Effects of Rising Carbon Dioxide on RangelandsRising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can reverse the drying effects of predicted higher temperatures on semi-arid rangelands, as per a research studypublished recently in the scientific journal Nature by a team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and university scientists.
Warmer temperatures increase water loss to the atmosphere, leading to drier soils. In contrast, higher CO2 levels cause leaf stomatal pores to partly close, lessening........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/4/2011 8:22:50 AM)
Salt marsh sparrows beat the heatBirds use their bills largely to forage and eat, and these behaviors strongly influence the shape and size of a bird's bill. But the bill can play an important role in regulating the bird's body temperature by acting as a radiator for excess heat. A team of researchers have observed that because of this, high summer temperatures have been a strong influence in determining bill size in some birds, especially species of sparrows that favor salt........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/20/2011 10:05:57 PM)
Arrival of Whooping CraneAfter an 88-year-long hiatus North America's tallest bird, the statuesque whooping crane (Grus americana), is once again on exhibit at the Bird House at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park. An 11-year-old male whooping crane named Rocky left Homosassa Springs State Park in Florida and is now on exhibit in the nation's capital. Whooping cranes are one of only two crane species native to the United States. There are only eight other zoos........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2011 8:15:02 PM)
Where will grizzly bears roam?The independent evaluation, written by WCS Senior Conservation Scientist Dr. John Weaver, is a compilation and synthesis of the latest information on these species ? and how climate change may affect them ? from 30 biologists in the region and from nearly 300 scientific papers. In addition, Weaver spent four months hiking and riding horseback through these remote roadless areas to evaluate their importance for conservation.
The Crown of the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/21/2011 11:30:27 PM)
Life-history traits may affect DNA mutation ratesFor the first time, researchers have used large-scale DNA sequencing data to investigate a long-standing evolutionary assumption: DNA mutation rates are influenced by a set of species-specific life-history traits. These traits include metabolic rate and the interval of time between an individual's birth and the birth of its offspring, known as generation time. The team of scientists led by Kateryna Makova, a Penn State University associate........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2011 7:48:49 AM)
Hotspots of genetic rearrangementScientists have zoomed in on mouse chromosomes to map hotspots of genetic recombination - sites where DNA breaks and reforms to shuffle genes. The findings of the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU) have the potential to improve the detection of genes associated with disease and to help understand the root causes of genetic abnormalities. The research, published online........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 4/5/2011 7:06:22 PM)
Killer whales in Antarctic waters prefer weddell sealsNOAA's Fisheries Service researchers studying the cooperative hunting behavior of killer whales in Antarctic waters observed the animals favoring one type of seal over all other available food sources, as per a research studyreported in the journal Marine Mammal Science.
Scientists Robert Pitman and John Durban from NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif., observed killer whales hunting in ice floes, off the western........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/30/2011 10:53:07 PM)
Declining rainfall is a major influence for migrating birdsInstinct and the annual increase of daylight hours have long been believed to be the triggers for birds to begin their spring migration. Researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, however, have observed that that may not be the case. Scientists have focused on how warming trends in temperate breeding areas disrupt the sensitive ecology of migratory birds. This new research shows that changes in rainfall on the tropical........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/30/2011 10:48:58 PM)
Primordial Soup Gets SpicierStanley Miller gained fame with his 1953 experiment showing the synthesis of organic compounds believed to be important in setting the origin of life in motion. Five years later, he produced samples from a similar experiment, shelved them and, as far as friends and his colleagues know, never returned to them in his lifetime.
More 50 years later, Jeffrey Bada, Miller's former student and a current Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/26/2011 10:29:30 PM)
stranglers of the tropicsKudzu, the plant scourge of the U.S. Southeast. The long tendrils of this woody vine, or liana, are on the move north with a warming climate.
But kudzu appears to be no match for the lianas of the tropics, researchers have found. Data from sites in eight studies show that lianas are overgrowing trees in every instance.
If the trend continues, these "stranglers-of-the-tropics" may suffocate equatorial forest ecosystems.
Tropical........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/26/2011 10:16:08 PM)
Researchers urge more prominent role for zoosOf around seven land vertebrate species whose survival in the wild is threatened one is also kept in captivity. These and other data on the protection of species in zoos and aquaria have now been revealed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock. Writing in the journal Science, the team of scientists and the International Species Information System (ISIS) advocate the establishment of targeted........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/20/2011 10:16:16 PM)
Gender roles in animalsIn a recent study published in "Animal Behaviour", biology scientists Kristina Karlsson Green and Josefin Madjidian at Lund University in Sweden have shown that animals' and plants' traits and behaviour in sexual conflicts are coloured by a human viewpoint. They want to raise awareness of the issue and provoke discussion among their colleagues in order to promote objectivity and broaden the research field.
Lund scientists Kristina Karlsson........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/18/2011 6:26:38 PM)
Optimizing yield and fruit size of figsThe common fig is a subtropical, deciduous fruit tree grown in most Mediterranean-type climates. Eventhough some think that figs appears to be the oldest cultivated fruit species on earth, global expansion of fig crops has been hindered by the narrow research base pertaining to production practices and the limited number of fig cultivars currently available. Recently, three black figs were established in the Mediterranean-type climate of........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/17/2011 11:05:24 PM)
Dairy Farmer fInds Unusual Forage GrassA U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing.
A farmer's report of an unusual forage grass led Michael Casler, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) geneticist at the agency's U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis., to identify the grass as meadow fescue. Meadow fescue has been long forgotten, eventhough it was popular after........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/15/2011 10:39:06 PM)
Casey Dunn to Receive NSF Waterman AwardThe National Science Foundation (NSF) has named its awardee for this year's Alan T. Waterman Award: Casey Dunn, a biologist at Brown University.
Dunn's work involves genome analyses to better understand relationships between groups of animals. He investigates the origins of biological complexity through work with deep-sea creatures called siphonophores. His research holds clues about how complex multicellular organisms, including........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/15/2011 10:06:18 PM)
Host change alters toxic cocktailLeaf beetles fascinate us because of their amazing variety of shapes and rich coloring. Their larvae, however, are dangerous plant pests. Larvae of the leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica attack two different tree species: willow and birch. To fend off predator attacks, the beetle larvae produce toxic butyric acid esters or salicylaldehyde, whose precursors they ingest with their leafy food. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/13/2011 11:47:29 AM)
Bonobos and ChimpanzeesHumans share 98.7 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, but we share one important similarity with one species of chimp, the common chimpanzee, that we don't share with the other, the bonobo. That similarity is violence. While humans and the common chimpanzee wage war and kill each other, bonobos do not. "There has never been a recorded case in captivity or in the wild of a bonobo killing another bonobo," notes anthropologist Brian Hare.
Hare........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/10/2011 7:41:03 AM)
Environmental impact of animal wasteNorth and South Carolina have seen a steady increase in swine production over the last 15 years. In North Carolina alone, swine production generates approximately a quarter of the state's gross farm receipts. The presence of so a number of large-scale pig farms leads to the problem of proper animal waste disposal.
The most common practice in the Carolinas is storing animal waste in anaerobic lagoons. They are primarily used to concentrate........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/7/2011 7:19:41 AM)
Genome of the first of algal bloom speciesAlgae play key roles in the global carbon cycle, helping sequester significant amounts of carbon. Some algal species can bloom, or become so numerous, that they discolor coastal waters and reduce the amount of light and oxygen available in the ecosystem. Previously known as "red tide," the term "harmful algal blooms" (HABs) was introduced two decades ago to note accumulation of algal biomass can sometimes also turn the ocean waters brown or........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 2/22/2011 7:39:05 AM)
Pheromone increases foraging honey beesThe application of a naturally occurring pheromone to honey bee test colonies increases colony growth resulting in stronger hives overall, as per a newly released study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University and Texas A&M University.
The study, which appeared this week in the journal, PLoS ONE, comes amid national concern over the existence of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) - a combination of events that result in the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/14/2011 7:13:00 AM)
Vines overtaking the American tropicsSleeping Beauty's kingdom was overgrown by vines when she fell into a deep sleep. Scientists at the Smithsonian in Panama and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee received more than a million dollars from the U.S. National Science Foundation to discover why real vines are overtaking the American tropics. Data from eight sites show that vines are overgrowing trees in all cases.
"We are witnessing a fundamental structural change in the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/14/2011 6:48:32 AM)
Phosphorus: Too Much or Too Little?Fertilizer is rarely an inspiration for an art show, but this week at Arizona State University (ASU), sustainability, fertilizer and phosphorus scarcity will provide fuel for creative vision.
The art show, a juried exhibition with works by artists from Phoenix, Chicago, Portland and Houston, was created in partnership with researchers engaged in the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, to take place Feb. 3-5, 2011, at ASU.
The summit is funded........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/8/2011 6:39:55 AM)
The Most Genes in an Animal?Researchers have discovered that the animal with the most genes--about 31,000--is the near-microscopic freshwater crustacean Daphnia pulex, or water flea.
By comparison, humans have about 23,000 genes. Daphnia is the first crustacean to have its genome sequenced.
The water flea's genome is described in a Science paper published this week by members of the Daphnia Genomics Consortium, an international network of researchers led by the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/8/2011 6:38:02 AM)
Dragonflies: The Flying Aces of the Insect WorldNext time you see a dragonfly, try to watch it catch its next meal on the go. Good luck!
"Unless we film it in high speed, we can't see whether it caught the prey, but when it gets back to its perch, if we see it chewing, we know that it was successful," says Stacey Combes, a biomechanist at Harvard University. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), she and her team are studying how dragonflies pull off complicated aerial........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/4/2011 10:15:50 PM)
An eye gene colors butterfly wings redRed may mean STOP or I LOVE YOU! A red splash on a toxic butterfly's wing screams DON'T EAT ME! In nature, one toxic butterfly species may mimic the wing pattern of another toxic species in the area. By using the same signal, they send a stronger message: DON'T EAT US! .
Now several research teams that include Smithsonian researchers in Panama, have discovered that Heliconius butterflies mimic each other's red wing patterns through changes........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/21/2011 10:04:06 PM)
Termites' digestive system could act as biofuel refineryOne of the peskiest household pests, while disastrous to homes, could prove to be a boon for cars, as per a Purdue University study.
Mike Scharf, the O. Wayne Rollins/Orkin Chair in Molecular Physiology and Urban Entomology, said his laboratory has discovered a cocktail of enzymes from the guts of termites that appears to be better at getting around the barriers that inhibit fuel production from woody biomass. The Scharf Laboratory observed........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2011 9:00:20 PM)
Cool-season grasses more profitable than warm-season grassesAccess to swine effluent or waste water can help a producer grow more grass. But a Texas AgriLife Researcher says the grass is "greener" economically if it is a cool-season rather than a warm-season variety.
Dr. Seong Park, AgriLife Research economist in Vernon, said while the warm-season grasses appear to have a greater growth boost with swine effluent application, the cool-season grasses have marketing advantages that make it a more viable........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2011 8:56:34 PM)
New not-so-sweet potato resists pests and diseaseResearchers from Clemson University and the USDA Agricultural Research Service have developed a new variety of not-so-sweet potato, called Liberty.
Known as a boniato, or tropical sweet potato, Liberty has a dark red skin and light yellow, dry flesh with a bland flavor. Boniato potatoes originated in the tropical Americas and are grown in south Florida in the United States. They can be served fried, mashed or in soup.
"We developed........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/21/2011 11:39:14 PM)
Solving mouse genome dilemmaLaboratory research has always been limited in terms of what conclusions researchers can safely extrapolate from animal experiments to the human population as a whole. A number of promising findings in mice have not held up under further experimentation, in part because laboratory animals, bred from a limited genetic foundation, don't provide a good representation of how genetic diversity manifests in the broader human population.
Now,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/29/2011 2:41:43 PM)
Zombie ants have fungus on the brainTropical carpenter ants (Camponotus leonardi) live high up in the rainforest canopy. When infected by a parasitic fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) the behaviour of the ants is dramatically changed. They become erratic and zombie-like, and are manipulated by the fungus into dying at a spot that provides optimal conditions for fungal reproduction. New research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Ecology, looks at altered........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/8/2011 9:36:46 PM)
Sun and shade leaves play different roles in tree canopies'Outer' tree canopy leaves influence the sunlight reaching inner canopy leaves by changing their shape, says a newly released study.
The shape and physiology of leaves within the tree canopy is not constant, and can vary depending on their position within the tree crown. This phenomenon is expected to have important consequences for how trees cope with stress and use resources.
A newly released study describes how the leaves in the outer........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 4/1/2011 7:32:25 AM)
Whale and dolphin death toll may have been greatly underestimatedThe Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 devastated the Gulf of Mexico ecologically and economically. However, a newly released study published in Conservation Letters reveals that the true impact of the disaster on wildlife appears to be gravely underestimated. The study argues that fatality figures based on the number of recovered animal carcasses will not give a true death toll, which appears to be 50 times higher than believed.
"The........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/30/2011 7:04:15 AM)
Research brings habitat models into the futureModels of wildlife habitat now can monitor changes over time more accurately and more easily, thanks to Michigan State University research.
"Monitoring and projecting future changes are essential for sustainable management of coupled human and natural systems, including wildlife habitat," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at MSU. "Innovative computer models are urgently needed for effective monitoring and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/26/2011 10:24:58 PM)
Wild Birds May Play a Role in the Spread of Bird FluWild migratory birds may indeed play a role in the spread of bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1.
A study by the U.S. Geological Survey, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Chinese Academy of Sciences used satellites, outbreak data and genetics to uncover an unknown link in Tibet among wild birds, poultry and the movement of the often-deadly virus.
Scientists attached GPS satellite........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/25/2011 7:20:47 AM)
Accountants of the animal kingdomA puzzling example of altruism in nature has been debunked with scientists showing that purple-crowned fairy wrens are in reality cunningly planning for their own future when they assist in raising other birds' young by balancing the amount of assistance they give with the benefits they expect to receive in the future.
Dr Anne Peters, of the Monash University School of Biological Sciences, together with co-authors Sjouke Kingma from the Max........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/18/2011 10:18:06 PM)
Pollen also appears outside flowering season"There is of course a very close relationship between the moment at which pollen is released by plants and the data gathered by the traps used to measure these grains, but this is not always the case", Rafael Tormo, a botanist from the University of Extremadura and co-author of the paper, tells SINC.
His team found delays or advances of up to a week between the time when the pollen of allergenic grass species (from genuses such as Poa,........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/18/2011 6:23:20 PM)
Systems Biology and Cellular NetworkingSystems biology is a holistic approach to the study of how a living organism emerges from the interactions of the individual elements that make up its constituent cells. Embracing a broad range of disciplines, this field of science that is just beginning to come into public prominence holds promise for advances in many important areas, including safer, more effective pharmaceuticals, improved environmental remediation, and clean, green,........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/17/2011 10:58:51 PM)
Multimedia in nursery managementStudents at land-grant universities are a major source of educated, highly qualified employees for the U.S. nursery industry. To prepare future employees for work in "green" occupations, land-grant institutions have traditionally offered classes in nursery management and production, but availability of qualified faculty, integration of departments, and cutbacks in horticulture programs have contributed to a reduction in the number of nursery........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 3/17/2011 10:53:43 PM)
How the Slime Mold Gets OrganizedThe so-called cellular slime mold, a unicellular organism that may transition into a multicellular organism under stress, has just been found to have a tissue structure that was previously thought to exist only in more sophisticated animals. What's more, two proteins that are needed by the slime mold to form this structure are similar to those that perform the same function in more sophistical animals.
Shortly after an animal embryo forms,........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/15/2011 7:41:28 AM)
Around 40 percent of hake is mislabeledThe DNA studies carried out by a team of Spanish and Greek researchers, and reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, show that more than 30% of the hake products sold in Spain and Greece are wrongly labelled.
"We have observed that hake caught in Africa are being labelled as American or European, meaning consumers pay a higher price for them", Eva Garc?a V?zquez, a professor at the University of Oviedo (Spain) and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 3/13/2011 11:41:04 AM)
Mouse Nose Nerve Cells Mature After BirthFor rodent pups, bonding with mom isn't hard-wired in the womb. It develops over the first few weeks of life, which is achieved by their maturing sense of smell, possibly allowing these mammals a survival advantage by learning to identify mother, siblings, and home.
Blended electrophysiological, biochemical, and behavioral experiments, Minghong Ma, PhD, an associate Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania School of........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/12/2011 9:57:54 PM)
Cell's cytoskeleton and its surface receptorsNew findings from scientists at Harvard Medical School in Boston and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto may shed light on the mechanisms that regulate the organization of receptors on the cell surface, a critical aspect of cell signaling not well understood at this time.
The group reports on their use of the macrophage protein CD36, a clustering-responsive class B scavenger receptor, as a model for studying the processes governing........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 3/7/2011 7:17:42 AM)
In Absence of Western LizardsAreas in California where Western fence lizards were removed had a subsequent drop in numbers of the ticks that transmit Lyme disease, researchers have discovered.
"Our expectation was that removing the lizards would increase the risk of Lyme disease, so we were surprised by this finding," said ecologist Andrea Swei, who conducted the study while she was a Ph.D. student in integrative biology at University of California, Berkeley.
........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/22/2011 7:59:21 AM)
Firefly GlowA unique new probe based on luciferase, the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow, enables scientists to monitor hydrogen peroxide levels in mice and thereby track the progression of infectious diseases or malignant tumors without harming the animals or even having to shave their fur. Developed by scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley, this new bioluminescent........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/14/2011 7:30:46 AM)
New findings in India's Bt cotton controversyCrop yields from India's first genetically modified crop may have been overemphasized, as modest rises in crop yields may come at the expense of sustainable farm management, says a newly released study by a Washington University in St. Louis anthropologist.
The study, by Glenn Stone, PhD, professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences, appears in the recent issue of the journal World Development.
In his paper, Stone compares village yields........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 2/8/2011 6:50:54 AM)
Wolverines Threatened by Climate ChangeThe aggressive wolverine may not be powerful enough to survive climate change in the contiguous United States, new research concludes.
Wolverine habitat in the northwestern United States is likely to warm dramatically if society continues to emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, as per new computer model simulations carried out at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.
"The scientists have combined........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/8/2011 6:38:53 AM)
What keeps bears healthy while hibernating?Hibernating, it turns out, is much more complicated than one might think.
Research reported in the latest issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology illustrates a complex series of changes that occur in grizzly bears' hearts as they hibernate. The changes guard against complications that could arise from greatly reduced activity.
A grizzly hibernates five to six months of the year. During that time, its heart rate slows........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 2/7/2011 3:51:23 PM)