Have you ever been away from the city, away from the bustling activities and clattering? If you have, then, without all the noises of the city to distract you, you might have noticed how loud a seemingly empty field is! Birds, frogs and insects all join in on this chorus. The animals making these calls need to invest time and energy into making them, and hence are made for specific reasons, where every call counts. Often, in the animal kingdom these vocalisations are used to attract potential mating partners.
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What do sword billed humming birds, fig wasps and acacia ants have in common? It’s the phenomenon of co-evolution, where these organisms are dependent on other organisms for survival and they reciprocally affect the other’s evolution.
Dams and other hydrological barriers are essential for the production of hydroelectricity and to direct water to water-deficient areas. But the presence of these structures are known to interfere with the ecology of the river, affecting the flora and fauna inhabiting it. The western ghats of India are home to many endemic fish species which are affected by these hydrological structures. Recent study from ATREE shows what can be done to ensure that the biodiversity in the Western Ghats is not lost to hydrological structures.
India is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world and home to a vast expanse of natural habitats from evergreen forests to grasslands. These natural havens have over the past years faced many threats from humans, but the largest threat that Indian wildlife faces is poaching. How can these vast expanses be constantly monitored in order to protect our unique wildlife? Researchers and forest officials have come up with many ingenious methods using the latest technology to take action against this threat. From realtime videos accessible on smartphones to DNA analysis - read more about how our wildlife is being protected from poachers.
Climate change and anthropogenic pressure are affecting natural environments world over. In this scenario how vulnerable are forests? If we keep growing at the rate we are growing now, what impact will it have on our forests in the years to come? Scientists from Indian Institute of Science and Wildlife Institute of India explore these far reaching questions in an Indian context. Their findings show that many forests are under considerable stress. The researchers say a perception change can help protect our forest.
Ever wondered if natural surroundings give out subtle hints before going through landscape level transformations? Scientists from Princeton University (USA) and Indian Institute of Science (India), have collaborated to try and figure out if there are any such hints or signs in nature, which can help in predicting transformations within grassland and woodland habitats in Serengeti-Mara.
It is in the best interest of a tree to ensure that its seeds are dispersed to far off places where they can get good sunlight and nutrition to grow. This is carried out by the help of frugivores, who eat fruits and transport seeds in their gut. A recent study illustrates how irreplaceable elephants are as seed dispersers using computer simulation and three species of trees with large fruits. The study shows that in the absence of elephants no frugivores can disperse seeds as far or as efficiently.
Why do we see certain species of animals in one place while they are absent in the neighbouring regions? How do species inhabit remote islands? Questions like these are central to our understanding of evolution and speciation. Exploring these question in a Sri Lankan context, scientists from National Centre for Biological sciences and University of Colombo studied how a two species of small passerine birds colonized the island nation. Through phenotypic and genotypic analysis they could show that not all Sri Lankan wildlife is a subset of Indian wildlife.
Different parts of the country was inundated with floods this year, while other parts continue to face rainfall shortages, leading to drought situations. The culprit behind the disparity may be the sudden, extreme rainfall events we have been facing. Warming temperatures leading to extreme events may be affecting the overall rainfall the country receives says this new study.
Bangalore of the yesteryears was a city of gardens; cool, pleasant and green. In addition to the 2000+ species of trees -- some natural and some specifically planted -- individual gardens in small households contributed to the large biodiversity here. The undulating terrain of the city allowed formation of lakes -- natural and manmade – that were interconnected. As the ‘Garden City’ transformed into the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, the city’s rapid, uncontrolled growth turned this biodiversity haven to a concrete jungle.