Carnivores around the world are more at risk of extinction due to their own intrinsic biological attributes than from an increasing human population with whom they share their space, say scientists in a study published this week. Researchers looking at all 280 carnivore species around the world estimated the risk of their extinction by 2030 based on a variety of different threats.
They found that while a high human population density is associated with a high extinction risk, its importance fell as biological traits were accounted for. Four traits in particular were associated with high extinction risk in carnivores: a small geographic distribution, low population density, high trophic level (position on the food chain), and long gestation period.
Furthermore, biology is by far more important in determining risk of extinction when combined with high human population density. "When species face severe external threats, their biology becomes much more crucial," says Dr Marcel Cardillo, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences at Imperial, and first author of the paper.
Tom Miller | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
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A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
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A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
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