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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Noise pollution in the ocean damages cephalopods’ auditory structures

Pollution is not limited to toxic chemicals in the air and water—light pollution in urban environments, for example, has been shown to affect the mating rituals of some birds. Research has also shown that noise pollution in the oceans alters the behavior and communication of marine life such as dolphins and whales that depend on sound for daily activities. And a recent study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment...

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From the Community: December Edition

The following links highlight ecology from the month of December, but there are several science-related end-of-year lists floating around as well. For example, The Guardian released a review of 2010 wildlife photographic awards, Scientific American’s podcast 60-Second Earth highlighted Earth stories in 2010, Ed Yong is posting a series of 2010 research themed articles on his blog Not Exactly Rocket Science—such as a recent post on...

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Mechanized planet? Where geoengineering stands

This post contributed by Monica Kanojia, Administrative Assistant/Governance for ESA While the United Nation’s climate conference has concluded in Cancun, Mexico, discussions continue on methods for mitigating the adverse effects of climate change—one option some scientists and engineers have turned to is altering nature itself. These geoengineering proposals involve the large scale modification of the Earth’s climate with the goal of...

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From the Community: street lamps, traffic lights and nuclear energy

Songbirds become disoriented by street lamps, plants adapt to the conditions near Chernobyl, a newly discovered spider spins gigantic webs with the strongest known biological material in the world, traffic light experiment shows promise of reducing emissions and easing traffic congestion and researchers discuss the Daily Show with Jon Stewart as an outlet for communicating science to the public. Here are some of the latest stories in...

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ESA Policy News: August 10

Here are some highlights from the final ESA Policy News by Piper Corp, ESA’s outgoing Science Policy Analyst. Thanks, Piper, for keeping EcoTone readers informed about policy for the last couple of years and for your many other insightful posts. We will miss you! Read the full Policy News here. SENATE: REID TAKES CAP-AND-TRADE, OFF THE TABLE FOR NOW, DELAYS VOTE ON SMALLER ENERGY BILL UNTIL SEPTEMBER In the weeks leading up to the...

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