Unexpected cannibals
Jul31

Unexpected cannibals

One of many sessions that will focus on species interactions at ESA’s 2013 Annual Meeting by Peter Janetos, ESA public affairs intern Kyle McLean, an Environmental & Conservation Sciences graduate student at North Dakota State University, and his team looked at the two different types of juvenile barred tiger salamanders: the ‘typical’ variety and the rarer, cannibalistic morph.  A morph occurs when the same species exhibits...

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Pollination from the plant’s perspective

If plants had a perspective, they would probably think of pollinators as more than just extra-friendly house guests. That is, plants would be more likely to view pollinators as the mutual friend who likes to set up blind dates. Bees might limit pollen to its use as a protein source for the hive, and birds might devour the flesh of a fruit and eliminate the seed as waste. However, many flowering plants, as Bug Girl pointed out in a...

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Extreme weather, campaigning honeybees and tracking whale sharks

This post contributed by Molly Taylor, ESA Science Writing Intern. Extreme weather: The rare multi-vortex that hit Joplin, Missouri on May 22 has claimed more than 100 lives and destroyed countless homes and buildings. Unfortunately, this is not the only natural disaster to devastate the U.S. this year. According to a recent Washington Post article, this storm season is turning out to be one of the most violent on record. The extreme...

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The evolution of beer yeasts, seedy pants and vampire bat venom-turned medicine

Beer yeasts: Researchers at Lund University in Sweden tracked the history of two yeasts—Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Dekkera bruxellensis—used in alcohol fermentation to pinpoint their role in ethanol production. They found that, around 150 million years ago, competition with other microbes, and the overall increase in sugar-rich fruits, encouraged the yeasts to withstand high ethanol concentrations—an adaptation that would allow them...

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A battle of the sexes: Hummingbird competition and evolution

The intersection of evolution and ecology has risen to become a prominent subfield in both disciplines in recent years, with scientists exploring more and more how interactions among organisms can shape evolution at the population and even species level.  In the May issue of the journal Ecology, Ethan Temeles of Amherst College explores a fascinating relationship between the males and females of one species of hummingbird.  The long,...

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Every plant for itself: A tale of backstabbing fungi

An ericoid mycorrhizal fungus similar to the ones found in rhododendrons. Mycorrhizae are fungi that form mutually beneficial associations with plant roots. The mutualism works like this: The mycorrhiza grows in and around the plant’s root tissue, and its hyphae, or thread-like vegetative parts, serve plants by branching out in the soil and absorbing nutrients that are of importance to the plant. Since the hyphae are often so...

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