How will mammals respond to climate change?

As the ramifications of climate change become increasingly more apparent, our understanding of its complex impacts on mammals still has major gaps, according to a comprehensive review published in the Journal of Animal Ecology. According to lead author Maria Paniw from Switzerland’s University of Zurich, changing climates affect animals in myriad ways, but this complexity … Continue reading How will mammals respond to climate change?

How to survive a mass extinction

Life on earth has been assaulted multiple times over its long history, by vicious mass extinctions and crashes in biodiversity. The most devastating of these was The Great Dying, a mass extinction that occurred 252 million years ago, at the end of the Permian. A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B … Continue reading How to survive a mass extinction

What killed the megafauna?

Human activities and population growth have wrought much destruction to life on Earth. But when it comes to megafauna extinctions, evidence suggests we may be off the hook – rather, the major culprit could be climate change. In Australia, Cosmos recently reported a fossil discovery that revealed giant birds, reptiles and marsupials died out 40,000 years ago due … Continue reading What killed the megafauna?

Discovery of a new mass extinction

By Michael J Benton, University of Bristol Huge volcanic eruptions 233 million years ago pumped carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour into the atmosphere. This series of violent explosions, on what we now know as the west coast of Canada, led to massive global warming. Our new research has revealed that this was a planet-changing … Continue reading Discovery of a new mass extinction

Life erased

Tasmanian artist Lucienne Rickard had a moment of clarity about species extinction some months ago after binge-watching natural history films – David Attenborough docos; ABC Four Corners’ “Extinction Nation”; a Greta Thunberg TED talk about climate change. “I thought: I’m 38, and what have I ever done about this?,” she says. “So I stayed up … Continue reading Life erased

A difficult time to be a reef shark

Reef sharks are having a challenging time as they confront threats from fishing, denser human populations and climate change. An extensive survey has found that adults have effectively become extinct in nearly a fifth of the world’s tropical oceans, while a separate study reveals that, even when protected, shallow shark nurseries are affected by warming … Continue reading A difficult time to be a reef shark

Sixth time unlucky

There’s something sobering – terrifying is the more apt word – about a peer-reviewed paper that contains, under the heading “Significance”, these words: “The ongoing sixth mass extinction may be the most serious environmental threat to the persistence of civilisation, because it is irreversible. “Thousands of populations of critically endangered vertebrate animal species have been … Continue reading Sixth time unlucky

The platypus is in big trouble

Australia’s devastating drought is having a critical impact on the iconic platypus, a globally unique mammal, with increasing reports of rivers drying up and platypuses becoming stranded. A team of researchers, led by UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Ecosystem Science, has examined, for the first time, the risks of extinction for this intriguing animal. The study, … Continue reading The platypus is in big trouble