Post List

Ecology / Conservation posts

(Modify Search »)

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:31 AM
  • 604 views

Size matters: age and telomeres

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




Growing evidence suggests that the telomeres’ length (a non-coding DNA sequence localized at the end of the chromosomes) is related to individual breeding performances and survival rates in several species.

... Read more »

  • April 11, 2016
  • 02:00 AM
  • 919 views

Week 14 In Review: Open-Access Science | 4 to 10 April

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

River flooding boosts carbon emissions, six new species of Chinese dragon millipedes discovered, how ancient animals adapted to climate change, maths tell palaeontologists where to find fossils, and the Arctic Ocean was ice-free ten million years ago. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Stegen, J., Fredrickson, J., Wilkins, M., Konopka, A., Nelson, W., Arntzen, E., Chrisler, W., Chu, R., Danczak, R., Fansler, S.... (2016) Groundwater–surface water mixing shifts ecological assembly processes and stimulates organic carbon turnover. Nature Communications, 11237. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11237  

Botha-Brink, J., Codron, D., Huttenlocker, A., Angielczyk, K., & Ruta, M. (2016) Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction. Scientific Reports, 24053. DOI: 10.1038/srep24053  

Stein, R., Fahl, K., Schreck, M., Knorr, G., Niessen, F., Forwick, M., Gebhardt, C., Jensen, L., Kaminski, M., Kopf, A.... (2016) Evidence for ice-free summers in the late Miocene central Arctic Ocean. Nature Communications, 11148. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11148  

  • April 8, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 755 views

Why Old Dads Are Bad for Albatrosses

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



If birds fretted about their biological clocks like humans do, it would be the dads of some species doing the worrying, not the moms. When male albatrosses have chicks later in life, those chicks grow up to fare worse. It's because albatrosses of both sexes are such good parents to begin with.

Wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) share parenting duties "quite equitably," explains Rémi Fay, a graduate student in biology at France's CNRS. The giant seabirds mate for life. Every other y........ Read more »

Fay, R., Barbraud, C., Delord, K., & Weimerskirch, H. (2016) Paternal but not maternal age influences early-life performance of offspring in a long-lived seabird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1828), 20152318. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2318  

  • April 7, 2016
  • 07:28 AM
  • 798 views

Some fungi are into dead bodies and waste piles

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

For the past couple of years now, a fungus called Xylaria polymorpha has been munching on the buried roots of a beheaded tree on my parents' front lawn. In the grass surrounding the stump, X. polymorpha sends up a thicket of charcoal club-like mushrooms every summer. They look kinda like a dead man's fingers, which not coincidentally happens to be a common name for the fungus.... Read more »

  • April 6, 2016
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,115 views

I’ll Fly Home—Or Not

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Why do some birds migrate and others don’t? It’s not that simple. The reason isn’t genetics, it isn’t necessarily food or weather either. There are birds that can allow their feet to go to one degree above freezing while keeping the rest of the body toasty – so they don’t need to migrate, yet other birds that are close to them genetically will fly thousands of miles. Other birds species only have a few of the adults migrate – who decides which ones make ........ Read more »

  • March 28, 2016
  • 03:03 PM
  • 820 views

Spoiler alert: Water bears do not have extensive foreign DNA

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tardigrades, they are cute and cuddly — okay maybe not cuddly — but they have earned their nicknames, such as as moss piglets or water bears. Mostly because they look like, well bears (although I don’t see a piglet personally). These guys are eight-legged microscopic animals that have long fascinated scientists for their ability to survive extremes of temperature, pressure, lack of oxygen, and even radiation exposure. Talk about a thrill seeker they can even survive in space, without a sui........ Read more »

Georgios Koutsovoulosa, Sujai Kumara, Dominik R. Laetsch, Lewis Stevens, Jennifer Daub Claire Conlon, Habib Maroon, Fran Thomasa, Aziz A. Aboobakerc, and Mark Blaxter. (2016) No evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer in the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. PNAS. DOI: 10.1101/033464  

  • March 26, 2016
  • 04:40 PM
  • 841 views

Organic nanowires destroy the competition

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Last month, we spoke of our vision of the future of humanity here at the lab. It makes sense that humanity would one-day step away from the static, non-living computer constructs we have designed. Moving us instead towards an organic alternative, one that can be readily repaired, replaced, or changed. While we cannot pretend to know what the future may hold, a new discovery helps bolster the stance we presented.

... Read more »

Lampa-Pastirk, S., Veazey, J., Walsh, K., Feliciano, G., Steidl, R., Tessmer, S., & Reguera, G. (2016) Thermally activated charge transport in microbial protein nanowires. Scientific Reports, 23517. DOI: 10.1038/srep23517  

  • March 25, 2016
  • 04:48 PM
  • 820 views

Study finds vast diversity among bacteriophages

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Indeed, our oceans, soils and potentially even our bodies would be overrun with bacteria were it not for bacteria-eating viruses, called bacteriophages, that keep the microbial balance of ecological niches in check. Now, a new study suggests that bacteriophages made of RNA — a close chemical cousin of DNA — likely play a much larger role in shaping the bacterial makeup of worldwide habitats than previously ........ Read more »

Krishnamurthy, S., Janowski, A., Zhao, G., Barouch, D., & Wang, D. (2016) Hyperexpansion of RNA Bacteriophage Diversity. PLOS Biology, 14(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002409  

  • March 23, 2016
  • 03:00 PM
  • 1,092 views

Prozac in the Water Makes Fighting Fish More Mellow

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Had Teresa Dzieweczynski chosen to publish her recent findings as an updated children's classic, rather than as a research paper, she could have titled it If You Give a Fish an Antidepressant. The book would probably be less charming than If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. But it would also be, unfortunately, more realistic. Our pharmaceuticals are steadily trickling into the homes of fish and other animals. And—as the hero of the original book could have told us, his house in disarray aft........ Read more »

Dzieweczynski, T., Campbell, B., & Kane, J. (2016) Dose-dependent fluoxetine effects on boldness in male Siamese fighting fish. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219(6), 797-804. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.132761  

  • March 23, 2016
  • 07:25 AM
  • 1,106 views

Leaves Suck!

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

People need the power of an elevator or our legs to rise high in a building, so how does water get from the roots of a tree to the very top leaves? Hint, it isn’t capillary action – even capillary tubes can move water only a few centimeters. The key is evaporation. But if water evaporates off plants, how do they survive during droughts? They have tricks to retain water, including developing big leaves and little leaves. Look carefully at some trees, you’ll find that they have t........ Read more »

  • March 22, 2016
  • 06:59 PM
  • 711 views

Ancient viruses lurk in our DNA

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Think your DNA is all human? Think again. And a new discovery suggests it’s even less human than scientists previously thought. Nineteen new pieces of non-human DNA — left by viruses that first infected our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago — have just been found, lurking between our own genes.

... Read more »

Wildschutte, J., Williams, Z., Montesion, M., Subramanian, R., Kidd, J., & Coffin, J. (2016) Discovery of unfixed endogenous retrovirus insertions in diverse human populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201602336. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1602336113  

  • March 17, 2016
  • 11:09 AM
  • 694 views

Once upon a time… On the origin of fairytales

by Gunnar De Winter in United Academics

Researchers uncover the origins of fairy tales through evolutionary biology’s methods... Read more »

  • March 17, 2016
  • 11:09 AM
  • 664 views

Once upon a time… On the origin of fairytales

by Gunnar De Winter in United Academics

Researchers uncover the origins of fairy tales through evolutionary biology’s methods... Read more »

  • March 16, 2016
  • 04:51 PM
  • 817 views

Viruses ‘piggyback’ on hosts success

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the microscopic life that thrives around coral reefs, researchers have discovered an interplay between viruses and microbes that defies conventional wisdom. As the density of microbes rises in an ecosystem, the number of viruses infecting those microbes rises with it. It has generally been assumed that this growing population of viruses, in turn, kills more and more microbes, keeping the microbial population in check. It’s a model known as “kill-the-winner” — the winners being the blo........ Read more »

Knowles, B., Silveira, C., Bailey, B., Barott, K., Cantu, V., Cobián-Güemes, A., Coutinho, F., Dinsdale, E., Felts, B., Furby, K.... (2016) Lytic to temperate switching of viral communities. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17193  

  • March 15, 2016
  • 03:49 PM
  • 872 views

Birds Give Up Colorful Feathers for Carefree Island Lifestyle

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Island living may call to mind vivid flowering vines and colorful plumage. But in reality, birds on islands around the world have evolved less-colorful feathers than their mainland relatives. Their drab, simple patterns are only the latest evidence that island evolution is kind of weird.

Claire Doutrelant, an ecologist at France's Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, and her coauthors studied 116 pairs of bird species, or 232 species in all. Each pair included an island bird and ... Read more »

Doutrelant, C., Paquet, M., Renoult, J., Grégoire, A., Crochet, P., & Covas, R. (2016) Worldwide patterns of bird colouration on islands. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12588  

  • March 14, 2016
  • 11:17 AM
  • 747 views

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Maggie NannenhornIf you’re like me, you never truly realize how quiet winter is until all the sounds of spring come back in a chorus of celebration. Between the birds, crickets, and frogs, you can really hear the love in the air. So you can hear the love, but can you feel the love? Wood frogs are known for their chorus of calls that sound like a duck laughing. Seriously, tell a duck a good knock-knock joke and that is what a male wood frog sounds like when trying to attract a mate. He make........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2016
  • 07:57 AM
  • 881 views

Science teachers could be obstacle to climate change education

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Climate change will continue to affect future generations, but are our children receiving accurate information about it? A new survey suggests not - here's a look and why and some possible solutions... Read more »

Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah, A., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid, A. (2016) Climate confusion among U.S. teachers. Science, 351(6274), 664-665. DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3907  

  • March 9, 2016
  • 12:25 AM
  • 762 views

How environmental change can outpace genetic adaptation

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

A now extinct population of butterflies could not adapt fast enough to habitat loss during the 20th century, shows new research.... Read more »

Fountain, T., Nieminen, M., Sirén, J., Wong, S., & Hanski, I. (2016) Predictable allele frequency changes due to habitat fragmentation in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(10), 2678-2683. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1600951113  

  • March 7, 2016
  • 04:15 PM
  • 670 views

Preemies’ gut bacteria reveal vast scope of antibiotic resistance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Yesterday we blogged about the emergent and increasing antibiotic resistance problem, which was good -- or bad timing -- depending on how you look at it. A new study of gut bacteria in premature infants reveals the vast scope of the problem of antibiotic resistance and gives new insight into the extreme vulnerability of these young patients, according to researchers.

... Read more »

Gibson, M., Wang, B., Ahmadi, S., Burnham, C., Tarr, P., Warner, B., & Dantas, G. (2016) Developmental dynamics of the preterm infant gut microbiota and antibiotic resistome. Nature Microbiology, 16024. DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.24  

  • March 6, 2016
  • 09:46 PM
  • 713 views

Helping Both Humans and Dogs: A Recent Study of Canine Atopic Dermatitis

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

Atopic dermatitis (AD), which is also referred to as Eczema, is a very common dermatological disease, especially in children. It is estimated that AD affects 10% of children. The disease presents as dry, scaly, itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis can be especially problematic when the victim (often a child)...... Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SRI Technology.

To learn more, visit http://selfregulationinstitute.org/.