Otters And Lead PollutionWhat has otters to do with lead pollution?
Valuable evidence about the success of the lead petrol ban has been gathered from otters by a scientist at Cardiff University.
As well as providing important new information about the secretive otter species, post-mortems on otters killed by cars since 1992 gave an insight into the levels of lead pollution in the environment. The results have important implications for human health as lead can........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/4/2006 10:03:13 PM)
The Nanocosmos of the CellThere is an amazing and mysterious nanocosmos out there largely unexplored. How viruses infect a cell, how nerve cells transport signals or how proteins work - the nanocosmos of nature remains hidden to the human eye. However, in order to still be able to perceive the seemingly invisible, we need to enlarge the object - for example, with a fluorescence microscope. Fluorescent markers are attached to proteins and other biomolecules so that........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/3/2006 5:44:09 AM)
Urban Birds Are More Resistant To StressA number of species have developed a symbiotic relationship with humans. For example, European blackbirds, European starlings and house sparrows thrive in concrete habitats around the globe. The sparrow is now so closely linked to man that its original niche is unknown, whereas the European blackbird was - as little as 200 years ago - a reclusive forest dweller. These species seem to profit, for instance, by the warmer microclimate and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/3/2006 5:33:24 AM)
Insights Into Spread Of Plant Diseases By InsectsScientists from Penn State University and the University of Virginia show that the spread of diseases by insects can be described by equations similar to those that describe the force of gravity between planetary objects. Their findings are detailed in the recent issue of The American Naturalist.
Insects tend to transmit diseases in the course of feeding on plants, and their movement between plants is influenced by plant quality (how good of........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/2/2006 9:51:56 PM)
Mother Deer Cannot Recognize OffspringIn a new study from The American Naturalist, scientists from the University of Zurich studied vocal communication between fallow deer mothers and their offspring. They observed that only adult females have individually distinctive calls, meaning that fawns are able to distinguish their mother's calls from those of other females, but mothers are not able to distinguish between the calls of their own offspring and other fawns. This is in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/2/2006 9:39:38 PM)
Ammunition Main Source Of Lead Poisoning In CondorsA study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has confirmed what wildlife biologists have long suspected: Bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in the carcasses of animals killed by hunters are the principal sources of lead poisoning in California condors that have been reintroduced to the wild.
Lead poisoning is a major factor limiting the success of efforts to rebuild populations of the endangered........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/31/2006 5:15:33 AM)
Sparganium ErectumThanks again to marcella2@Flickr for sharing a photograph (original image | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). The last time a photograph from marcella2@Flickr was featured on BPotD, over three dozen images of plants were available by clicking on the marcella2@Flickr link - now there's over five dozen, so you might like to revisit them.
I should first of all note that I've changed the name of the plant posted by marcella2 from Sparganium ramosum to........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/29/2006 5:57:46 PM)
Hummingbird HawkmothHummingbird Hawkmoth (macroglossum stellatarum).
Spotted between showers yesterday in Cambridgeshire. Only the second time I've seen one of these. They really are like humming birds.........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/27/2006 8:19:19 AM)
Avian Flu Detection InformationResearchers are now using the newly developed database and Web application called HEDDS (HPAI Early Detection Data System) to share information on sample collection sites, bird species sampled, and test results.
The database is available to agencies, organizations, and policymakers involved in avian influenza monitoring and response. Researchers will use the data to assess risk and refine monitoring strategies should HPAI be detected in the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/24/2006 9:32:27 PM)
Thailand's Amazing InsectsThis site is about the fun of watching insects in the wild. I am neither an entomologist nor a photographer, I just love taking pictures of insects. I live in Chiang Mai and started looking for insects in January 2000.The site contains over 2000 photographs of insects including butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies, flies, wasps, ants, caterpillars, cicadas, grasshoppers, mantids, bugs and beetles plus spiders and some others........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/24/2006 7:37:55 PM)
Even microbes favor their own kinNew research published by Rice University biologists in this week's issue of Nature finds that even the simplest of social creatures single-celled amoebae have the ability not only to recognize their own family members but also to selectively discriminate in favor of them.
The study provides further proof of the surprisingly sophisticated social behavior of microbes, which have been shown to exhibit levels of cooperation more typically........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/24/2006 4:59:14 AM)
Brave new world in life sciencesThe biosciences are converging with information technology, nanotechnology, and materials science in unforeseen ways, yielding remarkable advances that have the potential to cure--or kill. To reduce the likelihood that these discoveries will be exploited for destructive ends, the authors of the 2006 report, "Globalization, Biosecurity, and the Future of Life Sciences," propose a "web of protection" that bolsters the development of robust........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2006 8:08:37 PM)
Genome Set To Transform The CowThe ability of researchers to improve health and disease management of cattle and enhance the nutritional value of beef and dairy products has received a major boost with the release this week of the most complete sequence of the cow genome ever assembled.
Developed by an international consortium of research organisations, including CSIRO and AgResearch New Zealand, the new bovine sequence contains 2.9 billion DNA base pairs and incorporates........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2006 7:06:28 PM)
Sturgeon's general warningThey take a long time before they mate and, once old enough, don't mate every year. Even so, sturgeons are heavily sought after for their eggs, which are made into caviar.
For these and other reasons, a number of sturgeons - a variety of ancient, bottom-feeding fish - are in trouble.
Trent Sutton, a fisheries biologist at Purdue University, has helped to ensure that a local variety of sturgeon, the shovelnose, does not become endangered........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2006 5:04:08 AM)
Biologist Trying To Crack Microscopic CodeThe Bowling Green State University biologist wants to crack the communication code of proteins, particularly the ones whose "talking" aids and abets disease.
"Proteins interact; they 'talk' to each other," the associate professor says. "It's how they know what to do, and it's how most of the things that need to happen for living organisms get done."
Over the past three years he has received $300,000 in funding from the National Science........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/21/2006 9:14:42 PM)
The Abbot's CompassionSo Ferocious you are,
King of the forest;
As a killer, you are merciless;
It has become legendary;
Your fierceness and cruelty,
Everyone is well aware;
How ruthless a tiger is;........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/20/2006 6:32:55 AM)
Ocean Noise Has Increased ConsiderablyWith populations increasing around the globe in recent decades, no one would be surprised by an increase in the amount of noise produced in terrestrial environments. Now, a unique study involving scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has shown that the underwater world also is becoming a noisier place, with unknown effects on marine life.
New research reported in the recent issue of the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/19/2006 2:47:11 PM)
New Species Of Sea Urchin For Acution At EbayYou can get almost anything at eBay. Now it seems you can even discover a new marine species at ebay.
Sea Urchins are a member of the Phylum Echinodermata, Class Echinoidea. Rather then having arms or legs the sea urchin actually has long spines as a substitute. These spines are used primarily for camouflage, locomotion, and defensive purposes. The sea urchin feeds on sea grasses, algae, and decaying organic matter. One can see their close........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/19/2006 8:49:19 AM)
Top Sprinter Lost In The Fog Has CancerLost in the Fog, the 2005 Eclipse Award winner as sprinter of the year, has cancer in his spleen and abdomen, and his trainer said Friday that the 4-year-old colt will have to be put down soon.
The horse underwent an exploratory procedure Friday which determined the cancer in his spleen had spread, said veterinarian, Don Smith, in a conference call with trainer Greg Gilchrist.
"Unfortunately, we found two other tumors in his abdomen,"........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/19/2006 7:20:24 AM)
Bacteria Can Help Predict Ocean ChangeEvery creature has its place and role in the oceans even the smallest microbe, as per a new study that may lead to more accurate models of ocean change.
Researchers have long endorsed the concept of a unique biological niche for most animals and plants a shark, for example, has a different role than a dolphin.
Bacteria instead have been relegated to an also-ran world of "functional redundancy" in which few species are considered unique,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/14/2006 11:55:06 PM)
Global Changes Alter Plant GrowthAny gardener knows--different plant species mature at different times. Researchers studying plant communities in natural habitats call this phenomenon "complementarity." It allows a number of species to co-exist because it reduces overlap in the time period when species compete for limited resources. Now, in a study posted online the week of Sept. 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ecologists working at Stanford's Jasper........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/5/2006 4:48:00 AM)
Chimpanzees And Culture TransmissionTransferring knowledge through a chain of generations is a behavior not exclusive to humans, as per new findings by scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. For the first time, scientists have shown chimpanzees exhibit generational learning behavior similar to that in humans. Unlike prior findings that indicated chimpanzees simply conform to the social norms of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/4/2006 8:29:51 PM)
So Many Weeds In Your Garden This Year?Some years, no matter how diligently you pull, your backyard garden is always covered with weeds. Other years, with the minimum of effort, your garden remains weed-free. What is the cause of these oscillations? A group of weed researchers based at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) spent fifteen years studying flixweed a member of the mustard family usually found in areas where the ground has been cultivated or disturbed in an........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/2/2006 9:58:32 PM)
Consensus In Monkey Social NetworksResearch on communication typically focuses on how individuals use signals to influence the behavior of receivers, thus primarily focusing on pairs of individuals. However, the role communication plays in the emergence of social structures is rarely studied. In a new paper from The American Naturalist, Santa Fe Institute scientists Jessica Flack and David Krakauer study how power structures arise from a status communication network in a monkey........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/2/2006 9:43:57 PM)
Genome Info From Plant DestroyersAn international team of researchers has published the first two genome sequences from a destructive group of plant pathogens called Phytophthora--a name that literally means "plant destroyer." The more than 80 species of fungus-like Phytophthora (pronounced "fy-TOFF-thor-uh") attack a broad range of plants and together cost the agriculture, forestry and nursery industries hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
Even though Phytophthora........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/2/2006 9:21:29 PM)
Eco-friendly Tool For Managing WeedsEventhough plant pathogens are typically viewed as detrimental, plant pathologists with the American Phytopathological Society (APS) say plant pathogens may be a successful, eco-friendly tool for managing weeds.
"The use of plant pathogens to suppress weeds is considered as one of the alternative weed control options for areas or production systems where the use of chemical herbicides is not permitted or feasible," said Erin Rosskopf, USDA,........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/2/2006 9:16:00 PM)
Collecting Data about Nantucket SoundFerries that connect Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are taking on another role - research vessels.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Scott Gallager and his colleagues have installed a package of sensors on the 235-foot freight ferry Katama to measure water quality and to photograph plankton as the ferry crisscrosses the western side of Nantucket Sound year-round, several times daily.
........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/29/2006 9:32:03 PM)
How crucian carp survive months without oxygen?Cooling water temperature during the fall prompts the crucian carp to store vast amounts of glycogen in its brain to keep the brain functioning and healthy from February to April, when there is no oxygen left in the ponds, a new study finds.
The study from Finland observed that the amount of glycogen in the brain was at its peak in February, when the pond becomes nearly depleted of oxygen (anoxic). Glycogen, an energy supply that the carp........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/28/2006 4:46:38 AM)
Who said nature is not sexy?Who said nature is not sexy?
Nature watch by a naturalist.........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/24/2006 7:47:00 PM)
Eating Habits Of Rain Forest InsectsA study initiated by University of Minnesota plant biologist George Weiblen has confirmed what biologists since Darwin have suspected - that the vast number of tree species in rain forests accounts for the equally vast number of plant-eating species of insects.
"This is a big step forward in the quest to understand why there is so much biodiversity in the tropics," said Weiblen, principal investigator and senior author for the National........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/24/2006 5:04:47 AM)
Manatee TravelerA West Indian manatee has been sighted in various waters of the northeastern United States in the last 5-6 weeks. It took in the sights along the Hudson River traveling up into Harlem, visited Cape Cod, Mass., and was most recently sighted in Warwick, Rhode Island, in Greenwich Bay.
The question everyone is asking is: Is it Chessie on summer vacation? U.S. Geological Survey manatee scientists have today been able to rule out Chessie as the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/24/2006 4:50:14 AM)
Persicaria AmplexicaulisThe epithet amplexicaulis means "stem-clasping", describing (in this case) the attachment of the leaves to the stem. You can see what is meant by amplexicaulis via the secondary photograph in the Kemper Center link below or via this image of Asclepias amplexicaulis.
'Firetail' red bistort or mountain fleece is an RHS Award of Garden Merit plant. For gardening info about this plant, visit the MBG's Kemper Center for Home Gardening.
Botany........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2006 7:28:27 PM)
Strawberry Flowers, ForeverDid anyone remember it was the Wimbledon men's finals yesterday? I disgracefully forgot, and was reminded only as I digested an indulgent dessert of strawberries and cream before going to watch Les Bleus not exactly 'allez' across the football pitch. But I think I kind of made up for it, because for most of the time I was watching the French amble slowly toward defeat, I was thinking more about Wimbledon than about the World Cup: I was........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2006 7:15:38 PM)
Virus Threat To Red SquirrelsNew research has revealed for the first time the catastrophic effect of a deadly virus on Britain's native red squirrels.
The research shows that squirrel poxvirus is threatening to wipe out red squirrels in some of the areas in which they remain in northern England within 10 years. In areas where the virus has been detected, the rate of decline in reds is 17-25 times higher than in places where there has been no outbreak.
Until now the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2006 6:52:49 PM)
A New Tool Against Brain Disease University of Utah scientists isolated an unusual nerve toxin in an ocean-dwelling snail, and say its ability to glom onto the brain's nicotine receptors may be useful for designing new drugs to treat a variety of psychiatric and brain diseases.
"We discovered a new toxin from a venomous cone snail that may enable researchers to more effectively develop medications for a wide range of nervous system disorders including Parkinson's disease,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/20/2006 9:22:28 PM)
Loss Of Just One Species Makes Big DifferenceScientists at Dartmouth, Cornell University, and the University of Wyoming have learned that the removal of just one important species in a freshwater ecosystem can seriously disrupt how that environment functions. This finding contradicts earlier notions that other species can jump in and compensate for the loss.
Brad Taylor, currently a research associate in the department of biological sciences at Dartmouth, and colleagues studied a fish........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/19/2006 9:06:45 PM)
Image of the Month August 2006Hlx knockout mouse embryo E17.5. The homeobox transcription factor Hlx is mandatory for normal embryonic growth and may play a role in development of the enteric nervous system. Enteric neurons were identified by immunostaining in Hlx knockout and wild-type mouse embryos and the migration of neurons throughout development was compared.
Taken from: Bates et al., BMC Developmental Biology 2006, 6:33.........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/19/2006 1:24:21 PM)
Two-headed Snakes May Make Guinness BookWith regard to snakes, there are Guinness World Records for the heaviest living snake, longest fangs and even one for sitting in a bathtub with the most live rattlesnakes.
In regard to multiple heads, there are Guinness records for the most heads of state together, most heads shaved in four hours and the most consecutive haircuts given in a day.
But a record that combines snakes and multiple heads? A record, say, for the largest exhibit........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/19/2006 8:55:09 AM)
Have you ever seen an elephant running?A young elephant steps out at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park while cameras record the movement of the disc shaped markers on its legs and back.
(Images: John Hutchinson).........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/18/2006 6:47:46 AM)
Flatworms And Regeneration ResearchScientists have identified a gene in planaria--freshwater flatworms renowned for their regenerative abilities--that is key for maintenance of their stem cells. Because planarian stem cells share characteristics with those of humans, the work will aid researchers striving to understand how stem cells can be used to completely repair damaged tissues and organs.
Planaria have been studied for hundreds of years, but modern genomic techniques........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/14/2006 9:44:56 PM)