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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • May 1, 2015
  • 10:56 AM
  • 57 views

Lizards in Long-Term Relationships Can Skip the Foreplay

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Why would two stubby-legged, blue-tongued Australian reptiles want to stay together not just for a mating season, but for decades? A 31-year study of the reptiles has suggested an answer. While newly formed couples are still getting to know each other, lizards in long-term relationships can start mating earlier in the season. And dispensing with the foreplay might give them a reproductive advantage over their casually dating neighbors.

Tiliqua rugosa is a species of blue-tongued skink tha... Read more »

  • April 30, 2015
  • 07:41 PM
  • 43 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (APR 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

A post on trending Blastocystis research and on advances in the discoveries of plant extracts with anti-Blastocystis activity.... Read more »

  • April 30, 2015
  • 04:26 PM
  • 55 views

Pesticides alter bees’ brains, making them unable to live and reproduce adequately

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new report suggests that a particular class of pesticides called “neonicotinoids” wreaks havoc on the bee populations, ultimately putting some crops that rely on pollination in jeopardy. Specifically, these pesticides kill bee brain cells, rendering them unable to learn, gather food and reproduce. The report, however, also suggests that the effects of these pesticides on bee colonies may be reversible by decreasing or eliminating the use of these pesticides on plants pollinated by bees and........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 66 views

The Flower Child Must Be Confused

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Very few animal species have true hermaphrodites, but over 90% of flowering plants are bisexual. Even though the rest are exceptions, they aren’t all the same type of exception. Some plants are male and some are female all the time, but some change sex every morning they flower. And maple tress can decide to be male or female for a whole year and then change their mind for next year.... Read more »

Spigler, R., & Ashman, T. (2011) Gynodioecy to dioecy: are we there yet?. Annals of Botany, 109(3), 531-543. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcr170  

Matallana, G., Wendt, T., Araujo, D., & Scarano, F. (2005) High abundance of dioecious plants in a tropical coastal vegetation. American Journal of Botany, 92(9), 1513-1519. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.92.9.1513  

Renner SS, Beenken L, Grimm GW, Kocyan A, & Ricklefs RE. (2007) The evolution of dioecy, heterodichogamy, and labile sex expression in Acer. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 61(11), 2701-19. PMID: 17894810  

  • April 28, 2015
  • 11:35 AM
  • 64 views

Snowshoe Hares Pass Down Stress to Multiple Future Generations

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



It's hard to be a showshoe hare. The northern animals are in a constant race for survival with their predators, always cycling between population booms and busts. In hard years, hares are understandably stressed. And that stress can leave its signature not just on those animals, but on several future generations.

When life is good, populations of showshoe hares (Lepus americanus) can roughly double every year. But the hare's predators—lynx, foxes, coyotes—also increase in numbers as ........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2015
  • 12:28 PM
  • 61 views

Boron and the Permian extinction: a glimpse into the past gives a hint of the future

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

How will ocean acidification from anthropogenic CO2 emissions affect marine life? Recent work studying a similar time during the Permian extinction 200 million years ago gives a clue.... Read more »

Clarkson MO, Kasemann SA, Wood RA, Lenton TM, Daines SJ, Richoz S, Ohnemueller F, Meixner A, Poulton SW, & Tipper ET. (2015) Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6231), 229-32. PMID: 25859043  

  • April 26, 2015
  • 03:14 PM
  • 71 views

Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. They argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs. The researchers urge the general public to form opinions on GMOs........ Read more »

Blancke, S., Van Breusegem, F., De Jaeger, G., Braeckman, J., & Van Montagu, M. (2015) Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition. Trends in Plant Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.03.011  

  • April 24, 2015
  • 04:19 PM
  • 96 views

Diabetes drug found in freshwater potential cause of intersex fish

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A medication commonly taken for Type II diabetes, which is being found in freshwater systems worldwide, has been shown to cause intersex in fish –or male fish that produce eggs. The study determined exposure to the diabetes medicine metformin causes physical changes in male fish exposed to doses similar to the amount in wastewater effluent.... Read more »

  • April 24, 2015
  • 04:59 AM
  • 80 views

Will climate change affect competitive relationships between species?

by sceintists from the Marine group at CEES in Marine Science blog




Climate warming is known to affect predator-prey relationship and phenology. Less is known about competitive relationships specifically in a nonlinear framework. In a recent study, we studied this topic on…


passerine birds.

... Read more »

Stenseth, N., Durant, J., Fowler, M., Matthysen, E., Adriaensen, F., Jonzen, N., Chan, K., Liu, H., De Laet, J., Sheldon, B.... (2015) Testing for effects of climate change on competitive relationships and coexistence between two bird species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1807), 20141958-20141958. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1958  

Saetre, G., Post, E., & Kral, M. (1999) Can environmental fluctuation prevent competitive exclusion in sympatric flycatchers?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266(1425), 1247-1251. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0770  

  • April 23, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 79 views

Two Species of Cottonmouths? This Scientist Says Yes!

by David Steen in Living Alongside Wildlife







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... Read more »

Burbrink, F. T., & Guiher, T. J. (2015) Considering gene flow when using coalescent methods to delimit lineages of North American pitvipers of the genus Agkistrodon. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 173(2), 505-526. info:/

  • April 22, 2015
  • 03:06 PM
  • 75 views

Earth Day Turns 45

by Whitney Campbell in Green Screen

Ever since Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, the event has adapted to the environmental issues of the times. During its inaugural year, 20 million people across the U.S. attended teach-ins and learned about the quality of the nation's water. Months earlier, coastal Santa Barbara had experienced an oil spill, while Time photographs had brought the fires of Ohio's Cuyahoga River to the country's attention. The teach-ins prompted widespread awareness of the pollution, and withi........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 11:42 AM
  • 70 views

Earth Day spotlight: a survey of the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Five years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill changed the trajectory of ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. We take a look at how species have been affected and what we can do to prevent another disaster.... Read more »

Cornwall W. (2015) Deepwater Horizon: after the oil. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6230), 22. PMID: 25838362  

  • April 22, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 68 views

Boys Will Be Boys… And Then Girls

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Country teenagers still make summer money detasseling corn, but do you know why it has to be done? This is part of the interesting story of the many breeding systems in plants. Self-pollination is a bad idea, so some plants go to the trouble of switching sexes several times in a week just to avoid it!... Read more »

  • April 20, 2015
  • 04:18 PM
  • 67 views

Urban green spaces: Insights from Valencia

by Sarah Stephen in An ecological oratorio

http://www.researchblogging.org"> alt="ResearchBlogging.org" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" style="border:0;"/>Visiting the city of Valencia in Spain for the first time, we were pleasantly greeted by the subtle aroma of orange blossoms in the air and the sight of beautiful oranges dangling from the orange trees that line the street pavements. Whilst many parts of the city are bordered with trees, there are also other green spaces,  ........ Read more »

Searle, S., Turnbull, M., Boelman, N., Schuster, W., Yakir, D., & Griffin, K. (2012) Urban environment of New York City promotes growth in northern red oak seedlings. Tree Physiology, 32(4), 389-400. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tps027  

  • April 18, 2015
  • 04:45 AM
  • 105 views

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products, including biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even liquid fuels.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 11:15 AM
  • 96 views

The downfall of coal: job trends in a changing energy landscape

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Coal jobs have decreased dramatically in the past seven years, but are renewable energy and natural gas jobs compensating? New policy work reveals the geographical patterns in job changes that do not bode well for coal-producing states.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 10:44 AM
  • 117 views

Sick Coyotes Are More Likely to Come into Cities

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Run-ins are on the rise between coyotes and city-dwelling humans, and scientists aren't sure why. Now researchers in Alberta think they've found a piece of the puzzle. Coyotes are more likely to creep into human spaces if they're unhealthy.

Conflict between humans and coyotes has increased during the last 20 years, write University of Alberta graduate student Maureen Murray and her coauthors. Yet coyotes were expanding their range for decades before that. They've spread to inhabit nearly ... Read more »

Murray, M., Edwards, M., Abercrombie, B., & St. Clair, C. (2015) Poor health is associated with use of anthropogenic resources in an urban carnivore. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1806), 20150009-20150009. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0009  

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:20 AM
  • 86 views

Eyes on Environment: the organic side of fracking

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Little research to date has looked into the organic chemicals from fracking fluid that get into surrounding groundwater - here's how science can help!... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 85 views

Boy Plants Are From Mars …..

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Darwin missed the boat on plants. He recognized sexual dimorphism and sexual selection in animals, but didn’t see the same thing in flowers. Boy plants can look, grow, smell or locate very different from female plants. And it matters – some beetles seek out boy plants for their smell and deliver pollen to girl plants as a bribe for letting them lay eggs there! They have learned to tell guy from gal.
... Read more »

Okamoto, T., Kawakita, A., Goto, R., Svensson, G., & Kato, M. (2013) Active pollination favours sexual dimorphism in floral scent. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1772), 20132280-20132280. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2280  

  • April 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 115 views

Restore Or Protect: How To Save Biodiversity?

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Mathematical model can help conservationists choose.... Read more »

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