Ecology News

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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Study Reveals Why Life in Earth’s Early Oceans Increased in Size

January 24, 2014

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Biologists Reveal Why Early Life Began to Get Larger in Earths Oceans

A newly published study examined the earliest communities of large multicellular organisms in the fossil record, revealing why life in Earth’s early oceans increased in size. Why did life forms first begin to get larger and what advantage did this increase in size provide? UCLA biologists working with an international team of scientists examined the […]

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Scientists Discover Life in the Sediments of an Antarctic Subglacial Lake

September 11, 2013

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Researchers Discover Life in the Sediments of an Antarctic Subglacial Lake

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey have discovered evidence of diverse life forms in the sediments of an Antarctic subglacial lake for the first time. Evidence of diverse life forms dating back nearly a hundred thousand years has been found in subglacial lake sediments by a group of British scientists. The possibility that extreme life […]

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Scientists Detail the Evolutionary Success of Spiny-Rayed Fishes

July 16, 2013

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Researchers Detail the Evolutionary Success of Spiny Rayed Fishes

In a newly published study, Yale University researchers detail the evolutionary history of the 18,000 species of spiny-rayed fishes, finding close evolutionary relationships between lineages of fish species and suggesting some fish lineages are experiencing high rates of new species origination. Even as the dinosaurs were becoming extinct 66 million years ago, the ancient ancestor […]

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New Study Links Expanding Human Population to Threats of Animal Extinction

June 19, 2013

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Outlook Grim for Animals as Human Population Grows

A newly published study paints a grim outlook for the future of certain mammals and birds, suggesting that the average growing nation should expect at least 3.3 percent more threatened species in the next decade and an increase of 10.8 percent species threatened with extinction by 2050. Columbus, Ohio – The ongoing global growth in […]

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Study Suggests Europeans Are Closely Related

May 8, 2013

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Geography of Recent Genetic Ancestry Across Europe

A newly published study suggests that Europeans are closely related, finding on a genealogical level that everyone in Europe traces back to nearly the same set of ancestors only a thousand years ago. From Ireland to the Balkans, Europeans are basically one big family, closely related to one another for the past thousand years, according […]

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Study Reveals Environmental Change Can Trigger Rapid Evolution

April 9, 2013

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Study Shows Environmental Change Can Trigger Rapid Evolution

A new study led by scientists at the University of Leeds shows that short-term ecological change and evolution are intertwined and cannot reasonably be considered separate, finding that populations evolve rapidly in response to environmental change and population management. Environmental change can drive hard-wired evolutionary changes in animal species in a matter of generations. A […]

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The Effects of Ice Retreat and Biodiversity in the Arctic Deep Sea

April 8, 2013

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The Effects of Ice Retreat and Biodiversity in the Arctic Deep Sea

2012 saw the greatest Arctic ice minimum ever recorded, allowing researchers to document the effects of ice retreat and biodiversity in the Arctic deep sea. The Arctic is one of the habitats undergoing the most radical transformation as a result of climate change. Nobody can predict the effects it will have on biodiversity in the […]

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Biodiversity and Disease Risk for Humans

April 1, 2013

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Biodiversity and Disease Risk for Humans

A newly published study pokes holes in widely accepted theory that connects biodiversity abundance with a reduced disease risk for humans, finding that the links between biodiversity and disease prevalence are variable and dependent on the disease system, local ecology and probably human social context. More than three quarters of new, emerging or re-emerging human […]

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Proof That the Olfactory System of Fruit Flies is Based on Self-Regulation of Odorant Receptors

March 19, 2013

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Insect Odorant Receptors Regulate Their Own Sensitivity

For the first time, researchers at the Max Planck Institute provide experimental proof that the extremely sensitive olfactory system of fruit flies is based on self-regulation of odorant receptors. Highly developed antennae containing different types of olfactory receptors allow insects to use minute amounts of odors for orientation towards resources like food, oviposition sites or […]

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