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Every week we share interesting stories about the environment πŸŒŽπŸ’š. In this week’s Nature Buzz πŸ‘‰ a new frog species, growing horse populations in Chernobyl, data centers saving the bees in Ireland, and plastic-hungry microbes that help remove plastic!
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Nature Thrives in Chernobyl Disaster Zone

via GIPHY

2021 marks the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Although Ukrainian authorities say Chernobyl won't be habitable for humans for more than 24,000 years, nature thrives.

In 1998, 30 Przewalski wild horses were released in the disaster area, known as the Chernobyl Biosphere Reserve. Since then, the herd has grown to over 150, with estimates saying populations could reach between 300 to 500.

With global populations of only around 2,700 Przewalski horses, the Chernobyl Biosphere Reserve could prove to be a vital breeding ground for this rare mammal.

Data Centers Help Save the Bees?

Bee on a flower

In a worldwide industry first, data center giant Host in Ireland's DCs for Bees Pollinator Plan is helping to save bees and other pollinators.

DCs for Bees Pollinator Plan includes:

  • Turning lawns into wild meadows.
  • Growing native plants on data center grounds.
  • Adding bee hotels.

Hopefully, more organizations with large properties will replicate Host in Ireland's DCs for Bees Pollinator Plan!

Plastic-Hungry Microbes Help Remove Plastic

Researchers from the Microbiology Society are working on a bacterial biofilm that traps microplastics in water. The biofilm and plastics can then be gathered and sent for proper disposal or recycling.

The technology still has some way to go, but Yang Liu, a researcher at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, hopes the process will be used in water treatment plants to prevent microplastics from entering waterways and oceans.

New Frog Species Discovered in Brazil

Collage showing six images of the Brachycephalus rotenbergae pumpkin toadlet
Brachycephalus rotenbergae pumpkin toadlet - image credit: PLOS

Researchers in Brazil have discovered a new species of pumpkin toadlet. The thumbnail-sized frog is bright orange and highly poisonous.

There are only several species of pumpkin toadlet, and the newest, Brachycephalus rotenbergae's DNA, differs by around 3%. Physically, the Brachycephalus rotenbergae is distinguishable from other pumpkin toadlets by small dark spots on its head.