Researchers at the University of California, Riverside and Purdue University are one step closer to developing super strong composite materials, thanks to the mantis shrimp, a small, multicolored marine crustacean that crushes the shells of its prey using a fist-like appendage called a dactyl club. Their latest research, to be published in the journal Advanced Materials, describes for the first time a unique herringbone structure, not previously reported in nature, within the appendage's outer layer.
The hydrothermal vents and methane seeps on the ocean floor that were once thought to be geologic and biological oddities are now emerging as a major force in ocean ecosystems, marine life and global climate. And through their methane consumption, the life forms living at these vents are helping to prevent potentially catastrophic greenhouse problems.
At least 50 percent of the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills is burned every three to four years or less frequently and is susceptible to becoming shrubland if fire frequencies are not increased.
The vibrations and pulses that male fiddler crabs produce when they are trying to lure females into their burrows to mate are surprisingly informative. These signals serve as a type of 'Morse code' that the females decipher to learn more about the size and stamina of their suitors. This is according to a study by Japanese researchers Fumio Takeshita of Nagasaki University and Minoru Murai of the University of the Ryukyu, published in Springer's journal The Science of Nature.
A new blood test to detect Mycobacteria in blood has been developed by a team at The University of Nottingham. The researchers have used this new method to show that cattle diagnosed with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) have detectable levels of the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) in their blood which causes this disease. The research paper is available on request.
A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.
A tiny marine crustacean with a great big claw has shown that not only does size matter, but left or right-handedness (or in this case, left or right-clawedness) is important too.
A weedy plant found on the roadside in northern Australia has stems ripe for biofuel production. Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls at the University of Adelaide have discovered that a variety of sorghum growing wild in Australia, Arun, has the potential to yield over 10,000 liters of bioethanol per hectare per year.
Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have found that contaminants from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed. In a new study, they detailed how remnants of the oil, black carbon from burning oil slicks and contaminants from drilling mud combined with microscopic algae and other marine debris to descend in a 'dirty blizzard' to the seafloor.
Researchers have helped discover why the inhabitants of Madagascar speak Malagasy, a language otherwise unique to Southeast Asia and the Pacific -- a region located at least 6,000 km away. An international research team has identified that ancient crop remains excavated from sites in Madagascar are of Asian species.