Wildlife

Oceans need more protected areas
October 26, 2015 07:32 AM - UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Despite global efforts to increase the area of the ocean that is protected, only four per cent of it lies within marine protected areas (MPAs), according to a University of British Columbia study.

UBC Institute for Ocean and Fisheries researchers found that major swaths of the ocean must still be protected to reach even the most basic global targets.

In 2010, representatives from nearly 200 countries met in Nagoya, Japan, and adopted the United Nations' Aichi Targets, in a bid to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity. The countries committed to protecting at least 10 per cent of the ocean by 2020.

Disease-carrying ticks hitchhike into US on migratory birds
October 25, 2015 09:01 PM - Smithsonian Science News

Researchers who examined thousands of migratory birds arriving in the United States from Central and South America have determined that three percent carry ticks species not normally present in the United States. Some of the birds, they say, carry disease-causing Ricksettia ticks.

Ocean Heat Content Reveals Secrets of Fish Migration Behaviors
October 22, 2015 09:24 AM - University of Miami

Researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science developed a new method to estimate fish movements using ocean heat content images, a dataset commonly used in hurricane intensity forecasting. With Atlantic tarpon as the messenger, this is the first study to quantitatively show that large migratory fishes, such as yellowfin and bluefin tunas, blue and white marlin, and sailfish have affinities for ocean fronts and eddies.

The fish that cools off by jumping OUT of the water
October 21, 2015 04:18 PM - University of Guelph.

On hot, humid days, you might jump into water to cool down, but for the tiny mangrove rivulus fish, cooling down means jumping out of water, according to a new study from the University of Guelph.

In the study published today in the journal Biology Letters, the researchers describe how these fish air-chill themselves on solid ground in order to drop their body temperatures. The researchers also found that fish exposed to higher temperatures for a week tolerated warmer water better.

The fish jump out of the water to escape rising temperatures, said integrative biology professor Pat Wright, senior author of the study.

Mice stutter too
October 20, 2015 08:44 AM - Hanae Ermitage , Science/AAAS

About 70 million people worldwide stutter when they speak, and it turns out humans aren’t the only ones susceptible to verbal hiccups. Scientists at this year’s Society for Neuroscience Conference in Chicago, Illinois, show that mice, too, can stumble in their vocalizations. In humans, stuttering has long been linked to a mutation in the “housekeeping” gene Gnptab, which maintains basic levels of cellular function. To cement this curious genetic link, researchers decided to induce the Gnptab “stutter mutation” in mice. They suspected the change would trigger a mouse version of stammering. But deciphering stuttered squeaks is no easy task, so researchers set up a computerized model to register stutters through a statistical analysis of vocalizations.

Bees don't like diesels!
October 19, 2015 04:19 PM - Staff, ClickGreen

Diesel fumes may be reducing the availability of almost half the most common flower odours that bees use to find their food, new research has found.

The new findings suggest that toxic nitrous oxide (NOx) in diesel exhausts could be having an even greater effect on bees’ ability to smell out flowers than was previously thought.

NOx is a poisonous pollutant produced by diesel engines which is harmful to humans, and has also previously been shown to confuse bees’ sense of smell, which they rely on to sniff out their food.
 

Re-thinking plant and insect diversity
October 13, 2015 03:42 PM - University of York

New research by biologists at the University of York shows that plant and insect diversity is more loosely linked than scientists previously believed. Insects and flowering plants are two of the most diverse groups of organism on the planet. For a long time the richness of these two lineages has been regarded as linked, with plant-feeding insect groups considered unusually species rich compared with their nearest relatives. In a new analysis, based on the most complete tree of insect relationships to date, researchers at the University have shown that there is not a simple relationship between insect diet and diversity.

Nearly 1/3 of world's cacti species facing extinction
October 12, 2015 08:36 AM - University of Exeter

Thirty-one percent of cactus species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive, global assessment of the species group by IUCN and partners, published today in the journal Nature Plants. 

This places cacti among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ - more threatened than mammals and birds.

Swedish sand lizards like climate change
October 11, 2015 07:32 AM - BioMed Central via ScienceDaily

Higher temperatures result in Swedish sand lizards laying their eggs earlier, which leads to better fitness and survival in their offspring, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The findings indicate that climate change could have positive effects on this population of high-latitude lizard, but the authors warn that climate change is likely to affect a whole suite of traits, in addition to egg-laying date, which together would have an unknown combined effect on survival and reproductive success.

Ecotourism can put wild animals at risk
October 9, 2015 01:59 PM - UCLA Newsroom

Ecotourism, in which travelers visit natural environments with an eye toward funding conservation efforts or boosting local economies, has become increasingly popular in recent years. In many cases it involves close observation of or interaction with wildlife, such as when tourists swim with marine animals. Now, life scientists have analyzed more than 100 research studies on how ecotourism affects wild animals and concluded that such trips can be harmful to the animals, whose behaviors may be altered in ways that put them at risk.

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