A Blog Around The Clock

My picks from ScienceDaily

Single-celled Bacterium Works 24/7:

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have gained the first detailed insight into the way circadian rhythms govern global gene expression in Cyanothece, a type of cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) known to cycle between photosynthesis during the day and nitrogen fixation at night.

How Birds Navigate: Research Team Is First To Model Photochemical Compass:

It has long been known that birds and many other animals including turtles, salamanders and lobsters, use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, but the nature of their global positioning systems (GPS) has not been completely understood. One school of thought hypothesizes that birds use magnetically-sensitive chemical reactions initiated by light (called chemical magnetoreception) to orient themselves, but no chemical reaction in the laboratory, until now, has been shown to respond to magnetic fields as weak as the Earth’s.

New Findings Challenge Conventional Ideas On Evolution Of Human Diet, Natural Selection:

New findings suggest that the ancient human “cousin” known as the “Nutcracker Man” wasn’t regularly eating anything like nuts after all.

Legless Lizard And Tiny Woodpecker Among New Species Discovered In Brazil:

Researchers discovered a legless lizard and a tiny woodpecker along with 12 other suspected new species in Brazil’s Cerrado, one of the world’s 34 biodiversity conservation hotspots.

Ancient Ecosystems Organized Much Like Our Own:

Similarities between half-billion-year-old and recent food webs point to deep principles underpinning the structure of ecological relationships, as shown by researchers from the Santa Fe Institute, Microsoft Research Cambridge and elsewhere. Analyses of Chengjiang and Burgess Shale food-web data suggest that most, but not all, aspects of the trophic structure of modern ecosystems were in place over a half-billion years ago. It was an Anomalocaris-eat-trilobite world, filled with species like nothing on today’s Earth. But the ecology of Cambrian communities was remarkably modern, say researchers behind the first study to reconstruct detailed food webs for ancient ecosystems. Their paper suggests that networks of feeding relationships among marine species that lived hundreds of millions of years ago are remarkably similar to those of today.

Bison Can Thrive Again, Study Says:

Bison can repopulate large areas from Alaska to Mexico over the next 100 years provided a series of conservation and restoration measures are taken, according to continental assessment of this iconic species by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups.