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Animals Current Events and Animals News from Brightsurf

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Damage encourages maple species to become female, Rutgers study finds

Thu, 22 Feb 18 00:01:40 -0800

Jennifer Blake-Mahmud reports that striped maples not only change their sex periodically, but that they can wait until the last minute - three weeks before flowering - to do it. The switch appears to be triggered by physical damage, which can prompt a branch to flower female if it's cut off a male tree.

Evolutionary origin of termite gut microbiome revealed

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:13:20 -0800

Researchers have shown that the bacterial communities in termite guts came about through both inheritance and transfer between colonies.

Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected

Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:02:50 -0800

In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating.

Australian fire beetle avoids the heat

Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:05:30 -0800

The Australian jewel beetle Merimna atrata has several heat sensors. Originally it was thought that it uses them to detect forest fires as the insect lays its eggs in the wood of burned eucalyptus trees. Researchers at the University of Bonn were finally able to refute this hypothesis. Instead, the beetle appears to need its heat sensors for a different purpose: to not burn its feet on landing. The study has now been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Research identifies 'evolutionary rescue' areas for animals threatened by climate change

Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:09:10 -0800

As winters arrive later and snow melts earlier, the worldwide decrease in snow cover already may have dramatic impacts on animals that change coat colors with the seasons. An international scientific team led by University of Montana Professor L. Scott Mills has set out to discover whether adaptive evolution can rescue these animals in the face of rapidly changing climate.

Study links fox domestication to gene activity in the pituitary gland

Wed, 14 Feb 18 00:02:10 -0800

A study of foxes offers new insights into the brain changes that occur in wild canids as they become more tame, researchers report. The study links fox domestication to changes in gene activity in the pituitary gland, a brain center that kicks out hormones to regulate various bodily functions, including the stress response.

When it comes to extinction, body size matters

Tue, 13 Feb 18 00:13:10 -0800

Models for extinction risk are necessarily simple. Most reduce complex ecological systems to a linear relationship between resource density and population growth -- something that can be broadly applied to infer how much resource loss a species can survive. This week in Nature Communications, an interdisciplinary team of scientists proposes a more nuanced model for extinction that also shows why animal species tend to evolve toward larger body sizes.

#EpicDuckChallenge shows we can count on drones

Tue, 13 Feb 18 00:13:40 -0800

A few thousand rubber ducks, a group of experienced wildlife spotters and a drone have proven the usefulness and accuracy of drones for wildlife monitoring. A University of Adelaide study showed that monitoring wildlife using drones is more accurate than traditional counting approaches.

Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs

Mon, 12 Feb 18 00:00:10 -0800

An international team of researchers have discovered egg cases of deep-sea fish near hydrothermal vents. The team believes that deep-sea skates, a relative of sharks and rays, use the warm water near the vents to accelerate the typically years-long incubation time of their eggs.

New study highlights the impact companion animals have on owners

Fri, 09 Feb 18 00:02:50 -0800

A new study, published in BMC Psychiatry, conducted by researchers from the universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton, suggests that pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions.

Dairy calves are natural optimists or pessimists, just like us

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:03:20 -0800

Some calves are inherently optimistic or pessimistic, just as humans are, a new University of British Columbia study has found. The study also assessed fearfulness through standard personality tests, and found that fearfulness and pessimism are closely related.

New technology could reduce spread of antibiotic resistance genes through compost

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:03:10 -0800

Scientists at the University of York have found a way to remove antibiotic resistant genes from industrial compost, which could prevent them entering the food chain.

Termites' unique gut 'factory' key to global domination

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:06:50 -0800

Termites have achieved ecological dominance and now some ingredients for their success have been determined to lie in their unique gut microbiome 'factories' -- which enable the creatures to eat wood and other material relatively free of competition. New research shows the majority of termite gut microorganisms is not found in any other animals and that they are not only inherited from parents but are also shared across colonies and among distantly related termite species.

Stem cell research provides hope for tasmanian devils with a deadly, transmissible cancer

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:14:40 -0800

Using stem cell therapy, Morris Animal Foundation-funded researcher Dr. Deanne Whitworth and her colleagues at the University of Queensland, have taken the first step toward developing an effective treatment for devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), which is decimating Tasmanian devils in the wild. The team's findings were recently published in Stem Cells and Development.

AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:15:00 -0800

Researchers at the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society have long been applying AI to protect wildlife. Initially, computer scientists were using AI and game theory to anticipate the poachers' haunts, and now they have applied artificial intelligence and deep learning to spot poachers in near real-time.

Neanderthals' lack of drawing ability may relate to hunting techniques

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:02:10 -0800

Visual imagery used in drawing regulates arm movements in manner similar to how hunters visualize the arc of a spear.

The robots will see you now

Wed, 07 Feb 18 00:16:30 -0800

Researchers tapped advances in real-time tracking software and robotics to design and test the first closed-loop control system featuring a bioinspired robotic replica interacting in three dimensions with live zebrafish. The system allows the robotic replica to both 'see' and mimic the behavior of live zebrafish in real time. Robots previously have been deployed alongside live animals to better understand animal behavior but the encounters were unidirectional.

Scientists unlock the molecular secret behind long-lived bat species

Wed, 07 Feb 18 00:05:20 -0800

Scientists have identified part of the molecular mechanism that gives long-lived bat species their extraordinary lifespans compared to other animals. The findings published in the journal Science Advances point to the protective structures at the end of chromosomes, called telomeres. According to the international team of scientists, in the longest-lived species of bats (Myotis) telomeres don't shorten with age. Whereas in other bats species, humans and other animals they do causing the age-related breakdown of cells.

Can interrupting a cell's power source after injury protect against post-traumatic osteoarthritis?

Wed, 07 Feb 18 00:04:40 -0800

Can interrupting a cell's power source after injury protect against post-traumatic osteoarthritis?

Influence of increasing carbon dioxide levels on the seabed

Wed, 07 Feb 18 00:12:40 -0800

Subseabed CO2 storage is a potential future climate change mitigation technology. In a holistic approach, this study presents how leaking CO2 affects sandy seabed habitats and their inhabitants. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen discovered that increased CO2 levels drastically alter the ecosystem. Most of the animals inhabiting the site disappeared due to the effect of the leaking CO2. The functioning of the ecosystem was disrupted also in the long-term.

Evolutionary biology: Sponges can economize on oxygen use

Tue, 06 Feb 18 00:07:50 -0800

Sponges lack a signaling pathway that responds to low intracellular oxygen levels in more complex animals. Do they use a different mechanism for this purpose or did their earliest ancestors evolve at a time when less oxygen was available?

Ray-finned fishes: Natural born survivors

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:07:10 -0800

Scientists from the University of Bristol have revealed that ray-finned fishes are perhaps one of Earth's most resilient groups of animals, having survived four mass extinction events that wiped out many other groups.

Understanding pain exacerbation with Opioid use

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:00:30 -0800

A new study published in JNeurosci advances understanding of how the potent opioid analgesic fentanyl can increase pain sensitivity in animals. These findings could inform the development of treatments for chronic pain that minimize the side effects of these powerful pain-relieving drugs.

Novel research approach sheds light on how midsize predators interact

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:07:00 -0800

A novel research approach has resulted in a key step toward better protecting the fisher, an important forest predator that findings show is the dominant small carnivore when present.

New study underscores tuberculosis risk for working elephants

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:10:30 -0800

Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers recently found approximately 17 percent of working African elephants at several Zimbabwe ecotourism facilities tested positive for tuberculosis antibodies. The findings are a red flag for researchers as infected elephants potentially can pass the disease on to humans and other species with which they come in contact, including wild elephants.

In wine, there's health: Low levels of alcohol good for the brain

Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:09:50 -0800

While a couple of glasses of wine can help clear the mind after a busy day, new research shows that it may actually help clean the mind as well. The new study, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, shows that low levels of alcohol consumption tamp down inflammation and helps the brain clear away toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Cichlids: Paler in the face of the enemy

Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:12:40 -0800

Male cichlids that are constantly threatened by predators grow faster and postpone the full expression of conspicuous breeding coloration for longer. This is shown by a study by biologists from the University of Bonn. Thereby, the animals reduce their risk of becoming prey. However, at the peak of their sexual maturity the animals give up their retarded breeding coloration: Even under risky conditions, they then vie for their potential sexual partners with magnificent colors.

Increasing loss of spring sea ice taxes polar bear metabolism

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:05:20 -0800

Tracking polar bears during the spring -- their prime hunting season, when sea ice conditions should be ideal -- reveals that in recent years, many bears are expending notably more energy than they are consuming.

House dust mites evolved a new way to protect their genome

Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:06:20 -0800

House dust mites are common pests with an unusual evolutionary history. They are tiny, free-living animals that evolved from a parasitic ancestor, which in turn evolved from free-living organisms millions of years ago.

MSU biliogists: Bryozoans, brachiopods, and phoronida originate from the common ancestor

Tue, 30 Jan 18 00:12:00 -0800

An associate of the Faculty of Biology of Lomonosov Moscow State University studied the nervous system of adult phoronida using modern methods and presented new facts in the long-lasting discussion about the taxonomy of invertebrates proving that phoronids, barchiopods, and bryozoans are relatives despite earlier arguments. The results of the work were published in Scientific Reports. The study was carried out within the framework of the 'Noah's Ark' project supported with a grant of Russian Science Foundation (RSF).

Urban foxes and coyotes learn to set aside their differences and coexist

Tue, 30 Jan 18 00:00:20 -0800

Diverging from centuries of established behavioral norms, red fox and coyote have gone against their wild instincts and learned to coexist in the urban environment of Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, according to a recently published study in the journal PLOS One.