Science: Dead Trees Giving Off CO2, Massive Stars, Melting Ice & Biodiversity

How insects help release carbon stored in forests, and the upcoming biodiversity summit COP 15.

In this episode:

00:44 Fungi, insects, dead trees and the carbon cycle

Across the world forests play a huge role in the carbon cycle, removing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But when those trees die, some of that carbon goes back into the air. A new project studies how fast dead wood breaks down in different conditions, and the important role played by insects.

Research Article: Seibold et al.

09:37 Research Highlights

Massive stars make bigger planets, and melting ice moves continents.

Research Highlight: Why gassy planets are bigger around more-massive stars

Research Highlight: So much ice is melting that Earth’s crust is moving

12:04 The UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity

After several delays, the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, is now slated to take place next year. Even communicating the issues surrounding biodiversity loss has been a challenge, and reaching the targets due to be set at the upcoming meeting will be an even bigger one.

Editorial: The scientific panel on biodiversity needs a bigger role

19:32 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, cannibal cane toads and a pterosaur fossil rescued from smugglers.

Nature News: Australia’s cane toads evolved as cannibals with frightening speed

Research Highlight: A plundered pterosaur reveals the extinct flyer’s extreme headgear

National Geographic: Stunning fossil seized in police raid reveals prehistoric flying reptile’s secrets

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