Shining a light on ecosystem services

Humans rely on nature’s rich bounty for a vast array of services, from pollination, water, food, soil and air quality to materials, inspiration, medicine and wellbeing. But we reap what we sow. These gifts for humanity – known as ecosystem services – are waning, according to an exhaustive review and synthesis of thousands of peer … Continue reading Shining a light on ecosystem services

NatureWrap: These guys mess with killer whales

Long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) off southern Australia mimic the calls of killer whales – their natural predator and food rival – as a possible ploy to outsmart them, a new study shows. Researchers from Curtin University also found evidence of duetting – coordinated and patterned singing related to social bonding and coordination of behaviour – … Continue reading NatureWrap: These guys mess with killer whales

How leaf cutter ants domesticated crops

Over tens of millions of years, fungus-farming ants have learned how to cultivate their crops to ensure a stable food supply, seemingly navigating challenges that human farmers still grapple with. “Ants have managed to retain a farming lifestyle across 60 million years of climate change and leafcutter ants appear able to grow a single cultivar … Continue reading How leaf cutter ants domesticated crops

Smarter irrigation could feed millions more

US researchers have calculated that accessing untapped freshwater around the world would allow farmers to feed 620 to 840 million more people without depleting water resources or expanding agriculture into natural ecosystems. Agriculture uses 90% of the world’s water and is thus by far the biggest driver of water scarcity, a serious problem as the … Continue reading Smarter irrigation could feed millions more

Amazonia domesticated plants early

Southwest Amazonia has been confirmed as one of the earliest centres of plant domestication in the world. From their arrival 10,000 years ago, human inhabitants in what is now Llanos de Moxos in northern Bolivia created thousands of artificial forest islands as they tamed wild plants to produce food, a new study shows. They  began … Continue reading Amazonia domesticated plants early