ūüďį EwA News Digest: New Mantis Discovered, Harmful Human Activities to Wildlife, and Endangered Amphibians

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Jessica Yuan

Dec 12, 2023, 10:00:38‚ÄĮAM12/12/23
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Hello everyone! I’m Jessica, and here is my news digest for December. 

Two new praying mantis species have been discovered with the help of citizen scientists and the platform iNaturalist (iNat). One of the mantises belongs to a new genus and was named Inimia nat, I. nat for short. This genus was the first new Australian mantis named in the 21st century. The second mantis was separated from its sister species after a detailed body structure comparison. For more information about this discovery and the role citizen science played in it, click here.

Hundreds of thousands of animals are taken to wildlife rehabilitation centers annually. A recent study analyzed these records to identify¬†human activities that most frequently harm wildlife. The greatest threat to species is due to vehicle collision‚ÄĒwhich contributes 12% of total injuries. Window collisions, fishing incidents, diseases, and extreme weather conditions are some of the other factors. Sadly around 60% of animals are unable to recover. If you are interested in looking for some solutions, check¬†here.

Amphibians are facing tremendous challenges nowadays. After surveying 8,000 amphibians, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that 2,873 species, which is 40% of all amphibians, are at risk of extinction. Threats such as fungal diseases and deforestation were already studied as causes of decline, and now the effects of climate change including higher temperatures and lower humidity are increasing pressure on them. It is crucial to protect them before they disappear forever. For more information on this issue read here.

Living in a green neighborhood has many health benefits such as stress reduction and low risk of cardiovascular diseases. A new study found that it could also slow down aging. People in these neighborhoods tend to have longer telomeres, a chromosome structure that allows DNA to replicate. If telomeres get too short, the cells will be unable to divide and eventually die. To read more about this interesting topic click here.

Arboretums and public gardens are homes to many native plants, but they also provide habitats for invasives. A botanist from the University of Cincinnati points out that non-native plants in these gardens can inadvertently pose a risk to nearby ecosystems. These invasive seeds and fruits will escape and spread to woods by birds or wind. Therefore it is very important to select what species to grow in yards and gardens. To know more about this study look here.

The Healey administration revealed the first annual climate report card on December 1st to show Massachusetts’ progress toward its net-zero mid-century goal. The state is on track for its 2025 goal but requires a lot more work including transportation, buildings, and energy, for the 2030 and 2050 goals. By 2025, the state needs to reduce 33% of emissions from 1990 levels, 50% by 2030, and 75% by 2040. For more details on the report check out here.

This is my third and last news digest! Thank you all!¬†ūüėĀ

- Jessica

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