A small leak will sink a great shipFlowers of higher plants are built in a similar pattern: their outermost whorl is composed of sepals, which protect the young bud, thereafter comes a whorl of often colorful petals attracting insect pollinators, followed by a whorl of stamens with pollen sacks and the innermost whorl holds carpels, which later give rise to the fruit and seeds. This basic architecture is comparable in higher plants prompting the question after common components........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/12/2007 6:50:15 PM)
Gray Whales Population On DeclineGray whales in the Pacific Ocean, long thought to have fully recovered from whaling, were once three to five times as plentiful as they are now, as per a new article.
Today's population of more than 22,000 gray whales has successfully been brought back from the threat of extinction and is now the most abundant whale on the North American west coast. But the new findings from scientists at Stanford University and the University of Washington........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/12/2007 6:00:30 PM)
Color Night Vision In The Aye-AyeA quest to gain a more complete picture of color vision evolution has led Biodesign Institute researcher Brian Verrelli to an up-close, genetic encounter with one of the world's most rare and bizarre-looking primates.
Verrelli and his ASU team have performed the first sweeping study of color vision in the aye-aye (pronounced "eye-eye"), a bushy-tailed, Madagascar native primate with a unique combination of physical features including........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/12/2007 5:57:53 PM)
Biological invasions can begin with just 1 insectA new study by York University biologists Amro Zayed and Laurence Packer has shown that a lone insect can initiate a biological invasion.
Zayed, a recent graduate of Packers lab, examined patterns of genetic diversity in both native European and invasive North American populations of a solitary bee. He concluded that the invasion was most likely founded by one mated female. The study was published recently in the open access journal PLoS........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/11/2007 11:48:34 PM)
Japanese beetle may help fight hemlock-killing insectBlacksburg, Va. The eastern hemlock, a tall, long-lived coniferous tree that shelters river and streamside ecosystems throughout the eastern United States and Canada, is in serious danger of extinction because a tiny, non-native insect is literally sucking the life out of it.
Entomologists at Virginia Tech are now studying a beetle from Japan that may be a natural predator of Adelges tsugae, or hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Researchers hope........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/10/2007 9:25:00 PM)
Native plant resourceDo other gardeners have the same problem that I do of finding specific plants? I’ll hear about a particularly cool native plant, fall in love with it, must have it…..and then I can’t find it anywhere. This is very annoying. I do not like spending a million dollars for a bareroot plant in a fancy catalog. And I intensely dislike driving all over New England to look for plants or randomly calling nurseries in the phone book
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/5/2007 7:35:13 PM)
Plants that are poisonous for petsIn general I’ve lately been trying to blog more gardening about topics that are related to ecology and nature, not about strict gardening subjects or how-to’s. However, I couldn’t help but post a link to this important information from the ASPCA about plants that are poisonous to pets. I always thought that poinsettias were really dangerous but they don’t even make the top 10, according to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/4/2007 9:22:56 PM)
Ultraconserved Elements in the GenomeThree years ago, "ultraconserved elements" were discovered in the genomes of mice, rats, and humans. These are DNA sequences 200 base pairs in length or longer - some are over 700 base pairs long - showing 100-percent identity among the three species. They have been perfectly conserved since the last common ancestor of mice, rats, and humans, which lived some 85 million years ago.
These and other highly conserved sequences are thought to........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/4/2007 7:31:37 PM)
Humpback Whales Clicking And Buzzing While FeedingFor the first time, scientists have recorded "megapclicks" - a series of clicks and buzzes from humpback whales apparently linked to nighttime feeding behaviors - in and around NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
As detailed in the most recent issue of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, this study offers the first documentation that baleen whales produce this type of sound, normally linked to toothed whales and........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/3/2007 11:41:34 AM)
Farm animals face extinctionWith the worlds first global inventory of farm animals showing a number of breeds of African, Asian, and Latin American livestock at risk of extinction, researchers from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) today called for the rapid establishment of genebanks to conserve the sperm and ovaries of key animals critical for the global populations future survival.
An over-reliance on just a few breeds of a........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/3/2007 10:54:01 AM)
Gladiolus papilioButterfly gladiolus or goldblotch gladiolus is one of the approximately one hundred and sixty species of gladiolus endemic to South Africa. Unlike the genus Watsonia (featured on BPotD a couple days ago), the genus Gladiolus extends beyond the borders of South Africa; it can be found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Eurasia, though its centre of diversity remains in South Africa
Within the globally widespread family........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/1/2007 6:18:13 AM)
Sustainability Of The BioeconomyThis spring farmers responded to the ethanol industry's demand for grain by increasing their corn acreage by 19 percent over last year, as per U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.
What if that happens again next year?
What if farmers decide against crop rotations and plant corn on the same fields, year after year? Or, what if farmers begin growing biomass crops such as switchgrass for the production of ethanol from plant fiber?.
........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/31/2007 5:03:09 AM)
'Mighty mice' made mightierThe Johns Hopkins scientist who first showed that the absence of the protein myostatin leads to oversized muscles in mice and men has now found a second protein, follistatin, whose overproduction in mice lacking myostatin doubles the muscle-building effect.
Results of Se-Jin Lees new study, appearing on August 29 in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, show that while mice that lack the gene that makes myostatin have roughly twice the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/28/2007 9:21:08 PM)
Magnolia delavayiThis is a follow-up photograph to last year's BPotD on Magnolia delavayi (or Delavay's magnolia). Peter Wharton described the plant in a comment accompanying that entry, so I'll direct you there if you'd like to read more........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/26/2007 11:53:03 AM)
Giant panda can surviveThe giant panda is not at an evolutionary dead end and could have a long term viable future, as per new research involving researchers from Cardiff University.
Prior studies have observed that the giant pandas isolation, unusual dietary requirements and slow reproductive rates have led to a lack of genetic diversity that will inevitably lead the species to extinction.
Now a study by Professor Michael Bruford and Dr Benot Goossens from the........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/25/2007 7:11:54 AM)
Does a summertime baby mean a myopic child?Planning for a summer delivery for your child? You might want to choose an ophthalmologist along with an obstetrician.
If your child is born in the winter or fall, it will have better long-range eyesight throughout its lifetime and less chance of requiring thick corrective glasses, predicts a Tel Aviv University investigation led by Dr. Yossi Mandel, a senior ophthalmologist in the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps.
Forming a large........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 8/25/2007 6:21:54 AM)
Emphasis on conifer forests places multiple species at riskCORVALLIS, Ore. The traditional emphasis on dense, fast-growing, conifer-dominated forests in the Pacific Northwest raises questions about the health of dozens of animal species that depend on shrubs, herbs and broad-leaf trees, a new analysis by Oregon State University and the U.S. Geological Survey suggests.
At least 78 vertebrate species have been documented that require, in one way or another, the food or habitat provided by........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2007 10:20:23 PM)
Elephantnose fish 'see' with their chinOriginating in Central Africa, Peters' elephantnose fish (Gnathonemus petersii), finds its bearings by means of weak electrical fields. Researchers from the University of Bonn have now been able to show how well this works. In complete darkness the animals can even distinguish the material of objects at a distance or dead organisms from living ones. The results have now been reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
The fish, which is........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/21/2007 5:55:17 PM)
Antibiotic Resistance From Swine Farms To GroundwaterThe routine use of antibiotics in swine production can have unintended consequences, with antibiotic resistance genes sometimes leaking from waste lagoons into groundwater.
In a new study, scientists at the University of Illinois report that some genes found in hog waste lagoons are transferred - "like batons" - from one bacterial species to another. The scientists observed that this migration across species and into new environments........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/21/2007 5:11:25 PM)
Momordica charantia hybridI couldn't resist highlighting a photograph (original via BPotD Flickr Group Pool) from the recent additions to Eric in SF@Flickr's From the Earth photo set – if you're a fan of colour and patterns, the photographs are a must-see. Thanks once again, Eric
As Eric points out, the Wikipedia entry on bitter melon is a good starting point to learn more about this widely-grown vegetable, as it describes the plant, highlights the culinary........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/20/2007 9:23:09 PM)
Corals added to IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesFor the first time in history, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes ocean corals in its annual report of wildlife going extinct.
A comprehensive study of marine life sponsored by Conservation International (CI) and implemented jointly with the IUCN (World Conservation Union) used data from the Galapagos-based Charles Darwin Research Station and other regional institutions to conclude that three species of corals unique to the........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 9/12/2007 8:16:47 PM)
One species, many genomesTo track down the variation in the genome of the different Arabidopsis strains, the scientists compared the genetic material of 19 wild strains with that of the genome of the lab strain, which was sequenced in the year 2000. Using a very elaborate procedure, they examined every one of the roughly 120 million building blocks of the genome. For their molecular sleuthing they used almost one billion specially designed DNA probes. "All together,........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/12/2007 6:42:56 PM)
Tasmanian Tiger No Match For DingoThe wily dingo out-competed the much larger marsupial thylacine by being better built anatomically to resist the "mechanical stresses" linked to killing large prey, say Australian scientists.
Despite being armed with a more powerful and efficient bite and having larger energy needs than the dingo, the thylacine was restricted to eating relatively small prey while the dingo's stronger head and neck anatomy allowed it to subdue large prey as........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/12/2007 5:51:10 PM)
Scientists fear rare dolphin driven to extinctionAn international research team, including biologists from NOAA Fisheries Service, has reported in an online scientific journal that it had failed to find a single Yangtze River dolphin, or baiji, during a six-week survey in China. The researchers fear the marine mammal is now extinct due to fishing and commercial development, which would make it the first cetacean to vanish as result of human activity.
The research paper, published last........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/11/2007 11:46:45 PM)
Study reveals predation-evolution linkThe fossil record seems to indicate that the diversity of marine creatures increased and decreased over hundreds of millions of years in step with predator-prey encounters, Virginia Tech georesearchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
For decades, there has been a debate between paleontologists, biologists, and ecologists on the role of ecological interactions, such as predation, in the long term patterns of........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/10/2007 10:20:51 PM)
Dangerous LiaisonsThe new work, published in the latest edition of PLoS Biology, was based on the observation that unfit hybrids from different plant species are very similar. Their growth is retarded, the leaves become yellow and necrotic, the tissue collapses and they often do not survive to make flowers; the syndrome is generally known as hybrid necrosis. "We suspected that hybrid necrosis is always caused by the same biochemical mechanism," explains Weigel,........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/6/2007 5:06:45 AM)
Tropical crab invades Georgia oyster reefsA dime-sized tropical crab that has invaded coastal waters in the Southeast United States is having both positive and negative effects on oyster reefs, leaving scientists unable to predict what the creatures long-term impact will be.
Unlike native crabs that eat baby oysters, mussels and fish, the green porcelain crab Petrolisthes armatus is a filter feeder, extracting its food from the water much as oysters do.
The fast-reproducing........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/4/2007 7:34:13 PM)
Want To Know More About Cotton FleahoppersInquiring Texas research minds want to know more about cotton fleahoppers - a tiny, sometimes obscure pest that can damage plants during their early growth.
"Fleahoppers are a threat to young cotton for about four weeks," said Dr. Megha Parajulee, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station entomologist based at Lubbock. "They feed on new plant growth, primarily the first small squares. This damage can delay plant maturity, leaving the crop open........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 9/4/2007 6:54:07 PM)
Inside the brain of a crayfishVoyage to the bottom of the sea, or simply look along the bottom of a clear stream and you may spy lobsters or crayfish waving their antennae. Look closer, and you will see them feeling around with their legs and flicking their antennules - the small, paired sets of miniature feelers at the top of their heads between the long antennae. Both are used for sensing the environment. The long antennae are used for getting a physical feel of an area,........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/3/2007 11:30:19 AM)
Empty HuskWhen I was but a lad, I lived in St. Louis. But I had come from Kansas City, so the carload of us would make frequent holiday trips back to Missouri’s great western city to visit family and friends
I’m sketchy on the details, but my mother told me we would take Highway 40 on the earliest of these trips, zipping along at the breakneck speed of 50 miles per hour (in a ‘57 Chevy, no less — though that car pre-dates me).........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 9/1/2007 8:42:03 PM)
How drones find queensThe mating ritual of the honey bee is a mysterious affair, occurring at dizzying heights in zones identifiable only to a queen and the horde of drones that court her. Now a research team led by the University of Illinois has identified an odorant receptor that allows male drones to find a queen in flight. The receptor, on the male antennae, can detect an available queen up to 60 meters away.
This is the first time an odorant receptor has........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/31/2007 5:14:10 AM)
Small animal imaging facility is big boonWhen powerful magnets line up the bodys protons before radiofrequency waves can grab their attention away, its called spin physics.
When signals generated by the movement are mathematically transformed into dramatic images of hearts, lungs and other organs its called a magnetic resonance image.
Protons normally would be pointing in many different directions, says Dr. Tom Hu, director of the Small Animal Imaging Program at the Medical........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/31/2007 4:56:49 AM)
Researchers find new taste in fruit fliesThat fruit fly hovering over your kitchen counter may be attracted to more than the bananas that are going brown; it may also want a sip of your carbonated water. Fruit flies detect and are attracted to the taste of carbon dioxide dissolved in water, such as water found on rotting fruits containing yeast, concludes a study appearing in the August 30 issue of the journal Nature. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, who........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/29/2007 9:48:30 PM)
Low oxygen in coastal waters impairs fish reproductionTexasLow oxygen levels in coastal waters interfere with fish reproduction by disrupting the fishes hormones, a marine scientist from The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute has found.
Incidents of seasonal low levels of oxygen, known as hypoxia, have increased dramatically in coastal waters throughout the world over the past few decades, largely as a result of increased run-off from human agricultural and industrial........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/28/2007 9:03:31 PM)
Monkeys use 'baby talk' to interact with infantsIn order to determine if other primates also use special vocalizations while interacting with infants, scientists studied a group of free-ranging rhesus macaques, which live on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. They studied the vocalizations exchanged between adult females and observed that grunts and girneys increased dramatically when a baby was present. They also observed that when a baby wandered away from its mother, the other........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/25/2007 7:21:21 AM)
Social parasites of the smaller kindCooperation is widespread in the natural world but so too are cheats mutants that do not contribute to the collective good but simply reap the benefits of others cooperative efforts. In evolutionary terms, cheats should indeed prosper, so how cooperation persists despite the threat of cheat takeover is a fundamental question. Recently, biologists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford have observed that in bacteria, cheats actually........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 8/25/2007 6:19:36 AM)
Condition of bluefin tuna in gulf of maine is decliningThe quality of giant bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine has declined significantly since the early part of 1990s, scientists at the University of New Hampshire have found by analyzing detailed logbooks from a commercial tuna grader at the Yankee Fishermans Co-op. The findings, published this week in Fishery Bulletin, indicate potential changes in food sources, shifts in reproductive or migratory patterns, or the impact of fishing may be........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/23/2007 10:34:49 PM)
Molecules In Living CellsClemson University chemists have developed a method to dramatically improve the longevity of fluorescent nanoparticles that may someday help researchers track the motion of a single molecule as it travels through a living cell.
The chemists are exploiting a process called resonance energy transfer, which occurs when fluorescent dye molecules are added to the nanoparticles. Their findings will be reported at the 234th annual national American........Go to the Biology-blog (Added on 8/21/2007 6:22:18 PM)
Tracking feline memories on the moveWhen a cat steps over an obstacle with its front legs, how do its hind legs know what to do" A new study in the August 21st issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press, reveals that it is the foreleg stepping movement itself that leaves a lasting impression. By comparison, feline memories of having just seen an obstacle proved rather fleeting.
Indeed, the scientists observed that cats could remember having stepped over a hurdle for........Go to the Animal-science-blog (Added on 8/20/2007 9:41:17 PM)
Ginkgo: Tools for product analysis or qualityThe National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a suite of Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) for ginkgo biloba, one of the most popular dietary supplements in the marketplace, with annual worldwide sales estimated at $1 billion.
The NIST reference materials are designed to help scientists validate the accuracy of analytical methods for flavonoids and terpene lactones (plant constituents that may be linked to the........Go to the Plant-science-blog (Added on 8/16/2007 8:53:06 PM)