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This Week in Biodiversity News – 6th April 2021

Luanne Wilkes
Luanne Wilkes

Puffin colonies in the north-east Atlantic are declining due to a lack of prey in the areas where they breed. New research from the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology has found that puffin chicks in several colonies are much more likely to starve due to food shortages. This is in contrast to other smaller populations, such as those on Skomer Island in Wales, that currently appear to be thriving.

The risk of scientists transfering coronavirus to North American bats while conducting winter research has found to be less than 1 in 3,333 when PPE is properly used or scientists have tested negative for COVID-19. This data, collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, is important as the consequences of human-to-bat transmission of the virus are significant.

The Blue Marine Foundation have called for the creation of national parks within the waters around the UK coast and have identified 10 areas that could be protected within the next 10 years. Charles Clover, the executive director of the charity, pointed out that creating national parks at sea would bring similar benefits as those on land and would conserve and enhance wildlife and cultural heritage while also bringing in funding and contributing to the economy.

Over the winter, North Atlantic right whales have produced more offspring than scientists have seen since 2015. Although still critically endangered, it is hoped that this indicates an upward trend that will continue for the next few year. This increase is particularly welcome following the observation three years ago when the whales produced no known offspring at all.