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Ancient rice heralds a new future for rice production

USDA Invasive Species News -

Growing in crocodile infested billabongs in the remote North of the country, Australia's wild rice has been confirmed as the most closely related to the ancient ancestor of all rices. The unique genetics of the Australian rice may help breed disease resistance and climate adaptation into rice modern production species.

Wild Sri Lankan elephants retreat from sound of disturbed Asian honey bees

USDA Invasive Species News -

A new study using playbacks, has for the first time shown that Asian elephants in Sri Lanka are scared of honey bees, much like their African counterparts. The study showed that Asian elephants responded with alarm to the bee simulations. They also retreated significantly further away and vocalized more in response to the bee sounds compared to controls.

20 percent more trees in megacities would mean cleaner air and water, lower carbon and energy use

USDA Invasive Species News -

Planting 20 percent more trees in our megacities would double the benefits of urban forests, like pollution reduction, carbon sequestration and energy reduction. The authors of the study say city planners, residents and other stakeholders should start looking within cities for natural resources and conserve the nature in our urban areas by planting more trees.

Post-fire logging harms Spotted owls

USDA Invasive Species News -

Post-fire logging, rather than the wildfires themselves, is responsible for the steep decline in territory occupancy of the rare Spotted owls living in the forests of California. The study's results coincide with the strong consensus among hundreds of US scientists opposing post-fire logging operations due to a wide range of ecological harms.

Exposure to water that is both salty and fresh is key to future success

USDA Invasive Species News -

According to Charles Darwin the ability to adapt to new conditions is essential for survival of species. The capacity to cope with altered conditions is becoming increasingly important in the face of climate change. New evidence on salt water tolerance in spawning migrating pike from the Baltic Sea suggests that not being adapted to specific local environments may promote persistence in an uncertain, rapidly changing world.

Genetic drift caught in action in invasive birds

USDA Invasive Species News -

Studies of island bird populations have taught us a lot about evolution, but it's hard to catch birds in the act of naturally colonizing new islands. Instead, a new study examines what's happened by looking at the genetics of a species that arrived in Hawaii in the twentieth century through decidedly unnatural means--us.


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