According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides. The situation is not as simple as it seems, however, as ecologists at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) have now discovered. Under certain environmental conditions, increased biodiversity can also lead to an ecosystem becoming more unstable.
New research finds that more bacterioplankton utilize vitamin B1 or B1 precursors from their environment than synthesize their own. The researchers also found that B1 availability can directly limit bacterioplankton growth, which could have larger impacts on aquatic microbial food webs, as well as energy and nutrient exchange.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that the swell of infestations of winter ticks -- which attach themselves to moose during the fall and feed throughout the winter -- is the primary cause of an unprecedented 70 percent death rate of calves over a three-year period.
Like people, blue crabs aren't all the same sizes and shapes. Now Rutgers scientists have discovered substantial differences in the body structures of larval crab siblings and among larvae from different mothers. And that can mean the difference between an early death and survival into adulthood for this important commercial and recreational species.
In an extensive and rigorous study of animal life on the Central Arctic Ocean floor, researchers have shown that water depth and food availability influence the species composition, density, and biomass of benthic communities, according to a study published Oct. 17, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
Aerial insectivores -- birds that hunt for insect prey on the wing -- are declining across North America. Conserving these vulnerable species requires a good understanding of the factors impacting them at every stage of life. Two new studies take a deep dive into the demographic factors behind declining populations of tree swallows and show that although specifics may vary between locations, action is needed to address environmental changes affecting these birds across their geographic range.
Unicellular diatoms are able to adapt their behavior to different external stimuli based on an evaluation of their own needs. This was discovered by scientists of the Friedrich Schiller University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, together with partners from Belgium. In experiments, Seminavis robusta diatoms directed their orientation either towards nutrient sources or mating partners, depending on the degree of starvation and the need to mate.
Could bats' cave-dwelling nocturnal habits over eons enhanced their echolocation acoustic abilities, but also spurred their loss of vision? A new study led by Bruno Simões, Emma Teeling and colleagues has examined this question in the evolution of color vision genes across a large and diverse group of bat species.
House mice carrying a specific selfish supergene move from one population to another much more frequently than their peers. This finding of a University of Zurich study shows for the first time that a gene of this type can influence animal migratory behavior. It could help in dealing with invasive plagues of mice.
A new study in the journal Behavioral Ecology suggests that higher water temperature, which increases the aggressiveness of some fish, could lead to better protection of some coral.