Tuesday taster: 04/07/2017

Last week, I was at a conference (Trait covariation: structural and functional relationships in plant ecology) organised by the New Phytologist Trust. I liked it very much; I especially liked the versatility of the ecological community in approaching big open ecological questions. I will soon give a more elaborate update about the symposium, but if you cannot wait click here to see the abstract book.

A good example of the versatility of the ecological community is the recently accepted paper by Kuppler et al. in Functional Ecology, describing the difference in resource space use by insects that visit native plants and those that visit invasive plants on Hawaii.  Interestingly, invasive species were much more effectively exploited, potentially giving them a fitness advantage over native plants.

Staying with insects; you will probably have read about Science’s latest report on the effects of pesticides on pollinators. If not, here is the link to the paper that has caused much discussion already (see f.e. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/29/pesticides-damage-survival-of-bee-colonies-landmark-study-shows, or https://www.nature.com/news/largest-ever-study-of-controversial-pesticides-finds-harm-to-bees-1.22229)

Last but not least, Prof. Stephen Hawking alleges that the USA’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreements on Acting Against Climate Change could have consequences as drastic as turning our planet into one with conditions as found on Venus. But according to Figueres and colleagues in the latest issue of Nature, it is not yet too late. They set an interesting, but challenging plan to start decarbonizing the world’s economy, thereby significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions by the end of next decade.

And with that positive perspective, I wish you all a good and productive week.

Bjorn Robroek

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