Now and forever, or at least for a very long time By 2050, sea levels will have risen this much. If we don’t act, average global temperature will rise x degrees by 2100. These are the things we all hear in the discussion concerning climate change and its consequences. But beyond the turn of the […]... Read more »
Clark, P., Shakun, J., Marcott, S., Mix, A., Eby, M., Kulp, S., Levermann, A., Milne, G., Pfister, P., Santer, B.... (2016) Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change. Nature Climate Change, 6(4), 360-369. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2923
Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »
Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »
Hernandez AM, Perez EC, Mulard H, Mathevon N, & Vignal C. (2016) Mate call as reward: Acoustic communication signals can acquire positive reinforcing values during adulthood in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 130(1), 36-43. PMID: 26881942
by Piter Kehoma Boll I wonder how many people can say they have a bacterium that reminds them of their childhood. Well, at least I can say that I have. When I was a boy and started to know about … Continue reading →... Read more »
Lipman, C. (1941) The Successful Revival of Nostoc commune from a Herbarium Specimen Eighty- Seven Years Old. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 68(9), 664. DOI: 10.2307/2481755
Tamaru, Y., Takani, Y., Yoshida, T., & Sakamoto, T. (2005) Crucial Role of Extracellular Polysaccharides in Desiccation and Freezing Tolerance in the Terrestrial Cyanobacterium Nostoc commune. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(11), 7327-7333. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.71.11.7327-7333.2005
Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »
Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1
Honest signalling Theory. Why would animals tell the truth? Is it strong moral fiber? Maybe they paid really close attention when their mother told them the story of the boy who cried wolf? It's actually about self preservation.
Signalling theory states that animals send out signals that benefit themselves. Honest signalling theory states when an animal tells the truth , eg: sends a signal that says 'I'm healthy' when the animal is actually healthy, it does so to avoid a p........ Read more »
Blount JD, Speed MP, Ruxton GD, & Stephens PA. (2009) Warning displays may function as honest signals of toxicity. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 276(1658), 871-7. PMID: 19019790
Me and my microbes In the past decade or so, the microbiota, the community of microbes that makes its home in the guts of humans and other animals, has become quite a popular research topic. Quite rightly so, since our little guests seem to affect aspects of our lives that we wouldn’t necessarily consider to […]... Read more »
Faria VG, Martins NE, Magalhães S, Paulo TF, Nolte V, Schlötterer C, Sucena É, & Teixeira L. (2016) Drosophila Adaptation to Viral Infection through Defensive Symbiont Evolution. PLoS genetics, 12(9). PMID: 27684942
Solé RV, Montañez R, & Duran-Nebreda S. (2015) Synthetic circuit designs for earth terraformation. Biology direct, 37. PMID: 26187273
An unexpected sugary snack can give bees a little buzz and appears to lift their mood, even making them optimistic, according to research that suggests pollinators have feelings, too. Since emotions are subjective and difficult to measure—particularly in animals—researchers looked at how bees' behavior changed after they were given a sip of sucrose solution.
... Read more »
Perry, C., Baciadonna, L., & Chittka, L. (2016) Unexpected rewards induce dopamine-dependent positive emotion-like state changes in bumblebees. Science, 353(6307), 1529-1531. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4454
When extremely happy or relaxed, rats will display a behavior known as boggling where their eyes vibrate and bulge. ... Read more »
Froberg-fejko, Karen. (2014) Give a rat a bone: satisfying rodents' need to gnaw. Lab animal. info:/
A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands—despite the state's historic drought. The expansion of almonds has also consumed 16,000 acres of wetlands and will likely put additional pressure on already stressed honeybee populations.
... Read more »
WATKINS, Larissa, WATSON, Kelly, & HUFFMAN, F. Tyler. (2016) MONITORING CHANGE IN AGRICULTURAL LAND AND WATER USAGE IN CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL VALLEY USING GEOSPATIAL TECHNIQUES. Geological Society of America. info:/10.1130/abs/2016AM-285205
We might think of animal mating being as simple as 1 male and 1 female, like on Noah's Ark. But many types of fish undergo sex changes throughout their lives. My goal is to open people's eyes to the diversity among sex in animals.... Read more »
Tsuboi, M., & Sakai, Y. (2016) Polygamous mating system and protogynous sex change in the gobiid fish Fusigobius neophytus. Journal of Ethology, 34(3), 263-275. DOI: 10.1007/s10164-016-0472-x
What do you see in the picture? An elephant, right?
Some will say that they see an African elephant, or perhaps an elephant in the savannah protecting from the sun in the shade of a tree. But who sees an elephant and a majestic flowering baobab surrounded by savannah shrubs in a dry grass meadow?
If your answer is the latter, congratulations, you are a quite unique case. If in the picture you just see “an elephant” then you are just like most of the people around you.
This pheno........ Read more »
by Piter Kehoma Boll If you are walking through a forest in Europe you may find the bark of some trees covered by a thin rosy or orange crust. Commonly known as rosy crust, its scientific name is Peniophora incarnata. As … Continue reading →... Read more »
Lee, H., Yun, S., Jang, S., Kim, G., & Kim, J. (2015) Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Creosote-Contaminated Soil by Peniophora incarnata KUC8836. Bioremediation Journal, 19(1), 1-8. DOI: 10.1080/10889868.2014.939136
Suay, I., Arenal, F,, Asensio, F. J., Basilio, A., Cabello, M. A., Díez, M. T., García, J. B., González del Val, A., Gorrochategui, J., Hernández, P.... (2000) Screening of basidiomycetes for antimicrobial activities. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 78(2), 129-140. DOI: 10.1023/A:1026552024021
Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday products, according to a new study. A multi-institutional team conducted a first-of-a-kind meta-analysis, compiling data from dust samples collected throughout the United States to identify the top ten toxic chemicals commonly found in dust.
... Read more »
Mitro, S., Dodson, R., Singla, V., Adamkiewicz, G., Elmi, A., Tilly, M., & Zota, A. (2016) Consumer Product Chemicals in Indoor Dust: A Quantitative Meta-analysis of U.S. Studies. Environmental Science . DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02023
New theories in ocean circulation and acidification, shorter sea ice season in polar bear habitats, and new tools to track bird migrations and hair protein analysis in forensic IDs. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »
Klockmann, M., Mikolajewicz, U., & Marotzke, J. (2016) The effect of greenhouse gas concentrations and ice sheets on the glacial AMOC in a coupled climate model. Climate of the Past, 12(9), 1829-1846. DOI: 10.5194/cp-12-1829-2016
Sutton, A., Sabine, C., Feely, R., Cai, W., Cronin, M., McPhaden, M., Morell, J., Newton, J., Noh, J., Ólafsdóttir, S.... (2016) Using present-day observations to detect when anthropogenic change forces surface ocean carbonate chemistry outside preindustrial bounds. Biogeosciences, 13(17), 5065-5083. DOI: 10.5194/bg-13-5065-2016
Shamoun-Baranes, J., Farnsworth, A., Aelterman, B., Alves, J., Azijn, K., Bernstein, G., Branco, S., Desmet, P., Dokter, A., Horton, K.... (2016) Innovative Visualizations Shed Light on Avian Nocturnal Migration. PLOS ONE, 11(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160106
Parker, G., Leppert, T., Anex, D., Hilmer, J., Matsunami, N., Baird, L., Stevens, J., Parsawar, K., Durbin-Johnson, B., Rocke, D.... (2016) Demonstration of Protein-Based Human Identification Using the Hair Shaft Proteome. PLOS ONE, 11(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160653
According to new research, widespread adoption of genetically modified crops has decreased the use of insecticides, but increased the use of weed-killing herbicides as weeds become more resistant. This is the largest study of genetically modified crops and pesticide use to date. The team of economists studied annual data from more than 5,000 soybean and 5,000 maize farmers in the U.S. from 1998 to 2011, far exceeding previous studies that have been limited to one or two years of data.
... Read more »
Perry, E., Ciliberto, F., Hennessy, D., & Moschini, G. (2016) Genetically engineered crops and pesticide use in U.S. maize and soybeans. Science Advances, 2(8). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600850
by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s more than time to bring a fern as a Friday Fellow, and I decided to start with one of my favorites, the Neotropical tree fern Dicksonia sellowiana, known in Brazil as Samambaiaçu or Xaxim. The samambaiaçu … Continue reading →... Read more »
Schmitt, J., Schneider, P., & Windisch, P. (2009) Crescimento do cáudice e fenologia de Dicksonia sellowiana Hook. (Dicksoniaceae) no sul do Brasil. Acta Botanica Brasilica, 23(1), 283-291. DOI: 10.1590/S0102-33062009000100030
Saving up excess solar and wind energy for times when the sun is down or the air is still requires a storage device. Batteries get the most attention as a promising solution although pumped hydroelectric storage is currently used most often. Now researchers are advancing another potential approach using sugar alcohols—an abundant waste product of the food industry—mixed with carbon nanotubes.
... Read more »
Zhang, H., Rindt, C., Smeulders, D., & Nedea, S. (2016) Nanoscale Heat Transfer in Carbon Nanotubes - Sugar Alcohol Composite as Heat Storage Materials. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b05466
A recent paper reported on the discovery of a bit of the barley genome where an allele from the wild relative, when homozygous, confers a 30% yield advantage over a popular German variety under saline conditions.1 That of course is very interesting in its own right, but I want here to delve a bit into the methods, rather than the results.... Read more »
Saade, S., Maurer, A., Shahid, M., Oakey, H., Schmöckel, S., Negrão, S., Pillen, K., & Tester, M. (2016) Yield-related salinity tolerance traits identified in a nested association mapping (NAM) population of wild barley. Scientific Reports, 32586. DOI: 10.1038/srep32586
by Piter Kehoma Boll Damselflies are usually delicate versions of dragonflies, but some species challenge their place among the odonates. The most extreme example comes from the moist forests of Central and South America and is known as Megaloprepus caerulatus or … Continue reading →... Read more »
Feindt, W., Fincke, O., & Hadrys, H. (2013) Still a one species genus? Strong genetic diversification in the world’s largest living odonate, the Neotropical damselfly Megaloprepus caerulatus. Conservation Genetics, 15(2), 469-481. DOI: 10.1007/s10592-013-0554-z
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