Chlorine-hungry Bacteria Break Down Toxic WasteCornell scientists hope to learn how certain bacteria that break down pollutants do their job and then to make them more effective in cleaning up toxic wastes.
Bacteria called Dehalococcoides ethenogenes, discovered in Ithaca sewage sludge in 1997 by James Gossett, Cornell professor of civil and environmental engineering, and isolated and studied by Stephen Zinder, Cornell professor of microbiology, are now in wide use to detoxify such........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/20/2007 9:35:21 AM)
Gannet population under threat from global warmingScientists at the University of Leeds have warned that global warming is a major threat to the gannet, a species known for its stable populations and constant breeding success.
In a paper published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, Dr Keith Hamer of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences reports that diminishing fish stocks around gannets' natural habitats - caused partly by an increase in sea temperature - are forcing birds to........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/19/2007 5:10:56 AM)
Proteins Sweep up NanoparticlesHere's a pollution-control tip from nature: Deep inside a flooded mine in Wisconsin, researchers from several institutions including the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have discovered a world in which bacteria emit proteins that sweep up metal nanoparticles into immobile clumps. Their finding may lead to innovative ways to remediate subsurface metal toxins.
The research, which appears in the........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/15/2007 12:42:59 PM)
Warning from Asian beesFour swarms of Asian bees found in Cairns have been cleared of carrying the dreaded Varroa destructor mite but the intruders themselves could pose the beginning of a serious threat to Australian honey bee populations.
Asian bees are known to have found their way into Australian ports at least half a dozen times in the last decade.
This time it's a Javanese strain of the bee and because the latest incursion had lain undiscovered for at........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/15/2007 12:21:09 PM)
Alnus sieboldianaA grateful thanks to Mbc of Germany for contributing today's image via the UBC BG BPotD Submissions forum in this thread. Mbc made this photograph while on a mountainside hike near Kyoto, Japan
When you become familiar with the scientific names of plants, you can sometimes glean some additional information about a plant new to you at a glance. In this case, the epithet sieboldiana tells me that the plant is named after Philipp Franz von........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2007 2:21:31 PM)
Massive Migration RevealedSeen thundering across the landscape during an aerial survey, more than 1.3 million white-eared kob, tiang (African antelope), and mongalla gazelle are thriving in Southern Sudan, despite all odds. An estimated 8,000 elephants, concentrated mainly in the Sudd, the largest freshwater wetland in Africa, have also been observed. Researchers are astonished at the latest news: Based on experiences in other war-torn regions such as Mozambique and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2007 9:47:00 AM)
Divorce Among Galapagos SeabirdsBeing a devoted husband and father is not enough to keep an avian marriage together for the Nazca booby, a long-lived seabird found in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.
A number of Nazca booby females switch mates after successfully raising a chick, as per a Wake Forest University study scheduled for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences June 13.
This is surprising because there........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2007 7:30:04 AM)
Climate Change, Deforestation And Global Bird DiversityGlobal warming and the destruction of natural habitats will lead to significant declines and extinctions in the world's 8,750 terrestrial bird species over the next century, as per a research studyconducted by biologists at the University of California, San Diego and Princeton University.
Their study, the first global assessment of how climate change and habitat destruction may interact to impact the distribution of a large group of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/11/2007 4:13:36 PM)
History of Caribbean Frog PopulationNearly all of the 162 land-breeding frog species on Caribbean islands, including the coqui frogs of Puerto Rico, originated from a single frog species that arrived on a sea voyage from South America. They came 30 to 50 million years ago, as per DNA-sequence analyses by researchers at Penn State.
Similarly, the researchers observed that the Central American relatives of these Caribbean amphibians also arose from a single species that arrived........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/10/2007 8:59:06 PM)
Oxygen trick could see organic costs tumbleA simple, cheap therapy using just oxygen could allow growers to store organic produce for longer and go a long way towards reducing the price of organic fruit and vegetables, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.
Currently UK shoppers have to pay twice as much for some organic products. Organic apples, for example, are around double the price of conventionally grown apples in Sainburys, Waitrose and Tesco.
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/10/2007 7:34:59 PM)
Liriodendron tulipiferaThank you to arnaut from Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands for today's photograph shared via this thread on the UBC forums
Tulip tree is native to the hardwood forests of eastern North America. The Silvics of North America entry on Liriodendron tulipifera provides excellent information
On a........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/8/2007 5:03:44 PM)
Caribbean Frogs Started From South AmericaNearly all of the 162 land-breeding frog species on Caribbean islands, including the coqui frogs of Puerto Rico, originated from a single frog species that rafted on a sea voyage from South America about 30-to-50-million years ago, as per DNA-sequence analyses led by a research group at Penn State, which would be reported in the 12 June 2007 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and posted in the journal's online early........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/6/2007 9:33:33 PM)
Loss of Stem Cells Correlates with Premature AgingResearchers at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania have found that deleting a gene important in embryo development leads to premature aging and loss of stem cell reservoirs in adult mice. This gene, ATR, is essential for the body's response to damaged DNA, and mutations in proteins in the DNA damage response underlie certain types of cancer and other disorders in humans. This work appears in the........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/6/2007 9:21:26 PM)
Threats to wild tigers growingThe wild tiger now occupies a mere 7 percent of its historic range, and the area known to be inhabited by tigers has declined by 41 percent over the past decade, as per an article reported in the June 2007 issue of BioScience. Growing trade in folk medicines made from tiger parts and tiger skins, along with habitat loss and fragmentation, is thought to bethe chief reason for the losses. The assessment, by Eric Dinerstein of the World Wildlife........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/31/2007 11:54:29 PM)
By the waysideOur desination last Sunday was a roadside cliff in northeastern Pennsylvania that my friend L. remembered from one trip some seven years before. To hear her describe it, it was a veritable hanging garden of moss and ferns and wildflowers, and she had jotted enthusiastic notes to that effect in the margins of her atlas. We looked for over an hour, and never re-found Oh sure, we found the road she’d marked in the atlas, but it wasn’t........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/24/2007 9:33:44 PM)
4-leaf CloversI find four-leaf clovers frequently, even when not explicitly looking.
A number of find this "gift" extraordinary, and even though this mutation is reported to only occur once in about 10,000 clovers, getting lucky isn't as hard as one would think.........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/23/2007 9:47:42 PM)
No sex please, we're female sharks!Female sharks can reproduce without having sex, researchers have found. A female hammerhead shark has given birth without mating with a male and its offspring has no paternal DNA.
An international team of scientists from Queen's University Belfast, the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Florida and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska has found evidence that sharks can reproduce asexually by an unusual method known........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/23/2007 8:11:26 PM)
Toad eggsThese are, I think, the eggs of a Woodhouse’s toad. This critter seems to go by several names, and there are at least three kind with overlapping ranges, but at least one makes my part of Missouri its home
We came across these eggs during our counterclockwise walk around the lake the last time we were there. They were floating near the shore on the south side of the lake. Coincidentally, or maybe not, we rarely see fish in the shallows........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/23/2007 7:36:51 PM)
Chloraea magellanicaThank you to Krystyna Szulecka, who is a frequent contributor on the UBC Botanical Garden Forums, for contributing today's photograph (original in this thread). Krystyna is associated with the FLPA nature photography agency, and you can see more of her excellent images by searching for “Krystyna” on the FLPA web site........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/20/2007 9:04:55 PM)
Colorado River streamflow historyAn epic drought during the mid-1100s dwarfs any drought previously documented for a region that includes areas of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The six-decade-long drought was remarkable for the absence of very wet years. At the core of the drought was a period of 25 years in which Colorado River flow averaged 15 percent below normal.
The new tree-ring-based reconstruction documents the year-by-year natural variability........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/17/2007 7:27:28 PM)
Lost Cuckoo Breaks Its SilenceOne of the world's rarest, most secretive birds has emerged from the jungle with two loud calls. The Sumatran ground cuckoo, found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, was captured by a trapper and handed over to a team of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) biologists. The biologists created the world's first recording of the bird's scream-like call.
"We were extremely lucky to have recorded the bird's unique call," said Firdaus........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/20/2007 8:05:48 AM)
How to control tree heightForest researchers at Oregon State University have used genetic modification to successfully manipulate the growth in height of trees, showing that its possible to create miniature trees that look similar to normal trees but after several years of growth may range anywhere from 50 feet tall to a few inches.
This is a proof of concept that tree height can be readily controlled by genetic engineering techniques. It opens the door to a wide........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/18/2007 10:03:01 PM)
Exploring the Dark Matter of the GenomeNot so long ago, the difficult-to-sequence, highly repetitive, gene-poor DNA found in regions of chromosomes known as heterochromatin was called "junk." Like dark matter in the universe, the true nature of heterochromatin was unknown.
Now members of the Drosophila Heterochromatin Genome Project (DHGP), headed by Gary Karpen of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, are approaching a complete assembly, mapping, and........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/15/2007 12:39:42 PM)
Fruit Bats Are Not As Blind As You ThinkThe mammalian order bats (Chiroptera) has two suborders, microbats (Microchiroptera) and fruit bats or flying foxes (Megachiroptera). In contrast to microbats, fruit bats (Fig. 1) do not echolocate. They have large eyes and pronounced visual centres in the brain. Fruit bats need a good sense of vision, because when they forage at night for nectar and fruit, they orient by vision and the sense of smell. During the flights to the foraging grounds........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/15/2007 11:21:50 AM)
Lizard Moms Dress Their ChildrenMothers know best when it comes to dressing their children, at least among side-blotched lizards, a common species in the western United States. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have observed that female side-blotched lizards are able to induce different color patterns in their offspring in response to social cues, "dressing" their progeny in patterns they will wear for the rest of their lives. The mother's influence........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2007 9:56:48 AM)
Rove beetles act as warning signsNew research from the University of Alberta and the Canadian Forest Service has revealed the humble rove beetle may actually have a lot to tell us about the effects of harvesting on forests species. Rove beetles can be used as indicators of clear-cut harvesting and regeneration practices and can be used as an example as to how species react to harvesting. It has been observed that after an area of forest was harvested, the a number of forest........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2007 8:38:02 AM)
Preserving Arctic WhaleResearch on one of the oldest-living mammals - the bowhead whale - has helped preserve a primary food source for Eskimos in the far reaches of Alaska, and also may provide a useful tool for studying genetic variation in other migratory animals.
The bowhead whale, devastated in the 19th and early 20th centuries by commercial whaling fleets, has been a food staple for Eskimos and other indigenous arctic peoples dating to prehistoric times. Due........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/13/2007 8:17:38 AM)
Crammed with Charged DNAIt could be an artist's depiction of someone's stomach before and after a rather decadent meal. But it is a 3-D cryoelectron microscope reconstruction of the cross-section of a virus, before and after cramming itself full of its own DNA.
The virus, phi29, has a tiny motor that pumps its DNA into the capsid-outer shell-during the assembly process. The potential energy of the tightly coiled DNA may help phi29 inject its genetic material into........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/11/2007 4:22:54 PM)
Columbine Flowers Develop Long Nectar SpursIn flowers called columbines, evolution of the length of nectar spurs--the long tubes leading to plants' nectar--happens in a way that allows flowers to match the tongue lengths of the pollinators that drink their nectar, biologists have found.
The scientists were Justen Whittall of the University of California at Davis and Scott Hodges of the University of California at Santa Barbara. They were funded by the National Science Foundation........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/10/2007 9:01:20 PM)
Oldest Mushroom ‘with Parasites’ in 100-million-year-old Amber PieceCompared to the mushroom fossils known, a 20-million-year oldehas been found embedded in a 100-million-year-old piece of amber, making it the oldest ever found
What interests the Oregon scientists, besides the mushroom itself, are the two parasites found in the ancient mushroom! One of these parasites is found to have been feeding on the mushroom and the other on its fellow parasite
George Poinar, a retired entomology professor in........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 6/8/2007 5:08:34 PM)
Chimpanzees Can Sustain Multiple-tradition CulturesResearchers have long wondered if local animal cultures exist, and now, based on findings by scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, the University of Texas and St. Andrews University, Scotland, they have their answer: Yes.
The study, available in todays online edition of Current Biology, confirms captive chimpanzees have the capacity to sustain the same kind of multiple-tradition cultures a number of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 6/7/2007 7:37:40 PM)
How bacteria to resist human immune defensesResearchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health, have discovered a survival mechanism in a common type of bacteria that can cause illness. The mechanism lets the bacteria protect itself by warding off attacks from antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are defense molecules sent by the body to kill bacteria.
Bacteria are divided into two types, gram-positive and........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/7/2007 7:36:21 PM)
How Spores Break Out Of Dormant StateTapping into the unknown world of awakening dormant bacterial spores, scientists have revealed through atomic force microscopy (AFM) the alterations of spore coat and germ cell wall that accompany the transformation from a spore to a vegetative cell.
When starved of nutrients Bacillus (rod-shaped bacteria) cells initiate a series of genetic, biochemical and structural events that result in the formation of metabolically dormant spores. They........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 6/5/2007 12:16:17 AM)
Sharks Use Their Noses And Bodies To Locate SmellsSharks are known to have a keen sense of smell, which in a number of species is critical for finding food. However, as per new research from Boston University marine biologists, sharks can not use just their noses to locate prey; they also need their skin specifically a location called the lateral line. The lateral line is an organ used by all fish to detect, with exquisite sensitivity, movement and vibration in the surrounding water. As per........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/30/2007 12:07:20 AM)
Eavesdropping comes naturally to young song sparrows Long before the National Security Agency began eavesdropping on the phone calls of Americans, young song sparrows were listening to and learning the tunes sung by their neighbors.
University of Washington scientists exploring how male song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) acquire their song repertoires have found the first evidence that young birds choose a number of of their songs by eavesdropping on the tuneful interactions between other........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/30/2007 12:00:15 AM)
Frozen and FreshLike so much of the rest of North America, Missouri faced a late-season freeze after a mild February and March. Many of the trees brought out their flowers and leaves early, and it turned out to be too early.The frost-blighted leaves above are still hanging from a pignut hickory tree in the western end of Roundrock. There were examples like this all around. Blighted by the unexpected cold, these overachievers paid a price. (I have a couple of........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/24/2007 9:33:40 PM)
One in six European mammals threatened with extinctionThe first assessment of all European mammals, commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), shows that nearly one in every six mammal species is now threatened with extinction. The population trends are equally alarming: a quarter (27%) of all mammals has declining populations and a further 33% had an unknown population trend. Only 8% were identified as increasing, including the European bison,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/23/2007 8:05:32 PM)
Plants that produce more vitamin CUCLA and Dartmouth researchers have identified a crucial enzyme in plant vitamin C synthesis, which could lead to enhanced crops. The discovery now makes clear the entire 10-step process by which plants convert glucose into vitamin C, an important antioxidant in nature.
"If we can find ways to enhance the activity of this enzyme, it may be possible to engineer plants to make more vitamin C and produce better crops," said Steven Clarke, UCLA........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/23/2007 8:02:15 PM)
Arisaema sikokianumAlmost every year I photograph the reliable and intriguing woodland plant Arisaema sikokianum — a few older photographs can be seen here. Its common names are generally a reflection of its Japanese origin: Japanese Jack-in-the-pulpit and, more romantically, snow rice-cake plant (link to Paghat's site with gardening information). It is also known as gaudy jack
View more photographs of Arisaema sikokianum via the International Aroid........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 5/21/2007 10:03:21 AM)
Cyclones Threatening Green TurtlesGlobal warming is posing many problems to our environment and as it’s getting worse, it is said that species like the green turtles are increasingly at risk and they may extinct within 100 years
Change in climate contributes to stronger tropical cyclones which are very likely to kill or wash away the green turtles
Ph.D. candidate David Pike and his fellow researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 5/20/2007 8:56:18 PM)