Recent studies have illustrated how complicated evolution by descent with adaptation can be. Convergent evolution and parallel evolution explain the fingerprints of koalas and the marsupial and placental saber-toothed cats. Dollo’s Law of Irreversibility has been shown to be plastic, as frogs have re-evolved mandibular teeth and stick insects have lost and regained wings several times. ... Read more »
Lahti, D. C., N. A. Johnson, et al. (2009) Relaxed selection in the wild. . Trends in Ecology and Evolution, , 24(9), 487-496. info:/
Wiens JJ. (2011) Re-evolution of lost mandibular teeth in frogs after more than 200 million years, and re-evaluating Dollo's law. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 65(5), 1283-96. PMID: 21521189
Fall is in the air. Here in North Carolina that means drastic temperature swings that cause me to dress incorrectly on any given day. It also means the arrival of fall colors. Indeed, fall colors are incredibly beautiful, but biologically speaking, you are watching death happen. This autumn splendor got me to thinking about these colors a little closer, specifically the phenology of trees.Phenology is the study of the annual timing of recurring life cycle events. The timing of these events is t........ Read more »
Fu, Y., Campioli, M., Vitasse, Y., De Boeck, H., Van den Berge, J., AbdElgawad, H., Asard, H., Piao, S., Deckmyn, G., & Janssens, I. (2014) Variation in leaf flushing date influences autumnal senescence and next year's flushing date in two temperate tree species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), 7355-7360. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321727111
Polgar, C., & Primack, R. (2011) Leaf-out phenology of temperate woody plants: from trees to ecosystems. New Phytologist, 191(4), 926-941. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03803.x
Not so fast natural gas! New modeling using 'commitment' accounting to represent social inertia indicates that natural gas may not reduce emissions as hoped.... Read more »
Steven J Davis and Robert H Socolow. (2014) Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions. Environmental Research Letters, 9(084018). info:/
Hi Mia and Julie, First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely. You do amazing things for the promotion of canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. Dr. Gadbois........ Read more »
Gonder-Frederick L., D. Warren, K. Vajda, & J. Shepard. (2013) Diabetic Alert Dogs: A Preliminary Survey of Current Users. Diabetes Care, 36(4). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc12-1998
Rooney Nicola J., & Claire Guest. (2013) Investigation into the Value of Trained Glycaemia Alert Dogs to Clients with Type I Diabetes. PLoS ONE, 8(8). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069921
Matyka Krystyna A. (2002) Sweet dreams? - nocturnal hypoglycemia in children with type 1 diabetes. Pediatric Diabetes, 3(2), 74-81. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1399-5448.2002.30203.x
Survival tip: don’t hang around machines that have giant spinning blades. It’s a lesson bats have been slow to learn, judging by the large numbers of their corpses found beneath wind turbines. New video footage suggests some bats are attracted to wind farms because they can’t tell turbines apart from trees. If it’s true, this […]The post Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
Paul. M. Cryan, P. Marcos Gorresen, Cris D. Hein, Michael R. Schirmacher, Robert H. Diehl, Manuela M. Huso, David T. S. Hayman, Paul D. Fricker, Frank J. Bonaccorso, Douglas H. Johnson.... (2014) Behavior of bats at wind turbines. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1406672111
Genes are tricky little buggers, the stuff that makes us up has fought the test of time to make it to where we are today. It is thought that our genes changed in an attempt to outpace other life, albeit random changes.That might only be half right however, new findings suggest that there is an evolutionary arms race going on within the genome against, of all things, itself. This inherent competition of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of ........ Read more »
Jacobs, Greenberg, Nguyen, Haeussler, Ewing, Katzman, Paten, Salama . (2014) An evolutionary arms race betweenKRAB zinc-finger genes ZNF91/93 and SVA/L1 retrotransposons. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13760
The pine marten (Martes martes) is one of Ireland’s most beautiful but elusive mammals. It is notoriously difficult to see as it tends to be mostly nocturnal, and is a naturally shy animal. It is about the size of a cat, and in Irish it is actually called the tree cat (cat crainn). The species historically suffered massive population declines due to forest removal in the 16th Century and pine marten were also trapped and killed for their fur, which was worn by the nobility across Europe. I........ Read more »
O’Mahony, D., O’Reilly, C., & Turner, P. (2012) Pine marten (Martes martes) distribution and abundance in Ireland: A cross-jurisdictional analysis using non-invasive genetic survey techniques. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 77(5), 351-357. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2012.04.001
GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.... Read more »
Van Eenennaam AL, & Young AE. (2014) Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations. Journal of animal science. PMID: 25184846
Paine JA, Shipton CA, Chaggar S, Howells RM, Kennedy MJ, Vernon G, Wright SY, Hinchliffe E, Adams JL, Silverstone AL.... (2005) Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content. Nature biotechnology, 23(4), 482-7. PMID: 15793573
Brian P. Forster et al. (2001) Mutation genetics of salt tolerance in barley: An assessment of Golden Promise and other semi-dwarf mutants. Euphytica. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-9996-2_1
A paper has just come out looking at the life cycle impact of shale gas production in Great Britain. At the same time, the author is speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. A great opportunity for science and policy to unite!... Read more »
Why do the leaves change color in the fall? It might not be for the reason you think...... Read more »
In the first of a new series of posts about “How to Look for Mammals”, I take a look at one of our semi aquatic species, the Eurasian otter. The Eurasian otter is distributed across Europe and into Eurasia, but it is absent and restricted to small isolated pockets in some European countries. However, the species is slowly starting to recover across Western Europe. Ireland is a stronghold for the otter, and marks the western most point of the otter’s distribution. It is thought........ Read more »
Reid N, Hayden B, Lundy MG, Pietravalle S, McDonald RA, & Montgomery WI. (2013) National Otter Survey of Ireland 2010/12. Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 76. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland. info:other/
By Jon Hakim
Make sure to start at Part I.
“Snake call! It's the python. Are you up? We got a call for the python.”
The words were almost the same, but I woke up to see that
Caesar's face held a grimace. The
call he feared had come.
Let's back up to the night before.
In the last post I left you in a moment of triumph. Kanai had led four of us right to our
target species... Read more »
Rahman, Shahriar Caesar, & et al. (2013) Monsoon does matter: annual activity patterns in a snake assemblage from Bangladesh. The Herpetological Journal, 203-208. info:/
For most people biofilms conjure up images of slippery stones in a streambed and dirty drains. While there are plenty of "bad" biofilms around – they are even the same stuff that causes pesky dental plaque and a host of other more serious medical problems – a team of researchers sees biofilms as a robust new platform for designer nanomaterials that could clean up polluted rivers, manufacture pharmaceutical products, fabricate new textiles, and more.... Read more »
Peter Q. Nguyen,, Zsofia Botyanszki,, Pei Kun R. Tay,, & Neel S. Joshi. (2014) Programmable biofilm-based materials from engineered curli nanofibres. Nature Communications. info:/10.1038/ncomms5945
Bacteria can swarm to conquer new territory or settle into structured biofilms, not unlike tribes that are nomadic versus those that build cities. New research indicates has shed light on the mechanics of swarming and biofilm production, including the function of extracellular DNA and secreted polysaccharides. Both biofilms and swarming depend on quorum sensing, and several new papers have identified chemicals that can interrupt quorum sensing in pathogenic bacteria and therefore prevent disease........ Read more »
Gloag ES, Turnbull L, Huang A, Vallotton P, Wang H, Nolan LM, Mililli L, Hunt C, Lu J, Osvath SR.... (2013) Self-organization of bacterial biofilms is facilitated by extracellular DNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(28), 11541-6. PMID: 23798445
Deng P, de Vargas Roditi L, van Ditmarsch D, & Xavier JB. (2014) The ecological basis of morphogenesis: branching patterns in swarming colonies of bacteria. New journal of physics, 15006-15006. PMID: 24587694
McCall J, Hidalgo G, Asadishad B, & Tufenkji N. (2013) Cranberry impairs selected behaviors essential for virulence in Proteus mirabilis HI4320. Canadian journal of microbiology, 59(6), 430-6. PMID: 23750959
Alteri CJ, Himpsl SD, Pickens SR, Lindner JR, Zora JS, Miller JE, Arno PD, Straight SW, & Mobley HL. (2013) Multicellular bacteria deploy the type VI secretion system to preemptively strike neighboring cells. PLoS pathogens, 9(9). PMID: 24039579
New study uses siRNA and 35S promoter to regulate multiple genes including ESK1 to improve drought tolerance in Arabidopsis... Read more »
Xu F, Liu Z, Xie H, Zhu J, Zhang J, Kraus J, Blaschnig T, Nehls R, & Wang H. (2014) Increased Drought Tolerance through the Suppression of ESKMO1 Gene and Overexpression of CBF-Related Genes in Arabidopsis. PloS one, 9(9). PMID: 25184213
Can’t eat poison without dying? Maybe your gut microbes are to blame. Rodents in the Mojave Desert have evolved to eat toxic creosote bushes with the help of specialized gut bacteria. Although scientists had long suspected that bacteria might be key to the rats’ power, they proved it by feeding the rodents antibiotics and ground-up […]The post Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
Kohl KD, Weiss RB, Cox J, Dale C, & Denise Dearing M. (2014) Gut microbes of mammalian herbivores facilitate intake of plant toxins. Ecology letters, 17(10), 1238-46. PMID: 25040855
New computer modeling and experimental ice core data shed light on the mystery of Greenland melting 20,000 years ago. This information will be helpful in refining current climate models.... Read more »
Buizert C, Gkinis V, Severinghaus JP, He F, Lecavalier BS, Kindler P, Leuenberger M, Carlson AE, Vinther B, Masson-Delmotte V.... (2014) Greenland temperature response to climate forcing during the last deglaciation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6201), 1177-80. PMID: 25190795
New research shows that shifting to recommended, high-calorie USDA diets could increase GHG emissions due to the dairy required to make up for reduced meat/poultry calories. What we eat impacts our long-term environment!... Read more »
Heller, M., & Keoleian, G. (2014) Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimates of U.S. Dietary Choices and Food Loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12174
Frankenstein’s monster was (in the story) a scientific marvel that could not be matched. Growing up with the story, the idea of creating life where there was none was a feat that I had once thought was going to always be science fiction. Maybe this is why I was so surprised when I found out that scientists, using only a few ingredients, have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own.... Read more »
Hopeful news on Labor Day! A commentary discusses how IPCC reports have become more optimistic and describes adaptation pathways being used by coastal regions to prepare for climate change.... Read more »
Brown, S., Nicholls, R., Hanson, S., Brundrit, G., Dearing, J., Dickson, M., Gallop, S., Gao, S., Haigh, I., Hinkel, J.... (2014) Shifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4(9), 752-755. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2344
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