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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • April 20, 2015
  • 04:18 PM
  • 20 views

Urban green spaces: Insights from Valencia

by Sarah Stephen in An ecological oratorio

http://www.researchblogging.org"> alt="ResearchBlogging.org" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" style="border:0;"/>Visiting the city of Valencia in Spain for the first time, we were pleasantly greeted by the subtle aroma of orange blossoms in the air and the sight of beautiful oranges dangling from the orange trees that line the street pavements. Whilst many parts of the city are bordered with trees, there are also other green spaces,  ........ Read more »

Searle, S., Turnbull, M., Boelman, N., Schuster, W., Yakir, D., & Griffin, K. (2012) Urban environment of New York City promotes growth in northern red oak seedlings. Tree Physiology, 32(4), 389-400. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tps027  

  • April 18, 2015
  • 04:45 AM
  • 64 views

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products, including biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even liquid fuels.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 11:15 AM
  • 51 views

The downfall of coal: job trends in a changing energy landscape

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Coal jobs have decreased dramatically in the past seven years, but are renewable energy and natural gas jobs compensating? New policy work reveals the geographical patterns in job changes that do not bode well for coal-producing states.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 10:44 AM
  • 57 views

Sick Coyotes Are More Likely to Come into Cities

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Run-ins are on the rise between coyotes and city-dwelling humans, and scientists aren't sure why. Now researchers in Alberta think they've found a piece of the puzzle. Coyotes are more likely to creep into human spaces if they're unhealthy.

Conflict between humans and coyotes has increased during the last 20 years, write University of Alberta graduate student Maureen Murray and her coauthors. Yet coyotes were expanding their range for decades before that. They've spread to inhabit nearly ... Read more »

Murray, M., Edwards, M., Abercrombie, B., & St. Clair, C. (2015) Poor health is associated with use of anthropogenic resources in an urban carnivore. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1806), 20150009-20150009. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0009  

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:20 AM
  • 58 views

Eyes on Environment: the organic side of fracking

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Little research to date has looked into the organic chemicals from fracking fluid that get into surrounding groundwater - here's how science can help!... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 47 views

Boy Plants Are From Mars …..

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Darwin missed the boat on plants. He recognized sexual dimorphism and sexual selection in animals, but didn’t see the same thing in flowers. Boy plants can look, grow, smell or locate very different from female plants. And it matters – some beetles seek out boy plants for their smell and deliver pollen to girl plants as a bribe for letting them lay eggs there! They have learned to tell guy from gal.
... Read more »

Okamoto, T., Kawakita, A., Goto, R., Svensson, G., & Kato, M. (2013) Active pollination favours sexual dimorphism in floral scent. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1772), 20132280-20132280. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2280  

  • April 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 83 views

Restore Or Protect: How To Save Biodiversity?

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Mathematical model can help conservationists choose.... Read more »

  • April 8, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 84 views

Why Do Males And Females Look Different?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

You see a spotted hyena – is it a male or female. There’s no way of telling without a blood test or a litter of pups. Other animals have obvious differences between males and females; eclectus parrots have green males but red and blue females, while male elephant seals weigh 10x as much as females. Are the differences for sexual selection or natural selection?... Read more »

Cunha, G., Risbridger, G., Wang, H., Place, N., Grumbach, M., Cunha, T., Weldele, M., Conley, A., Barcellos, D., Agarwal, S.... (2014) Development of the external genitalia: Perspectives from the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). Differentiation, 87(1-2), 4-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.diff.2013.12.003  

Hammond, G., Miguel-Queralt, S., Yalcinkaya, T., Underhill, C., Place, N., Glickman, S., Drea, C., Wagner, A., & Siiteri, P. (2012) Phylogenetic Comparisons Implicate Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin in “Masculinization” of the Female Spotted Hyena . Endocrinology, 153(3), 1435-1443. DOI: 10.1210/en.2011-1837  

  • April 6, 2015
  • 08:47 PM
  • 80 views

Evolving Arctic habitats: how global warming may disrupt the prey-predator balance

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Does global warming affect all species equally? Probably not says new modeling research predicting how habitats will evolve in Alaska over the next century.... Read more »

  • April 3, 2015
  • 11:39 AM
  • 89 views

The Jay Who Came to Dinner (on a Sloth)

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Kelsey Neam was strolling through the trees in Costa Rica and looking for sloths when she spotted something unusual. High on a tree branch, a three-toed sloth was eating leaves at an unhurried pace. It seemed oblivious to three brown jays that perched nearby and were watching it intently. Then one jay scooted closer and plunged its beak into the sloth's fur.

Neam is a graduate student in ecology at Texas A&M University. She was in the Costa Rican cloud forests to study three-toed slot... Read more »

  • April 1, 2015
  • 08:20 AM
  • 105 views

Eyes on Environment post: cultural and environmental impact of big solar

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Megawatt solar plants are popping up in the Mojave Desert - but what are their environmental and cultural consequences?... Read more »

  • April 1, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 93 views

The Bird Jaws Of Life

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Do birds have teeth? No, but they did once, and sometimes a throwback mutation can create a chick with a full set of chompers. That’s weird, but bird mouths get weirder. Birds can open their upper jaw, not just their lower. And some birds take being weird even farther. The crossbill has a mouth where the upper and lower beaks scissor past one another while the wrybill has a beak that always turns right. ... Read more »

Meredith, R., Zhang, G., Gilbert, M., Jarvis, E., & Springer, M. (2014) Evidence for a single loss of mineralized teeth in the common avian ancestor. Science, 346(6215), 1254390-1254390. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254390  

Smith, J., Sjoberg, S., Mueller, M., & Benkman, C. (2012) Assortative flocking in crossbills and implications for ecological speciation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1745), 4223-4229. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1500  

Benkman, C., Parchman, T., & Mezquida, E. (2010) Patterns of coevolution in the adaptive radiation of crossbills. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1206(1), 1-16. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05702.x  

SNOWBERG, L., & BENKMAN, C. (2009) Mate choice based on a key ecological performance trait. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22(4), 762-769. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01699.x  

  • March 31, 2015
  • 11:01 AM
  • 118 views

Moths Fondly Remember Plant Species Where They Lost Their Virginity

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Think real estate decisions are hard for humans? Imagine if the house you lived in were also your singles bar, your babies' nursery, and your shelter from large animals trying to eat you. And, while you were growing up, your food source, as you nibbled away its floors and shingles.

Moths face all these pressures each time they settle down on a plant. That may be why at least one type of moth uses pleasant associations to help with its choices. The plant species where an individual loses........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2015
  • 11:32 AM
  • 124 views

Gut Feelings

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

This boy may be influencing who he will marry when he grows up. Photo by Orrling at Wikimedia Commons.Animals (including humans) are swarming with microorganisms both on and in our bodies. Humans harbor so many different microorganisms that we have over 150 times more microbial genes than mammalian genes, and it is reasonable to suspect that this scenario is similar for most animals. But before you run to soak in a tub of hand sanitizer, you should realize that many of these microorganisms are a........ Read more »

Ezenwa, V., Gerardo, N., Inouye, D., Medina, M., & Xavier, J. (2012) Animal Behavior and the Microbiome. Science, 338(6104), 198-199. DOI: 10.1126/science.1227412  

  • March 29, 2015
  • 02:43 PM
  • 95 views

Biofuel, good for the environment if you’re eating less

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When the government first changed policy to require ethanol in gasoline, we were told it would reduce our carbon footprint. Then food prices rose significantly and corn in particular saw the largest price rise. This was because corn is a staple in production of almost any other food from eggs to beef, but the policy made environmental sense. Well it made sense, until you found out that the new government policy also took into account people eating less.... Read more »

Searchinger, T., Edwards, R., Mulligan, D., Heimlich, R., & Plevin, R. (2015) Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?. Science, 347(6229), 1420-1422. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261221  

  • March 29, 2015
  • 10:42 AM
  • 117 views

Accelerated loss: western Antarctice ice shelf melting at faster pace within last decade

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New satellite measurements have given unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution to Antarctice melting. The data indicates the Western shelf is melting faster than thought and the Eastern shelf is no longer gaining thickness. Important information to predict future sea level rises!... Read more »

  • March 26, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 129 views

http://www.united-academics.org/magazine/health-medicine/coffees-dirty-secret-like-carcinogens-with-that/

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

Furans are coffee’s dirty little secret. Although we can thank them for the pleasant aroma and delicious flavour of freshly brewed coffee, furans have been labelled as a possible human carcinogen (cause of cancer) in disguise by food safety agencies. How many are in there
depends on how you like your cup of Joe.... Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 137 views

This Nose Knows

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Evolution has given the sperm whale the most amazing head in the animal kingdom. They’ve got the biggest brain – all 18 lb.s of it. It has 1900 liters of sperm oil that almost caused in the extinction of the animal. It has one nostril that’s offset on its head, making the whale asymmetric. But most impressively, he can change the density of his head to help him dive or surface, and to do it he uses the same organ he uses for echolocation!... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 02:42 PM
  • 112 views

FDA struggles to define what “natural” means for food labels

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

After decades of debate there remains no generally accepted definition of a “natural” food product. Despite a gamut of products with the label prominently displayed, it has caused a headache in lawsuits for the government who have yet to define “natural”. According to new research, while regulatory agencies have refused to settle the issue, they may be under new pressure from those consumer lawsuits.... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 10:11 AM
  • 138 views

Global Warming Turns Rainforest Leaves into Junk Food

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Like those breakfast cereals that look healthy on the box but have even more sugar inside than Cocoa Puffs, some rainforest trees engage in false advertising. It's not their fault—it's ours. Climate change has made their leaves less nutritious than they used to be. And the animals who live off of those trees don't exactly have another store to shop at.

Experiments in labs and greenhouses have given scientists mixed answers about what happens to plant tissues in a changing climate. So pr........ Read more »

Rothman, J., Chapman, C., Struhsaker, T., Raubenheimer, D., Twinomugisha, D., & Waterman, P. (2015) Long-term declines in nutritional quality of tropical leaves. Ecology, 96(3), 873-878. DOI: 10.1890/14-0391.1  

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