The Fight for Bumblebees

*Guest post by Sonya Sharma, a student in Marc's 'Causes and Consequences of Diversity' class. A rusty patched bumblebee (Getty Images) Behind the scenes of the food we see stocked in grocery stores are arguably one of the most important organisms in the world, bumblebees (Bombus), which provide pollination in both natural and managed systems. However, human food security may be at risk because of the recent worldwide declines in bumblebee populations. Land-use change is…

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Why Honey bees aren’t the buzz

*Guest post by Shannon Underwood, a student in Marc's 'Causes and Consequences of Diversity' class.When you think “Save the Bees”, most likely a Honeybee comes to mind – this is primarily because they have become the flagship species for the current bee crisis. Although responsible for bringing the much-needed attention to the impact humans are having on our bee populations, they greatly misdirect the public, making a large number of people significantly less aware of…

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The Homogenization of Urban Macro-systems

*This post is by Rabia Ahmed, a student in Marc's 'Causes and Consequences of Diversity' class. If you have ever walked along a residential street in the city or suburbs you will notice many similar features in each backyard. Often times personal gardens are representative of peoples’ identities and reflect their membership in the neighbourhood. With the expansion of the urban population, an increasing area is covered by personal yards. While each homeowner views their…

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Larval fish nurseries are facing a tiny, yet dangerous new enemy: Microplastics

*This post is by Alexa Torres, a student in Marc's 'Causes and Consequences of Diversity' class.Recent research has shown that many larval fish species from various ocean habitats are ingesting large quantities of microplastics within their preferred nursery habitat.Approximately 300 million tons of plastic gets manufactured per year, with around 5 to 13 million tons of it ending up in our oceans. Much of this is in “macro” form such as plastic packaging, fishing nets,…

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The “man” in mangroves: How does the Anthropocene impact biodiversity in these ecosystems?

 *This post is by Nina Adamo, a student in Marc's 'Causes and COnsequences of Diversity' class.Mangroves are among the most biologically important forest ecosystems on Earth, found in the intertidal zone between land and sea along tropical and subtropical coasts around the world.7 Mangrove ecosystems provide habitat for a wide range of terrestrial as well as aquatic organisms including plants, fish, mollusks, birds, reptiles, and crustaceans, among many others.1Mangroves also serve as nursery habitats for…

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Intellectual death by a thousand cuts

My business is thinking. Let me be a little less succinct. My profession as a Professor of Biology is my passion, and I am fortunate enough to be paid to think about how the natural world works and to come up with possible solutions to global problems. I was trained to do this and my past training (all 11 years) and my current salary are paid by taxpayers to do this. This all seems rather…

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Life isn’t all Rainbows and Butterflies…

Guest post by Carolyn Thickett, MSc. Candidate at the University of Toronto-ScarboroughLife isn't all Rainbows and Butterflies...… especially in an age of extreme habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasions by alien species and climate change. All of these pressures are contributing to the dramatic decline of insects currently being observed all around the world.In Canada, the general public is responding by trying to contribute their time and knowledge in any way that they can. Citizen Science…

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Amphibian Chytrid Crisis: A Deep Dive into a Deadly Disease

Guest post by Tristan Williams, MEnvSc Candidate at the University of Toronto-ScarboroughWe currently live in an era of mass extinction, where many species around the world are at high risk of being lost forever, and among these species, amphibians are at much higher risk of extinction than any other (Wake and Vrendenburg, 2008). This comes from a combination of many factors, including climate change, habitat destruction and human land use, the presence of invasive species,…

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Holiday caRd 2018!

I had a busy year, and it completely slipped my mind that I usually do a caRd for the blog! So it's a little late, but hopefully provides a little end of year cheeR ;-)A short warning: I've stopped trying to make these compatible with RStudio. I know that RStudio is very popular, but I struggle to get its internal plotting device to update iteratively to make an animation (despite trying various things, like while()…

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Into the Eye of the Elephant Storm: Poaching in Africa’s Last Great Elephant Refuge

Guest post by Adam Byers, MEnvSc Candidate at the University of Toronto-ScarboroughIt’s hard to put into words the feeling you get gazing up into the gentle, intelligent eyes of a 5-tonne African elephant. But that’s exactly where I found myself six months ago, deep within the borders of Botswana’s Chobe National Park.Two members of a small bachelor herd in Chobe National Park, BotswanaI was nearing the end of a camping safari across the grasslands of…

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