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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sweet bribes for ants are key to crops bearing fruit, study shows

Some flowering crops, such as beans and cotton, carefully manage the amount and sweetness of nectar produced on their flowers and leaves, to recruit colonizing ants which deter herbivores. This strategy balances their needs for defense and reproduction.

Scientists work to develop heat-resistant ‘cow of the future’

More than half the cattle in the world live in hot and humid environments, including about 40 percent of beef cows in the United States. By using genomic tools, researchers aim to produce an animal with superior ability to adapt to hot living conditions and produce top-quality beef.

Tropical viruses: Coming soon to Europe?

The mosquito-borne viral disease Chikungunya is usually found in tropical areas. Researchers have now discovered how climate change is facilitating the spread of the Chikungunya virus. Even if climate change only progresses moderately – as scientists are currently observing – the risk of infection will continue to increase in many regions of the world through the end of the 21st century. If climate change continues unchecked, the virus could even spread to southern Europe and the United States.

Dune ecosystem modelling

Acacia longifolia, which is native to Australia, is a species which was cultivated in Portugal primarily to stabilize dunes and as an ornamental plant; now it has spread out uncontrollably in Portugal and into many ecosystems around the world. Using the acacia as an example, researchers show that the location has an effect on interaction with other species.

Turtle ‘go-slow zone’ extensions needed

Marine scientists are calling for an extension of go-slow zones in turtle habitats to reduce boat strikes on the threatened creatures.

Lowering health risks of cannabis use with new public health guidelines

Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks. The guidelines are based on a scientific review by an international team of experts.

Tipping points are real: Gradual changes in CO2 levels can induce abrupt climate changes

During the last glacial period, within only a few decades the influence of atmospheric CO2 on the North Atlantic circulation resulted in temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Celsius in Greenland -- as indicated by new climate calculations.

Plants sacrifice ‘daughters’ to survive chilly weather

Plants adopt different strategies to survive the changing temperatures of their natural environments. This is most evident in temperate regions where forest trees shed their leaves to conserve energy during the cold season. In a new study, a team of plant biologists found that some plants may selectively kill part of their roots to survive under cold weather conditions.

Protein mingling under blue light

One of the current challenges in biology is to understand rapidly-changing phenomena. Interestingly, only a small fraction of them is due to proteins acting in isolation, the majority of biological events are regulated by proteins acting together in clusters. Researchers have developed a new tool, called "CRY2clust", to trigger protein cluster formation in response to blue light. This new technique has a much faster response rate and higher sensitivity to light than existent methods.

How eggs got their shapes

The evolution of the amniotic egg -- complete with membrane and shell -- was key to vertebrates leaving the oceans and colonizing the land and air but how bird eggs evolved into so many different shapes and sizes has long been a mystery. Now, an international team of scientists took a quantitative approach to that question and found that adaptations for flight may have been critical drivers of egg-shape variation in birds.

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