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This Week in Biodiversity News – 14th March 2022

Hana Ketley
Hana Ketley

A new study has found plants that humans don’t need will ‘lose’ in the face of humanity. Around 46,292 species out of the 86,592 vascular plants studied were categorised as ‘losers’ or ‘potential losers’, many of which are not considered to be useful to humans. Due to this, plant communities of the future will likely be more homogenised. The findings cover less than 30% of all known plant species, highlighting that more work is needed in this field.

A project by the environmental group ‘The Nature Conservancy’ aims to undo the ‘degradation’ of a Kentucky stream. The Long Branch stream was straightened decades ago, altering the flow and natural biodiversity along with increasing erosion. Contractors had previously re-created the natural bends, pools and riffles of the stream, placing rocks, tree root wads and burlap material at some places along the banks. Workers are now planting trees along a section of the stream with the hopes of providing better habitat for a small fish called the Buck darter, which is found only in this watershed.

The UN has launched biodiversity talks on a deal to protect nature. The negotiations began in Geneva on Monday with the deal due for approval later this year. Almost 200 countries plan to adopt a global framework to safeguard nature by mid-century, with a milestone of 30% protected by 2030.

A Squat lobster was seen on Shackleton’s Endurance ship, potentially the first Munidopsis species recorded in the Weddell Sea. It is hard to be certain due to the resolution of the released images but Dr Huw Griffiths from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) suggested the animal could be from the Munidopsis genus, which contains over 200 known species.