From the Community: cricket sex, vertical farms and H1N1 resistance
Scientists document cricket predation and reproduction, protestors cancel Oscar-winning anti-dolphin-hunting documentary in two Tokyo theaters, study describes the process of developing resistance to H1N1 treatments and researchers debate the possibility of achieving sustainable agriculture worldwide. Here is ecology in the news from the first week in June.
Cricket encounters: Evolutionary ecologist Tom Tregenza of the University of Exeter in Penryn, Cornwall tested the validity of cricket mating rituals and sexual selection in the wild—versus the well-documented behaviors from lab experiments. Using surveillance cameras (see above video), Tregenza monitored the crickets’ lives in the wild; using DNA sequencing, he traced their lineage. Read more at Nature News or Wired Science.
Future farms: According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, nearly doubling global demands on food and livestock feed. Discover Magazine looks at the challenges associated with increased food demand and one of the proposed solutions: vertical farming. Read more and view the photo gallery of building designs at “Vertical Farms: High Hopes for Feeding the Future.”
Film protests: Conservatives in Tokyo have successfully pressured two local theaters into canceling the screening of an Oscar-winning anti-dolphin-hunting film “The Cove” (see above video)—the protestors picketed and called the theaters claiming the film had anti-Japanese sentiments. Japan’s government and conservatives argue dolphin-hunting is an important cultural tradition; the film’s activists claim that the documentary is not anti-Japan but anti-animal-cruelty. Read more at “Dolphin hunt film screenings cancelled in Tokyo.”
H1N1 resistance: A study in Science explains the process by which the H1N1 virus became resistant to Tamiflu, an over-the-counter treatment that binds to an important protein in the virus. As Not Exactly Rocket Science described, “Resistant strains have a mutation in their neuraminidase gene, which changes a single amino acid in the protein’s sequence. This changes the structure of the protein so that Tamiflu no longer sticks to it.” Read more at “How drug-resistant flu took us by surprise.”
The ongoing disaster: BP reports that a cap installed last week over the leaking pipe is capturing approximately 10,500 barrels of oil; however, video footage (see above video) clearly shows oil continuing to flow in enormous quantities into the Gulf of Mexico. In a Washington Post article, Adm. Thad W. Allen said “the company is working to increase the production so that it can finish slowly closing vents in the containment cap that are allowing oil to billow out.” For a live video and news feed of the Deep Horizon oil leak, visit WKRG.com Live Oil Spill Cam.
Also, testing Darwin’s naturalization hypothesis, debating sustainable food security, corals buffering Pacific islands from rising sea levels, weighing in on the environmental impact of eggs and two new species of frogs discovered amidst amphibian plague.