Trust your gut, it controls more than you may know

Most people are familiar with the role of DNA: A set of genetic instructions on how a particular living organism should function. This nucleic acid has been widely explored as a way to identify individuals, define illnesses or hereditary diseases and contribute to behavior, among many other clues about an individual. However, there may be another complex feature of human anatomy that influences many surprising aspects of human...

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From the Community: Parasitic wasps, flamingo pigment and spiny anteaters

Altered behavior in caterpillars carrying wasp eggs, preliminary thoughts on the 2010 election results, monitoring climate change from Mount Everest to Baffin Bay, insight into drug-resistant bacteria mutations and origins of the Black Death. Here is the latest in ecological science for the first week in November. Wasp hosts: The above video, featured on the blog Southern Fried Science for the Biodiversity Wednesday segment, and...

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From the Community: the wisdom of birds, felines and spores

Tim Birkhead explains what song bird research can contribute to human health, Surprising Science describes the evolution of a feline’s roar (or meow), a Geophysical Research Letters study assesses the world’s dwindling groundwater supply, Nature News interviews Gabriela Chavarria—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s top science adviser—and Chris Palmer’s book reveals faking in nature videos. Here are stories in ecology from the last...

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From the Community: space bacteria, chimeras and sea turtles

Citizen scientist notices thousands of birds trapped in the lights of this year’s 9/11 memorial in New York City, endangered turtles get a second chance in Florida, flu viruses last longer in cool, dry environments, a blogger sets up a serendipitous research collaboration and the Potomac River shows signs of improvement due to aquatic conservation efforts. Here is research in ecology from mid-September. NYC bird confusion: John...

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Spontaneous fermentation: the role of microorganisms in beer

The four main ingredients in most modern beer recipes are water, a starch such as barley (usually malted), hops and yeast. And each ingredient has a very specific role in the brewing process. Any home brewer knows that the quality of the water used in brewing beer can significantly impact the flavor of the finished product. For example, excessive amounts of fluoride in the tap water can alter the flavor (and then some) of beer, not to...

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Water pollution turns microbes virulent

An idyllic lake turns threatening when heavy rainfall causes a sewage treatment plant to overflow. Within 24 hours, once-benign microbes turn into virulent pathogens, breeding incessantly and attacking the embryos of lake fish. As much as that may sound like the synopsis of a movie on Mystery Science Theater, this is an impact on lake ecosystems that is actually occurring. It is widely accepted that nutrient enrichment and pollution...

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From the Community: Ecology influencing art

Architects, ecologists and urban planners design projects to tackle upcoming waterfront property issues in New York City due to rising sea levels from climate change, zebra finches play electric guitar as they go about their routines in a London exhibit and bacteria colonies produce intricate Petri dish art. Here is what’s happening in ecology for the last week in March: Sonar music: Artist Renaud Hallée finds inspiration in sonar to...

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