Pika found to be flourishing in the Sierra Nevada region, bird migration patterns suggest mosquitoes are to blame for spreading West Nile and mice courtship rituals could shed light on autism. Here are news stories and studies on ecological science from the first week in March:
Pika populations perking up: At least in the Sierra Nevada and southwestern Great Basin where American Pikas, rabbit-like mammals, are buffered from warming global temperatures in the rock formations. Read more in “American Pika are thriving in the Sierra Nevada and southwestern Great Basin.”
Birds removed from West Nile equation: A study from the journal Molecular Ecology found that mosquitoes, not birds as previously thought, were responsible for spreading West Nile virus. After analyzing bird migration patterns and mosquito movement, scientists found that mosquitoes were probably responsible for spreading the virus from coast to coast in just five years. Listen to the podcast “Mosquitoes, Not Birds, Made West Nile National” for more.
5 women with an eco-impact: To kick off Women’s History Month the Mother Nature Network has listed five leading women in the environmental movement. Making the list are scientists Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall. Read more in “5 women who made eco-history.”
Of mice and mating: Among the many courtship rituals in the animal world, scientists have found that male mice emit a high-pitch vocalization to attract their mates. The researchers believe studying the variations in communications techniques could help autism research as well. Read more in “Male Mice Sing Ultrasonic Love Songs.”
U.K. soil sees more bugs: After analyzing soil and comparing it to data from 10 years ago, U.K. scientists discovered the soil has seen a 47% increase in invertebrates. On the other hand, it seems the overall biodiversity in the soil has fallen. Read more in “Number of bugs in Britain’s soil rises by nearly 50% in 10 years.”