• New pirate ant uses sickle-shaped mandibles to decimate rivals

    A new species of ant has recently been discovered in the Hortarium of the Los Baños University in the Philippines. Scientists named it the pirate ant (Cardiocondyla pirata) due to the female’s unique pigmentation pattern: a distinctive stripe across the eyes that resembles a pirates’ eye-patch. The pirate ant belongs to a genus Cardiocondyla that are distributed worldwide, but mainly found in the tropics. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Produce is Alive!

    The fruits and vegetables we buy in the grocery store are actually still alive and according to new research from Rice University and the University of California at Davis, produce may be healthier for us depending on the time of day. "Vegetables and fruits don't die the moment they are harvested," said Rice biologist Janet Braam, lead researcher of the study. Once picked, produce can continue to metabolize and survive independently for some time. Even when they are cut, their cells remain active and alive. >> Read the Full Article
  • New study tests Red Queen Hypothesis

    In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," the Red Queen described her country as a place where "it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." From this, the Red Queen hypothesis has been formed. Also referred to as the Red Queen Effect, this evolutionary hypothesis proposes that organisms must constantly adapt, and evolve not only to reproduce, but also to survive against all opposing organisms that are evolving in an ever-changing environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wildlife in the firing line in global war against bovine TB

    Where there are cattle, there is the threat of bovine Tuberculosis (TB). The farming methods may differ greatly, but from the dairy farms of Ethiopia to the beef herds of Canada the race is on to find the best way to tackle the disease. In the 1920s control measures began in developed parts of the world. According to the World Organization for Animal Health, many countries have reduced or eliminated bovine TB from their cattle population; but infections remain in the UK, Western Europe, North America and New Zealand. >> Read the Full Article
  • Increased Monsoon Rainfall Expected with Global Warming

    When we hear about monsoons, we often think about the rainy phase of a season usually occurring in tropical climates. Even though monsoons are associated with much more than just rainfall, as global warming occurs, these complex systems will have several repercussions for precipitation. For example, with warming air, there is potential for a higher holding capacity for rain. In addition, any cooling in the higher atmosphere can change current air pressures thus affecting rainfall patterns. This has consequences of increased flooding, implications to national water supply, and a potential loss of agricultural productivity due to crop failure for countries across the globe. >> Read the Full Article
  • Conserving Top Predators Results in Less CO2 in the Air

    While scientists have long-known that predators lead to carbon storage by reducing herbivore populations, a new study reveals a novel way in which top predators cause an ecosystem to store more carbon >> Read the Full Article
  • Seabirds face big problems as sea levels rise

    Migratory shorebird populations are at great risk from rising sea levels due to global climate change, warns a recent paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. These birds play an important role in the distribution of nutrients within wetland and coastal ecosystems, and their loss could have unknown consequences for the rest of the world. Many scientists have documented the accelerated melting of land ice that had led to higher sea levels, but until now researchers have not known how this would impact shorebirds. But utilizing a mathematical technique that models flow of water through a pipeline, scientists have developed an innovative method to measure the effect habitat loss on shorebirds. >> Read the Full Article
  • Forest Decline Due to Particulate Matter

    Forests and plants in general can remove pollutants but may be at a hard cost. Air pollution is related to forest decline and also appears to attack the protecting wax on tree leaves and needles. Bonn University scientists have now discovered a responsible mechanism: particulate matter salt compounds that become deliquescent because of humidity and form a wick-like structure that removes water from leaves and promotes dehydration. These results are published in Environmental Pollution. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wildlife Migration Detours

    Migration is a strategy used by many mammals in order to take advantage of food, shelter, and water that vary with seasons. Interestingly, there is strong evidence that genetics plays a role in migratory behavior that animals inherit. Many species rely not only on their senses to help them navigate, but they can also use mental maps to guide them to where they are supposed to go. But with considerable human development, how are animals supposed to find their way? According to research conducted by the University of Washington, half a dozen areas could experience heavier migration traffic compared with the average species-movement across the Western Hemisphere in response to a warming climate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Warming world hits fig wasps and figs

    Recent experiments concerning hugely-important fig plants (Ficus) and their relationship with small, short-lived fig wasps suggest dire potential consequences due to human induced climate change, finds a study published in the journal Biology Letters. The researchers, lead by Richard T. Corlett of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Center for Integrative Conservation in the Peoples Republic of China, collected four species of adult female fig wasps from the lowland tropical forests of Singapore to test their tolerance to gradually increased temperatures. The results of the experiment showed a steady decrease in fig wasp life-expectancy as temperatures rose, suggesting the vulnerability of these pollinator wasps to a warmer world. >> Read the Full Article