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International Update Volume 48, Issue 4

TWO BAT SPECIES DISCOVERED IN PANAMA AND ECUADOR

Ecuador

A group of researchers have discovered two new species of dog-faced bats in South America. Researchers have described two new species of dog-faced bats: the Freeman’s dog-faced bat from Panama and the Waorani dog-faced bat from Ecuador. At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History the scientists compared their field observations, including DNA, sound recordings and body measurements of the bats, with existing museum collections and confirmed that the bat was a new species. The team first came across the bats in 2012.

SOME CORAL REEF SURVIVAL AND REGROWTH EVIDENT IN THE GALÁPAGOS

In December 2017, a research group visited the Galápagos Islands to survey coral reefs and to gather ecological information on their extent and condition. The reefs of the Galápagos have a history of coral bleaching across the archipelago. El Niño's hot waters pushed many corals beyond their thermal tolerances, resulting in widespread reef-scale bleaching. The researchers found that although warm ocean events such as El Niño can wipe out vast areas of reef, coral survival and regrowth was evident, and recovery time matters, giving some hope for the recovery of other reefs around the world.

GERMANY DISCUSSES PLAN TO RETROFIT VEHICLES THAT HAVE EXCESS EMISSIONS

Germany

In 2017, like some other European countries and cities, the German government announced a plan that would eventually remove diesel vehicles from the roads. A governing coalition, including Chancellor Merkel's conservative bloc, is discussing a plan to allow automakers to install new hardware in older diesel models to improve emissions rather than remove them from the roads. In August 2017, the industry agreed to provide software updates and trade-in incentives aimed at improving air quality in cities seeking to stem growing smog.