Welcome to the September BioDump

Welcome to the September BioDump

Welcome back to this month’s BioDump, where we explore all the last month’s wonderful, weird and sad news from the natural world.

The wonderful…

We all think of seals as little furry sea doggos (I do at least), but they’re also a big problem for the fishing industry… or are they? 

 

Spoiler: They’re not, they’re just used as a scapegoat because climate change is the real problem and people don’t want to accept that.

 

 

Here’s a brilliant story of the way one woman saved a quite striking species of stork from extinction, as well as empowering a bunch of women along the way as conservationists.

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is an amazing mammal from Australia, one of which I was lucky enough to see during my last trip home. Their populations have rebounded recently, bringing them back from practically extinct to around 1500 species!

Lastly, here’s a fantastic story of how the sea otter population and the native people of North America’s west coast shaped entire coastal ecosystems, and how working to restore that synergy may be the key to ecosystem maintenance in the future.

… the weird …

While ‘discovering new species’ sounds like something carried out by renegade jungle explorers, the reality these days is that often new species are discovered through the realisation that one species we already knew about is actually two or three different ones. Case in point – these skunks THAT DO HANDSTANDS.

New humans! Numans! A potential new lineage of our genus, Homo, has turned up in Indonesia. This is particularly amazing since ancient DNA usually deteriorates very quickly in the tropics.

You might have seen reports about bringing back the wooly mammoth! What they’re actually doing in transplanting mammoth genes into an Asian elephant in the hope that this new species can take over the place that mammoths vacated in the tundra. This COULD help in the fight against climate change, but introductions would need to be on a MASSIVE scale.

… and the bad news.

Komodo dragon

 

Speaking of climate change, the Komodo dragon is officially on the red-list, the list of endangered species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Island species have a rough time in general, but a large species that spends so much time close to the coast is really in for trouble.

Even more worryingly (unless you’re a Komodo dragon), is this report that climate change will cause both a massive global security threat and a global refugee crisis in the very near future.

The high seas form a massive ecosystem that we know precious little about, which is worrying considering the enormity of its impact on our lives. It’s also doubly worrying seeing as it’s already subject to a litany of human pressures. The linked article also contains a letter you can sign to support the high seas treaty, which aims to protect the high seas and establish better protection practices.

Hugging the coasts a little more tightly, manatees are having a really hard time lately, with lowering water quality thought to be driving a reduction in seagrass beds, which the manatees rely on.

Sam Perrin

Climate Data Analyst, Ducky AS

As well as being one of our climate data experts, Sam is also an avid science communicator and runs the blog Ecology for the Masses, where he and a team of international writers break the world of biodiversity and ecology for the general public. Check it out here!

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