Wildlife

New Technique Quickly Predicts Salt Marsh Vulnerability
January 24, 2017 09:35 AM - United States Geological Survey (USGS)

If coastal salt marshes are like savings accounts, with sediment as the principal, all eight Atlantic and Pacific coast salt marshes studied are "in the red," researchers found.

Scientists working on a rapid assessment technique for determining which US coastal salt marshes are most imperiled by erosion were surprised to find that all eight of the Atlantic and Pacific Coast marshes where they field-tested their method are losing ground, and half of them will be gone in 350 years’ time if they don’t recapture some lost terrain.

Does Killing Birds Make Airports Safer?
January 24, 2017 07:19 AM - Laura Goldman, Care2

After a flock of Canada geese knocked out the engines of a US Airways jetliner in January 2009, pilot “Sully” Sullenberger was famously able to safely land the Airbus A320 on the Hudson River. What became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” was happy news, especially for the 155 passengers whose lives Sullenberger saved.

But it was terrible news for geese and other birds that migrate or make their homes near the three major airports in the New York City area. To prevent a similar incident from happening again, nearly 70,000 birds have been intentionally killed near John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports over the past eight years, the Associated Press reports.

Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna
January 20, 2017 09:48 AM - University of Colorado Boulder

New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change. 

Birds of a feather flock together to confuse potential predators
January 18, 2017 09:03 AM - University of Bristol

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Groningen, in The Netherlands, have created a computer game style experiment which sheds new light on the reasons why starlings flock in massive swirling groups over wintering grounds.

A mumeration can hold many thousands of starlings but the reasons why they put on these amazing displays are not well understood.

The Man in the Zebra Suit Knows the Secret of the Stripes
January 17, 2017 09:24 AM - Nick Stockton, Wired

At four in the morning, Tim Caro roused his colleagues. Bleary-eyed and grumbling, they followed him to the edge of the village, where the beasts were hiding. He sat them down in chairs, and after letting their eyes adjust for a minute, he asked them if they saw anything. And if so, would they please point where?

The Man in the Zebra Suit Knows the Secret of the Stripes
January 17, 2017 09:24 AM - Nick Stockton, Wired

At four in the morning, Tim Caro roused his colleagues. Bleary-eyed and grumbling, they followed him to the edge of the village, where the beasts were hiding. He sat them down in chairs, and after letting their eyes adjust for a minute, he asked them if they saw anything. And if so, would they please point where?

Study refutes how fruit flies developed alcohol tolerance
January 16, 2017 10:08 AM - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

The common fruit fly, the tiny insect drawn to your beer or wine, has evolved to have an impressive tolerance for alcohol.

More than two decades ago, in one of the first papers using gene sequences to find signatures of natural selection, scientists hypothesized that a molecular change in an enzyme gave the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly species its superior ability to metabolize alcohol. Scientists concluded that the change they found in the Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) protein could be the adaptation that allowed D. melanogaster to colonize ethanol-rich habitats in rotting fruit better than its nearly identical relative, Drosophila simulans.

Study refutes how fruit flies developed alcohol tolerance
January 16, 2017 10:08 AM - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

The common fruit fly, the tiny insect drawn to your beer or wine, has evolved to have an impressive tolerance for alcohol.

More than two decades ago, in one of the first papers using gene sequences to find signatures of natural selection, scientists hypothesized that a molecular change in an enzyme gave the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly species its superior ability to metabolize alcohol. Scientists concluded that the change they found in the Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) protein could be the adaptation that allowed D. melanogaster to colonize ethanol-rich habitats in rotting fruit better than its nearly identical relative, Drosophila simulans.

Genome sequence of a polar alga explains adaptation to extreme climates
January 16, 2017 10:00 AM - University of East Anglia

An international team of researchers has identified the genetic mutations which allowed microalgae (phytoplankton) from the Southern Ocean to adapt to extreme and highly variable climates – a step towards understanding how polar organisms are impacted by climate change.

Scientists highlight the critical role of birds in forest regeneration
January 16, 2017 08:32 AM - Laura Briggs, The Ecologist, The Ecologist

The loss of birds could significantly impact efforts to combat deforestation, according to research from scientists looking at species across the Brazilian Amazon. 

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