Weekly News Bites: Disappearing Arctic ice, simian malaria vectors, and hundreds of new species discovered

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are ice-free Arctic summers, how monkey malaria gets transmitted, and over 300 new species discovered in the lower Mekong.

Even stringent efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions may not be enough to stop the Arctic becoming ice-free during the summer, says research by Pohang University of Science and Technology. Normally the Arctic ice melts over the summer, having the lowest levels in September but there is always some “summer sea ice” that helps keep global temperatures under control. The disappearance of this ice could have serious consequences worldwide.

A survey by Tohoku University and Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine found that around 32% of Japanese university students use ChatGPT for their studies. However, many never use it for their assignments directly as they consider it cheating or due to the fact that it can provide incorrect information. The majority of those that do use it said that it helped them improve their writing and thinking skills. 

Mosquitoes do not seem to spread simian malaria from human to human, says Universiti Malaysia Sabah, the National University of Singapore, and Imperial College London. This is a response to worries that this type of malaria spread from monkeys to humans and then from humans to other humans through mosquitoes. The researchers say that increased surveillance and new control strategies are needed to keep the disease under control. 

A report from the World Wildlife Fund states that 380 new species of flora and fauna have been discovered in the lower Mekong over the past 2 years. These new species were discovered in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand and include a mouse-eared bat, a color-changing lizard, and an orchid that looks like a muppet. These discoveries highlight the importance of conservation efforts to save species both known and unknown.