Ecology News

Scientists Discover a New Source of Greenhouse Gases

July 15, 2015

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Researchers Discover a New Source of Greenhouse Gases

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry reveal that lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria produce large amounts of nitrous oxide. Inconspicuous creatures surprise with a property that is important for our climate: Lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria release large quantities of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O), also known as laughing gas, and low quantities of […]

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How Scent and Nectar Influence Pollinators and Herbivores

July 13, 2015

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Flowers Use Scent and Nectar to Manipulate Pollinators

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology reveal how flowers use scent and nectar to manipulate pollinators and herbivores. Some pollinators not only provide fertilization services for flowering plants, they also lay their eggs on the plants’ leaves after they have visited the flowers. Voracious caterpillars hatch from these eggs and their enormous […]

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GRACE Reveals That a Third of Big Groundwater Basins Are in Distress

June 17, 2015

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Study Shows a Third of Big Groundwater Basins in Distress

Using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites, two new studies reveal that about one third of Earth’s largest groundwater basins are being rapidly depleted by human consumption. This means that significant segments of Earth’s population are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out, the researchers conclude. The findings are […]

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New Evolution Study Reveals Massive Genome Shift

June 15, 2015

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New Evolution Study Finds Massive Genome Shift in One Generation

By applying the latest tools of genome sequencing and analysis to preserved evidence from experiments carried out at Notre Dame in the 1990s, a new evolution study finds a massive genome shift in one generation. A team of biologists from Rice University, the University of Notre Dame and three other schools has discovered that an […]

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Study Projects How Climate Change Will Affect the Functions Birds in Ecosystems Worldwide

June 10, 2015

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Climate Change Will Affect the Functions Performed by Birds

New research from Yale University projects how climate change will affect the functions performed by birds in ecosystems worldwide. As changing climate reshapes the geographic range of thousands of bird species in the coming decades, ecosystems across wide swaths of the planet may be compromised, a new study warns. Based on environmental projections for the […]

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New Conifer Study Illustrates Twists of Evolution

April 29, 2015

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New Study Illustrates Twists of Evolution

A new study from Brown University examines a specialized pollination mechanism in conifers whose traits are linked through function but not development, exploring how integration influences patterns of trait evolution. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — A new study offers not only a sweeping analysis of how pollination has evolved among conifers but also an […]

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A New Birth Story for Gigantic Marine Lizards That Once Roamed the Oceans

April 10, 2015

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A New Birth Story for a Gigantic Marine Lizard That Once Roamed the Oceans

Paleontologists now believe that mosasaurs gave birth to their young in the open ocean, not on or near shore. They weren’t in the delivery room, but researchers at Yale University and the University of Toronto have discovered a new birth story for a gigantic marine lizard that once roamed the oceans. Thanks to recently identified […]

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Future Supply Risks of Metals and Metalloids

March 24, 2015

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High-Tech Products Face Future Supply Risks

New research from Yale University details the “criticality” of all 62 metals on the Periodic Table of Elements, providing key insights into which materials might become more difficult to find in the coming decades, which ones will exact the highest environmental costs — and which ones simply cannot be replaced as components of vital technologies. […]

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Yale Study Reveals Connection Between Genes That Contribute to Autism

March 10, 2015

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Study Shows Connection Between Key Autism Risk Genes

A newly published study from Yale University reveals an important connection between key autism risk genes in the human brain, a major step toward understanding how brain development goes awry in some individuals with the disorder. The research shows that CHD8, a gene that is strongly linked to autism, acts as a master regulator in […]

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Nanotubular Structures Enable a Direct Exchange of Nutrients Between Bacteria

February 23, 2015

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Bacteria Connect to Each Other Via Nanotubes

New research from the Max Planck Institute shows that some bacteria can form nanotubular structures between single cells that enable a direct exchange of nutrients. It is well-known that bacteria can support each others’ growth and exchange nutrients. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and their colleagues at the […]

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Barb Geometry of Asymmetrical Feathers Sheds Light on Evolution of Flight

February 11, 2015

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Feathers Shed Light on Evolution of Flight

By taking a closer look at feathers representing the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to modern birds, Yale researchers demonstrate a better understand of how feathers facilitate flight in modern birds. The asymmetrical flight feathers of their wings are among the most distinctive features of living birds. But how are these feathers actually constructed, and when […]

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Yale Study Details Recent Shifts in Occurrence, Cause, and Magnitude of Mass Animal Die-Offs

January 13, 2015

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New Research Shows Mass Animal Die-Offs May Be Increasing

A newly published study from Yale University shows that an increase in mass animal die-offs appears to be associated with a rise in disease emergence, biotoxicity, and multiple interacting stressors. Mass die-offs of animals may be increasing in frequency and — for birds, fishes, and marine invertebrates — in severity as well, according to a […]

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Toxic Fruits Increases Fertility in Female Drosophila Sechellia Flies

December 9, 2014

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Dopamine Precursor in Toxic Fruits Increases Fertility

In a new study, researchers from the Max Planck Institute reveal that a dopamine precursor in the toxic fruits of the morinda tree increases fertility in female Drosophila sechellia flies. In the course of evolution, animals have become adapted to certain food sources, sometimes even to plants or to fruits that are actually toxic. The […]

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The Rapid-Fire Evolution of Green Anoles

November 13, 2014

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Native Lizards Show Rapid Fire Evolution

A newly published study from Harvard University found that in just 20 generations in 15 years green anoles evolved larger toe pads equipped with more sticky scales to allow for better climbing. Though it’s often portrayed as a process that takes place over thousands of years, under the right circumstances the evolution of enhanced traits […]

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Research Shows Ancient Kangaroos Likely Preferred Walking to Hopping

October 23, 2014

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Ancient Family of Sthenurine Kangaroos Likely Preferred Walking to Hopping

Based on a rigorous comparative analysis of kangaroo anatomy, biologists at Brown University reveal that the ancient family of sthenurine kangaroos likely preferred walking to hopping. Imagine that a time machine has transported you to the Australian outback 100,000 years ago. As you emerge, you see a huge kangaroo with a round rabbit-like face foraging […]

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Temperature Variability Across the World Alters the Ecological Impacts of Seasons

October 8, 2014

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Study Reveals Climate Change Alters the Ecological Impacts of Seasons

New research from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and the University of Wyoming details how changes in temperature variability across the globe are altering the environment. If more of the world’s climate becomes like that in tropical zones, it could potentially affect crops, insects, malaria transmission, and even confuse migration patterns of birds […]

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Study Reveals the Importance of Tiny Creatures in Structure of Grasslands

October 3, 2014

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Tiny Creatures Play Key Role in Structure of Grasslands

A newly published study reveals the importance of earthworms, beetles, and other tiny creatures to the structure of grasslands and the valuable ecosystem services they provide. When asked to describe a forest or a meadow, most people would probably begin with the plants, the species diversity, or the color of the foliage. They probably wouldn’t […]

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How Tiny Imbalances Result in Massive Phytoplankton Blooms

September 30, 2014

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Ocean Data Shows Plankton Movement

New research details how tiny imbalances in the phytoplankton predator-prey relationship, caused by environmental variability, give rise to massive phytoplankton blooms, having huge impacts on ocean productivity, fisheries and carbon cycling. The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the […]

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