The latest biodiversity mega-papers, tweeted

Always great when someone summarizes three major biodiversity publications for you in one tweet.

Just in case something happens to that tweet, here’s the text:

Big hitters in conservation today, in a nutshell:

Biodiversity has declined globally for decades https://livingplanet.panda.org/en-gb/

but we’ve prevented some extinctions https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/conl.12762

and could reverse loss by 2050 https://nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2705-y

And thanks to Joe Bull for saving me a lot of work.

Oh, and here’s a further spoiler from Twitter for the last paper on the list.

Welcome to the world, Kurt

What can you do about inbreeding in a small population of a species that nearly went extinct? Well, if the species is Przewalski’s horse, one thing you can do is inject some new diversity into the genepool by cloning a genetically very distinct stallion whose cells you happened to put in liquid nitrogen forty years ago. The whole amazing story is on the website of the Revive & Restore project.

The new foal’s name is Kurt. Why?

Kurt is named in honor of Dr. Kurt Benirshke, a geneticist at the San Diego Zoo who in 1975 had a prescient idea. Dr. Benirshke began what is now the Frozen Zoo, collecting and cryopreserving the cell lines of endangered species and safely storing away genetic diversity before it was lost. At the time the collection was a bet on cloning and reproductive technologies that did not yet exist. Nearly fifty years later, with the partnership of San Diego Zoo Global Frozen Zoo, Revive & Restore, and ViaGen Pets and Equine, Dr. Benirschke’s plans are quite literally coming to life.

h/t Beth Shapiro.

LATER: A bit more background on Przewalski’s horse just out.

Genesys learns taxonomy

Eh? Yep, you heard me.

With the recent adoption of the taxonomic backbone provided by GRIN Taxonomy, a search of Genesys for Solanum lycopersicum, which is the currently accepted name for the tomato in GRIN Taxonomy, will also return accessions documented as Lycopersicon esculentum, and indeed other synonyms.

Read all about it on the Genesys news page. And test it out.

Whether you like how it works, or not, leave comments below. I promise I’ll pass them on to the people in charge.

Brainfood: Millet yields, Millet review, Taro genome, Salty sunflower, WorldVeg network, Phylorelatives, Bovine domestication, Diet quality, Nutrition metrics, Aztec diets, Complementary conservation, Post-2020, Climate change breeding

Biodiversity loss in experiments and in real life

A large body of research shows that biodiversity loss can reduce ecosystem functioning.

You don’t say. Several years ago we half-heartedly attempted to summarize the literature here a couple of times. We’ve sort of given up on that of late: there’s just too much of it. But there is a fundamental problem with this literature…

…much of the evidence for this relationship is drawn from biodiversity–ecosystem functioning experiments in which biodiversity loss is simulated by randomly assembling communities of varying species diversity, and ecosystem functions are measured.

Fear not, though, help is at hand. The two quotes above are from the abstract of a paper bearing the following title.

The results of biodiversity–ecosystem functioning experiments are realistic.

Phew.