This being the last Mongabay Newscast of 2016, we’re bringing you the top new species discoveries of the year. Here at Mongabay we report on a lot of environmental science and conservation news. It’s not always the most cheery subject matter, especially when we’re reporting on endangered or extinct species. But it’s important to remember that we’re also discovering new species all the time.
Mongabay staff writer Shreya Dasgupta rounded up all of the top new species discovered in 2016, including 13 new dancing peacock spiders, a crab that was discovered in a pet market, a new species of whale, a tarantula that shoots balls of barbed hair at its enemies, and one bird that is now 13 distinct species.
We also speak with author Mike Shanahan, whose new book Gods, Wasps, and Stranglers: The secret history and redemptive future of fig trees looks at this tropical species’ biology and key ecological role, as well as its deep cultural (and spiritual) place in human history. If listening to this episode of the Newscast leaves you wanting to hear more from Shanahan, Mongabay editor Erik Hoffner interviewed him back in November. “Wild fig trees are magnets to biodiversity. Plant them and other species, both plant and animal, soon follow,” Shanahan said then.
On episode seven of the Newscast we talk with Mongabay contributing editor for Southeast Asia Isabel Esterman, who is based in Cairo, Egypt, about the plight of Asian rhinos. Potential new evidence recently emerged that suggests there might be some undiscovered wild Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia, where they were declared extinct in the wild last year — though not everyone is convinced the new evidence is all that compelling.
We also speak with Richard Bowden, a professor of environmental science at Allegheny College, to answer a question from a Mongabay reader and geography student at the University of Hamburg in Germany, who wrote in to ask: “What are the effects of climate change on phenology, primary production, carbon sequestration, and biotic interactions?”
If you’ve got a question about environmental science and conservation, we’d be happy to answer it for you! Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll answer your question in a future episode of the Mongabay Newscast.
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