Baltimore oriole in Panama video


This video from Panama says about itself:

Baltimore Oriole Visits The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam – Feb. 7, 2019

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Baltimore oriole, a migrant bird from North America, quarrels with resident Panamanian clay-coloured thrushes in the video.

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United States Southern Baptist church sexual abuse


This 10 December 2018 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

Investigation uncovers hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse in fundamental Baptist churches

A new investigation by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram uncovered hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse against those in the Independent Fundamental Baptist church. Sarah Smith, an investigative reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, joins CBSN to discuss the paper’s findings.

Now, about a bigger Baptist denomination: the Southern Baptist Convention. Founded in 1845 by supporters of slavery in the southern states of the USA who did not like northern Baptists criticizing slavery. With still quite some misogyny and Donald Trump support within this conservative church.

This 11 December 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Houston Chronicle‘s Abuse of Faith: ‘The destruction of innocence’ …

Convicted church leaders describe sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches. Read ‘Abuse of Faith’, our exclusive investigative series.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Systematic abuse revealed in largest Protestant church in the USA

The management of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States has promised reforms after revelations about widespread sexual abuse within the Protestant denomination.

The Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 15 million members, is the second largest denomination in the US. The newspapers The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News revealed Sunday that since 1998 more than 380 clergy and volunteers have been accused of abuse.

More than 200 convicted

They are said to have made more than 700 victims, including young children. The victims say that within the church they were not listened to and that the complaints were covered up.

Among the perpetrators are preachers, volunteers, deacons and teachers of Sunday schools. Of the accused, 220 people have been convicted and ninety people are still in prison.

Only now, however, by examining the two newspapers, it only becomes clear how big the scandal is. The journalists collected the data using national and local databases.

Independent churches

The Southern Baptist Convention consists of approximately 47,000 independent churches across the USA. They are free to decide who to appoint. But that the churches are independent does not mean that they do not have to take responsibility, says a leader of the organisation on his own website.

Another cleric says that the leadership should have listened to the warnings about the abuse

Abuse in Roman Catholic Church

At the beginning of this month, the Roman Catholic Church in the state of Texas was also in the news because of a major abuse scandal. The church leadership released the names of 286 clergymen who had sexually abused children.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the United States and has been under fire for abuse.

Insects and plants, new research


This March 2015 video says about itself:

Eerie Time-Lapse of Bug-Eating Plants | Short Film Showcase

Filmmaker Chris Field captures the beautiful but deadly world of carnivorous plants in his “bio-lapse”, Carnivora Gardinum. The project took over a year to complete, with 107 days of continuous shooting on two cameras.

From Aarhus University in Denmark:

DNA traces on wild flowers reveal insect visitors

February 8, 2019

Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that insects leave tiny DNA traces on the flowers they visit. This newly developed eDNA method holds a vast potential for documenting unknown insect-plant interactions, keeping track of endangered pollinators, such as wild bees and butterflies, as well as in the management of unwanted pest species.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) can provide an overview of the DNA sequences in complex samples such as water and soil, and thereby a snapshot of the species inhabiting the particular ecosystem. In previous analyses of water samples from lakes and oceans, researchers have fx found DNA traces from insects, amphibians, fish and whales.

Flowers as DNA collectors

Flower-rich grassland habitats like meadows are typically visited by hundreds of species of insects such as bees, butterflies, flies and beetles, which collect food from the flowers. However, it can obviously be quite difficult to keep track of which insect species visit which flower.

But now, Associate professor Philip Francis Thomsen and Postdoc Eva Egelyng Sigsgaard from the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, have undertaken eDNA analyses of 50 flowers from seven different plant species.

“I have worked with DNA from water and soil samples for several years and have often thought that DNA is probably much more common in the environment than would initially imagine. With this study we wanted to test if eDNA from flowers can reveal which insects the flowers have interacted with,” says Philip Francis Thomsen, who heads a research group focusing on eDNA.

The researchers were quite surprised by the analyses, which revealed that the flowers have been visited by at least 135 different species of butterflies, moths, bees, flies, beetles, aphids, plant bugs, spiders, etc. The list goes on.

The flowers therefore function as passive DNA collectors that store data about each flower-visiting insect — a discovery that is published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Efficient monitoring of our insect fauna

The method opens up completely new possibilities of studying the interactions between specific plants and insects. The knowledge gained can be used within many research areas, including applied research in pest control.

The new method also holds major perspectives in the management of endangered species like wild <a href="https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/save-all-bee-species-from-pesticide-death/”>pollinators, which is an urgent task since many groups of flower-visiting insects are threatened. Thus, the populations of several wild bees and butterflies have decreased significantly in recent decades and many species have now become locally extinct.

“The eDNA method might provide a comprehensive overview of the insects involved in the pollination of various plants. Earlier the focus has almost entirely been on bees, butterflies and hoverflies, but we have found DNA from a wide range of other insects such as moths and beetles that may in fact also be important pollinators” says Philip Francis Thomsen.

New endemic plant species discovery in Brazil


One of only three species recognized in the Brazilian plant genus -- Mcvaughia bahiana. Credit: I.R. Guesdon CC-BY 4.0

From ScienceDaily:

Brazil-endemic plant genus Mcvaughia highlights diversity in a unique biome

The new genus is found exclusively in the recently recognized Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests biome

February 11, 2019

A new species of the Brazil-endemic small genus Mcvaughia is described as part of a extended revision of this unique group. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

Mcvaughia is a genus of the plant family Malpighiaceae comprising just three known species, all of which endemic to the unique Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests biome found in the Atlantic Forest and Caatinga domains in northeastern Brazil.

In fact, Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests have only been recognized as a worldwide biome recently and taxonomic studies focusing on its endemic plant species are imperative for conservation management.

In their newly published monograph, the team of scientists from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México & Smithsonian answer the need for a deeper understanding on this unique biome, starting with genus Mcvaughia and hoping to continue with other endemic plant groups in the future.

“We are truly fascinated by the members of this new and exciting biome and when during a visit in Brazilian herbaria, we found a third species of Mcvaughia endemic to seasonally dry forests from the state of Piauí, Brazil, we couldn’t miss the chance to improve knowledge on this unique genus and the biome where it is only found,” explains lead author, Dr Rafael F. Almeida from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The name of the newly described species Mcvaughia piauhiensis pays tribute to Dr. Rogers McVaugh, an American botanist, expert in the Mexican flora.

“The results presented in this study are the second step towards a complete taxonomic revision of the Mcvaughioid clade using several additional methods in biosystematics. The macro and micromorphological data presented here are promising for future taxonomic and phylogenetic studies focusing on understanding the morphological evolution in the Mcvaughioid clade, and in Malpighiaceae, as well,” conclude the authors.