Beleid en debat

Plant diversity in European forests is declining

In Europe's temperate forests, less common plant species are being replaced by more widespread species. An international team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has found that this development could be related to an increased nitrogen deposition. Their results have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Costa Rica caterpillar decline spells trouble for ecosystems

Scientists have uncovered alarming declines in caterpillar diversity and their parasites across 22 years of monitoring in a protected forest in Costa Rica. Scientists studied the Lepidoptera order of moths and butterflies by collecting all externally feeding caterpillars — those found on leaves and not the inner tissue of a plant. They also collected the parasites that live off their caterpillar hosts, known as parasitoids, including wasps (order Hymenoptera) and flies (order Diptera).

Neonicotinoide lassen Fischbestand schrumpfen

Daran, dass unsere Insekten und damit auch unsere Vögel weniger werden, sollen hauptsächlich Pflanzenschutzmittel schuld sein. Jetzt haben Forscher aus Tokio bestätigt, dass sich Neonicotinoide auch im Wasser und damit auf Fische auswirken. Ein Team um Masumi Yamamuro von der Universität Tokio hat den japanischen Shinji-See über Jahrzehnte beobachtet. Der siebtgrößte See Japans liegt in der Präfektur Shimane, an seinen Ufern befinden sich Reisfelder.

Engineered symbionts to safeguard honeybee health and their pollination services: A response

Leonard et al. (1) presented an interesting approach to limit the impact of pathogens on honeybees by stimulating immunity via engineered symbionts. The urgency to safeguard pollinator services is undoubted. Massive declines in bees, insects in general, pose major concerns for ecosystem stability and food production. However, we see potential pitfalls in such technology driven approaches. Leonard et al. attribute high honeybee colony mortality to the parasitic mite Varroa destructor via synergistic interactions with RNA viruses. However, Varroa is only a significant concern for honeybees.

Bayer verdedigt de neonicotinoïden in een interview met het tijdschrift NATUR

Bayer verkoopt al zo'n drie decennia zogenaamde neonicotinoïden, een groep insecticiden die het bedrijf ooit heeft uitgevonden. Ze worden ervan verdacht een roemloze rol te spelen in het wereldwijde verlies van bijen en insecten. De EU heeft nu drie van de vijf goedgekeurde neonicotinoïden in Europa verboden en wetenschappers over de hele wereld waarschuwen voor een "ecologisch armageddon". In het coververhaal van tijdschrift NATUR 3/20 ("Toxic Seed") wordt de chemische reus van verschillende kanten beschuldigd kritische wetenschappers en imkers te hebben geïntimideerd.

Time‐Cumulative Toxicity of Neonicotinoids: Experimental Evidence and Implications for Environmental Risk Assessments

Our mechanistic understanding of the toxicity of chemicals that target biochemical and/or physiological pathways, such as pesticides and medical drugs is that they do so by binding to specific molecules. The nature of the latter molecules (e.g., enzymes, receptors, DNA, proteins, etc.) and the strength of the binding to such chemicals elicit a toxic effect in organisms, which magnitude depends on the doses exposed in a given timeframe.

Fates of humans and insects intertwined, warn scientists

The “fates of humans and insects are intertwined”, scientists have said, with the huge declines reported in some places only the “tip of the iceberg”. The warning has been issued by 25 experts from around the world, who acknowledge that little is known about most of the estimated 5.5 million insect species. However, enough was understood to warrant immediate action, they said, because waiting for better data would risk irreversible damage.