The assignment of a symbolic representation to a specific numerosity is a fundamental requirement for humans solving complex mathematical calculations used in diverse applications such as algebra, accounting, physics and everyday commerce. Here we show that honeybees are able to learn to match a sign to a numerosity, or a numerosity

Functional trait diversity is increasingly used to model future changes in community structure despite a poor understanding of community disassembly's effects on functional diversity. By tracking the functional diversity of the North American large mammal fauna through the End-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction and up to the present, I show that contrary to expectations, functionally unique species are no more likely to go extinct than functionally redundant species. This makes total functional richness loss no worse than expected given similar taxonomic richness declines.

European governments have banned the use of three common neonicotinoid pesticides due to insufficiently identified risks to bees. This policy decision is controversial given the absence of clear consistency between toxicity assessments of those substances in the laboratory and in the field. Although laboratory trials report deleterious effects in honeybees at trace levels, field surveys reveal no decrease in the performance of honeybee colonies in the vicinity of treated fields.

Extinction events typically represent extended processes of decline that cannot be reconstructed using short-term studies. Long-term archives are necessary to determine past baselines and the extent of human-caused biodiversity change, but the capacity of historical datasets to provide predictive power for conservation must be assessed within a robust analytical framework.

Overfishing of large predatory fish populations has resulted in lasting restructurings of entire marine food webs worldwide, with serious socio-economic consequences. Fortunately, some degraded ecosystems show signs of recovery. A key challenge for ecosystem management is to anticipate the degree to which recovery is possible. By applying a statistical food-web model, using the Baltic Sea as a case study, we show that under current temperature and salinity conditions, complete recovery of this heavily altered ecosystem will be impossible.

The evolution of resistance to antimicrobial chemotherapy is a major and growing cause of human mortality and morbidity. Comparatively little attention has been paid to how different patient treatment strategies shape the evolution of resistance. In particular, it is not clear whether treating individual patients aggressively with high drug dosages and long treatment durations, or moderately with low dosages and short durations can better prevent the evolution and spread of drug resistance.

The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly, Ceratitis capitata Wiedemann) is a pest of over 300 fruits, vegetables and nuts. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a control measure used to reduce the reproductive potential of populations through the mass release of sterilized male insects that mate with wild females. However, SIT flies can display poor field performance, due to the effects of mass-rearing and of the irradiation process used for sterilization.

We conducted detailed resurveys of a montane mammal, Urocitellus beldingi, to examine the effects of climate change on persistence along the trailing edge of its range. Of 74 California sites where U. beldingi were historically recorded (1902–1966), 42 per cent were extirpated, with no evidence for colonization of previously unoccupied sites. Increases in both precipitation and temperature predicted site extirpations, potentially owing to snowcover loss. Surprisingly, human land-use change buffered climate change impacts, leading to increased persistence and abundance.

Understanding the endogenous factors that drive the population dynamics of malaria mosquitoes will facilitate more accurate predictions about vector control effectiveness and our ability to destabilize the growth of either low- or high-density insect populations.

Recent studies have linked climatic and social instabilities in ancient China; the underlying causal mechanisms have, however, often not been quantitatively assessed.