The Potential of Parasites

Although parasites have a negative reputation, they can be a valuable conservation tool. Their diversity means they can be used in many applications, and this range of known potential purposes will only increase with further exploration. This article explores how parasites have been used to better understand habitat fragmentation, invasive species movement, harvested species overexploitation, and even climate change!

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Talk Turtle to Me: How Algae Could Drive Sea Turtle Populations to Extinction

Rising ocean temperatures have been increasing the size of algal blooms, with Sargassum being one of the most prominent algae species affecting coastlines in the Caribbean. When beached, Sargassum can only be removed from shores through human intervention, which is both costly and time-consuming. These algal outbreaks are ending up on beaches where sea turtles are known to nest, affecting their biology and survivability. Will beached Sargassum on Caribbean shores affect sea turtle populations irreversibly, or will we find a more effective way of dealing with the changing algal populations?

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Endophytes: Enemies or Friends?

Endophytes are microorganisms, such as fungi, that live inside plant tissue. They can benefit a plant by secreting chemicals that deter and inhibit pathogen growth. Trees are under increasing stress due to warming environmental conditions, making them more prone to disease. This study investigates whether endophytes from Scots pine have antagonistic abilities and if they can create a systemic immune response within the plant. This response could result in lower disease severity.

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Prickly Adaptability: Will Crown-of-Thorn Starfish Populations Survive Rising Ocean Temperature and Acidity?

Crown-of-Thorns starfish outbreaks are of growing concern for the wellbeing of Indo-Pacific coral reefs. When these starfish populations grow too quickly, they feed on corals at rates that don’t allow the ecosystem to recover fast enough. With coral reefs struggling to survive rising ocean temperatures and acidity, it is essential to determine how these conditions affect their predators – in this case, the Crown-of-Thorn starfish. A recent study found that ocean warming and acidification affect larval development but not survivability. Could this mean bad news for coral reefs?

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The secret’s in the soil: Can soil organic matter protect crops from drought?

Global climate change means that droughts are becoming more frequent and intense in many agricultural areas. Recent evidence suggests that the secret to protecting crops against drought may lie beneath our feet – read on to learn more about how farmers can manage their soil as a way to help protect their crops against droughts!

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