A swift adapts the shape of its wings to the immediate task at hand: folding them back to chase insects, or stretching them out to sleep in flight. Ten Dutch and Swedish scientists, based in Wageningen, Groningen, Delft, Leiden, and Lund, have shown how ‘wing morphing’ makes swifts such versatile flyers. Their study, published as cover story in Nature on April 26, proves that swifts can improve flight performance by up to three-fold, numbers that make ‘wing morphing’ the next big thing in aircraft engineering.
Sex makes you fat. If you’re a female tick, that is. The “truly gluttonous” female ixodid tick increases her weight an astounding 100 times her original size after she mates, so a University of Alberta researcher investigated what it is about copulation that triggers such a massive weight gain.
It’s happened with predictable regularity, every spring since International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) opened its center in San Pedro in 2001. The staff at the center, which specializes in seabirds, and especially California brown pelicans, calls it DA; short for Domoic Acid. The staff braces for the dead and dying birds they know will come, every spring.
Two vastly different Wisconsin lake districts – one in a dynamic agricultural and urban setting, the other in a forested and much less developed region of the state – are proving their value as sentinels of regional environmental change, according to a new report.
Common perception would make us believe that domestication of land animals has been very successful, however when compared to the rapid increase in the numbers of marine species becoming domesticated these perceptions may change. “Domestication has had a higher success rates in the sea relative to that seen in the long history of land species’ domestication” states Dr Marianne Holmer, one of the MarBEF authors from the Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, in a new research paper released in Science entitled ‘Rapid Domestication on Marine Species’.
Brains are able to adjust automatically to the demands of distinguishing between small differences in smell, new research at the University of Chicago shows. The research, which was conducted on rats, suggests that the human brain may be more adept at distinguishing smells than previously thought. The work comes from studies in the laboratory of Leslie Kay, Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University, who is looking at the ways animals perceive sensory stimuli by focusing on the neural basis of olfactory perception and how context and experience influence it.