Decline of Species That Pollinate Poses a Threat to Global Food Supply, Report Warns Many pollinator species are facing extinction, including some 16 percent of vertebrates like birds and bats. nytimes.com|By John Schwartz

“The birds and the bees need help. Also, the butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and bats. Without an international effort, a new report warns, increasing numbers of species that promote the growth of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food each year face extinction.

The first global assessment of the threats to creatures that pollinate the world’s plants was released by a group affiliated with the United Nations on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The summary will be posted online Monday.

Pollinators, including some 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts, as well as flowering plants. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year. The agricultural system, for which pollinators play a key role, creates millions of jobs worldwide.”

Many pollinator species are facing extinction, including some 16 percent of vertebrates like birds and bats, according to the document.
nytimes.com|By John Schwartz

Should We Bank Our Own Stool? The benefits of restoring our microbial system become more and more obvious. We need a way to make this system reboot easier. nytimes.com|By Moises Velasquez-Manoff

“BY last August, my 1-year-old son had taken five courses of antibiotics for recurrent ear infections. That was alarming. By age 10, the average American child has had about 10 courses, and some microbiologists argue that even one course a year is too many — that it might damage our native microbial ecosystem, with far-reaching consequences.

My son was off to a worrisome start. Why, I wondered, didn’t doctors work harder to prevent this collateral damage, not with store-bought probiotics, but with “microbial restoration”? Why didn’t we reinfuse patients with their own microbes after antibiotics?

The scientific term for this is “autologous fecal transplant.” In theory, it could work like a system reboot disk works for your computer. You’d freeze your feces, which are roughly half microbes, and when your microbiome became corrupted or was depleted with antimicrobials, you could “reinstall” it from a backup copy.”

The benefits of restoring our microbial system become more and more obvious. We need a way to make this system reboot easier.
nytimes.com|By Moises Velasquez-Manoff

When Birds Squawk, Other Species Seem to Listen — NYT

Hey, we knew this. Bill Staines wrote, “All God’s critters got a place in the choir, Some sing low and some sing high,
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire, and some just clap their hands or paws, or anything they got now.”

A professor’s hunch is that birds are saying much more in warning of danger than previously suspected, and that other animals have evolved to understand the signals.
nytimes.com|By Christopher Solomon