Invasive plants could become even more prevalent and destructive as climate change continues, according to a new analysis of data stretching back more than 150 years.Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the Harvard University scientists who conducted the study say that nonnative plants, and especially invasive species, appear to thrive during times of climate change because they’re better able to adjust the timing of annual activities such as flowering and fruiting.“These results demonstrate for the first time that climate change likely plays a direct role in promoting nonnative species’ success,” says author Charles C. Davis, assistant professor in Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. “Secondly, they highlight the importance of flowering time as a trait that may facilitate the success of nonnative species. This kind of information could be very useful for predicting the success of future invaders.”Davis and his colleagues analyzed a data set that began with Henry David Thoreau’s cataloging of plants around Walden Pond in the 1850s, when the famed naturalist kept meticulous notes documenting natural history, plant species occurrences, and flowering times. Since then, the mean annual temperature around Concord, Mass., has increased by 2.4 degrees Celsius, or 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, causing some plants to shift their flowering time by as much as three weeks in response to ever-earlier spring thaws.“We set out to use this data set to examine which plants have been the beneficiaries of climate change,” Davis says. “Our research suggests quite decisively that nonnative and invasive species have been the climate change winners. Climate change will lead to an as-yet-unknown shuffling of species, and it appears that invasive species will become more dominant.”Davis and colleagues compared a plethora of plant traits — everything from height at maturity to flower diameter to seed weight — against species’ response to more than a century and a half of climate change. Alone among all these traits, plants that have fared well share a common phenology, a suite of traits related to the timing of seasonal events such as flowering, leaf growth, germination, and migration.By contrast, many plants with a less flexible flowering schedule — and thus prone to flowering at suboptimal times — have declined in population, in many cases to the point of local extinction.The current work builds on a 2008 paper by Davis and colleagues that showed that some of the plant families hit hardest by climate change at Walden Pond include beloved species like lilies, orchids, violets, roses, and dogwoods. The scientists also reported that some 27 percent of all species Thoreau recorded from 1851 to 1858 are now locally extinct, and another 36 percent are so sparse that extinction may be imminent.“Invasive species can be intensely destructive to biodiversity, ecosystem function, agriculture, and human health,” Davis says. “In the United States alone the estimated annual cost of invasive species exceeds $120 billion. Our results could help in developing predictive models to assess the threat of future invasive species, which may become greatly exacerbated in the face of continued climate change.”Davis’ co-authors on the PLoS ONE paper are Charles G. Willis of Harvard and Duke University, Brad R. Ruhfel and Jonathan B. Losos of Harvard, Richard B. Primack of Boston University, and Abraham J. Miller-Rushing of the USA National Phenology Network and the Wildlife Society. Their work was supported by Harvard University.
Digital transformation boils down to one simple common denominator: competitiveness in a future “hyper-digital world,” which Dell Technologies predicts in its latest study, the Digital Transformation Index (DTI). In this futurescape, users have extremely demanding requirements. Economic limitations are a thing of the past, meaning that any company can address any market – but it also means that they have to step into the ring with a constantly growing number of competitors. Innovation plays an even more crucial role in this hyper-digital world, and there are completely new challenges, such as climate change and resource scarcity, that the markets have only had fleeting dealings with – if at all – until now. Companies would do well to factor these futuristic parameters into their calculations.However, these parameters are not actually all that “futuristic.” We have all, at one time or another, looked at the clock after midnight and uttered the words, “Oh, it’s already tomorrow.” For the markets, it’s “already tomorrow” as well. In fact, all of the changes mentioned in the previous paragraph have already begun to take place, be it increased user requirements, stronger competition, or climate change. When we talk about the hyper-digital world, then, we are not talking about some sort of abstract future; it has been the here and now for quite some time! It is also not a sudden development (today versus an undefined “tomorrow”), which would maybe please many procrastinators, but an incremental one – the digital society is taking clearer shape with every passing second. This progression is too slow for many to grasp.The procrastinators and the hesitant should take Albert Einstein’s quote to heart: “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” Or, even better, update it: “I never think of the digital future – it has long since arrived. If I don’t act now, I’ll quickly lose my competitiveness.” According to Dell’s DTI, only just over a quarter of those surveyed consider their company to be a leader or implementor in the digital transformation, while the remaining almost 75 percent are taking their time – time that they don’t actually have.Given the high number of digital laggards and (perpetual) evaluators, it is no wonder that those surveyed said that in five years’ time, half of all companies will barely meet the requirements of their customers. Many will also no longer be able to present themselves as credible and reliable partners in their markets as they will have fallen behind from a technological standpoint.At this point, it is worth taking a look at the Global Competitiveness Index 2018 from the World Economic Forum. It lists the most competitive countries, notably the U.S. and Singapore, followed by Germany, Switzerland, and the usual suspects. It would not be too far-fetched to conclude that these industrial nationals are investing the most extensively and at the fastest rate in digitization. After all, they have the most expertise and the largest budgets.Way off the mark. According to the DTI, India, Brazil, and Thailand top the list of most digitization-savvy countries. In developed markets, only 24 percent of companies are among the pioneers in this environment, while in India the number is 45. Who would have thought that emerging economies would be the ones demonstrating how digitization is done?I am well aware that more relaxed data protection and other regulatory provisions form less of a barrier for the economic transformation process in many of these countries when compared to the stringent laws in the EU. In fact, data protection, data security, and legal requirements are some of the biggest hurdles on the path to full digitization. Still, it is worth asking one question: Do India and Thailand top the list of most competitive countries in the hyper-digital world because they systematically carry out numerous actual projects alongside the fact that they work with digitization much more intensively?One could assume that developed markets will fall far behind emerging economies when it comes to digitization – but it probably won’t get to that point. All the same, this scenario can still serve as a cautious wake-up call for one company or another. The momentum of today’s emerging economies should be an example to the global markets.
First Published: 17th August, 2020 07:42 IST WATCH US LIVE Last Updated: 17th August, 2020 07:42 IST Keibert Ruiz Starts Career With HR, Dodgers Sweep Angels 8-3 Keibert Ruiz homered in his first major league at-bat, Corey Seager hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Freeway Series with an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. FOLLOW US COMMENT LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By Associated Press Television News Keibert Ruiz homered in his first major league at-bat, Corey Seager hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Freeway Series with an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.Max Muncy had a two-run homer, Matt Beaty also homered and Mookie Betts added an RBI single for the NL-leading Dodgers (16-7), who have won a season-best five straight.The Dodgers also swept a three-game series at Angel Stadium for the first time since interleague play began in 1997, although the Angels still hold a 70-57 overall lead in the rivalry.Anthony Rendon homered for the fifth time in six games for the Angels, who have lost four straight. Brian Goodwin also homered and David Fletcher extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games, but the big-budget Halos have matched the slowest start in franchise history at 7-15.Ruiz, a 22-year-old catcher from Venezuela, made his big-league debut behind the plate. In the third inning, he smashed a 1-1 fastball from Julio Teherán (0-2) down the right field line with his first big-league swing.The homer in the mostly silent, empty stadium audibly delighted his new teammates, who dispatched pitcher Julio Urías to find the souvenir ball amid the tarps and empty seats.Ruiz is generally ranked the third-best prospect in the Dodgers’ perpetually bountiful farm system. He became the seventh player in the franchise’s 131-year history to homer in his first at-bat, and the first since Garey Ingram in 1994.Muncy added his two-run shot later in the third, and Seager connected off Matt Andriese for his fifth homer in the fourth.Dustin May lasted only 4 1/3 innings for the Dodgers, giving up seven hits and two runs with two strikeouts on 88 pitches.Scott Alexander (1-0) gave up three hits and a run over two innings.Teherán struggled again with his new team, yielding six hits and four runs in 3 1/3 innings. His ERA is up to 12.38 over three starts.Rendon hit the sixth homer of his ascendant season leading off the fourth. Fletcher singled in the fifth, extending the Angels’ longest hitting streak since 2017. Goodwin homered in the sixth.WEIRD PLAYAngels rookie Jo Adell saved a run in the second when he threw out Beaty at second base trying to stretch a long two-out single into a double. Edwin Rios had been on second, but he felt tightness in his left hamstring while running out his double, and he subsequently couldn’t sprint from second to home on Beaty’s hit, failing to touch home before Beaty was tagged out.TRAINER’S ROOMDodgers: Rios left the game in the bottom half of the second. … Alex Wood was scheduled for a bullpen session Sunday. He made just one start before going on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation.Angels: Slumping 40-year-old Albert Pujols sat out back-to-back games — the first time that’s happened when he was healthy during his nine seasons in Anaheim. The three-time NL MVP recently reached 659 homers to move right behind Willie Mays for fifth place in baseball history, but he’s batting .186.(Image Credit Pixabay)