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 »
Leu, S., Burzacott, D., Whiting, M., & Bull, C. (2015) Mate Familiarity Affects Pairing Behaviour in a Long-Term Monogamous Lizard: Evidence from Detailed Bio-Logging and a 31-Year Field Study. Ethology. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12390
A post on trending Blastocystis research and on advances in the discoveries of plant extracts with anti-Blastocystis activity.... Read more »
Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW, & Cotter PD. (2014) The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota. FEMS microbiology ecology, 90(1), 326-30. PMID: 25077936
Bremer Christensen C, Soelberg J, Stensvold CR, & Jäger AK. (2015) Activity of medicinal plants from Ghana against the parasitic gut protist Blastocystis. Journal of ethnopharmacology. PMID: 25773490
Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, & Cotter PD. (2015) Development and application of Blastocystis subtype-specific PCR reveals that mixed subtype infections are common in a healthy human population. Applied and environmental microbiology. PMID: 25841010
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 »
Moffat, C., Pacheco, J., Sharp, S., Samson, A., Bollan, K., Huang, J., Buckland, S., & Connolly, C. (2015) Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-267179
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 »
Fukuhara, T., & Tokumaru, S. (2013) Inflorescence dimorphism, heterodichogamy and thrips pollination in Platycarya strobilacea (Juglandaceae). Annals of Botany, 113(3), 467-476. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mct278
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
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 »
Sheriff, M., McMahon, E., Krebs, C., & Boonstra, R. (2015) Predator-induced maternal stress and population demography in snowshoe hares: the more severe the risk, the longer the generational effect. Journal of Zoology. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12249
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
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
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 »
Niemuth, N., & Klaper, R. (2015) Emerging wastewater contaminant metformin causes intersex and reduced fecundity in fish. Chemosphere, 38-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.03.060
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…
... 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
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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:/
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 »
Liu C, Gallagher JJ, Sakimoto KK, Nichols EM, Chang CJ, Chang MC, & Yang P. (2015) Nanowire-Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals. Nano Letters. PMID: 25848808
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 »
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 »
Casimiro-Soriguer I, Buide ML, & Narbona E. (2013) The roles of female and hermaphroditic flowers in the gynodioecious-gynomonoecious Silene littorea: insights into the phenology of sex expression. Plant biology (Stuttgart, Germany), 15(6), 941-7. PMID: 23174011
Pérez-Barrales, R., Vargas, P., & Arroyo, J. (2006) New evidence for the Darwinian hypothesis of heterostyly: breeding systems and pollinators in Narcissus sect. Apodanthi. New Phytologist, 171(3), 553-567. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01819.x
Miller, J., & Diggle, P. (2003) Diversification of andromonoecy in Solanum section Lasiocarpa (Solanaceae): the roles of phenotypic plasticity and architecture. American Journal of Botany, 90(5), 707-715. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.90.5.707
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
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 »
Liu, C., Gallagher, J., Sakimoto, K., Nichols, E., Chang, C., Chang, M., & Yang, P. (2015) Nanowire–Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals. Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01254
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 »
Haerer, D., & Pratson, L. (2015) Employment trends in the U.S. Electricity Sector, 2008–2012. Energy Policy, 85-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2015.03.006
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
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 »
Ferrer, I., & Thurman, E. (2015) Chemical constituents and analytical approaches for hydraulic fracturing waters. Trends in Environmental Analytical Chemistry, 18-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.teac.2015.01.003
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 »
Davis, S., Dudle, D., Nawrocki, J., Freestone, L., Konieczny, P., Tobin, M., & Britton, M. (2014) Sexual Dimorphism of Staminate- and Pistillate-Phase Flowers of Saponaria officinalis (Bouncing Bet) Affects Pollinator Behavior and Seed Set. PLoS ONE, 9(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093615
HEMBORG,., & BOND, W. (2005) Different rewards in female and male flowers can explain the evolution of sexual dimorphism in plants. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 85(1), 97-109. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2005.00477.x
Bonduriansky, R., Maklakov, A., Zajitschek, F., & Brooks, R. (2008) Sexual selection, sexual conflict and the evolution of ageing and life span. Functional Ecology, 22(3), 443-453. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01417.x
Pickup, M., & Barrett, S. (2011) Reversal of height dimorphism promotes pollen and seed dispersal in a wind-pollinated dioecious plant. Biology Letters, 8(2), 245-248. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0950
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
Mathematical model can help conservationists choose.... Read more »
Possingham, H., Bode, M., & Klein, C. (2015) Optimal Conservation Outcomes Require Both Restoration and Protection. PLOS Biology, 13(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002052
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