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Articles on Insects

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These insects are basically little machines that convert carbon-rich leaves into nitrogen-rich poo. (John Gunn)

Very hungry caterpillars can have large effects on lake quality and carbon emissions

As environmental engineers, invasive caterpillars can have remarkable effects on water quality and soil conditions. But from a climate perspective they’re pretty much a nuisance.
Environmental DNA is a promising tool for tracking species in freshwater ecosystems like Oregon’s Elkhorn Creek. Greg Shine, BLM/Flickr

Scientists at work: We use environmental DNA to monitor how human activities affect life in rivers and streams

Rivers are among the most embattled ecosystems on Earth. Researchers are testing a new, inexpensive way to study river health by using eDNA to count the species that rivers harbor.
Coprophanaeus lancifer, a large seed-disperser dung beetle in the Amazon. Hannah Griffiths

Counting mammals, birds and dung beetles could be vital for saving the Amazon

We know surprisingly little about the millions of animals, plants and birds that live in the Amazon – here’s how we can understand them better.
Researchers crack the conundrum about why African Baobab trees in southern Africa differ in terms of fruit production. Sarah Venter

The sex organs of baobab flowers may solve the puzzle of trees that bear more fruit

Baobab flowers have male and female parts but individual trees appear to be favouring one rather than the other. To keep tree populations healthy and fruitful, both types are needed.

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