Tag Archives: butterflies

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles

Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45% on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers. 

This decline matters because of the enormous benefits invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans, slugs and worms bring to our day-to-day lives, including pollination and pest control for crops, decomposition for nutrient cycling, water filtration and human health. (more…)

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UCLA Professor Leads Effort to Protect Africa’s Rainforests from Ravages of Climate Change

UCLA professor Thomas B. Smith will head an international research project investigating the effects of climate change on biodiversity in Central Africa’s rainforests, under a $4.95 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

UCLA will receive $3 million through the NSF’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program, the agency announced this week. Smith, the director of UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research and a professor with joint appointments at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, will lead the team of U.S. and international researchers. (more…)

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Science Fair Winner Publishes New Study on Butterfly Foraging Behavior

GAINESVILLE, Fla.University of Florida lepidopterist Andrei Sourakov has spent his life’s work studying moths and butterflies. But it was his teenage daughter, Alexandra, who led research on how color impacts butterflies’ feeding patterns.

The research shows different species exhibit unique foraging behaviors, and the study may be used to build more effective, species-specific synthetic lures for understanding pollinators, insects on which humans depend for sustaining many crops.

In a study appearing online in April in the journal Psyche, researchers used multi-colored landing pads and baits in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity on the UF campus to determine that some butterflies use both sight and smell to locate food, while others rely primarily on smell. (more…)

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The Wondrous World of Insects

*UA Insect Discovery program facilitators have spent years teaching Tucson area youth about the lives of insects while also encouraging them to pursue higher education and studies in science. The program is getting even more financial backing and other support.*

Holding a square, plastic container, Kathleen Walker turned toward the captivated group of dozens of elementary school students seated before her.

She asked: “Do you think there’s a cow in here?” The kindergarteners respond in unison: “No!” Walker smiled a bit. “No, that would be silly, right?” (more…)

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