Foxes get frisky in the far northBees do it, chimps do it Now it seems Arctic foxes do it, too. New research looking at the DNA fingerprints of canids in the Far North has revealed that foxes once believed to be monogamous are in fact quite frisky.
From polyandry to multiple paternity and plural breeding, Canadian scientists have gathered DNA evidence from adult foxes and their offspring that proves that some arctic foxes are mixing it up when it comes to mating.
Until........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/17/2007 10:16:58 PM)
HopelessA little description, perhaps. This is a dead cedar tree, rising from the waters of the full-pool lake. Unlike yesterday’s tree, this tree has no hope of surviving now. Even though the lake is likely to recede and leave this cedar back on dry land, it’s run its race
This cedar began growing on the hillside below the shelter not long after the lake was originally built. This bit of hillside was bare rock, part of a broken ledge........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/17/2007 8:31:42 PM)
Vaccine trials for koalaThe first Australian trials of a vaccine developed by Queensland University of Technology that could save Australia's iconic koala from contracting chlamydia are planned to begin later this year.
Professor Peter Timms, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said chlamydia was a major threat to the continued survival of koalas with almost all populations affected by the disease.
"The trial is planned to begin before the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/16/2007 10:08:47 PM)
Electrified cells don't get dizzyOne might believe that flies are mainly annoying. However, taking a closer look quickly reveals that flies are amazing flight artists. The house fly, for example, races with two meters per second through the room, only to land with half a backward roll on the ceiling. In contrast to humans, the fly can't move its eyes and has to move its head or whole body to keep the environment in view. The correct detection and differentiation of optical........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/12/2007 10:39:23 PM)
Simulated crop provides answer to irrigation issuesouth Asia has witnessed a rapid growth in rice and wheat production that has defined the Green Revolution there. During the past 30 years, the Indian Punjab has transformed its agriculture through new technology that provides for high-producing plants, increased fertilization, and irrigation. Rice and wheat production has more than doubled with an increase in farmed areas, totaling about 6.4 million acres of rice and 8.4 million acres of........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/12/2007 10:09:12 PM)
Unraveling the physics of DNA's double helixScientists at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have uncovered a missing link in scientists' understanding of the physical forces that give DNA its famous double helix shape.
"The stability of DNA is so fundamental to life that it's important to understand all factors," said Piotr Marszalek, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials sciences at Duke. "If you want to create accurate models of DNA to study its interaction........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/12/2007 8:12:07 PM)
Reef fish need longer breakIn the longest running study on how fish populations in coral reef systems recover from heavy exploitation, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and others have observed that the fish can recover, but they need lots of time decades in some cases. The study appears in a recent edition of the journal Ecological Applications.
With nearly continuous data spanning some 37 years from four national marine parks off the coast of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/12/2007 5:37:15 AM)
Brightly colored birds most affected by Chernobyl radiationBrightly coloured birds are among the species most adversely affected by the high levels of radiation around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, ecologists have discovered. The findings published online in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology help explain why some species are harder hit by ionising radiation than others.
Dr Anders Mller of the Universit Pierre et Marie Curie and Professor Timothy Mousseau of the University........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/11/2007 5:24:54 AM)
External Light Regulate Plant GrowthMost plants and animals show changes in activity over a 24-hour cycle. Now, for the first time, scientists have shown how a plant combines signals from its internal clock with those from the environment to show a daily rhythm of growth.
Using time-lapse photography, postdoctoral researcher Kazunari Nozue, with colleagues from UC Davis and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, observed that the shoots of Arabidopsis seedlings show a spurt........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/10/2007 5:22:32 AM)
miscanthus more productive than switchgrassAt the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Chicago (July 7-11, 2007), researchers will present findings on how to economically and efficiently produce plant crops suitable for sustainable bioenergy. Improving the production of such biomass is important because it should significantly ease and eventually replace dependence on petroleum-based fuels. Biomass is plant material, vegetation or agricultural waste used as........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/10/2007 4:56:01 AM)
Elevated CO2 in atmosphere weakens defenses of soybeansIn research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Chicago (July 7-11, 2007), researchers will show that elevated CO2 may negatively impact the relationship between some plants and insects. Elevated CO2 is considered to be a serious catalyst of global change. Its effects can be felt throughout the ecosystem, including the insect-plant food chain link. Safeguarding highly-usable crops is of great........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/8/2007 10:27:48 PM)
Two Iowa Birds on the Verge of ExtinctionThere are many wildlife species that have not fared well in the changing Iowa landscape and have been listed as endangered or threatened.
Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct and threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the near future
No, doubt that bald eagle which was once listed in the endangered species list is flying off the list. But still there........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2007 10:24:26 PM)
Chickens And Earth's Magnetic Field40 years ago, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiltschko was the first to prove that migrating robins use the Earths magnetic field to direct themselves during migration. Their magnetic sensor showed them the course of the field lines of the Earths magnetic field. This produces an inclination compass that reacts to the inclination of the Earths magnetic field to the surface of the Earth, thus distinguishing between pole-wards (the side on which the field........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2007 9:37:17 PM)
Molecular Mechanics of PhototropismIn a paper reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia reported molecular-level discoveries about the mechanisms of phototropism, the directional growth of plants toward or away from light.
Phototropism is initiated when photoreceptors in a plant sense directional blue light. Understanding phototropism is important because it could lead to crop improvement, said Mannie Liscum, professor........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2007 9:00:44 PM)
Endangered Grey-Shanked Doucs in VietnamA team of researchers from WWF and Conservation International (CI) has discovered the world's largest known population of grey-shanked doucs (Pygathrix cinerea), increasing chances that the Endangered monkey can be saved from extinction.
The grey-shanked douc is one of the world's 25 most endangered primates and has only been recorded in the five central Vietnamese provinces of Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, and Gia Lai. Fewer........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/2/2007 9:58:19 PM)
Study Explains Rainforest SimilaritiesCelebrated in Buddhist temples and cultivated for its wood and cottony fibers, the kapok tree now is upsetting an idea that biologists have clung to for decades: the notion that African and South American rainforests are similar because the continents were connected 96 million years ago.
Research by University of Michigan evolutionary ecologist Christopher Dick and his colleagues shows that kapok---and perhaps other rainforest--trees........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/27/2007 5:48:49 PM)
Antarctic Icebergs: Unlikely Oases for Ocean LifeIcebergs have long gripped the popular imagination, whether as relatively run-of-the-mill floating hazards that cause "unsinkable' ships to founder or, more recently, as enormous breakaway pieces of ice the size of states or small countries.
But, as per a paper published in this week's Science magazine, researchers have discovered that these floating ice islands--some as large as a dozen miles across--have a major impact on the ecology of........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/27/2007 5:45:13 PM)
Marsupial Genome SequencedA report in Nature has announced that the first marsupial genome has been sequenced. Tarjei Mikkelsen of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass and team sequenced the 3,475 megabase genome of the South American grey short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica. The opossum genome appears to contain about 20,000 protein-coding genes, the authors found, and the vast majority of these are also found in placental mammals. Apparently most of the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/25/2007 6:57:47 PM)
Buenos Aires Zoo: The Kangaroos Have ArrivedThis is an extremely humorous print advertisement campaign lBuenos Aires Zoo announcing the arrival of kangaroos. This campaign was launched almost two years back in Argentina. The campaign aims at announcing the arrival of kangaroos using a light and indirect approach. The advertisements are showing lion and orangutan with their black eyes explaining the menacing arrival of the new guest. The advertisements are indicative in nature and to some........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/21/2007 9:24:58 PM)
Plant Life On Extrasolar Earthlike PlanetsWhen we think of extrasolar Earth-like planets, the first tendency is to imagine weird creatures like Jar Jar Binks, Chewbacca, and, if those are not bizarre enough, maybe even the pointy-eared Vulcan, Spock, of Star Trek fame.
But researchers seeking clues to life on extrasolar planets are studying various biosignatures found in the light spectrum leaking out to Earth to speculate on something more basic and essential than the musical........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/20/2007 11:06:11 AM)
Sequencing method yields fuller pictureUniversity of Southern California biologists have developed a method for sequencing both chromosomes of an organism.
Their study appears in a recent issue of Genome Research.
The statistical method is significant because when scientists announce they have sequenced an organisms genome, they really mean that they have created a mosaic of two chromosomes, said USC computational biologist Lei Li.
A mosaic means its not real, Li said.
........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/17/2007 10:17:51 PM)
GardenThe garden is a map that redraws itself daily
Two paths meet in a head of grass
Route of wind & route of the ichneumon
her witching sticks tap-tap-tappin
for the green blood of her quarry
A bumblebee circumnavigate
the purple abdomen of a coneflowe........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/17/2007 8:31:46 PM)
Step It Up!Yesterday I participated in a rally in Great Barrington, MA for action on global climate change organized by Step It Up. As Stockbridge Indian representative Steve Comer led a prayer at the Stockbridge Indian Burial Site, my mind wandered to the difficulty of communicating the gravity of the global warming crisis to non-scientists. One problem may be that people have trouble connecting warming temperatures to negative consequences for........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/15/2007 9:00:53 PM)
Please Touch the AnimalsThere is nothing like making a physical contact with the animals you love. A touch and physical contact brings a special relationship between human and the animal.
A lighter touch by the zookeepers keepers keep their animals strong and healthy. Zoo keepers in Oakland Zoo use this touch technique to the next dimension. They use various techniques like body work and acupuncture for giraffes, to pachyderm pedicures. See how the Oakland Zoo is........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/14/2007 8:14:54 AM)
A small leak will sink a great shipFlowers of higher plants are built in a similar pattern: their outermost whorl is composed of sepals, which protect the young bud, thereafter comes a whorl of often colorful petals attracting insect pollinators, followed by a whorl of stamens with pollen sacks and the innermost whorl holds carpels, which later give rise to the fruit and seeds. This basic architecture is comparable in higher plants prompting the question after common components........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/12/2007 10:36:49 PM)
Semiconductor Membrane Mimics Biological BehaviorA semiconductor membrane designed by researchers at the University of Illinois could offer more flexibility and better electrical performance than biological membranes. Built from thin silicon layers doped with different impurities, the solid-state membrane also could be used in applications such as single-molecule detection, protein filtering and DNA sequencing.
“By creating nanopores in the membrane, we can use the membrane to separate........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/12/2007 8:45:20 PM)
Wordless WednesdayMissouri calendar
During hot days, woodchucks (groundhogs) go in dens to avoid heat........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/11/2007 11:34:02 PM)
Couroupita guianensisThank you to Dinesh from India (aka dinesh_valke@Flickr) for sharing today's image (original via BPotD Flickr Group Pool........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/11/2007 11:18:45 PM)
Invisible gases form most organic haze in urban, rural areas A new study involving the University of Colorado at Boulder shows that invisible, reactive gases hovering over Earth's surface, not direct emissions of particulates, form the bulk of organic haze in both urban and rural areas around the world.
Many science and health professionals have believed sources that spew soot and other tiny particles directly into the air were the primary culprit in the formation of organic haze. But a new study........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/10/2007 5:28:34 AM)
'Virtual' mouse brains now available onlineA multi-institutional consortium including Duke University has created startlingly crisp 3-D microscopic views of tiny mouse brains -- unveiled layer by layer -- by extending the capabilities of conventional magnetic resonance imaging.
"These images can be more than 100,000 times higher resolution than a clinical MRI scan," said G. Allan Johnson, Duke's Charles E. Putman Distinguished Professor of radiology and professor of biomedical........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/10/2007 5:20:39 AM)
Genetically Engineered MaizeMaize streak viruses (MSV), geminiviruses that can destroy most of a maize crop, are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and adjacent Indian Ocean islands where they are transmitted by leafhoppers in the genus Cicadulina. Maize can supply 50% of the caloric intake in sub-Saharan Africa but, in certain years, a farmers entire crop can be wiped out. Now, researchers at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, along with colleagues at the South........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 7/8/2007 10:08:23 PM)
Benefits Of Butterfly DefensesScientists observed the behaviour of Great-tits foraging for artificial prey to understand more clearly how a species evolves to protect themselves from predators.
Insects, such as butterflies, have bright contrasting colour patterns that indicate to predators that they are not likely to be palatable. In order to gain greater protection from predators, however, some butterflies evolve to imitate the warning signals of a more highly defended........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 7/5/2007 9:39:03 PM)
Amoebae control cheating by keeping it in the familyNo one likes a cheater, even a single-celled one.
New research from Rice University shows how cooperative single-celled amoebae rely on family ties to keep cheaters from undermining the health of their colonies. The research appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May.
"It's very unusual to get a complete story in biology -- one that marries careful field work with painstaking work in the laboratory -- and........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/5/2007 9:27:31 PM)
EvolutionThis week's is devoted to the topic of Evolution. There's so much good stuff, I don't know where to start.Carol Kaesuk Yoon has a fantastic article about Evo-Devo. Turns out the same DNA sequences are tweaked over and over to different body plans and complex forms.Nick Wade writes about human evolution. Think humans have stopped evolving? Think again. Human evolution continues to surprise and startle evolutionary biologists.Carl Zimmer from........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/3/2007 6:55:46 PM)
Thymine DimersSummer is here, and we’re all heading outdoors to enjoy the sun. But remember to take your sunscreen, since too much sunlight can damage your cells. Small doses of sunlight are needed to create vitamin D, but larger doses attack your DNA. Ultraviolet light is the major culprit. The most energetic and dangerous wavelengths of UV light, termed UVC, are screened out (at least for now) by the ozone in the upper atmosphere. However, the weaker........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 7/3/2007 6:55:37 PM)
Research on Interplay Between Biology and SocietyResearchers will find new ways of understanding the interactions of the biological sciences with society, as a result of awards from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) directorates for biological sciences and for social, behavioral, and economic sciences.
The awards are part of the Science and Society Program. They will allow scientists to address current issues, trends and questions relevant to the impacts of biology on society, and........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/27/2007 5:50:19 PM)
Happy-hours for the InvertebratesIf you thought, only humans have rights, you are in for a surprise. Now even creatures like spiders, squids and lobsters have rights to be free and happy. Dogs, Cats and Horses already enjoy this privilege. If they had managed to speak, they could have asked for food and water and there would be no way, we could have denied them that. With the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs investigating if invertebrates that comprise........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/27/2007 4:29:01 PM)
False facesThe number of times that natural selection has pulled eyespots from its magic hat tells us that humans are not the only animals for whom a face is a beacon
The difference is that we draw inferences that a bird, for example, would not
Wherever we see eyes: that could be me. So many imaginary friends
But maybe it’s only the backside of a click beetle, or some other prodigy of a trickster universe. The trap springs. The mask........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/27/2007 4:17:19 PM)
Invertebrate Immune Systems Are Anything But SimpleA hundred years since Russian microbiologist Elie Metschnikow first discovered the invertebrate immune system, researchers are only just beginning to understand its complexity. Presenting their findings at a recent European Science Foundation (ESF) conference, researchers showed that invertebrates have evolved elaborate ways to fight disease.
By studying starfish, Metschnikow was the first to see cells digesting bacteria, a process he........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/22/2007 5:02:22 AM)
Researchers track snakes to study populationsA researcher for Washington University in St. Louis, along with colleagues at the Saint Louis Zoo and Saint Louis University are tracking timber rattlesnakes in west St. Louis County and neighboring Jefferson County. They are investigating how developing subdivisions invade the snakes' turf and affect the reptiles.
The scientists are studying timber rattlesnakes and copperheads in their Pitviper Research Project. They hope their efforts will........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/20/2007 10:19:45 AM)