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Tag: species

Scared to extinction: Fear is powerful enough to wipe out a species, study shows

Scared to extinction: Fear is powerful enough to wipe out a species, study shows

Science
July 24 (UPI) -- New research highlights the immense power of fear. The emotion was strong enough to curb eating and reproduction among groups of fruit flies, increasing the likelihood of extinction.Scientists at Canada's McGill University exposed fruit flies to a pheromone produced by praying mantises, one of the species main predators. The smell was enough to inspire fear. Fruit flies exposed to the pheromone were most cautious. The flies also spent less time eating and reproducing, yielding fewer offspring.In the lab, fruit fly populations affected by fear quickly declined and were unable to rebound. The presence of a praying mantis' scent boosted the chance of extinction by a factor of seven.As prey numbers decline, predators should theoretically move onto other species. But the latest...
Vaquita porpoise: Dolphins deployed to save rare species

Vaquita porpoise: Dolphins deployed to save rare species

Science
Mexico's government says it plans to use dolphins trained by the US Navy to try to save the world's most endangered marine species, the vaquita porpoise. Environment Minister Rafael Pacchiano said that the dolphins would be deployed to locate and herd vaquitas into a marine refuge. Mexico also permanently banned fishing nets blamed for the vaquitas' decline.Scientists estimate that fewer than 40 of the mammals are still alive in their habitat, in the Gulf of California. Mr Pacchiano said the dolphin project would begin in September."We've spent the past year working alongside the US Navy with a group of dolphins they had trained to search for missing scuba divers," he told Formula radio."We've been training them to locate the vaquitas."We have to guarantee we capture the largest possible n...
Whale body size warning for species collapses

Whale body size warning for species collapses

Science
The shrinking size of whales over the 20th Century could help scientists detect when wildlife populations are in trouble, a study suggests.The analysis shows that the average body size of four whale species declined rapidly during the second half of the 20th Century in response to hunting.But warning signals were visible up to 40 years before whale stocks collapsed.The work appears in Nature Ecology and Evolution journal.Christopher Clements, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and his colleagues looked at records on the abundance and body size of whales caught by commercial whaling vessels between 1900 and 1985, after which a global whaling moratorium took effect."We looked at data on blue, fin, sei and sperm whales and found significant declines in body size, with sperm whales ...
Scientists map invasive species hotspots

Scientists map invasive species hotspots

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- Where are alien, or invasive, species most abundant? Where do they have the most success?According to new research by an international team of scientists, foreign invaders -- both plants and animals -- most frequently take root on islands and among the coastal regions of continents.In an effort to identify geographical patterns, scientists mapped the distribution of different types of invasive species, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, spiders, ants and vascular plants. Their analysis identified 186 islands and 423 mainland regions with high concentrations of alien species.Scientists measured the largest number of invasive species -- from all groups -- in Hawaii and New Zealand."Both regions are remote islands that used to be very isolated, lacking so...
Subsea pipelines offer shelter to important commercial fish species in Australia

Subsea pipelines offer shelter to important commercial fish species in Australia

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- For conservationists and environmentalists, pipelines and the oil they carry are mostly viewed as a threat to ecological health. But new research suggests they serve as a safe haven for important commercial fish species off the coast of northwest Australia.The North West Shelf, which lies off the coast of Western Australia, features an array of gas wells, subsea pipelines and other kinds of underwater infrastructure necessary to support oil and gas exploration in the region.Oil and gas companies regularly use remote operated vehicles, or ROVs, to monitor their pipelines. Researchers at the University of Western Australia used video footage from industry submersibles to survey fish diversity and abundance around pipelines at varying depths.Their analysis revealed a surprisi...