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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • August 19, 2016
  • 03:34 PM
  • 99 views

Cloth masks offer poor protection against air pollution

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Results of a new study by environmental health scientists suggest that inexpensive cloth masks worn by people who hope to reduce their exposure to air pollution vary widely in effectiveness and could be giving users a false sense of security, especially in highly polluted areas.

... Read more »

Shakya, K., Noyes, A., Kallin, R., & Peltier, R. (2016) Evaluating the efficacy of cloth facemasks in reducing particulate matter exposure. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1038/jes.2016.42  

  • August 19, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 94 views

Friday Fellow: Asian Pigeonwing

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow is a creeping (but not creepy) plant with nice deep blue flowers shaped like a human female genitalia. Yeah, you read that right. Its scientific name is Clitoria ternatea, the genus name being a … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 18, 2016
  • 08:00 AM
  • 103 views

Sorry, I Don't Drink

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Koalas don’t drink a lot of water, but the spinifex hopping mouse and kangaroo rat put him to shame. They never drink. What water they need they get from the seeds they eat and from the fact that they conserve water amazingly well – including the water that they produce during metabolism. Adult mayflies don’t drink either – they don’t have working mouthparts! Of course, some only live a few minutes as adults, so it may not be that big a deal.... Read more »

  • August 12, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 21 views

Friday Fellow: Jataí Bee

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Certainly the most widespread, adaptable and well-known honey-producing bee is Apis melifera, commonly known as honeybee for obvious reasons. But there are a lot of other honey makers all over the world. Today I’m going to present … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 10, 2016
  • 11:05 PM
  • 146 views

Size of female-built nests affects how males act

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Last week, I discussed how male quality in birds may be related to their song. How do males evaluate females in return? The answer may lie in their nests.... Read more »

  • August 8, 2016
  • 01:54 PM
  • 176 views

Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Pesticides beekeepers are using to improve honeybee health may actually be harming the bees by damaging the bacteria communities in their guts. The discovery is a concern because alterations can affect the gut's ability to metabolize sugars and peptides, processes that are vital for honeybee health.

... Read more »

Madhavi Kakumanu, Alison M. Reeves, Troy Anderson, Richard R. Rodrigues, & Mark A. Williams. (2016) Honey bee gut microbiome is altered by in-hive pesticide exposures. Frontiers in Microbiology. info:/10.3389/fmicb.2016.01255

  • August 5, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 188 views

Friday Fellow: Beggar’s tick

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll What if the cure for cancer has been living in your garden all this time and you have been trying to get rid of it because it is an annoying weed? I cannot assure you that … Continue reading →... Read more »

Chiang, L., Chang, J., Chen, C., Ng, L., & Lin, C. (2003) Anti-Herpes Simplex Virus Activity of Bidens pilosa and Houttuynia cordata. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 31(03), 355-362. DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X03001090  

Kviecinski, M., Felipe, K., Schoenfelder, T., de Lemos Wiese, L., Rossi, M., Gonçalez, E., Felicio, J., Filho, D., & Pedrosa, R. (2008) Study of the antitumor potential of Bidens pilosa (Asteraceae) used in Brazilian folk medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 117(1), 69-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.017  

  • August 4, 2016
  • 02:07 PM
  • 223 views

Biomimicry is a promising approach for driving innovation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new case study shows that biomimicry, a relatively new field that seeks to emulate nature to find solutions to human problems, can potentially expand intellectual property, increase energy savings and accelerate product innovation.

... Read more »

Emily Barbara Kennedy, & Thomas Andrew Marting. (2016) Biomimicry: Streamlining the Front End of Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products. Research-Technology Management. info:/10.1080/08956308.2016.1185342

  • August 3, 2016
  • 05:50 PM
  • 192 views

Chicks dig musicians, or, birdsong and male quality

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Ah, music. Many people are profoundly affected by it, and so are birds. In fact, research by Byers et al. in the August 2016 issue of Ethology suggests that female prairie warblers can gain valuable information about a male through that male’s song, and use this information to decide whether to mate.... Read more »

Byers, B., Akresh, M., & King, D. (2016) Song and Male Quality in Prairie Warblers. Ethology, 122(8), 660-670. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12513  

  • July 30, 2016
  • 05:55 AM
  • 290 views

5 things we learned this week | open-access science week 30, 2016

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Finding flight MH370, origins of human speech, declining penguin colonies, safe carbon storage, and stressed out reef sharks: Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Jansen, E., Coppini, G., & Pinardi, N. (2016) Drift simulation of MH370 debris using superensemble techniques. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 16(7), 1623-1628. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-16-1623-2016  

Lameira, A., Hardus, M., Mielke, A., Wich, S., & Shumaker, R. (2016) Vocal fold control beyond the species-specific repertoire in an orang-utan. Scientific Reports, 30315. DOI: 10.1038/srep30315  

Kampman, N., Busch, A., Bertier, P., Snippe, J., Hangx, S., Pipich, V., Di, Z., Rother, G., Harrington, J., Evans, J.... (2016) Observational evidence confirms modelling of the long-term integrity of CO2-reservoir caprocks. Nature Communications, 12268. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12268  

Mourier, J., Maynard, J., Parravicini, V., Ballesta, L., Clua, E., Domeier, M., & Planes, S. (2016) Extreme Inverted Trophic Pyramid of Reef Sharks Supported by Spawning Groupers. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.05.058  

  • July 29, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 208 views

Friday Fellow: Cute bee fly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Recently the appearance of a new pokémon, Cutiefly, has brought a lot of attention to the real world species in which it is based. So why not bring it to Friday Fellow so that you may … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 27, 2016
  • 02:38 PM
  • 240 views

Deer Line Up North-South, Whether Relaxing or Running

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



If you're ever lost in a remote European forest, you might be able to get your bearings by finding a herd of roe deer. These animals like to align themselves roughly north-south, whether they're standing still or fleeing danger.

Roe deer are small, reddish or grayish grazers common in Europe and Asia. Petr Obleser, of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, and his coauthors studied the behavior of these skittish herbivores to look for evidence that they can sense the earth's ma........ Read more »

Obleser, P., Hart, V., Malkemper, E., Begall, S., Holá, M., Painter, M., Červený, J., & Burda, H. (2016) Compass-controlled escape behavior in roe deer. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70(8), 1345-1355. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-016-2142-y  

  • July 26, 2016
  • 09:22 AM
  • 271 views

Fungi found flourishing following fire

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Morels and several other fungi (all members of the order Pezizales) are known to produce their mushrooms in recently burned soil, whether it's the result of a nice little campfire or an entire forest going up in smoke. The fire creates the right conditions for the fungus, which lies beneath the ground and so protected from flames and heat, to send up mushrooms. These mushrooms release spores into the environment, and the circle of life continues ever onward.In the case of morels, it's thought a ........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2016
  • 09:04 PM
  • 216 views

Wave that claw: how male crabs attract mates

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Male Ilyoplax pusilla crabs wave their claws in the air to attract females, but why do different-sized males spend different amounts of time waving? The answer lies in research published this year. ... Read more »

  • July 24, 2016
  • 04:45 AM
  • 279 views

Week 29 In Review: Open-Access Science | 18 to 25 July

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Cave art, wild fires, new dinosaur with teeny T-rex arms, thirsty trees and a new method to create hydrogen from grass. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Cooper, J., Samson, A., Nieves, M., Lace, M., Caamaño-Dones, J., Cartwright, C., Kambesis, P., & Frese, L. (2016) ‘The Mona Chronicle’: the archaeology of early religious encounter in the New World. Antiquity, 90(352), 1054-1071. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.103  

Nagra, G., Treble, P., Andersen, M., Fairchild, I., Coleborn, K., & Baker, A. (2016) A post-wildfire response in cave dripwater chemistry. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(7), 2745-2758. DOI: 10.5194/hess-20-2745-2016  

Caravaca, A., Jones, W., Hardacre, C., & Bowker, M. (2016) H production by the photocatalytic reforming of cellulose and raw biomass using Ni, Pd, Pt and Au on titania . Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 472(2191), 20160054. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2016.0054  

  • July 21, 2016
  • 10:08 AM
  • 279 views

The decline of biodiversity: Past the point of no return?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Mohi looks up at her mother. Confused. Afraid. Mother had always said that she had to keep her filtration veil on when they left their housedome. But now, here stood her mother, unveiled. The woman gifted an encouraging nod to her young daughter. Mohi removed her veil. Air! Light! The freshness of the breeze and […]... Read more »

Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA.... (2015) Sustainability. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). PMID: 25592418  

Newbold T, Hudson LN, Arnell AP, Contu S, De Palma A, Ferrier S, Hill SL, Hoskins AJ, Lysenko I, Phillips HR.... (2016) Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288-91. PMID: 27418509  

Oliver TH. (2016) How much biodiversity loss is too much?. Science, 353(6296), 220-1. PMID: 27418489  

  • July 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 265 views

Eggs can develop without being fertilized in this sturgeon… but they don’t survive

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Parthenogenesis is the development of eggs without fertilization. For the first time, it has been shown to occur in the sterlet sturgeon. ... Read more »

  • July 13, 2016
  • 10:30 PM
  • 298 views

Modeling influenza at ECMTB/SMB 2016

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

This week, I am at the University of Nottingham for the joint meeting of the Society of Mathematical Biology and the European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology — ECMTB/SMB 2016. It is a huge meeting, with over 800 delegates in attendance, 308 half-hour mini-symposium talks, 264 twenty-minute contributed talks, 190 posters, 7 prize talks, […]... Read more »

Gog, J.R., Ballesteros, S., Viboud, C., Simonsen, L., Bjornstad, O.N., Shaman, J., Chao, D.L., Khan, F., & Grenfell, B.T. (2014) Spatial Transmission of 2009 Pandemic Influenza in the US. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(6). PMID: 24921923  

  • July 13, 2016
  • 03:59 PM
  • 301 views

A New Tool for Studying Gorilla Health: Half-Chewed Food

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



In the mountains of Central Africa, scientists who study critically endangered gorillas have a new tool. They've discovered that they can learn what viruses gorillas are carrying by stealthily collecting half-chewed plants the apes leave behind.

If this sounds reminiscent of that class clown at the third-grade lunch table who would ask if you liked seafood and then say "See? Food!" and open his mouth wide to display his sloppy Joe slurry, don't worry—mountain gorillas are vegetarians. ........ Read more »

Smiley Evans T, Gilardi KV, Barry PA, Ssebide BJ, Kinani JF, Nizeyimana F, Noheri JB, Byarugaba DK, Mudakikwa A, Cranfield MR.... (2016) Detection of viruses using discarded plants from wild mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. American journal of primatology. PMID: 27331804  

  • July 13, 2016
  • 01:00 AM
  • 266 views

Another one bites the dust?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

The music theory literature has been suggesting it for a long time: the idea that simultaneous sounding tones with frequency relationships that are low integer multiples, like 1:2 (octave) or 3:2 (a perfect fifth), are determinant of how listeners perceive consonance. It is an idea that is often related to the overtone structure of natural sounds (such as the voice or string instruments) suggesting that musical harmony is reflective or even a result of the acoustic structure that is found in nat........ Read more »

Honing, H., ten Cate, C., Peretz, I., & Trehub, S. (2015) Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140088-20140088. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088  

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