So here’s something you don’t see everyday. Blu-ray disks, you know the stuff we use for video games or DVDs also improve the performance of solar cells—suggesting a second use for unwanted discs—according to new research from Northwestern University. As surprising as this was, there is even better news, we know why they improve performance.... Read more »
Smith, A., Wang, C., Guo, D., Sun, C., & Huang, J. (2014) Repurposing Blu-ray movie discs as quasi-random nanoimprinting templates for photon management. Nature Communications, 5517. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6517
The EPA announced a plan to cut power plant emissions by 30% in about 15 years - get the details here!... Read more »
Fowlie, M., Goulder, L., Kotchen, M., Borenstein, S., Bushnell, J., Davis, L., Greenstone, M., Kolstad, C., Knittel, C., Stavins, R.... (2014) An economic perspective on the EPA's Clean Power Plan. Science, 346(6211), 815-816. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261349
Even though most of my posts on MassGenomics concern human genetics and genomics, today I’d like to highlight a milestone in another species, one that many humans care fiercely about. This guy: Cat lovers, rejoice! This month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencs, Mike Montague, Wes Warren, and colleagues published the first complete […]... Read more »
Montague MJ, Li G, Gandolfi B, Khan R, Aken BL, Searle SM, Minx P, Hillier LW, Koboldt DC, Davis BW.... (2014) Comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome reveals genetic signatures underlying feline biology and domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25385592
Statistical analyses of long-term monitoring data reveal an inverse relationship between the biomasses of zooplankton and plankton-eating fish, but only in the northern and central parts of the Barents Sea. In the southwestern Barents Sea, so such relationship is found.
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Stige, L., Dalpadado, P., Orlova, E., Boulay, A., Durant, J., Ottersen, G., & Stenseth, N. (2014) Spatiotemporal statistical analyses reveal predator-driven zooplankton fluctuations in the Barents Sea. Progress in Oceanography, 243-253. DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2013.09.006
Mortality of pelagic eggs and larvae of marine fish is often assumed to be constant both in space and time due to lacking information. This may, however, be a gross oversimplification, as early life stages are likely to experience large variations in mortality both in time and space.
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Langangen, �., Stige, L., Yaragina, N., Ottersen, G., Vikebø, F., & Stenseth, N. (2014) Spatial variations in mortality in pelagic early life stages of a marine fish (Gadus morhua). Progress in Oceanography, 96-107. DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2014.06.003
Understanding the drivers that determine the productivity of marine ecosystems is an important issue. Climate and exploitation interact in their effects, such that climate alterations may cause failure in a fishery management scheme while fisheries may disrupt the ability of a population to withstand, or adjust to, climate changes.
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Durant, J., Hidalgo, M., Rouyer, T., Hjermann, D., Ciannelli, L., Eikeset, A., Yaragina, N., & Stenseth, N. (2013) Population growth across heterogeneous environments: effects of harvesting and age structure. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 277-287. DOI: 10.3354/meps10308
Ottersen, G., Stige, L., Durant, J., Chan, K., Rouyer, T., Drinkwater, K., & Stenseth, N. (2013) Temporal shifts in recruitment dynamics of North Atlantic fish stocks: effects of spawning stock and temperature. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 205-225. DOI: 10.3354/meps10249
Stige, L., Hunsicker, M., Bailey, K., Yaragina, N., & Hunt GL, J. (2013) Predicting fish recruitment from juvenile abundance and environmental indices. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 245-261. DOI: 10.3354/meps10246
Understanding the interaction between species is particularly actual in marine systems where ecosystem approach of management is desirable. This is particularly the case in high latitude systems such as the Barents Sea where climate change effect is supposed to be the strongest.
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Durant, J., Skern-Mauritzen, M., Krasnov, Y., Nikolaeva, N., Lindstrøm, U., & Dolgov, A. (2014) Temporal Dynamics of Top Predators Interactions in the Barents Sea. PLoS ONE, 9(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110933
Short supplies of adequate nesting sites and food resources are often associated in discussions of the ultimate factors controlling seabird population size, distribution and breeding success. Shift of prey distribution may affect the interaction between seabirds breeding at the same site.
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Durant, J., Krasnov, Y., Nikolaeva, N., & Stenseth, N. (2011) Within and between species competition in a seabird community: statistical exploration and modeling of time-series data. Oecologia, 169(3), 685-694. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2226-3
If you were assigned to watch a dozen dwarf mongooses on the savannah, would you know how to keep them safe? Or would half of them get snatched by snakes before you finished checking the dictionary to make sure they weren’t really a dozen mongeese? Luckily these animals don’t need us to watch their backs. […]The post Mongoose Lookouts Carefully Weigh Risks (and Sing While They Do It) appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
Kern, J., & Radford, A. (2014) Sentinel dwarf mongooses, Helogale parvula, exhibit flexible decision making in relation to predation risk. Animal Behaviour, 185-192. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.10.012
What—just because they’re called gut microbes, you’ve been keeping them in your colon? How unoriginal. This is Bankia setacea, also called the Northwest or feathery shipworm. Humans usually pay attention to shipworms only when they perform their namesake activity: burrowing face-first into our boats or docks and eating their way through. Shipworms are bivalves, like clams […]The post Worm Defies Tradition, Stores Gut Bacteria in Gills Instead appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
O'Connor, R., Fung, J., Sharp, K., Benner, J., McClung, C., Cushing, S., Lamkin, E., Fomenkov, A., Henrissat, B., Londer, Y.... (2014) Gill bacteria enable a novel digestive strategy in a wood-feeding mollusk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1413110111
Almost all cultures have some kind of supernatural beliefs. But it may surprise you to know that belief in moralising supernatural beings, who care about whether mortals do good or bad, are far from universal. That’s fascinating, and it begs the question: “why?”. Why do some cultures bother to believe spirits who watch over us [Read More...]
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When munched by grazing animals (or mauled by scientists in the lab), some herbaceous plants overcompensate – producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would. Scientists say they now know how these plants accomplish this feat of regeneration.... Read more »
Scholes DR, & Paige KN. (2014) Plasticity in ploidy underlies plant fitness compensation to herbivore damage. Molecular ecology, 23(19), 4862-70. PMID: 25145792
Like many new mothers, a female elephant seal puts herself on a strict diet after giving birth. She dives into the Pacific and spends two months eating everything she can find. It’s only by working hard at building up her blubber stores that she can get back her ideal body. Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) […]The post Found: The Ideal Fatness for Elephant Seals appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
Adachi, T., Maresh, J., Robinson, P., Peterson, S., Costa, D., Naito, Y., Watanabe, Y., & Takahashi, A. (2014) The foraging benefits of being fat in a highly migratory marine mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1797), 20142120-20142120. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2120
Global warming, nothing new with that and it’s here to stay for now. But while computer models churn out bleak forecasts for the planet’s future, we also have a more conceptual understanding of what is happening as humans pump carbon dioxide into the air. Unfortunately the traditional conceptual understanding of carbon dioxide wrapping the planet in a sort of blanket that traps more heat is not quite right.... Read more »
Donohoe Aaron , Armour Kyle C. , Pendergrass Angeline G., & Battisti David S. (2014) Shortwave and longwave radiative contributions to global warming under increasing CO2 . PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412190111
Lianas exhibit peak abundance in tropical forests with strong seasonal droughts, the eco-physiological mechanisms associated with lianas coping with water deficits are poorly understood.
Researchers examined soil water partitioning, sap flow, and canopy eco-physiological properties for 99 individuals of 15 liana and 34 co-occurring tree species in three tropical forests that differed in soil water availability.... Read more »
Chen, Y., Cao, K., Schnitzer, S., Fan, Z., Zhang, J., & Bongers, F. (2014) Water-use advantage for lianas over trees in tropical seasonal forests. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/nph.13036
There has been a lot of talk about the microbiome and Clostridium difficile infections. This is because patient antibiotic or chemotherapeutic exposure (both of which can destroy your commensal bacterial communities) increases the risk of C. difficile infection. This observation suggests a role for commensal bacteria in mediating infection resistance. The exact commensal bacteria that mediate protection against C. difficile infection are not known, but luckily for us, scientists are working o........ Read more »
Buffie CG, Bucci V, Stein RR, McKenney PT, Ling L, Gobourne A, No D, Liu H, Kinnebrew M, Viale A.... (2014) Precision microbiome reconstitution restores bile acid mediated resistance to Clostridium difficile. Nature. PMID: 25337874
While the world waits for a better battery (and a energy grid system that doesn't require constant power making), scientists are hard at work trying to teach old fuels a new trick. Thankfully an international team of bioengineers has boosted the ability of bacteria to produce isopentenol, a compound with desirable gasoline properties. The finding, if it is not obvious, is a significant step toward developing a bacterial strain that can yield industrial quantities of renewable bio-gasoline.... Read more »
Foo, J., Jensen, H., Dahl, R., George, K., Keasling, J., Lee, T., Leong, S., & Mukhopadhyay, A. (2014) Improving Microbial Biogasoline Production in Escherichia coli Using Tolerance Engineering. mBio, 5(6). DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01932-14
We continue our Researcher of the Month (RotM) series, with an interview with Professor Michael Garstang, Distinguished Investigator and Research Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virgina. Professor Garstang is also associated with a Simpsons Weather Associates, a private environmental research company and recently published a paper in PLoS One about ... Read more »
Garstang, M., Davis, R., Leggett, K., Frauenfeld, O., Greco, S., Zipser, E., & Peterson, M. (2014) Response of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) to Seasonal Changes in Rainfall. PLoS ONE, 9(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108736
Kelley, M., & Garstang, M. (2013) On the Possible Detection of Lightning Storms by Elephants. Animals, 3(2), 349-355. DOI: 10.3390/ani3020349
The first time a colony of Antarctic penguins sees a towering human striding toward them, it must be like First Contact. They’ve never seen a species our size on land before, or anything that moves like we do. Even after penguins have interacted with researchers, the approach of a human is a physiologically stressful experience. […]The post For Stress-Free Penguins, Use a Rover appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
Maho, Y., Whittington, J., Hanuise, N., Pereira, L., Boureau, M., Brucker, M., Chatelain, N., Courtecuisse, J., Crenner, F., Friess, B.... (2014) Rovers minimize human disturbance in research on wild animals. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.3173
Genetic engineering techniques offers many different promises, some of which will obviously come sooner than others. One of those promises was a possible end to famine, while most famine in the world today is in developing countries, that could spread as population increases. To that end scientists have announced a new way to dramatically increase crop yields by improving upon Mother Nature's offerings. The team has discovered a set of gene variations that can boost fruit production in the tomat........ Read more »
Z. Lippman et al. (2014) Optimization of crop productivity in tomato using induced mutations in the florigen pathway. Nature Genetics. info:/10.1038/ng.3131
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