Biology News

Urban Heat Boosts Some Pest Populations 200-Fold, Killing Red Maples Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 13:12

New research from North Carolina State University shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect – a significant tree pest – by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.

 

For Corals Adapting to Climate Change, It’s Survival of the Fattest—and Most Flexible Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 05:36

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat—and to be flexible about the type of algae it cooperates with. In the first study of its kind, scientists at The Ohio State University discovered that corals—tiny reef-forming animals that live symbiotically with algae—are better able to recover from yearly bouts of heat stress, called “bleaching,” when they keep large energy reserves—mostly as fat—socked away in their cells.

 

Computer simulations show how two knots on a DNA strand can interchange their positions Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 15:46

Physicists of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) have been able with the aid of computer simulations to confirm and explain a mechanism by which two knots on a DNA strand can interchange their positions

 

Quantum Theory Reveals Puzzling Pattern in How People Respond to Some Surveys Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 06:58

Researchers used quantum theory – usually invoked to describe the actions of subatomic particles – to identify an unexpected and strange pattern in how people respond to survey questions.

How bats use swimming pools Monday, June 16, 2014 - 20:51

As spring turns to summer, many of us enjoy the longer days by lingering on our back porches or sitting by the pool.Bats It's the latter on which researchers at the Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation at Indiana State University are focusing. They would like the public's help in understanding how bats use swimming pools. A nationwide survey is now available online, so if you own, use or manage a swimming pool, you can provide valuable information. Even if you have never seen a bat near your pool, that's important, researchers say.

Emotional contagion sweeps Facebook, finds new study Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 19:44

When it hasn't been your day – your week, your month, or even your year – it might be time to turn to Facebook friends for a little positive reinforcement. According to a new study by social scientists at Cornell University, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Facebook, emotions can spread among users of online social networks.

A new study investigates the role of cells’ alignment in shaping biological tissue Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 19:31

A team of European scientists has now extended a previous biophysical model to investigate elongated growth within biological tissues by describing the evolution over time of the shape of a fruit fly’s wing. They found the aspect ratio of the typical biological shapes may exhibit a maximum at finite time and then decrease. For sufficiently large tissues, the shape is expected to approach that of a disk or sphere. These findings have been reported by Carles Blanch-Mercader from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues, in a paper published in EPJ E. They provide a more general classification than previously available of the different types of morphologies a tissue can be expected to attain, depending on its initial size and its physical properties.

Study amplifies hypothesis that human language builds on birdsong and speech forms of other primates Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 21:35

On the island of Java, in Indonesia, the silvery gibbon, an endangered primate, lives in the rainforests. In a behavior that’s unusual for a primate, the silvery gibbon sings: It can vocalize long, complicated songs, using 14 different note types, that signal territory and send messages to potential mates and family.