Population geneticists at Bielefeld University and the British Antarctic Survey have found that eleven seal species only narrowly escaped extinction. Their study has been published today in Nature Communications.
Demand for biofuels to fight climate change clouds the future for biodiversity, says the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The demand could cause a 10- to 30-fold expansion of green energy-related agricultural land use, adding crushing pressure on habitat for plants and animals and undermining the essential diversity of species on Earth. Anne Larigauderie made the remarks at a major UN biodiversity meeting in Egypt.
In collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, a research group from the UPV/EHU's Plentzia Marine Station has studied the bivalves in the mangroves on both coasts of Nicaragua in order to analyse how they are affected by the pollution brought down by the rivers. That way, it will be possible to use them as sentinels or indicators of environmental changes. The research has been published by the journal Science of the Total Environment.
A study led by researchers of the UB quantifies the presence of textile microfibers in south European marine floors. They analysed the amount of these colored fibers, which vary between 3 to 8 mm but are extremely fine, with less than a 0.1 mm diameter, and which come mainly from washing machines. The results show the dominance of cellulosic fibers over synthetic polymers, and highlight several oceanographic processes pile and transport microfibers to marine hollows.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have mapped the regions of the brain in mormyrid fish in extremely high detail. The new measurements can help illuminate longstanding questions in neuroanatomy. As brains get bigger, do all regions of the brain scale up in a predictable way? Or does natural selection act independently on separate regions of the brain -- such that certain parts of the brain become enlarged in animals that have extra reasons to use them?
Male salmon are maturing earlier and becoming smaller, and it shows in their genes. This was the discovery of a study that examined scale samples from salmon over a 40-year period, and looked at the population genetic profile of a gene that determines salmon's age of maturity and size. The results show that the 'big salmon gene version' has become rarer in the population over time, and has been replaced by the 'small salmon gene version'.
What if we could observe genes firing off signals to cause some behaviors? We're getting closer. Researchers were able to directly match gene regulation with ritual mating behavior in fish. Their research field may also give some insight into autism spectrum disorder.
Many people see the carbon cycle as vertical -- CO2 moving up and down between soil, plants and the atmosphere. However, new Michigan State University research published in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters, adds a dimension to the vertical perspective by showing how water moves massive amounts of carbon laterally through ecosystems -- especially during floods. These findings -- which analyzed more than 1,000 watersheds, covering about 75 percent of the contiguous US -- have implications for climate change and water quality.
When the Rhizostoma luteum jellyfish was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, only nine specimens were identified. For years, it was so inconspicuous that later, in the 20th century, it failed to turn up for six decades. A team of scientists, with the help of a citizen initiative, has now confirmed that it is not really as difficult to find as previously believed.
Marine fishes rely on their sensory systems to survive. A study is the first to quantify the physiological effects of whole crude oil on the olfactory function of a marine vertebrate -- the Atlantic stingray. Results of the study, confirm that exposure to crude oil, at concentrations mimicking those measured in coastal areas following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, significantly impaired olfactory function in the Atlantic stingray after just 48 hours of exposure.