Frostbitten toads: Are cane toads adapting to the cold as they move northwards in Florida?

How might animals respond to global climate change? A new study evaluates the northbound expansion of cane toads in Florida. Toads in northern Florida are tolerating freezing temperatures that are colder than they have previously been able to live in. Read on to find out how the cane toads tolerate freezing and what this teaches us about how other animals might respond to global climate change.

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What counts as evidence? Local vs. research knowledge in the evidence-based policymaking movement

While evidence-based decision- and policy-making have become quite the buzzwords in recent decades, what constitutes ‘evidence’ in evidence-based is less straightforward. In this paper, Persson and colleagues help unpack the term evidence in the context of sustainability studies, discuss how scientific evidence sits at the top of the evidence hierarchy, and why ignoring local knowledge can be detrimental to sound decision- and policy-making. Additionally, they suggest an alternate model for considering both local and research knowledge to obtain a more holistic understanding of the subject matter at hand, which they argue may ultimately lead to more applicable and suitable decision- and policy-making.

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Genetics and bee conservation: telling the full story of a species’ decline

We’ve all probably watched bees engage in pollination as they move from flower to flower collecting pollen. This process is essential to the reproduction of many plants, including crops. When most people think of pollinators, they think of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). However, more than 20,000 species of bees have been described—all of which are pollinators! In fact, honey bees are actually native to southeast Asia and have spread across the globe due to human activities, potentially competing with other bees. Despite the honey bee’s ubiquity and popularity, native bees are important pollinators because ecological adaptations that differ from those of honey bees. For example, the tongues of many native bees such as bumble bees can reach the nectar of longer flowers for pollination better than the honey bee.

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Climate Change Reduces Forest Regrowth After Wildfires

Forest are struggling to comeback after wildfires, but does anyone know why? A research team discovered climate change may be straining young saplings’ abilities to reestablish themselves after a wildfire. A warmer and drier climate does not provide the right temperature or water resources a sapling needs to regrow a forest. With wildfires growing larger and more intense, this issue needs to be addressed and extinguished to sustain our forests!

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Who are we going to call when rainforests are suffering from droughts? Termites!

Tropical rainforests are already showing signs that climate change is leading to higher tree mortality. However, Dr. Louise A. Ashton and collaborators investigated if termites could help turn the game on climate change and help tropical biodiversity and survival. This fascinating study shows that high termite abundance can lead to greater soil moisture and nutrient levels during drought conditions, which ultimately favors plant establishment. This suggests termites can potentially be major allies of tropical forests against climate change.

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Cutting through the doom and gloom – how psychology can be used to promote climate action

Do you feel overwhelmed by the apocalyptic scenarios presented in news related to climate change? You’re not alone! The fact that so many people feel hopeless about the prospects of halting climate change can put a spoke in the wheel of any efforts to inspire broad, public involvement in climate action. But by factoring in human psychology, climate change communicators can strike an optimally motivating balance between hope and fear.

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Are your car’s windshield wipers helping your town’s stormwater management?

You decide to go out and run some errands on your day off, even though there is a chance of rain in the forecast. You are just starting your 30-minute walk back to your house and get caught in a torrential downpour. You are now forced to call a ride-share because you know the stream next to the path on your way back will likely flood and you would have to take the long way home. Once in the car, you are happy you do not have to walk in the rain. Little do you know, the car you are in may actually help improve rainfall maps and with that urban stormwater management. How? The car’s windshield wipers are turned on!

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