Yellowstone: Wolves as ecosystem engineers

The effects of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, USA, have been widely studied – the prolonged absence and then reintroduction of wolves at the top of the food chain makes this case study a great natural experiment into ecosystem dynamics. This post will collate the interesting bits from the research, and look …

Smart Shorts III: Can eating Quorn help you save the planet?

Have you ever sat down for dinner, started tucking into a Quorn lasagne, escalope or the best of the best (in my opinion) the Quorn nugget, and wondered to yourself… What is this? Well, I have! So to answer my own question (and hopefully satisfy your curiosity too), this blog post will cover what Quorn …

Palaeoecology: how an understanding of ancient savannas helps inform elephant management

Despite their role as a conservation flagship species, elephants can be highly destructive to their natural environment. They play a huge role in the management of savanna ecosystems across Africa, but in some areas, the widespread damage they bring to vegetation and farmer’s land makes them a pest. Two main control methods have been suggested …

Homo sapiens: How did we get here?

Modern humans, or Homo sapiens, are the only species of human living on the planet. But this wasn’t always the case – it’s been a long evolutionary journey to get to where we are now, from our early hominid ancestors the Australopithecines to the big-brained, flat-faced people we are now. This post will look at …

Ancient woodlands: why should we care?

Ancient woodland is an ecosystem in which more threatened wildlife than in any other UK terrestrial habitat dwells. Across Europe, ancient woodlands are rare, but can be found in the form of remnants of “wildwood” or primeval forests, such as the Białowieża Forest on the border between Poland and Belarus, which once spanned the European …

Pleistocene Rewilding: What is it?

Pleistocene rewilding describes the theory of restoring Pleistocene habitats back to their original state (at around 11,000 years ago), by reintroducing the megafauna which maintained them. The end Pleistocene saw huge megafaunal extinction (loss of 97 of the 150 megafaunal species between 50kyr and 10kyr, Barnosky 2004). This period of extinction has been linked to …

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