In the soft jungle sun, a thick-limbed primate—with heavy fur and a strong grasping tail—is poised for flight. This is Lagothrix poeppigii, or Poeppigi’s woolly monkey, and it is the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Papworth Sarah, Milner-Gulland E. J., Slocombe Katie, & Noë Ronald. (2013) Hunted Woolly Monkeys (Lagothrix poeppigii) Show Threat-Sensitive Responses to Human Presence. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062000.s004
(source)Hi Julie, WOW!Dogs in clothes. Corgis in bikinis at the beach. Greyhounds in onesies. We people do some weird things to our canine friends, no?! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy being dressed up in a padded outfit all day long, so I think I'll pass on sharing that experience with my dogs. As you said, cultural perceptions, ethics and expectations add a whole layer of extra consideration. It's not always easy to work out what dogs want or need. That's why I like........ Read more »
Wells Deborah L. (2009) Sensory stimulation as environmental enrichment for captive animals: A review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 118(1-2), 1-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.01.002
Graham Lynne, Wells Deborah L., & Hepper Peter G. (2005) The influence of olfactory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 91(1-2), 143-153. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2004.08.024
Wells Deborah L. (2006) Aromatherapy for travel-induced excitement in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 229(6), 964-967. DOI: 10.2460/javma.229.6.964
As the world shifts from coal to natural gas, it is becoming more important to find ways of using natural gas efficiently and environmentally friendly. Now chemical engineering researchers have identified a new mechanism to convert natural gas into energy up to 70 times faster, while effectively capturing the greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide.... Read more »
Galinsky, N., Huang, Y., Shafiefarhood, A., & Li, F. (2013) Iron Oxide with Facilitated O Transport for Facile Fuel Oxidation and CO Capture in a Chemical Looping Scheme . ACS Sustainable Chemistry , 1(3), 364-373. DOI: 10.1021/sc300177j
Like Mother, like baby! Photo from freedigitalphotos.net.Moms give us so much more than we ever give them credit for. Biologically speaking, we all have a mom and a dad (unless you’re a flatworm or some other species that can reproduce without sex) that provide us with one of each chromosome type (our chromosomes contain our genes, commonly thought of as our “biological blueprints”). So it makes sense that we tend to think of ourselves as being half-our-mom and half-our-dad. But not so! Al........ Read more »
A new robotic sensor deployed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters may transform the way red tides or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored and managed in New England. The instrument was launched at the end of last month, and a second such system will be deployed later this spring.... Read more »
WHOI Media Relations Office. (2013) New Robotic Instruments to Provide Real-Time Data on Gulf of Maine Red Tide. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution . info:/
When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that left behind their genetic makeup (i.e., the plankton paleome).... Read more »
WHOI Media Relations Office. (2013) The Black Sea is a Goldmine of Ancient Genetic Data. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. info:/
A recently published paper in Scientific Reports has found that climate variability in the form of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has had a significant impact on the occurrence of disease outbreaks in Europe over the past fifty years. Researchers in France and the United Kingdom studied 2,058 outbreaks occurring in 36 countries from 114 infectious diseases from 1950 to 2009 and found that climatic variations and seasonal changes in air pressure across the continent attributed to the NAO in........ Read more »
Morand S, Owers KA, Waret-Szkuta A, McIntyre KM, & Baylis M. (2013) Climate variability and outbreaks of infectious diseases in Europe. Scientific reports, 1774. PMID: 23639950
As consumers, we like to hear that produce growers and distributers go above and beyond food safety mandates to ensure that healthy fresh fruits and vegetables do not carry bacteria or viruses that can make us sick. But in California’s Salinas Valley, some more vigorous interventions are cutting into the last corners of wildlife habitat, without evidence of food safety benefits, creating tensions between wildlife preservation and food safety where none need exist.... Read more »
Sasha Gennet, Jeanette Howard, Jeff Langholz, Kathryn Andrews, Mark D Reynolds, & Scott A Morrison. (2013) Farm practices for food safety: an emerging threat to floodplain and riparian ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, e-View ahead of print(May 6th). info:/10.1890/1202443
When climates change, species move. It’s a fact of life on Earth and probably has been for the past 542 million years, even when species don’t have legs or wings or fins to get them from place to place.
Quaking aspen is one example of a seemingly stationary species that has managed in just the past 20,000 years to expand into the largest range of any native North American tree.... Read more »
Callahan, C., Rowe, C., Ryel, R., Shaw, J., Madritch, M., & Mock, K. (2013) Continental-scale assessment of genetic diversity and population structure in quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) . Journal of Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12115
Hydrocarbon development in the Western Amazon Basin continues to gain momentum. A group of scientists has recently published a paper that outlines ways to save the unique ecosystem of the largest rainforest in the world by reducing the negative impact of oil and gas projects.... Read more »
Finer, M., Jenkins, C., & Powers, B. (2013) Potential of Best Practice to Reduce Impacts from Oil and Gas Projects in the Amazon. PLoS ONE, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063022
Ecology is a rapidly changing, dynamic field of research. In recent decades, there’s been a major shift from considering ecosystems as stable and poised to seeing them as systems that are in constant flux. At least, that’s what ecologists want (us) to believe. But how much of this claimed change has been able to seep [...]... Read more »
Carmel, Y., Kent, R., Bar-Massada, A., Blank, L., Liberzon, J., Nezer, O., Sapir, G., & Federman, R. (2013) Trends in Ecological Research during the Last Three Decades – A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059813
A new study by McDevitt et al. 2013 examines the genetic origins of the illegally released wild boar in Ireland, and finds that they are mostly domestic pig and not genetically pure wild boar. ... Read more »
Frantz, A., Massei, G., & Burke, T. (2012) Genetic evidence for past hybridisation between domestic pigs and English wild boars. Conservation Genetics, 13(5), 1355-1364. DOI: 10.1007/s10592-012-0379-1
Ever since tamarins were first captured from the wild to serve as research models in laboratories, we have been curious about their use of odour for communication. These miniature monkeys … Continue reading →... Read more »
Threlfall C., Law B., & Banks P. B. (2013) Odour cues influence predation risk at artificial bat roosts in urban bushland. Biology Letters, 9(3), 20121144-20121144. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.1144
No man is an island, entire of itself. Although we like to think of our decisions occurring in a vacuum, in reality we’re bombarded with information on how other people are deciding all the time. It would be shocking if our decisions weren’t influenced by the behavior of other people – and, obviously, a wide range [...]... Read more »
Wolf, M., Kurvers, R., Ward, A., Krause, S., & Krause, J. (2013) Accurate decisions in an uncertain world: collective cognition increases true positives while decreasing false positives. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1756), 20122777-20122777. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2777
Indian House Crow, not the prettiest... Thanks to Dick Daniels There are very few birds I don't like to see, but today's common bird is an exception - the Indian House Crow, Corvus splendens. Actually, that's probably slightly untrue, as I have been to India and I was perfectly happy to see the species there. In East Africa, however, this is not a species I'm ever happy to see. Not because there aren't interesting things to say about it, of course, but because it really belongs in India and seem........ Read more »
Duncan, R., Cassey, P., & Blackburn, T. (2009) Do climate envelope models transfer? A manipulative test using dung beetle introductions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1661), 1449-1457. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1801
Researchers from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that two approaches to breaking down cell walls of biomass, if used together, are more effective than either method alone.... Read more »
Resch, M., Donohoe, B., Baker, J., Decker, S., Bayer, E., Beckham, G., & Himmel, M. (2013) Fungal cellulases and complexed cellulosomal enzymes exhibit synergistic mechanisms in cellulose deconstruction. Energy . DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00019B
What are you saying with your smells? Image by freedigitalphotos.net.Animals communicate in all kinds of ways: with vocalizations, body language, vibrations, and even odors. In fact, compared to most species, we are pathetic in our abilities to communicate with body odor. With just a whiff of eau de crotch, many animals can decipher that individual’s species, sex, age, health status, reproductive status, emotional state, and dietary history. Some species can go so far as to make out that indiv........ Read more »
Linklater, W., Mayer, K., & Swaisgood, R. (2013) Chemical signals of age, sex and identity in black rhinoceros. Animal Behaviour, 85(3), 671-677. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.12.034
We can knit sweaters for oiled penguins, but it's harder to protect whales and dolphins from the harm of having us as neighbors. Loud underwater sounds from activities like sonar and drilling may damage these animals' hearing and even lead to mass strandings. Though we can't chase cetaceans around with homemade earmuffs, we might be able to teach them to tune us out.
Like squinting or letting one's pupil shrink in bright light, some animals can adjust how sensitive their ears are. When we're........ Read more »
Nachtigall, P., & Supin, A. (2013) A false killer whale reduces its hearing sensitivity when a loud sound is preceded by a warning. Journal of Experimental Biology. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.085068
One of the hardest questions to answer in an infectious disease outbreak investigation is "Why?"
Why then? Why there? These questions can be almost impossible to answer - not only because of their heady metaphysical nature but also because of the difficulty of assessing the minute interactions between microbe, environment and human host. Public health officials are often left shrugging their shoulders, half-heartedly admitting to an unsatisfied public that they just don't know ........ Read more »
Chua KB, Chua BH, & Wang CW. (2002) Anthropogenic deforestation, El Niño and the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia. The Malaysian journal of pathology, 24(1), 15-21. PMID: 16329551
Our close evolutionary cousin, the common chimpanzee, comes in four subspecies, each one named after its location along an East-West band in Africa. Yet, there are chimps outside of Africa as well. Many European zoos possess a group of chimpanzees, which often plays a part in conservation plans. After all, the populations of our primate brothers are in steep decline. Habitat destruction, bushmeat hunting, pet trade and disease all take their to... Read more »
Hvilsom, C., Frandsen, P., Børsting, C., Carlsen, F., Sallé, B., Simonsen, B., & Siegismund, H. (2013) Understanding geographic origins and history of admixture among chimpanzees in European zoos, with implications for future breeding programmes. Heredity. DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2013.9
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