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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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This Week in Biodiversity News – 16th March 2021

Luanne Wilkes
Luanne Wilkes

A new tool, used to accurately predict the age of animals in the wild, has been developed by researchers from the University of Maryland and UCLA. Using DNA from tissue samples they found that bats could be accurately aged using an ‘epigenetic clock’ which looks at changes to the DNA that occur over time.

The Gulf Stream System, (also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC) has been weaker in the last few decades than it has been in over 1000 years. Looking at archives of ocean sediments and ice cores, researchers from Ireland, Britain and Germany have stated that this slow-down, which is having a huge impact on weather patterns and regional sea levels, is likely due to human-caused climate change.

Gulls have been found to be a major cause of weed seed dispersal over long distances, and transfer a variety of plant species between agricultural and natural areas. As well as causing economic losses for farmers, this dispersal can also be responsible for more serious ecological problems and changes to local biodiversity. Previous to this study, it was not thought that weeds were dispersed via birds as they lack fleshy fruit and have very small seeds.