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Frozen hair holds secrets of Yellowstone grizzlies

Frozen hair holds secrets of Yellowstone grizzlies
Locks of hair from more than 400 grizzly bears are stored at Montana State University, waiting to tell the tale of genetic diversity in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Ranging from pale blond to almost black, the hair is filed in a chest freezer where the temperature is minus-77.8 degrees. Some of the tufts are almost 25 years old. The hair will head to Canada in a few months to be analyzed at Wildlife Genetics International in Nelson, British........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/18/2007 9:42:47 PM)

Vacuuming Kills Fleas In All Stages

Vacuuming Kills Fleas In All Stages
Homeowners dogged by household fleas need look no farther than the broom closet to solve their problem. Researchers have determined that vacuuming kills fleas in all stages of their lives, with an average of 96 percent success in adult fleas and 100 percent destruction of younger fleas. In fact, the results were so surprisingly definitive that the lead scientist, an Ohio State University insect specialist, repeated the experiments several........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/17/2007 10:27:08 PM)

Wild chimpanzees may not have menopause

Wild chimpanzees may not have menopause
A pioneering study of wild chimpanzees has observed that these close human relatives do not routinely experience menopause, rebutting prior studies of captive individuals which had postulated that female chimpanzees reach reproductive senescence at 35 to 40 years of age. Together with recent data from wild gorillas and orangutans, the finding -- described this week in the journal Current Biology -- suggests that human females are rare or........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/13/2007 10:00:28 PM)

Building blocks of life formed on Mars

Building blocks of life formed on Mars
Organic compounds contain carbon and hydrogen and form the building blocks of all life on Earth. By analyzing organic material and minerals in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001, researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory have demonstrated for the first time that building blocks of life formed on Mars early in its history. Previously, researchers have thought that organic material in ALH 84001 was brought to Mars by........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/11/2007 10:27:35 PM)

Scat sniffing dogs detecting rare California carnivores

Scat sniffing dogs detecting rare California carnivores
Researchers at the U.S. Forest Service Redwood Sciences Lab and University of Vermont found scat sniffing dogs might be the best way to confirm the presence of rare carnivores in forested areas like the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. In 2003 and 2004, they compared the ability of dogs, remote cameras and hair snares to detect fishers, bobcats and black bears at 168 sites throughout Vermont. Dogs had the highest detection rate for........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/11/2007 8:33:23 PM)

Threatened Birds May Be Rarer

Threatened Birds May Be Rarer
Geographic range maps that allow conservationists to estimate the distribution of birds may vastly overestimate the actual population size of threatened species and those with specific habitats, as per a research studypublished online this week in the journal Conservation Biology. "Our study observed that species ranges in general tend to get overestimated, but that this trend is especially pronounced for birds that are threatened, rely on........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2007 9:22:03 PM)

Climate change would increase bird extinctions

Climate change would increase  bird extinctions
Where do you go when you've reached the top of a mountain and you can't go back down? It's a question increasingly relevant to plants and animals, as their habitats slowly shift to higher elevations, driven by rising temperatures worldwide. The answer, unfortunately, is you can't go anywhere. Habitats shrink to the vanishing point, and species go extinct. That scenario is likely to be played out repeatedly and at an accelerating rate as........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/6/2007 8:20:14 PM)

Strawberry fields ripe for the picking

Strawberry fields ripe for the picking
A number of fruit farmers in the United States rely heavily on "pick-your-own" (PYO) operations to realize profits and create repeat business. Pick-your-own fruit farms are an important market segment, and consumer satisfaction with the experience is critical to farmers eager to increase seasonal revenues. A team of scientists from the University of Maryland, Utah State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture compared three........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/6/2007 3:25:48 PM)

New hypothesis for origin of life proposed

New hypothesis for origin of life proposed
Life may have begun in the protected spaces inside of layers of the mineral mica, in ancient oceans, as per a new hypothesis. The hypothesis was developed by Helen Hansma, a research scientist with the University of California, Santa Barbara and a program director at the National Science Foundation. Hansma will present her findings at a press briefing on Tues., Dec. 4, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/4/2007 10:29:56 PM)

Can fruit flies help treat stroke?

Can fruit flies help treat stroke?
Reperfusion injury takes place when an animal or an organ is starved of oxygen, then exposed to oxygen again. This occurs in strokes and organ transplants and causes a number of deaths per year. Now researchers at UNLV, Sable Systems International and UCSD have discovered that reperfusion injury can be induced in fruit-flies, a convenient, cheap, well-characterized model animal. The research paper describing their results will be published in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/4/2007 10:24:30 PM)

Origin of Piranha

Origin of Piranha
Piranhas inhabit exclusively the fresh waters of South America. Their geographical distribution extends from the Orinoco River basin (Venezuela) to the North, down to that of the Paran (Argentina) to the South. Over this whole area, which also embraces the entire Amazon Basin, biologists have recorded 28 carnivorous species of these fish (2). In spite of the evolutionary success of this subfamily of fish, the mechanisms that generated the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/3/2007 10:30:58 PM)

Choosing dry or wet food for cats

Choosing dry or wet food for cats
Eventhough society is accustomed to seeing Garfield-sized cats, obese, middle-aged cats can have a variety of problems including diabetes mellitus, which can be fatal. The causes of diabetes mellitus in cats remain unknown eventhough there has been a strong debate about whether a dry food diet puts cats at greater risk for diabetes. A new study from a University of Missouri-Columbia veterinarian suggests that weight gain, not the type of diet,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/3/2007 10:10:54 PM)

My Daughter's DNA

My Daughter's DNA
Some weeks ago, I presented Hugh Rienhoff, a father who wanted to know what was wrong with his daughter. He had his daughter''s DNA sequenced, then compared it to the human reference sequences in GenBank. And he logged everything at mydaughtersDNA.org. The purpose of the site This site is dedicated to expanding our understanding of genetics conditions and variations in the human genome. The primary purpose of the site is to provide a forum........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/3/2007 8:02:26 PM)

How cells keep in shape

How cells keep in shape
Cells in our body come in various shapes and sizes. Each cell is shaped in such a way as to optimise it for a specific function. When things go wrong and a cell does not adopt its dedicated shape, its function can be impaired and the cell can cause problems in the body. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF), The Netherlands, have now decoded a molecular........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/2/2007 8:36:24 PM)

Image mosaic that will strengthen global forest monitoring

Image mosaic that will strengthen global forest monitoring
Much of the discussion at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, will focus on. monitoring tropical deforestation and the critical role that remote sensing systems will play in the development of REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) mechanisms policies designed to compensate rainforest nations for avoiding deforestation. Using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired over a........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/27/2007 10:04:24 PM)

Summer-dormant tall fescue grass shows promise

Summer-dormant tall fescue grass shows promise
A pasture improvement research program by Dr. Dariusz Malinowski has him looking at summer-dormant tall fescue grasses as an alternative to winter wheat pastures. But these arent the typical tall fescue grasses grown in a number of parts of the nation, said Malinowski, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station forage agronomist in Vernon. They are from the Mediterranean Basin of southern Europe and northern Africa. Our climate is changing........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/26/2007 3:24:14 PM)

Evolution-tracking method to discover 300 new human genes

Evolution-tracking method to discover 300 new human genes
Using supercomputers to compare portions of the human genome with those of other mammals, scientists at Cornell have discovered some 300 previously unidentified human genes, and found extensions of several hundred genes already known. The discovery is based on the idea that as organisms evolve, sections of genetic code that do something useful for the organism change in different ways. The research is reported by Adam Siepel, Cornell........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/21/2007 5:23:46 AM)

Capturing Chemical Reactions In A Single Living Cell

Capturing Chemical Reactions In A Single Living Cell
Bioengineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered a technique that for the first time enables the detection of biomolecules' dynamic reactions in a single living cell. By taking advantage of the signature frequency by which organic and inorganic molecules absorb light, the team of researchers, led by Luke Lee, professor of bioengineering and director of UC Berkeley's Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center, can determine in........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/19/2007 8:15:17 PM)

Order Your DNA Portrait!

Order Your DNA Portrait!
Deepak Singh, the author of BBGM, shared an interesting link with us through Twitter. You can get your own DNA portrait at DNA 11. In the era of personalized genetics, it’s a perfect example how industry will use these methods to explore all the financial possibilities. Here is DNA 11 DNA 11 is the original creator of DNA Portraits-the world’s most personal form of art. We have propelled an entire industry with unique artwork........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/19/2007 7:48:45 PM)

genomes of 12 fly species

genomes of 12 fly species
In work that reveals important clues in the evolution of genes, an international consortium of MIT scientists and colleagues has analyzed the genomes of twelve species of the fruit fly Drosophila in one of the first large-scale comparisons of multiple animal genomes. The researchers' approach may also help unlock the secrets of other genomes, including our own. The work appears in the Nov. 8 issue of Nature and in more than 40........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/18/2007 8:51:21 PM)

 

Ant invaders eat the natives

Ant invaders eat the natives
The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, is one of the most successful invasive species in the world, having colonized parts of five continents in addition to its native range in South America. A new study sheds light on the secrets of its success. The findings, from scientists at the University of Illinois and the University of California at San Diego, appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Argentine........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/18/2007 9:49:11 PM)

Immediate action needed to save corals

Immediate action needed to save corals
The journal Science has published a paper today that is the most comprehensive review to date of the effects rising ocean temperatures are having on the worlds coral reefs. The Carbon Crisis: Coral Reefs under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification, co-authored by seventeen marine researchers from seven different countries, reveals that most coral reefs will not survive the drastic increases in global temperatures and atmospheric CO2........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/13/2007 10:09:00 PM)

Scutellaria baicalensis

Scutellaria baicalensis
These photographs were originally slated to appear in August when the images were made, but after attempting to verify the identification of the plants, I discovered they weren''t the species suggested by the label. The labeling error has since been corrected and I''ve updated the names on the previous photographs I''ve taken Scutellaria baicalensis is known as Baikal skullcap or Chinese skullcap, reflecting on its east Asian native range:........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/12/2007 9:14:58 PM)

New carbon calculator conserves forests

New carbon calculator conserves forests
A quick and cool way to help combat climate change is now available at www.conservation.org/carboncalculator. Lively videos and stunning images are featured in Conservation Internationals (CI) new online carbon calculator, which helps people easily calculate how much they are adding to global greenhouse gases. The CI carbon calculator offers a way to offset those emissions by helping protect tropical forests from being burned and cleared. ........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/11/2007 10:31:15 PM)

For the fruit fly, everything changes after sex

For the fruit fly, everything changes after sex
Director Barry Dickson and his group are interested in the genetic basis of innate behaviour. They focus on the reproductive behaviour of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Two years ago, the team was able to identify the fruitless gene as a key regulator of mating behaviour. For 20 years, researchers have been trying to identify another molecular switch which changes the behaviour of female insects after mating. It makes them lose........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2007 10:38:42 PM)

To catch a panda

To catch a panda
EAST LANSING, Mich. Michigan State Universitys panda habitat research team has spent years collecting mountains of data aimed at understanding and saving giant pandas. Now a graduate student is working to catch crucial data thats black, white and furry. Vanessa Hull, 25, a Ph.D. candidate, is in the snowy, remote mountains of the Sichuan Province of China which also is the heart of panda habitat. Shes hoping to capture, collar and track up........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/10/2007 9:26:19 PM)

Monkey See, Monkey Plan, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Plan, Monkey Do
How a number of times a day do you grab objects such as a pencil or a cup? We perform these tasks without thinking, however the motor planning necessary to grasp an object is quite complex. The way human adults grasp objects is typically influenced more by their knowledge of what they intend to do with the objects than the objects' immediate appearance. Psychology experts call this the "end-state comfort effect," when we adopt initially........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/6/2007 7:52:42 PM)

Subliminal smells bias perception about a person's likeability

Subliminal smells bias perception about a person's likeability
Anyone who has bonded with a puppy madly sniffing with affection gets an idea of how scents, most not apparent to humans, are critical to a dogs appreciation of her two-legged friends. Now new research from Northwestern University suggests that humans also pick up infinitesimal scents that affect whether or not we like somebody. We evaluate people every day and make judgments about who we like or dont like, said Wen Li, a post-doctoral........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/6/2007 7:33:58 PM)

Tiny pest-eating insect fights fruit flies

Tiny pest-eating insect fights fruit flies
Farmers and vineyard owners have a new weapon in their pest management arsenal. A usually used parasitoid, or parasitic insect that kills its host, has proven to be quite effective in the control of fruit flies in vineyards. These tiny pest-devouring insects are considered to be powerful "biocontrol agents" since they reduce the need for chemical pest management applications. Jean Pierre Kapongo, Ph.D., an entomologist specializing in........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/6/2007 3:17:34 PM)

Hitchhikers on Darwin's dust

Hitchhikers on Darwin's dust
Researchers have analysed aerial dust samples collected by Charles Darwin and confirmed that microbes can travel across continents without the need for planes or trains - rather bacteria and fungi hitch-hike by attaching to dust particles. In a paper published in Environmental Microbiology, Dr. Anna Gorbushina (Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Gera number of), Professor William Broughton (University of Geneva, Switzerland) and their........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 12/4/2007 10:26:38 PM)

Beetle dung helps forests recover from fire

Beetle dung helps forests recover from fire
Armed with a pair of tweezers and a handful of beetle droppings, University of Alberta forestry graduate Tyler Cobb has discovered why the bug-sized dung is so important to areas ravaged by fire. Cobb studied the burned-out area of a northern Alberta hamlet which was partially lost to wildfire during the blazing summer of 2001. By studying a certain species of fire-loving beetles hard at work in the burned and decaying trees, he was able to........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/3/2007 10:27:46 PM)

Map outlines risk of zebra mussel invasion

Map outlines risk of zebra mussel invasion
The spread of two invasive alien freshwater mussel species the zebra mussel and the quagga mussel appears to be controlled in part by calcium levels in streams and lakes and a new risk assessment based on water chemistry suggests the Great Plains and American Southwest could be next in line for invasion. Results of the study were published this week in the online version of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a journal of the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 12/3/2007 10:26:14 PM)

Ephedra chilensis

Ephedra chilensis
Today''s photograph is courtesy of Douglas Justice, who captured this image a couple weeks ago in the Alpine Garden I''m fairly certain there isn''t an English common name for this species. While researching this species yesterday due to some confusion over its scientific name and description, we (Douglas, Eric and myself) learned that little work had been done on the taxonomy of the genus Ephedra since the late 19th century. Some modern........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 12/3/2007 7:43:22 PM)

Seasonal seas save corals with 'tough love'

Seasonal seas save corals with 'tough love'
Finally, some good news about the prospects of coral reefs in the age of climate change. As per a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, corals may actually survive rising ocean temperatures in tough love seas with wide-ranging temperatures. Scientists discovered that coral reefs in sites with varying seasonal temperatures are more likely to survive the hot pulses of Climate Change. On the other hand, reefs living in environments........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/29/2007 10:36:41 PM)

New Park in Congo for Bonobos, Elephants and People

New Park in Congo for Bonobos, Elephants and People
The most significant accomplishment in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year was the creation of the Tumba-Lediima Natural Reserve. The new reserve covers 1.9 million acres, an area more than two-and-a-half times the size of Yosemite National Park. Biodiversity surveys conducted by WWF identified critical populations of bonobo and forest elephant in this region. The park will benefit nearby communities by giving local people a voice in........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/29/2007 4:53:58 PM)

New scenario for first life on Earth

New scenario for first life on Earth
A team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Milan has discovered some unexpected forms of liquid crystals of ultrashort DNA molecules immersed in water, providing a new scenario for a key step in the emergence of life on Earth. CU-Boulder physics Professor Noel Clark said the team observed that surprisingly short segments of DNA, lifes molecular carrier of genetic information, could assemble into several........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/24/2007 8:18:22 AM)

Ripening secrets of the vine

Ripening secrets of the vine
Whether you prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinot Noir grape variety, two new research articles reported in the online open access journal, BMC Genomics, offer a host of new genetic information on fruit ripening for this economically important fruit crop. The grapevine's gene expression analysis reveals two distinct molecular and functional phases that correspond with the green and red grape stages. And scientists have reported the first........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/21/2007 4:45:01 AM)

Evolution is deterministic, not random

Evolution is deterministic, not random
A multi-national team of biologists has concluded that developmental evolution is deterministic and orderly, rather than random, based on a study of different species of roundworms. The findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology. The leading author is Karin Kiontke, a post-doctoral fellow in New York Universitys Department of Biology. The research team included NYU Biology Professor David Fitch as well as........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 11/19/2007 8:26:18 PM)

Begonia prismatocarpa

Begonia prismatocarpa
Let''s see if we can get a small series on plants of Africa going. Thanks again to Eric in SF@Flickr for sharing yet more photographs with BPotD (original 1 | original 2 | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). If you didn''t visit Eric''s site a few days ago when linked via the Deppea splendens entry, consider doing it now: PlantWorld. Thanks, Eric Eric notes that this is one of the smallest-growing Begonia species – the plant in the first........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/19/2007 7:48:39 PM)

Plant Shows Significance of Maternal Effects

Plant Shows Significance of Maternal Effects
When habitat changes, animals migrate. But how do immobile organisms like plants cope when faced with alterations to their environment? This is an increasingly important question in light of new environmental conditions brought on by global climate change. A University of Virginia study, reported in the Nov. 16 issue of the journal Science, demonstrates that plants grown in the same setting as their maternal plant performed almost 3½ times........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 11/15/2007 10:15:07 PM)

   

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