Environment News

Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 20:53

The first genotyping of grey squirrels sampled from Italy and the UK shows a direct link between their genetic diversity and their ability to invade new environments.In this new study, published in Diversity and Distributions, an international team of scientists from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London compared 12 DNA markers from grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Piedmont in Northern Italy with the same markers from squirrel populations in Northern Ireland, Northumberland and East Anglia. 

Monday, June 2, 2014 - 11:00

It's no surprise that seabirds are attracted to fishing boats, and especially to the abundance of discards that find their way back into the ocean. But researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 2 now find that those boats influence bird behavior over much longer distances than scientists had expected.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 06:26

The Greenland Ice Sheet experienced widespread surface melt in dry zone areas most recently in 1889 and 2012. A study conducted by scientists at Dartmouth College and the Desert Research Institute questioned the reason that dry snow didn’t melt in hotter years such as 2007 or 2010. Accordingly, the researchers hypothesized that the albedo of the snow combined with warm temperatures were responsible for the melting.


Monday, May 12, 2014 - 10:09

The Dead Sea, with its’ highly hypersaline habitat, is one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth for supporting life.  Yet a few hardy life forms manage to survive there. One of these is the fungus Eurotium rubrum (Eurotiomycetes). Better understanding of this species could not only advance our understanding of how organisms evolve to adapt to high-stress conditions but also help to improve crop salt tolerance. This cause has been advanced by the results of a paper on adaptive strategies of E. rubrum based on analysis of the organism’s genome and the RNA transcripts that arise from the genes (the transcriptome) to allow proteins to be coded.


Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 09:20

We are warned to beware of ‘crocodile tears’ but in nature they apparently help satisfy the need of insects for essential minerals. When aquatic ecologist Carlos de la Rosa observed a butterfly (Dryas iulia) and a bee (Centris sp.) sipping tears from a crocodile (Caiman crocodilus) on the banks of the Río Puerto Viejo in northeastern Costa Rica, he captured the moment on film. The observation prompted Dr de la Rosa to ask why the insects might be behaving in this way. The answer is that they are probably seeking difficult-to-source minerals such as salt, as well as a boost of protein.