The ocean is a noisy place. Although we don’t hear much when we stick our heads underwater, the right instruments can reveal a symphony of sound. The noisemakers range from the low-frequency bass tones of a fish mating ritual to the roar of a motorboat. The study of how underwater animals hear is a growing topic in marine science, especially with regards to naval sonar and whales.
Estrogen treatments may sharpen mental performance in women with certain medical conditions, but University of Florida researchers suggest that recharging a naturally occurring estrogen receptor in the brain may also clear cognitive cobwebs.
Living near city expressways is associated with adverse birth effects on expectant mothers and their newborns, according to a novel study with global implications. Scientists from the Université de Montréal and the University of South Australia have revealed that women living closest to expressways are more vulnerable to highway pollution – especially affluent mothers.
Organisms ranging from humans to plants to the lowliest bacterium use molecules to communicate. Some chemicals trigger the various stages of an organism’s development, and still others are used to attract members of the opposite sex. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have now found a rare kind of signaling molecule in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans that serves a dual purpose, working as both a population-control mechanism and a sexual attractant.
Kiwifruit lovers can look forward to new, novel forms of their favourite fruit thanks to the release this week of crucial genetic data which fruit breeders say will help them naturally breed new varieties with increased health properties and exciting colours and flavours.
Extreme heat or cold is not only uncomfortable, it can be deadly-causing proteins to unravel and malfunction. For many years now, scientists have understood the molecular mechanisms that enable animals to sense dangerous temperatures; such as extremely high temperatures that directly trigger heat sensor proteins known as TRP channels. However, much more poorly understood is how animals sense very small temperature differences in the comfortable range, and choose their favorite temperature.
Strange things are happening in the lowland tropical forests of Panama and Costa Rica. A tiny parasitic fly is affecting the social behavior of a nocturnal bee, helping to determine which individuals become queens and which become workers.
In vertebrates with separate sexes, sex determination can be genotypic (GSD) or temperature-dependent (TSD). TSD is very common in reptiles, where the ambient temperature during sensitive periods of early development irreversibly determines whether an individual will be male or female. The number of males and females in a population is the sex ratio, a key demographic parameter crucial for population viability.
When competitors are around, male Atlantic mollies try to hide their top mate choice, reveals a new study published online on July 31st in Current Biology, a Cell Press journal.
It’s not just bomb-sniffing dogs; animals everywhere rely on their sense of smell. Now, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Rockefeller University researchers show just how important olfaction is, proving that fruit flies with a normal sense of smell have a survival advantage over those that don’t. The findings, to appear in the July 31 advance online issue of Current Biology, may be useful in controlling insect populations and reducing insect-borne disease.
African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory at a pace unseen since an international ban on the ivory trade took effect in 1989. But the public outcry that resulted in that ban is absent today, and a University of Washington conservation biologist contends it is because the public seems to be unaware of the giant mammals’ plight.
University of New Hampshire researchers have tagged one male and two female leatherback turtles off Cape Cod. They are the first free-swimming leatherbacks ever tagged in New England.