My picks from ScienceDaily

Electronic Eggs Used To Help Save Threatened African Bird:

This is an important summer for kori bustards at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Four chicks of this threatened African bird have hatched in June and July. Along with the bumper crop of baby birds is a bumper crop of new information for scientists working to preserve the species, thanks to an electronic egg that transmits real-time incubation data from the nest.

Reef Corals: How To Structure A Complex Body Plan:

Phenotypic flexibility enables multicellular organisms to adjust morphologies to variable environmental challenges. Such plastic variations are also documented in reef corals. Coral colonies are made of multiple genetically identical physiologically integrated modules (polyps).

Fossils Older Than Dinosaurs Reveal Pattern Of Early Animal Evolution On Earth:

The abundant diversity of characteristics within species likely helped fuel the proliferation and evolution of an odd-looking creature that emerged from an unprecedented explosion of life on Earth more than 500 million years ago. University of Chicago paleontologist Mark Webster reports this finding in the July 27 issue of the journal Science.

Curiosities: Why Do Flowers Smell, And Why Do Plants Smell, Too?:

The luscious aroma of flowers attracts lovers, and the biological role of that smell is similar: to attract pollinators. "Plants need to attract insects, bats and hummingbirds to transfer the pollen and create fertile seeds," says Hugh Iltis, professor emeritus of botany at UW-Madison.

Mystery Of Mammalian Ears Solved:

A 30-year scientific debate over how specialized cells in the inner ear amplify sound in mammals appears to have been settled more in favor of bouncing cell bodies rather than vibrating, hair-like cilia, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In A Bug-eat-bug World, Researchers Use Unique Chinese Wasp To Battle Soybean Aphids:

The days of soybean aphids feasting on soybean fields may be numbered, thanks to a unique import from China. University of Minnesota scientists are field testing a beneficial insect, a stingless wasp from China also known as Binodoxys communis, that kills soybean aphids. A successful field test would be a major breakthrough in controlling a damaging crop pest. The U of M received permission from the federal government to conduct this test and is the leading institution in the testing.

Surprising New Species Of Light-harvesting Bacterium Discovered In Yellowstone:

In the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, a team of researchers has discovered a novel bacterium that transforms light into chemical energy. The researchers also discovered that the new genus and species belongs to a new phylum, Acidobacteria -- only the third time in the past 100 years that a new bacterial phylum has been added to the list of those with chlorophyll-producing members, of which there are now only six.

Humboldt Squid On The Move:

Over the last five years, large, predatory Humboldt squid have moved north from equatorial waters and invaded the sea off Central California, where they may be decimating populations of Pacific hake, an important commercial fish.


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A common wasp on a foraging mission catches an enticing scent on the breeze. It's a set of chemicals given off by plants that are besieged by hungry insects and it means that there is food nearby for the wasp's grubs - caterpillars. The wasp tracks the smell to its source - a flower - and while it…
These stories about the Humboldt squid invasion off the California coast keep turning up — the latest from the San Jose Mercury News is broadly informative, and even cites a fresh new paper in PNAS. The work correlates the depth range of the squid with that of the Pacific hake, and also shows a…
Image credit: (c) 2003 MBARI, A pair of Humboldt squid hunting in Monterey Bay. Over the last five years, large, predatory Humboldt squid have moved north from equatorial waters and invaded the sea off Central California, where they may be decimating populations of Pacific hake, an important…