New Black and Orange Bat Species Discovered in West Africa
In 2018, a team of researchers went to West Africa's Nimba Mountains in search of one critically endangered species of bat. Along the way, they ended up discovering another.
The new bat species, Myotis nimbaensis, has an unusual orange and black coloring, and it was written up for the first time last Wednesday in American Museum Novitates.
"In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope," study coauthor and chief scientist at Bat Conservation International Winifred Frick told the American Museum of Natural History. "It's a spectacular animal."
🚨 New research alert! A new species of a striking orange & black bat from the Nimba Mountains in West Africa has be… https://t.co/2dtGTa4lko— American Museum of Natural History (@American Museum of Natural History)1610569431.0
Frick was part of a team of scientists from Bat Conservation International and the University of Maroua in Cameroon who were investigating natural caves and mining shafts in Guinea's Nimba Mountains. The mountains, which rise about one mile above sea level, are known as sky islands and are important biodiversity hotspots for species including bats.
One especially important bat species is the Lamotte's roundleaf bat, or Hipposideros lamottei, which lives only in the Nimba Mountains, and especially in abandoned mineshafts known as adits. But while trapping for the existing species, the scientists found something they did not expect.
"I looked in a net and there was just something interesting in there," Jon Flanders, director of endangered species intervention at Bat Conservation International, told The Washington Post.
Flanders said he first saw the bat with his colleague Eric Moïse Bakwo Fils from the University of Maroua.
"Eric and I got back to camp and we independently started trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Finding a new species of specially colored bats is very rare. I was like, 'I'm pretty sure this is a new species'. We walked in the room in the morning and simultaneously said 'I think we've got a new species.' "
So the pair called up bat expert and American Museum of Natural History Curator Nancy Simmons for help.
"As soon as I looked at it, I agreed that it was something new," Simmons, who is also the paper's lead author, said in the museum press release.
Simmons confirmed her initial opinion with help from the Smithsonian and the British Museum of Natural History, she told The Washington Post.
Newly discovered bat has already won 2021 Halloween #Bat #Nature #Science #Wildlife https://t.co/WE1Qt1TE73— Cool Science Videos (@Cool Science Videos)1610649004.0
There are more than 1,400 species of bats, and more than 20 new ones are added to the list every year, according to The New York Times. But mostly, these discoveries are made in the lab by closely analyzing the DNA of similar-looking species previously thought to be the same.
"This sort of situation where experienced researchers went out in the field and caught an animal and held it in their hand and went, 'This is something we can't identify,' that's much more unusual," Simmons told The New York Times.
The new bat is likely already endangered, since it is only known to live in the Nimba Mountains. Researchers said the next step is to learn more about the species so that they can protect it more effectively.
Bakwo Fils also told The New York Times that he hoped the discovery would boost bat conservation in West Africa more generally. Bats are important pollinators, seed spreaders and pest eaters in the region, but superstition and their connection with Ebola has meant they are often harmed.
"This discovery is very important in terms of West Africa's bat biodiversity, because even if bats are a very important component of our ecosystems, they rarely receive attention," Bakwo Fils said.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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