Hexbyte Glen Cove Study shows common insecticide is harmful in any amount thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Study shows common insecticide is harmful in any amount

Hexbyte Glen Cove

An alfalfa leafcutter bee, the type used by UC Riverside scientists to study the effects of pesticide and water levels. Credit: David Rankin/UCR

A new UC Riverside study shows that a type of insecticide made for commercial plant nurseries is harmful to a typical bee even when applied well below the label rate.

The study was published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Chemically similar to nicotine, neonicotinoids are insecticides that protect against plant-consuming insects like aphids, but seriously harm beneficial insects, like bees. They are widely used by commercial growers.

Much research has focused on their use in like canola, in which they are typically applied at low doses. However, this study is one of the few to examine neonicotinoid application in potted ornamental , which can represent more potent, acute sources of exposure to the toxin for bees.

“Neonicotinoids are often used on food crops as a seed treatment,” explained UCR entomologist and lead study author Jacob Cecala. “But they’re usually applied in higher amounts to ornamental plants for aesthetic reasons. The effects are deadly no matter how much the plants are watered.”

Cecala said he was surprised by this result, given that neonicotinoids are water soluble. Going into the study, he assumed that more water would dilute the amount of harm they caused the bees. The researchers were also curious whether increased watering could benefit bees despite insecticide exposure by increasing the quantity or quality of nectar offered by the plants.

To test these assumptions, the researchers raised bees on flowering in pots that either received a lot of watering, or a little. Plants were selected based on their popularity at nurseries, drought tolerance to ensure blooming even without much water, and their attractiveness to bees. In addition, half the plants were treated with the insecticide.

Though increased water decreased the pesticide’s potency in the nectar of the flowers, the on bees were still observed.

“Unfortunately, we observed a 90% decrease in the bees’ reproduction with both high and low levels of irrigation,” Cecala said.

This study is also one of the few to examine neonicotinoid effects via on solitary bees, which make up more than 90% of native bee species in North America, and an even higher percentage in California.

Female alfalfa leafcutter bees construct nests composed of individual cells, like these. Credit: Jacob Cecala/UCR

Solitary bees are not bees who have left the hive and are now alone. This is a type of bee that lives alone, does not produce honey, and does not have a queen or live in a hive. Because they do not have a store of honey to protect, they are also not aggressive.

“Solitary bees are more representative of the ecosystem here, and they are potentially more vulnerable to pesticides,” said UCR entomologist and study co-author Erin Rankin.

If a worker bee that is social—like the honeybee—gets exposed to insecticide and dies, it won’t necessarily affect the longevity of the hive. However, if a solitary bee dies, its lineage is cut short.

In this study, the researchers used alfalfa leafcutter bees, which make their nests in tunnels and lay eggs one at a time. They are very similar to California’s solitary native bees and are part of a genus that can be found worldwide.

The first time Cecala and Rankin tried this experiment, they used the concentration of insecticide recommended on the product label. All the bees died in a matter of days.

The next time they ran the experiment, they used a third of the recommended dose and still found negative effects on reproduction, the ability of the bees to feed themselves, and overall fitness. “It almost completely wiped them out,” Cecala said.

Though this study used a neonicotinoid product formulated for nurseries, formulations of similar products for home gardeners also tend to be highly concentrated.

Plants in nurseries or residential backyards represent a smaller total area than food plant fields like corn or soy. However, high-potency products can have a big effect even in small areas. In 2013, neonicotinoids applied to flowering trees in a retail parking lot in Oregon caused a massive bumblebee die off, with more than 25,000 found dead.

The researchers recommend that nurseries quantify the amount of pesticides that are making their way into flowers given their watering and pesticide regimes, and consider alternative management practices that reduce harm to bees and the ecosystems dependent on them.

“It’s not as simple as ‘don’t use pesticides’—sometimes they’re necessary,” Cecala said. “However, people can look for a different class of insecticide, try to apply them on plants that aren’t attractive to bees, or find biological methods of pest control.”



More information:
Jacob M. Cecala et al, Pollinators and plant nurseries: how irrigation and pesticide treatment of native ornamental plants impact solitary bees, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1287

Citation:
Study shows common insecticide is harmful in any amount (2021, August 2)
retrieved 2 August 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-08-common-insecticide-amount.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove 'Designer' pore shows selective traffic to and from the cell nucleus thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove ‘Designer’ pore shows selective traffic to and from the cell nucleus

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The team reduced the complexity of nuclear pores down to a single, artificial Nucleoporin that they call ‘NupX’. This protein is based on the average properties of a class of Nucleoporins rich in the amino acid motif Glycine-Leucine-Phenylalanine-Glycine. In these simulation snapshots, each particle represents a whole amino acid. Credit: University of Groningen

The nucleus is the headquarters of a cell and molecules constantly move across the nuclear membrane through pores. The transport of these molecules is both selective and fast; some 1,000 molecules per second can move in or out. Scientists from the University of Groningen and Delft University of Technology, both in the Netherlands, and a colleague from the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology, have developed an artificial model of these pores using simple design rules, which enabled them to study how this feat is accomplished. Their results were published on 31 March in Nature Communications.

Nuclear pores are extremely complicated structures. The pore itself is a big protein complex and the opening of the pore is filled with a dense network of disordered proteins called nucleoporins. These proteins regulate selective transport, but exactly how they do this is still unclear. “The nuclear pore complex is one of the biggest structures in the cell,” explains Patrick Onck, professor of Micromechanics at the University of Groningen. “We previously studied the pores in all their complexity, but for this study, we created a drastically simplified ‘designer’ pore to investigate the essential physical mechanisms of transport.”

Nanopore

First, the team analyzed the composition of the nucleoporins to design a simplified, ‘average’ version, which they termed nucleoporin X, or NupX for short. These proteins are made up of domains comprising phenylalanine (F) and glycine (G) amino acids in tandem, and these play an essential role in transport. These FG repeats are separated by ‘spacers’ of other amino acids. In addition to the FG repeats, some nucleoporins also contain domains of glycine, leucine, phenylalanine and glycine, or GLFG repeats. The team designed proteins that contain both domains, separated by spacers of ten amino acids.

NupX was tested in two different systems: it was studied experimentally, attached to a surface and added to artificial nanopores that were ‘drilled’ in a ‘membrane’ of silicon nitride, and through . The experiments were performed at Delft University of Technology, while the simulations were prepared and executed in Groningen, mostly by Henry de Vries, a Ph.D. student in Onck’s laboratory.

Snapshot of the computer simulations, showing that nanopores filled with NupX-proteins allow specific transport proteins (chaperones) to pass. At the same time, the pores efficiently block any non-specific molecules. Credit: University of Groningen

Transport ticket

The nucleoporins were tested for interactions with non-specific proteins and with chaperones, which are proteins that act as transport tickets through the pore. In the cell, large molecules that must be transported into or out of the nucleus can only do so when they are attached to such a chaperone. The artificial nucleoporins selectively interacted with the chaperones but not with the non-specific proteins. This demonstrated that the NupX pores are fully functional: they are able to facilitate selective transport. De Vries: “However, the experiments showed that transport through the artificial pores occurs but not what happens inside the pore. With our simulations, we showed what exactly happens inside the pore as the chaperones translocate, while the non-specific proteins do not interact with the pore at all.”

The simulations also revealed how the FG and the GLFG nucleoporins were distributed inside the pore. “Recent studies suggested that they would be in different places in and that this might help to create selectivity,” says De Vries. “However, we found that they were homogenously distributed and yet we still saw selectivity.” Another suggestion was that the amino acids that make up the spacers are important for the selectivity. “Our results showed that the specific sequence of amino acids in the spacer doesn’t matter since we used random sequences. The only important part is the ratio of charged amino acids to hydrophobic within the spacers, which determines the stickiness of the proteins.”

Redundancy

The final conclusion of the study is that a very simple system in nucleoporins that has limited variation still produces a selective pore. “What is needed is a certain density of these FG nucleoporins,” says Onck. “These form a barrier, which can only be breached by the chaperones.” This begs the question of why the pores contain a very large number of different nucleoporins in nature. Onck: “We know that nature doesn’t always come up with optimized solutions. However, their redundancy could very well have a function in natural pores.”

The fact that the very simple artificial system already reproduces selective transport mechanisms means that the scientists now have an excellent tool to study the physical principles that regulate nuclear function. Onck: “This could lead to new fundamental insights but also to new applications, for example in creating filtration systems, or in the design of artificial cells.”



More information:
Alessio Fragasso et al, A designer FG-Nup that reconstitutes the selective transport barrier of the nuclear pore complex, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22293-y

Citation:
‘Designer’ pore shows selective traffic to and from the cell nucleus (2021, March 31)
retrieved 31 March 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-pore-traffic-cell-nucleus.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove New study shows microplastics turn into 'hubs' for pathogens, antibiotic-resistant bacteria thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove New study shows microplastics turn into ‘hubs’ for pathogens, antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A single use of a facial exfoliator can release 5,000 -100,000 microplastics to the environment. Credit: NJIT

It’s estimated that an average-sized wastewater treatment plant serving roughly 400,000 residents will discharge up to 2,000,000 microplastic particles into the environment each day. Yet, researchers are still learning the environmental and human health impact of these ultra-fine plastic particles, less than 5 millimeters in length, found in everything from cosmetics, toothpaste and clothing microfibers, to our food, air and drinking water.

Now, researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology have shown that ubiquitous microplastics can become ‘hubs’ for and pathogens to grow once they wash down household drains and enter treatment plants—forming a slimy layer of buildup, or biofilm, on their surface that allows pathogenic microorganisms and antibiotic waste to attach and comingle.

In findings published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters, researchers found certain strains of elevated by up to 30 times while living on biofilms that can form inside activated sludge units at municipal wastewater treatment plants.

“A number of recent studies have focused on the negative impacts that millions of tons of microplastic waste a year is having on our freshwater and ocean environments, but until now the role of microplastics in our towns’ and cities’ wastewater treatment processes has largely been unknown,” said Mengyan Li, associate professor of chemistry and environmental science at NJIT and the study’s corresponding author. “These wastewater treatment plants can be hotspots where various chemicals, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pathogens converge and what our study shows is that microplastics can serve as their carriers, posing imminent risks to aquatic biota and human health if they bypass the water treatment process.”

“Most wastewater treatment plants are not designed for the removal of microplastics, so they are constantly being released into the receiving environment,” added Dung Ngoc Pham, NJIT Ph.D. candidate and first author of the study. “Our goal was to investigate whether or not microplastics are enriching antibiotic-resistant bacteria from activated sludge at municipal wastewater treatment plants, and if so, learn more about the microbial communities involved.”

In their study, the team collected batches of sludge samples from three domestic in northern New Jersey, inoculating the samples in the lab with two widespread commercial microplastics—polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS). The team used a combination of quantitative PCR and next-generation sequencing techniques to identify the species of bacteria that tend to grow on the microplastics, tracking genetic changes of the bacteria along the way.

The analysis revealed that three genes in particular—sul1, sul2 and intI1— known to aid resistance to common antibiotics, sulfonamides, were found to be up to 30 times greater on the microplastic biofilms than in the lab’s control tests using sand biofilms after just three days.

Microscopy images showing biofilms attached on polyethylene microplastics. The white arrows point to the biofilms. The scale bars represent 10 μm in length. Credit: NJIT

When the team spiked the samples with the antibiotic, sulfamethoxazole (SMX), they found it further amplified the antibiotic resistance genes by up to 4.5-fold.

“Previously, we thought the presence of antibiotics would be necessary to enhance antibiotic-resistance genes in these microplastic-associated bacteria, but it seems microplastics can naturally allow for uptake of these resistance genes on their own.” said Pham. “The presence of antibiotics does have a significant multiplier effect however.”

Eight different species of bacteria were found highly enriched on the microplastics. Among these species, the team observed two emerging human pathogens typically linked with respiratory infection, Raoultella ornithinolytica and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, frequently hitchhiking on the microplastic biofilms.

The team say the most common strain found on the microplastics by far, Novosphingobium pokkalii, is likely a key initiator in forming the sticky biofilm that attracts such pathogens—as it proliferates it may contribute to the deterioration of the plastic and expand the biofilm. At the same time, the team’s study highlighted the role of the gene, intI1, a mobile genetic element chiefly responsible for enabling the exchange of antibiotic resistance genes among the microplastic-bound microbes.

“We might think of microplastics as tiny beads, but they provide an enormous surface area for microbes to reside,” explained Li. “When these microplastics enter the wastewater treatment plant and mix in with sludge, bacteria like Novosphingobium can accidentally attach to the surface and secrete glue-like extracellular substances. As other bacteria attach to the surface and grow, they can even swap DNA with each other. This is how the are being spread among the community.”

“We have evidence that the bacteria developed resistance to other this way as well, such as aminoglycoside, beta-lactam and trimethoprim,” added Pham.

Now, Li says the lab is further studying the role of Novosphingobium in formation on microplastics. The team is also seeking to better understand the extent to which such pathogen-carrying microplastics may be bypassing water treatment processes, by studying resistance of microplastic biofilms during wastewater treatment with disinfectants such as UV light and chlorine.

“Some states are already considering new regulations on the use of microplastics in consumer products. This study raises calls for further investigation on microplastic biofilms in our wastewater systems and development of effective means for removing microplastics in aquatic environments,” said Li.



More information:
Dung Ngoc Pham et al, Microplastics as hubs enriching antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pathogens in municipal activated sludge, Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.hazl.2021.100014

Citation:
New study shows microplastics turn into ‘hubs’ for pathogens, antibiotic-resistant bacteria (2021, March 19)
retrieved 20 March 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-microplastics-hubs-pathogens-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Study shows cactus pear as drought-tolerant crop for sustainable fuel and food thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Study shows cactus pear as drought-tolerant crop for sustainable fuel and food

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Among three cactus varieties researched by the University of Nevada, Reno as drought-tolerant crops for biofuel, Opuntia ficus-indica produced the most fruit while using up to 80% less water than some traditional crops. Credit: John Cushman, University of Nevada, Reno.

Could cactus pear become a major crop like soybeans and corn in the near future, and help provide a biofuel source, as well as a sustainable food and forage crop? According to a recently published study, researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno believe the plant, with its high heat tolerance and low water use, may be able to provide fuel and food in places that previously haven’t been able to grow much in the way of sustainable crops.

Global climate change models predict that long-term drought events will increase in duration and intensity, resulting in both higher temperatures and lower levels of available water. Many crops, such as rice, corn and soybeans, have an upper temperature limit, and other traditional crops, such as alfalfa, require more water than what might be available in the future.

“Dry areas are going to get dryer because of climate change,” Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Professor John Cushman, with the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, said. “Ultimately, we’re going to see more and more of these drought issues affecting crops such as corn and soybeans in the future.”

Fueling renewable energy

As part of the College’s Experiment Station unit, Cushman and his team recently published the results of a five-year study on the use of spineless as a high-temperature, low-water commercial crop. The study, funded by the Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, was the first long-term field trial of Opuntia species in the U.S. as a scalable bioenergy feedstock to replace fossil fuel.

Results of the study, which took place at the Experiment Station’s Southern Nevada Field Lab in Logandale, Nevada, showed that Opuntia ficus-indica had the highest fruit production while using up to 80% less water than some traditional crops. Co-authors included Carol Bishop, with the College’s Extension unit, postdoctoral research scholar Dhurba Neupane, and graduate students Nicholas Alexander Niechayev and Jesse Mayer.

“Maize and sugar cane are the major bioenergy crops right now, but use three to six times more water than cactus pear,” Cushman said. “This study showed that cactus pear productivity is on par with these important bioenergy crops, but use a fraction of the water and have a higher heat tolerance, which makes them a much more climate-resilient crop.”

Cactus pear works well as a bioenergy crop because it is a versatile perennial crop. When it’s not being harvested for biofuel, then it works as a land-based carbon sink, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in a sustainable manner.

“Approximately 42% of land area around the world is classified as semi-arid or arid,” Cushman said. “There is enormous potential for planting cactus trees for carbon sequestration. We can start growing cactus pear crops in abandoned areas that are marginal and may not be suitable for other crops, thereby expanding the area being used for bioenergy production.”

Fueling people and animals

The crop can also be used for human consumption and livestock feed. Cactus pear is already used in many semi-arid areas around the world for food and forage due to its low-water needs compared with more traditional crops. The fruit can be used for jams and jellies due to its high sugar content, and the pads are eaten both fresh and as a canned vegetable. Because the plant’s pads are made of 90% water, the crop works great for livestock feed as well.

“That’s the benefit of this perennial crop,” Cushman explained. “You’ve harvested the fruit and the pads for food, then you have this large amount of biomass sitting on the land that is sequestering carbon and can be used for biofuel production.”

Cushman also hopes to use cactus pear genes to improve the water-use efficiency of other . One of the ways cactus pear retains water is by closing its pores during the heat of day to prevent evaporation and opening them at night to breathe. Cushman wants to take the cactus pear genes that allow it to do this, and add them to the genetic makeup of other plants to increase their drought tolerance.

Bishop, Extension educator for Northeast Clark County, and her team, which includes Moapa Valley High School students, continue to help maintain and harvest the more than 250 cactus pear plants still grown at the field lab in Logandale. In addition, during the study, the students gained valuable experience helping to spread awareness about the project, its goals, and the plant’s potential benefits and uses. They produced videos, papers, brochures and recipes; gave tours of the field lab; and held classes, including harvesting and cooking classes.

Fueling further research

In 2019, Cushman began a new research project with cactus pear at the U.S. Department of Agriculture—Agricultural Research Service’ National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Parlier, California. In addition to continuing to take measurements of how much the cactus crop will produce, Cushman’s team, in collaboration with Claire Heinitz, curator at the unit, is looking at which accessions, or unique samples of plant tissue or seeds with different genetic traits, provide the greatest production and optimize the crop’s growing conditions.

“We want a spineless cactus pear that will grow fast and produce a lot of biomass,” Cushman said.

One of the other goals of the project is to learn more about Opuntia stunting disease, which causes cactuses to grow smaller pads and fruit. The team is taking samples from the infected plants to look at the DNA and RNA to find what causes the disease and how it is transferred to other cactuses in the field. The hope is to use the information to create a diagnostic tool and treatment to detect and prevent the disease’s spread and to salvage usable parts from diseased plants.



More information:
Dhurba Neupane et al, Five‐year field trial of the biomass productivity and water input response of cactus pear ( Opuntia spp.) as a bioenergy feedstock for arid lands, GCB Bioenergy (2021). DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12805

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientist shows global warming effect on greenhouse gas emissions in paddy soils thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientist shows global warming effect on greenhouse gas emissions in paddy soils

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A soil scientist from RUDN University studied the decomposition of organic matter in rice paddies–the sources of CO2 and methane emissions. Both gases add to the greenhouse effect and affect climate warming in subtropical regions. The emissions increase when the roots of plants influence microbial communities in the soil. This influence, in turn, depends on temperature changes. Therefore, climate warming can lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. Credit: RUDN University

A soil scientist from RUDN University studied the decomposition of organic matter in rice paddies—the sources of CO2 and methane emissions. Both gases add to the greenhouse effect and affect climate warming in subtropical regions. The emissions increase when the roots of plants influence microbial communities in the soil. This influence, in turn, depends on temperature changes. Therefore, climate warming can lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the study were published inApplied Soil Ecology. The intensity of this process depends on the temperature of the environment and soil microorganisms. In the soils of rice paddies, methane is produced by single-cell organisms called archaea. However, to make methane, they require intermediary substances that come from plant roots. This is how the so-called priming effect occurs: the life of microorganisms is supported by organic substances released by plants through their roots. It is this effect that determines the number and activity of microorganisms in the soil. A soil scientist from RUDN University was the first to discover a correlation between the priming effect and greenhouse gas emissions and to describe the dynamics of these processes in view of global warming.

The team took from located in the Hunan province in South-Eastern China. The samples were sifted to remove soil fauna and bits of plants. After that, water was added to them to model the conditions of a submerged rice paddy. After that, the samples were kept in plastic containers in a dark room for 75 days. To imitate different seasons, the scientists maintained different temperatures in the containers: 5 °C (winter), 15 °C (spring), 25 °C (autumn), and 35 °C (summer). The team wanted to measure how methane and CO2 emissions would vary under the influence of the in different temperature regimes. Sodium acetate, the simplest form of organic carbon produced by plant roots, was added to the soil to support the archaea.

The team measured the levels of every 2 to 5 days. On the 75th day, from primed soils turned out to have increased 153 times compared to the samples without sodium acetate. The scientists also learned that the priming effect depended on the temperature. The soils demonstrated the highest sensitivity at 15 °C: in these samples, a 10° increase in temperature caused methane emission volumes to grow 25 times. As for CO2 emissions, they directly correlated with temperature levels. According to the team, this is because microorganisms become more active in a warm environment.

“The priming effect determined the correlation between the temperature and the process of organic matter decomposition in the soil. At 5-15 °C, temperature fluctuations had a huge effect on methane emissions: they increased almost 25 times. One could conclude that in warm winters methane emissions from the soil could be the main reason for the . The results of other studies that do not take the priming effect into account should be interpreted with caution,” said Yakov Kuzyakov, a Ph.D. in Biology, and the Head of the Center for Mathematical Modeling and Design of Sustainable Ecosystems at the Agrarian and Technological Institute, RUDN University.



More information:
Liang Wei et al, Temperature sensitivity (Q) of stable, primed and easily available organic matter pools during decomposition in paddy soil, Applied Soil Ecology (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2020.103752

Citation:
Scientist shows global warming effect on greenhouse gas emissions in paddy soils (2020, December 24)
retrieved 25 December 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-12-scientist-global-effect-greenhouse-gas.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Study shows that Japanese bats urgently require conservation action thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Study shows that Japanese bats urgently require conservation action

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The Okinawan Least Horseshoe Bat, one of the endemic species found in central and southern Ryukyu Islands of Japan. Credit: Kyoto University/Island Bat Research Group

Here’s a fun fact: Japan has more bat species than any other order of mammal in the country, and a third of these are endemic. But the bad news is that 90% of the endemic species are at risk of extinction.

Bats play crucial ecological roles, including in pollination and pest control. But while they have been a focus of research in many fields of science—including epidemiology—they remain underrepresented in , particularly in Japan.

Publishing in Mammal Review, researchers from Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Informatics describe a systematic survey of the state of Japanese bat research and their analysis of the possible roots of the problem.

The study authors found poor alignment between conservation needs and allocation of research resources. Although research effort has increased gradually since the year 2000, threatened endemic bats remain significantly less studied than their non-threatened counterparts.

“Conservation status alone is not enough to promote research on these threatened species,” explains Jason Preble, doctoral candidate and one of the authors of the study.

“We systematically reviewed the literature of the last fifty years, assessing patterns in research distribution across multiple categories in order to identify gaps and future priorities.”

The Okinawan Least Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus pumilus), endemic to the central and southern Ryukyus of Japan Credit: The flying Okinawan Least Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus pumilus)

The team found a marked shortage of both ecological and conservation-motivated studies in international journals on nearly half of the extant species in Japan. Moreover, while many threats to Japanese bats have been identified, such as forest loss or alteration, there was a shortage of data measuring the impacts of these threats.

“All of these factors are immensely concerning,” says corresponding author Christian E. Vincenot. “We were distressed to see threats such as wind turbines and climate change severely understudied.”

Based on their results, the team lists recommendations aimed at strengthening Japanese bat conservation.

“For example, we need to prioritize research efforts that provide the ecological information needed to design and implement concrete conservation plans,” Vincenot explains.

The Ryukyu tube-nosed bat (Murina ryukyuana) is endemic to Okinawa, Tokunoshima, and Amami-Oshima and one of the critically understudies bats in Japan. Credit: Kyoto University/Island Bat Research Group

Data disclosure is imperative, he continues. Openness not only helps the , but provides valuable resources to government officers, NGOs, and non-professional naturalists who are equally key players in a comprehensive conservation strategy.

The authors also emphasize the importance of communicating research findings to the public, which in turn can facilitate support from funding agencies.

“While hopeful signs of improvement exist, ultimately a stronger spirit of research and collaboration—along with informed conservation practices—will determine if these creatures can reach the road to recovery or ultimately decline into extinction,” says Vincenot.



More information:
“In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: A Systematic Review of Japanese Bat Research and Conservation” Mammal Review, DOI: 10.1111/mam.12226

Citation:
Study shows that Japanese bats urgently require conservation action (2020, December 7)
retrieved 7 December 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-12-japanese-urgently-require-action.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.