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Ecosystem

Analysis and Comment (15)

Every living organism needs the same five basic processes – and we can now model ecosystems on them. Every living organism needs the same five basic processes – and we can now model ecosystems on them. erban/Flickr

Life boils down to five ‘rules’ … or so says the Madingley Model

It may sound overly simple, but just five processes can define us as animals: eating, metabolism, reproduction, dispersal and death. They might not seem like much, but, thanks to a mathematical model from…
Cod: in search of cold waters. Cod: in search of cold waters. August Linnman

Fish may end up in hot water as climate warms the ocean

The rate at which the world has warmed over the past 50 years and is likely to continue to do so in the future poses problems for life on land and in the ocean. Most species have a defined range of temperatures…
What? It’s just a flesh wound. What? It’s just a flesh wound. Steve Jurvetson

Restore large carnivores to save struggling ecosystems

We are losing our large carnivores. In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, bears, dingoes, wolves, and otters is changing landscapes, from the tropics to the Arctic…
But what can bankers teach birds? But what can bankers teach birds? iwinatcookie

Birds, bees, and banks: lessons from collapsing ecosystems

Figuring out why financial crises emerge in seemingly stable economies is tough. Widespread collapses are notoriously difficult to predict - to do so requires a comprehensive view of a complex, interconnected…
The decline of digging mammals, such as this bilby, is threatening Australia’s ecosystems. The decline of digging mammals, such as this bilby, is threatening Australia’s ecosystems. AAP Image/National Parks and Wildlife

Losing Australia’s diggers is hurting our ecosystems

Despite once being described as common, mammals have been lost across the Australian landscape over the last 200 years. The impact has been particularly severe on Australia’s digging mammals, including…
Artificial photosynthesis may lead to a world that no longer bludges off the environment and accords nature its own rights. Artificial photosynthesis may lead to a world that no longer bludges off the environment and accords nature its own rights. Shutterstock

Artificial photosynthesis could extend rights to nature

Should ecosystems have legally enforceable rights? It might sound like a ridiculous idea, but a global debate on this is in full swing. The Constitution of Ecuador now recognises rights of nature. Environmental…
This is what a dysfunctional ecosystem looks like: central Asia’s Aral Sea. This is what a dysfunctional ecosystem looks like: central Asia’s Aral Sea. PhillipC/Flickr

Identifying ecosystems at risk – the new IUCN Red List

We know quite a lot about which species around the world are most endangered. The Red List of threatened species, developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), identifies…
Locally, tipping points are real, but it’s unlikely the whole globe will go at once. Locally, tipping points are real, but it’s unlikely the whole globe will go at once. Truthout.org

Worrying about global tipping points distracts from real planetary threats

In a paper published today in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Barry Brook and colleagues argue against the idea of an ecological global-scale “tipping point”. Here, Professor Brook outlines the paper’s…
Back, sperm, back: a human egg on the tip of a pin. Back, sperm, back: a human egg on the tip of a pin. Flickr/wellcome images

Squaring up to difficult truths: how to reduce the population

Elephants in the room, part two For all our schemes and mantras about making our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands. What are the deep…
Given our neo-Platonic visions of universal ecologies, when it comes to restoring waterways we’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Given our neo-Platonic visions of universal ecologies, when it comes to restoring waterways we’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Flickr/Annadriel

Science’s stagnant thinking: our rivers need a revolution

I’ve been away in the UK for a few years – and what do I find when I come back? In the Murray Darling we are still arguing over inputs (the amount of water to be returned to the river) instead of focusing…
Biodiversity and farming are uneasy bedfellows: a lonely tree in a canola field in Western Australia. Biodiversity and farming are uneasy bedfellows: a lonely tree in a canola field in Western Australia. Flickr/augustusoz

Biodiversity and farming: finding ways to co-exist

Biodiversity and farming go head to head in two R&D projects that I have a hand in. The struggles to both feed the swelling ranks of humanity and save our continent’s natural splendour are so often…
Our teeming attack on the natural world threatens to turn the wilderness into a fetish item. Our teeming attack on the natural world threatens to turn the wilderness into a fetish item. AAP/The Wilderness Society

Squaring up to difficult truths: population and the environment

Elephants in the room, part one For all our schemes and mantras about making this or that part of our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands…

Research Briefs (12)