Natural selection predicts that mutualisms -- interactions between members of different species that benefit both parties -- should fall apart. Individuals that gain from the cooperation of others but do not reciprocate (so-called cheaters) should arise and destabilize mutualisms. Yet to date, surprisingly little evidence of such cheating or destabilization exists. A team of biologists at the University of California, Riverside, has now found strong evidence of this cheating.
Blackpoll warblers that breed in western North America may migrate up to 12,400 miles roundtrip each year, some crossing the entire North American continent before making a nonstop trans-ocean flight of up to four days to South America. Now a new study led by first author Bill DeLuca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and project lead Ryan Norris at the University of Guelph, Ontario offers details of the feat.
Amidst worldwide talks about 'Insectageddon': the extinction of 40 percent of the world's insects, according to a recent scientific review, a response was published in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology. Its authors point out major flaws in the earlier study: query- and geographically biased summaries; mismatch between objectives and cited literature; and misuse of existing conservation data. Instead of serving as a wake-up call, those would rather compromise the credibility of conservation science, they warn.
Rabbits prefer to eat plants with plenty of DNA, according to a new study by Queen Mary University of London and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
In the Americas, primate species likely to harbor Zika -- and potentially transmit the virus -- are common, abundant, and often live near people. So reports a new study published today in Epidemics. Findings are based on an innovative model developed by a collaborative team of researchers from Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and IBM Research through its Science for Social Good initiative.
Food safety regulations increasingly pressure growers to remove hedgerows, ponds and other natural habitats from farms to keep out pathogen-carrying wildlife and livestock. Yet, this could come at the cost of biodiversity. New research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology encourages the presence of dung beetles and soil bacteria at farms as they naturally suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens before spreading to humans.
A study into the effectiveness of disinfecting birds' nests, carried out by the University of Kent, has led to a breakthrough in the understanding of biosecuity measures for the endangered echo parakeet in Mauritius. The research team found that annual disinfection of parakeet nest sites prior to the breeding season, intended to reduce the spread of infectious disease in endangered parrot species, didn't have the impact conservationists expected leading to recommendation for a different approach.
A research group led by Professor GUO Yalong from the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with SONG Ge, and Sureshkumar Balasubramanian from the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Australia, has revealed that transposable element insertions could potentially help species with limited genetic variation adapt to novel environments.
The back-and-forth relationship between insects and their food plants may drive tropical biodiversity evolution according to work on Barro Colorado Island's 50 hectare plot in Panama.
An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, analyzed video from remote camera-trap devices placed in ape-populated forests throughout Africa to see how wild apes would react to these unfamiliar objects. Responses varied by species, and even among individuals within the same species, but one thing was consistent throughout: the apes definitely noticed the cameras.