Humans are not the only social animal struggling with new infectious diseases. This review examines the behavioral responses to emerging diseases across the animal kingdom from frogs and wolves to lobsters, bats, and humans. The paper also addresses whether or not technology helps when it comes to dealing with humans and social distancing.
Research by INRS (Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique) Professor Salim Timo Islam has revealed that multicellular physiology in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus--a bacterium that can actively reorganize its community according to the environment in which it is found--is modulated by the secretion of two natural sugar polymers in separate zones of a swarm. Results from their research, done in collaboration with an international team, have been published in the journal PLOS Biology.
Scientists have been warning about an 'insect apocalypse' in recent years, noting sharp declines in specific areas -- particularly in Europe. A new study shows these warnings may have been exaggerated and are not representative of what's happening to insects on a larger scale.
Perturbations in the environment are common, and communities consisting of several species seem to find their way around the crisis. Species immigration is beneficial for community recovery.
Introduced species can become invasive, damaging ecosystems and disrupting economies through explosive population growth. One mechanism underlying population expansion in invasive populations is 'enemy release', whereby the invader experiences relaxation of agonistic interactions with other species, including parasites.
A new publication on the impacts of deep-seabed mining by 13 prominent deep-sea biologists, led by University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, seeks to dispel scientific misconceptions that have led to miscalculations of the likely effects of commercial operations to extract minerals from the seabed.
The National Park Service (NPS) requested that the American Ornithological Society (AOS) assemble an expert panel to produce an independent report assessing the appropriateness of the current NPS beach management plan for the barrier islands of North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In this new report, AOS finds evidence that, despite complaints from the public, the restrictions on recreational use provide significant benefits for vulnerable beach-nesting birds and sea turtles.
A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor. Melissa Hubisz and Amy Williams of Cornell University and Adam Siepel of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory report these findings in a study published 6th August in PLOS Genetics.
One million years ago, the extinction of large-bodied plant-eaters changed the trajectory of life on Earth. The disappearance of these large herbivores reshaped plant life, altered fire regimes across Earth's landscapes, and modified biogeochemical cycling in such a way that Earth's climate became slightly colder.
Ecologists at the University of Turku, Finland, have discovered that the food hoards pygmy owls collect in nest-boxes ("freezers") for winter rot due to high precipitation caused by heavy autumn rains and if the hoarding has been initiated early in the autumn. The results of the study show that climate change may impair predators' foraging and thus decrease local overwinter survival. The study has been published in the internationally esteemed Global Change Biology journal.