Shark fins and their geographic origin 1 Millions of shark fins are sold at market each year to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy, but it has been impossible to pinpoint which sharks from which regions are most threatened by this trade. Now, groundbreaking new DNA research has, for the first time, traced scalloped hammerhead shark fins from the burgeoning Hong Kong market all the way back to the sharks' geographic origin. In some cases the fins were found to........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/1/2009 8:18:24 AM)
Global Study of SalmonPopular thinking about how to improve food systems for the better often misses the point, as per the results of a three-year global study of salmon production systems. Rather than pushing for organic or land-based production, or worrying about simple metrics such as "food miles," the study finds that the world can achieve greater environmental benefits by focusing on improvements to key aspects of production and distribution.
For example,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/25/2009 8:09:25 AM)
With a beam of lightIn an advance with overtones of Star Trek phasers and other sci-fi ray guns, scientists in Canada are reporting development of an internal on-off "switch" that paralyzes animals when exposed to a beam of ultraviolet light. The animals stay paralyzed even when the light is turned off. When exposed to ordinary light, the animals become unparalyzed and wake up. Their study appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). It reports........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/18/2009 11:43:19 PM)
Evolution of Highly Toxic Box JellyfishWith thousands of stinging cells that can emit deadly venom from tentacles that can reach ten feet in length, the 50 or so species of box jellyfish have long been of interest to researchers and to the public. Yet little has been known about the evolution of this early branch in the animal tree of life.
In a paper published November 18 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, NOAA scientists Allen Collins, Bastian Bentlage and Cheryl Lewis........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/18/2009 11:06:33 PM)
Plants prefer their kinPlants don't mind sharing space with their kin but when they're potted with strangers of the same species they start invigorating their leaves, a study by McMaster University reveals.
The research, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Botany, suggests non-kin plants will not only compete underground for soil nutrients, but will attempt to muscle out the competition above ground in the ongoing struggle for light.
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/17/2009 8:05:03 AM)
First aquarium to breed dwarf cuttlefishAnchored to an algae-covered rock in a 120-gallon tank at the California Academy of Sciences' Steinhart Aquarium, a cluster of inky-colored cuttlefish eggs is beginning to swellevidence of success for the Academy's new captive breeding program for dwarf cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis. The program, pioneered by Academy biologist Richard Ross, is the first of its kind in a U.S. aquarium, and offers the Academy and other institutions the opportunity........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/12/2009 6:13:11 PM)
The inner realm of living cellsResearchers in Washington, DC, are reporting development and successful tests of a new way for exploring the insides of living cells, the microscopic building blocks of all known plants and animals. They explode the cell while it is still living inside a plant or animal, vaporize its contents, and sniff. The study appears in online in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry
Akos Vertes and Bindesh Shrestha note that knowing the contents of cells........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/11/2009 10:06:27 PM)
Eyeless, mouthless worms lurk in the darkIt sounds like a classic horror story-eyeless, mouthless worms lurk in the dark, settling onto dead animals and sending out green "roots" to devour their bones. In fact, such worms do exist in the deep sea. They were first discovered in 2002 by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), who were using a robot submarine to explore Monterey Canyon. But that wasn't the end of the story. After "planting" several dead whales........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/11/2009 8:00:42 AM)
Indoor plants to fight air pollutionAir quality in homes, offices, and other indoor spaces is becoming a major health concern, especially in developed countries where people often spend more than 90% of their time indoors. Surprisingly, indoor air has been reported to be as much as 12 times more polluted than outdoor air in some areas. Indoor air pollutants emanate from paints, varnishes, adhesives, furnishings, clothing, solvents, building materials, and even tap water. A long........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/5/2009 8:39:57 AM)
Seeking flower varietyFlorists and other retailers who sell flowers and plants can now add another tool to their marketing kit. A recent study of "consumption values" may help them understand what influences consumers' choices in regard to floral purchases, and how to better design marketing efforts and purchase stock that can increase customers and sales.
Li-Chun Huang from National Taiwan University and Tzu-Fang Yeh from Da-Yeh University headed a research........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/5/2009 8:37:38 AM)
Pecan trees benefit from thinningPecan trees, like many fruit trees, have a tendency to bear fruit in cycles, producing a large crop in one or two years, followed by one or two years with little or no crop. This cycle, called "alternate bearing", is the most profit-limiting biological problem facing pecan producers; the inconsistent production pattern creates supply and marketing challenges that can have severe negative effects on the pecan industry.
Producers have........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/4/2009 8:16:10 AM)
White sharks in the north PacificThe white shark appears to be the ultimate loner of the ocean, cruising thousands of miles in a solitary trek, but a team of scientists has discovered that the sharks have maintained such a consistent pattern of migration that over tens of thousands of years the white sharks in the northeastern Pacific Ocean have separated themselves into a population genetically distinct from sharks elsewhere in the world.
"White sharks are a large, highly........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/4/2009 8:10:39 AM)
North Atlantic Fish Populations ShiftingAbout half of 36 fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, a number of of them commercially valuable species, have been shifting northward over the last four decades, with some stocks nearly disappearing from U.S. waters as they move farther offshore, as per a newly released study by NOAA researchers.
Their findings, reported in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, show the impact of changing coastal and ocean temperatures on........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/2/2009 10:56:00 PM)
A heat sensor for body-clock synchronizationNew research on the fruit-fly brain points to a possible mechanism by which temperature influences the body clock, as per researchers from Queen Mary, University of London.
Eventhough much is known about how light affects the body clock - also known at the circadian clock - it is not well understood which cells or organs sense daily temperature changes or how temperature signals reach the part of the brain that contains the circadian clock.
........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/29/2009 10:07:56 PM)
The skeleton: Size mattersVertebrates have in common a skeleton made of segments, the vertebrae. During development of the embryo, each segment is added in a time dependent manner, from the head-end to the tail-end: the first segments to be added become the vertebrae of the neck, later segments become the vertebrae with ribs and the last ones the vertebra located in the tail (in the case of a mouse, for example). In this process, it is crucial that, on the one hand,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/27/2009 9:54:35 AM)
Mantis shrimps inspire technologyThe remarkable eyes of a marine crustacean could inspire the next generation of DVD and CD players, as per a newly released study from the University of Bristol published recently in Nature Photonics
The mantis shrimps in the study are found on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and have the most complex vision systems known to science. They can see in twelve colours (humans see in only three) and can distinguish between different forms of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/26/2009 7:36:38 AM)
Genomes of Two Strains of E. coli SequencedAn international team of scientists from the United States, Korea, and France has sequenced and analyzed the genomes of two important laboratory strains of E. coli bacteria, one used to study evolution and the other to produce proteins for basic research or practical applications. The findings will help guide future research and will also open a window to a deeper understanding of classical research that is the foundation of our understanding........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 10/20/2009 10:05:17 PM)
Carbon-offsetting and conservationLogged rainforests can support as much plant, animal and insect life as virgin forest within 15 years if properly managed, research at the University of Leeds has found.
Because trees in tropical climates soak up large amounts of carbon dioxide, restoring logged forest through planting new trees could also be used in carbon trading, as per Dr David Edwards, from University's Faculty of Biological Sciences.
Dr Edwards is calling for the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 10/20/2009 8:48:40 AM)
Time in a bottleA 21-year Michigan State University experiment that distills the essence of evolution in laboratory flasks not only demonstrates natural selection at work, but could lead to biotechnology and medical research advances, scientists said.
Charles Darwin's seminal Origin of Species first laid out the case for evolution exactly 150 years ago. Now, MSU professor Richard Lenski and his colleagues document the process in their analysis of 40,000........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 10/19/2009 6:43:51 AM)
Do 3 meals a day keep fungi away?The fact that they eat a lot and often may explain why most people and other mammals are protected from the majority of fungal pathogens, as per research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
The research, reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, showed that the elevated body temperature of mammals the familiar 98.6o F or 37o C in people is too high for the vast majority of potential fungal invaders to........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 10/15/2009 7:41:43 PM)
Decline in Siberian tiger populationThe Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced recently a report revealing that the last remaining population of Siberian tigers has likely declined significantly due to the rising tide of poaching and habitat loss.
WCS says the report will help inform Russian officials of what needs to be done to protect remaining populations of the world's biggest cat.
The report was released by the Siberian Tiger Monitoring........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/25/2009 8:18:46 AM)
Meet The Black SquirrelYou have probably seen the grey. You may even have encountered or at least heard of the red. However, have you ever seen a black squirrel?Take a look at this small but dark beasty of the forest. Oh, and they are really, really cute.(via Robert-John)........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/22/2009 2:54:27 PM)
How crops survive droughtBreakthrough research done earlier this year by a plant cell biologist at the University of California, Riverside has greatly accelerated scientists' knowledge on how plants and crops can survive difficult environmental conditions such as drought.
Working on abscisic acid (ABA), a stress hormone produced naturally by plants, Sean Cutler's laboratory showed in April 2009 how ABA helps plants survive by inhibiting their growth in times when........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/18/2009 11:16:43 PM)
Right-Handed Chimpanzees: Origin of Human LanguageMost of the linguistic functions in humans are controlled by the left cerebral hemisphere. A study of captive chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta, Georgia), published in the January 2010 issue of Elsevier's Cortex, suggests that this "hemispheric lateralization" for language may have its evolutionary roots in the gestural communication of our common ancestors. A great majority of the chimpanzees in the study........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/17/2009 8:46:50 AM)
New atlas by tracking Penguins and sea lionsRecording hundreds of thousands of individual uplinks from satellite transmitters fitted on penguins, albatrosses, sea lions, and other marine animals, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and BirdLife International have released the first-ever atlas of the Patagonian Sea a globally important but poorly understood South American marine ecosystem.
The atlas contains the most accurate maps ever assembled for this ecosystem revealing key........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/17/2009 8:37:20 AM)
Sponges recycle carbon to give life to coral reefsCoral reefs support some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, yet they thrive in a marine desert. So how do reefs sustain their thriving populations?
Marine biologist Fleur Van Duyl from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is fascinated by the energy budgets that support coral reefs in this impoverished environment. As per van Duyl's former student, Jasper De Goeij, Halisarca caerulea sponges grow in the deep dark........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/13/2009 8:01:08 AM)
World's first voluntary gorilla blood pressure readingZoo Atlanta recently became the first zoological institution in the world to obtain voluntary blood pressure readings from a gorilla. This groundbreaking stride was made possible by the Gorilla Tough Cuff, a blood pressure reading system devised through partnership with the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.
Created as a senior design project by biomedical engineering undergraduates........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/11/2009 8:07:17 AM)
Fig-wasps travel hundreds of milesThey may only be 1.5mm in size, but the tiny wasps that pollinate fig trees can travel over 160km in less than 48 hours, as per research from researchers at the University of Leeds. The fig wasps are transporting pollen ten times further than previously recorded for any insect.
The fig wasps travel these distances in search of trees to lay their eggs, which offers hope that trees pollinated by similar creatures have a good chance of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/10/2009 9:00:42 AM)
Making better broccoliCarotenoidsfat-soluble plant compounds found in some vegetablesare essential to the human diet and reportedly offer important health benefits to consumers. Plant carotenoids are the most important source of vitamin A in the human diet; the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, found in corn and leafy greens vegetable such as kale, broccoli, and spinach, are widely considered to be valuable antioxidants capable of protecting humans from chronic........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/5/2009 8:42:04 AM)
Sustainably grown garlicConsumer interest in new and diverse types of garlic is on the rise. Fueled by factors including the growth of the "local foods" movement, interest in world cuisines, and widespread reports touting its numerous health benefits, demand for high-quality, locally grown garlic is increasing throughout the U.S.
While most grocery stores in carry the familiar white, "softneck" garlic (which is most often imported), varieties of "hardneck" garlic........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/4/2009 8:19:53 AM)
For African violetsAfrican violets have a mixed reputation. Their delicate, colorful flowers and furry, soft leaves make them a favorite among home gardeners and growers. But the striking plants are often regarded as temperamental: a precise recipe of light, moisture, warm temperatures, high humidity, and fertilizer is mandatory to encourage african violets to grow and flower.
A recently published study by researchers Julia C. Brotton and Janet C. Cole from........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/4/2009 8:15:01 AM)
Cultured pearls from the queen conchFor more than 25 years, all attempts at culturing pearls from the queen conch (Strombus gigas) have been unsuccessfuluntil now. For the first time, novel and proprietary seeding techniques to produce beaded (nucleated) and non-beaded cultured pearls from the queen conch have been developed by researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). With less than two years of research and experimentation,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/4/2009 7:59:36 AM)
Moose eat plants; wolves kill mooseMoose eat plants; wolves kill moose. What difference does this classic predator-prey interaction make to biodiversity?
A large and unexpected one, say wildlife biologists from Michigan Technological University. Joseph Bump, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich report in the November 2009 issue of the journal Ecology that the carcasses of moose killed by wolves at Isle Royale National Park enrich the soil in "hot spots" of forest fertility around........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/2/2009 8:44:50 AM)
Researchers sequence swine genomeA global collaborative has produced a first draft of the genome of a domesticated pig, an achievement that will lead to insights in agriculture, medicine, conservation and evolution.
A red-haired Duroc pig from a farm at the University of Illinois will now be among the growing list of domesticated animals that have had their genomes sequenced. Scientists will announce the achievement Monday (Nov. 2) at a meeting at the Wellcome Trust Sanger........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 11/2/2009 8:42:32 AM)
Environmental Impact Of Marine FisheriesAn Australian method for assessing the environmental impact of marine fisheries has caught the eye of fishery management agencies worldwide.
Aspects of the 'ecological risk evaluation' (ERA) method have been adopted in the US, Canada, Ecuador, and the Western and Central Pacific, and by the international eco-labelling organisation the Marine Stewardship Council.
The method was developed in research led by Dr Tony Smith and Dr Alistair........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/27/2009 9:57:09 AM)
Charles Darwin's ideas about the origin of lifeWhen Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species 150 years ago, he deliberately avoided the subject of the origin of life. This, coupled with the mention of the 'Creator' in the last paragraph of the book, led us to believe he was not willing to commit on the matter. An international team, led by Juli Peret of the Cavanilles Institute in Valencia, now refutes that idea and shows that the British naturalist did explain in other documents how........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 10/27/2009 9:52:08 AM)
New method to help keep fruit and vegetables freshATLANTA Did you know that millions of tons of fruits and vegetables in the United States end up in the trash can before being eaten, as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture?
A Georgia State University professor has developed an innovative new way to keep produce and flowers fresh for longer periods of time.
Microbiologist George Pierce's method uses a naturally occurring microorganism no larger than the width of a human hair to........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 10/20/2009 10:19:11 PM)
Family tree for cattle, other ruminantsPairing a new approach to prepare ancient DNA with a new scientific technique developed specifically to genotype a cow, an MU animal scientist, along with a team of international researchers, created a very accurate and widespread "family tree" for cows and other ruminants, going back as far as 29 million years. This genetic information could allow researchers to understand the evolution of cattle, ruminants and other animals. This same........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/20/2009 8:54:29 AM)
Discovery overturns long-held theory about biological clocksUniversity of Michigan mathematicians and their British colleagues say they have identified the signal that the brain sends to the rest of the body to control biological rhythms, a finding that overturns a long-held theory about our internal clock.
Understanding how the human biological clock works is an essential step toward correcting sleep problems like insomnia and jet lag. New insights about the body's central pacemaker might also,........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 10/15/2009 7:47:00 PM)
Being a standout has its benefitsStanding out in a crowd is better than blending in, at least if you're a paper wasp in a colony where fights between nest-mates determine social status.
That's the conclusion of a study by University of Michigan scientists published online this week in the journal Evolution.
"It's good to be different, to wear a nametag advertising your identity," said graduate student Michael Sheehan, who collaborated on the research with evolutionary........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 10/15/2009 7:44:23 PM)