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General News

  • Stefano Mancuso studies what was once considered laughable – the intelligence and behaviour of plants. His work is contentious, he says, because it calls into question the superiority of humans

    I had hoped to interview the plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso at his laboratory at the University of Florence. I picture it as a botanical utopia: a place where flora is respected for its awareness and intelligence; where sensitive mimosa plants can demonstrate their long memories; and where humans are invited to learn how to be a better species by observing the behaviour of our verdant fellow organisms.

    But because we are both on lockdown, we Skype from our homes. Instead of meeting his clever plants, I make do with admiring a pile of cannonball-like pods from an aquatic species, on the bookshelves behind him. “They’re used for propagation,” he says. “I am always collecting seeds.”

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  • As global heating makes coral bleaching a regular event, scientists are urgently seeking ways to help the world’s biggest reef survive

    When coral scientist Dr Zoe Richards left the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard Island in late January, she was feeling optimistic.

    Richards is a taxonomist. Since 2011 she has recorded and monitored 245 coral species at 14 locations around the island’s research station, about 270km north of Cairns.

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  • The waste washing up on British beaches is a shocking but fascinating catalogue of our times

    Tracey Williams has been a beachcomber for most of her life. It started with school holidays to north Cornwall in the 1960s, searching for shells, sea glass and mermaids’ purses among the rocks and sand. In the 1980s, after her parents moved to a 300-year-old clifftop house in Bigbury-on-Sea, in south Devon, Williams and her father would seek out fossils in their back garden and down by the shore.

    “But I’d also find old bottles, figurines, medi rings, and bring them in, clean them up,” she says. “You know, chance finds.” Then, 23 years ago, everything changed. “I started finding Lego pieces washed up on the shore,” she explains. “Flippers, scuba tanks, the occasional dragon or octopus. By that time I had two young children, and we could take buckets down to the beach and just fill them with the amount of Lego coming in.”

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  • A growing micro-tannery sector in the UK is helping to create value for thousands of male goats that would otherwise be killed at birth

    Jack Millington walks past two huge industrial-style wooden tanning drums, through a door into the well-insulated drying room. Here, at 35C, amid the whirring of the dehumidifier and one small electric heater, hides from billy goats are stretched out on racks to dry.

    Strong yet silky soft to touch, the beauty of the hides lies in the details – from the natural texture of the grain to the spine marks visible down the centre of each pale brown goatskin. “Every hide is different – these patterns are almost like a fingerprint and that’s exciting to see for the first time as they dry,” says Millington, 31.

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  • Scientists race to halt spread of pungent insect species after it sweeps eight cities

    The world’s hazelnut supplies could be threatened by a stinkbug that has recently invaded Turkey, scientists have warned.

    The brown marmorated stinkbug, which is native to north-east Asia, has been spreading across the world in shipping containers, breeding freely thanks to warmer temperatures and a lack of natural predators.

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3 thoughts on “General News

AlexPosted on  1:24 am - Jun 10, 2016

Great place to get all my Green news!

CrowdLeaf (@Crowdleaf)Posted on  10:36 am - Oct 27, 2016

World to lose 2/3 of wild species by 2020. The world can’t wait.

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