacles and eight suckered arms. These squids behave like cuttle-fish by burying themselves in the sand.
Straight out of a story book: The wonders of Atauro Island
A Conservation International Team has counted more than 252 species of reef fish in various sites throughout the waters around Atauro Island. This area is predicted to contain the highest biodivesity of reef fish in the world. The good news is, there is an immense push to protect the island, and opportunities for ecotourism and education, too.
Where did the mammoths go?
Research from the University of Alberta has solved the mystery of the extinction of an isolated herd of wooly mammoths on an island 400 kilometres west of Alaska. While their island isolation allowed them to survive thousands of years longer than their mainland cousins, it may have also been the cause of their eventual extinction.