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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • October 30, 2014
  • 09:57 AM
  • 18 views

Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

When a new developer comes to town and starts aggressively building up the empty property around your home, you can get mad—or you can move in. That’s what tiny crustaceans in the Georgia mudflats have done. Facing an invasive Japanese seaweed, they’ve discovered that it makes excellent shelter, protecting them from all kinds of threats. […]The post Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • October 28, 2014
  • 04:11 PM
  • 51 views

Scientists resurrect 700-year-old viruses, Just in time for Halloween!

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

You know how some zombie movies start with a discovery of a virus, it gets loose, and things quickly spiral out of control from that? Well in breaking news a team of researchers have found two 700-year-old viral sequences in frozen caribou dung in an arctic ice patch. The group isolated part of a viral RNA genome and the complete genome of a DNA virus. Then they infected living plants with the DNA virus, what could go wrong?... Read more »

Ng, T., Chen, L., Zhou, Y., Shapiro, B., Stiller, M., Heintzman, P., Varsani, A., Kondov, N., Wong, W., Deng, X.... (2014) Preservation of viral genomes in 700-y-old caribou feces from a subarctic ice patch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410429111  

  • October 28, 2014
  • 09:51 AM
  • 50 views

Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Scientists love the data they get by attaching electronic tags to animals, but these devices can be a literal drag. For animals that fly or swim, tags can mess up their mechanics and force them to spend more energy. That’s what scientists expected to see when they studied dolphins with data loggers suction-cupped to their […]The post Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

van der Hoop JM, Fahlman A, Hurst T, Rocho-Levine J, Shorter KA, Petrov V, & Moore MJ. (2014) Bottlenose dolphins modify behavior to reduce metabolic effect of tag attachment. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 25324344  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 03:40 PM
  • 69 views

Real Zombie-Making Parasites Among Us

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The mummified cat and the rat in the crypt of Christ Church in Dublin. Photo by Adrian Grycuk at Wikimedia Commons.The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s worst panned movie of all time, is a science fiction thriller about people going into a mysterious trance and committing suicide as a result of other mind-hacking species. One of the leading criticisms raised against this movie is the ridiculousness of the premise. One species can’t cause another to willingly commit suicide! …Or can they? T........ Read more »

  • October 25, 2014
  • 02:59 PM
  • 68 views

The Oceans Link to Climate Change

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Hold on to your hats folks, we can all agree that most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. But in a new study a group of researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth’s climate. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a man-made problem, please.... Read more »

Woodard SC, Rosenthal Y, Miller KG, Wright JD, Chiu BK, & Lawrence KT. (2014) Antarctic role in Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Science . PMID: 25342658  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 04:50 PM
  • 96 views

A Venusian Mystery Explored Once More

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Venus, the place where women are from... supposedly. To say Venus has a harsh climate would be an understatement, this is one of many reasons why we will never (or maybe not soon) see a "long lasting" Venus rover counterpart to our Mars rover missions. Still, the planet (much like all the other plants) can teach us a lot about not just our own origins, but the origins of the universe. Also like all our neighbor planets Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds, a mystery t........ Read more »

Harrington, E. et. Al. (2014) The puzzle of radar-bright highlands on venus: a high-spatial resolution study in Ovda regio. Geological Society of America. info:other/136-4

  • October 17, 2014
  • 04:02 PM
  • 105 views

A look at Air Pollution and Your Body

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We have all probably seen stories from China on the horrid air pollution there. Accompanying those reports of course are the statistics for air pollution that deaths have caused. For the record, the World Health Organization estimated that ambient air pollution caused 3.7 million premature deaths (worldwide) in 2012 alone – yet what exactly happens to your body when it encounters pollutants?... Read more »

  • October 14, 2014
  • 04:58 PM
  • 96 views

Carbon’s Place in a Silicon World

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Everything is silicon based, well mainly your computer, your TV, your ipad, and pretty much every piece of electronics in existence. Still the world turns and so does technology; at a similarly fast pace no less. Even as the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has enshrined light emitting diodes (LEDs) as the single most significant and disruptive energy-efficient lighting solution of today, scientists around the world continue unabated to search for the even-better-bulbs of tomorrow. In this search we ........ Read more »

Sharon Bahena-Garrido, Norihiro Shimoi, Daisuke Abe, Toshimasa Hojo, Yasumitsu Tanaka, & Kazuyuki Tohji. (2014) Plannar light source using a phosphor screen with single-walled carbon nanotubes as field emitters. Review of Scientific Instruments. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895913

  • October 14, 2014
  • 01:34 PM
  • 74 views

These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Maybe you gave your last realtor a long series of must-haves: a washing machine in unit, proximity to the train, a gas stovetop. But there’s no way you’re as picky as the driftwood hopper. This minute crustacean will only live in rotting chunks of driftwood. David Wildish, a marine zoologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, […]The post These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • October 12, 2014
  • 11:30 AM
  • 120 views

Your Artificial Sweeteners, Your Bacteria, and Your Health

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

It seems like one cannot help hearing about this paper throughout the microbiome and related fields. The paper "Artificial Sweeteners Induce Glucose Intolerance by Altering the Gut Microbiota" was recently published in Nature, and it has had a lot of press...... Read more »

Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C., Maza, O., Israeli, D., Zmora, N., Gilad, S., Weinberger, A.... (2014) Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13793  

  • October 12, 2014
  • 09:56 AM
  • 106 views

Largest methane hotspot in the US found in the Four Corners: fracking not to blame!

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New space-based observation has found a methane hotspot in the Four Corners due to coalbed methane from coal mines!... Read more »

Kort, E., Frankenberg, C., Costigan, K., Lindenmaier, R., Dubey, M., & Wunch, D. (2014) Four corners: The largest US methane anomaly viewed from space. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061503  

  • October 10, 2014
  • 11:26 PM
  • 101 views

The red of bearded vultures—allure or cure?

by Yao-Hua Law in TORCH

[This story first appeared on Earth Touch News] Soaring high among the mountains from Europe to China and to Africa, the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) commands attention at any lunch party. It likes to gate crash into the frenzy around carrion, pushing other scavengers aside with wings that could stretch the height of Michael Jordan, […]... Read more »

  • October 9, 2014
  • 10:15 PM
  • 116 views

Ecology of cancer: mimicry, eco-engineers, morphostats, and nutrition

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

One of my favorite parts of mathematical modeling is the opportunities it provides to carefully explore metaphors and analogies between disciplines. The connection most carefully explored at the MBI Workshop on the Ecology and Evolution of Cancer was, as you can guess from the name, between ecology and oncology. Looking at cancer from the perspective […]... Read more »

  • October 9, 2014
  • 04:10 PM
  • 136 views

Solar Panel Hybrid is Cheap and Super Efficient

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Solar cells are inefficient, it’s a sad fact. With todays technology they boast about a 10-15% efficiency, compare that to todays gas engine at roughly 20-25% and you can see it’s not quite up to par. Well that could all change very soon thanks to a new method for transferring energy from organic to inorganic semiconductors. This could boost the efficiency of widely used inorganic solar cells to as close as 100% efficiency as they can get.... Read more »

Tabachnyk M, Ehrler B, Gélinas S, Böhm ML, Walker BJ, Musselman KP, Greenham NC, Friend RH, & Rao A. (2014) Resonant energy transfer of triplet excitons from pentacene to PbSe nanocrystals. Nature materials. PMID: 25282509  

  • October 7, 2014
  • 07:45 PM
  • 116 views

Climate change roundup: underestimated ocean heat content and emissions from the peatlands!

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A quick review of two new climate change-related articles. One finds we have underestimated the heat content in upper oceans, suggesting possibly higher future warming rates. The other discusses a new model to look at methane emissions in the peatlands... Read more »

  • October 7, 2014
  • 10:15 AM
  • 124 views

Scientists Recommend Vole Shaving

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Sometimes scientists need to make their research subjects’ lives harder. No matter how much affection they may feel for those flatworms or fish or pigeons, there are certain things they can only learn by forcing the animals to use more energy. But for animals living in the wild, this can be tricky. Now scientists studying […]The post Scientists Recommend Vole Shaving appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Szafrańska PA, Zub K, Wieczorek M, Książek A, Speakman JR, & Konarzewski M. (2014) Shaving increases daily energy expenditures in free living root voles. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 25278468  

  • October 6, 2014
  • 03:55 PM
  • 136 views

Orange Corn Aims to Fight Vitamin A Deficiency

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO food is still a hot button topic, honestly for no other reason than fear. Sure Monsanto is a big evil corporation, but the science is only as bad as what you do with it. In the modern fortified world we don’t think about vitamin deficiency or the horrible things that come with it, however vitamin A deficiency is a huge problem in developing countries. To combat this researchers have identified a set of genes that can be used to naturally boost the provitamin A content of corn kernels, a fi........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 02:29 PM
  • 124 views

The Biology of Nagging

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

A female pied flycatcher can't feed herself sufficientlywhile she incubates her eggs and newly-hatchedchicks. Photo by Alejandro Cantarero.I have been blessed with the fortune of not just having two healthy and happy babies, but being able to spend much of the spring and summer nurturing them and watching them develop and grow. But it has not been all roses: their smiles beam through the fog of my sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Their tears are met with my own. Our clothes are stained in a ra........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2014
  • 01:43 PM
  • 131 views

Using “Programmable” Antibiotics to Attack Drug-Resistant Microbes

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The body is pretty great at self regulation, that is up until it isn't. The antibiotic era was one that improved human health hundreds of times over. Unfortunately health is a joint effort, a multitude of microbes scientists have found populating the human body have good, bad and mostly mysterious implications for our health. But when something goes wrong, we defend ourselves with the undiscriminating brute force of traditional antibiotics, which wipe out everything at once like a wild fire, reg........ Read more »

Luciano Marraffini et al. (2014) Exploiting CRISPR-Cas nucleases to produce sequence-specific antimicrobials. Nature Biotechnology. info:/10.1038/nbt.3043

  • October 4, 2014
  • 02:47 PM
  • 142 views

The Path of Antibiotic Resistance

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

MRSA, not that long ago we had no idea what MRSA was… mostly because it hadn’t come into prevalence. With an increase in the use and abuse of antibiotics there has been an ever growing pressure for the pathogens we treat to mutate in order to survive, this pressure is called selective pressure and helped cause drug-resistance in pathogens. In response to the rise of these drug-resistant pathogens, doctors are routinely cautioned against over prescribing antimicrobials. But when a patient has........ Read more »

Kouyos RD, Metcalf CJ, Birger R, Klein EY, Abel Zur Wiesch P, Ankomah P, Arinaminpathy N, Bogich TL, Bonhoeffer S, Brower C.... (2014) The path of least resistance: aggressive or moderate treatment?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 281(1794). PMID: 25253451  

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