Biology

Flowering phenology of spring ephemerals in the Appalachians

The historical records of when plant species burst into flower can highlight changes in seasonal events (phenology) that may mirror ecosystem responses to climate change. A team of four researchers, Jim Anderson (Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources at West Virginia University), Lori Petrauski (Field Ecologist for the National Ecological Observatory Network), Sheldon Owen (Extension Wildlife Specialist for the West […]

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Biology

A butterfly’s point of view: Contest or sex recognition?

For many years it was thought that when butterflies chase other males, this is a form of contest behaviour over territory. However, Dr Tsuyoshi Takeuchi from Osaka Prefecture University and his team sought to interrogate the literature to see if a more simple and more likely option could be provided. Their ‘Erroneous Courtship Model’ states that the male butterflies are […]

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Biology

New synthetic biology method revolutionises DNA cloning

Since the dawn of humanity, we have been modifying and altering the natural environment to suit our needs, from domestication of animals and plants to the modification of landscapes. Using synthetic biology, Dr Jeff Braman and Dr Peter Sheffield at Agilent Technologies, Inc. have developed a new method to assemble DNA. Their approach allows seamless assembly of independent, functionally tested, […]

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Biology

Could functional oils solve the antibiotic resistance problem?

Antibiotics have traditionally been used to control disease in farmed animals, such as broiler chickens and cattle. However, with the rise in antibiotic resistance, many countries have banned the use of antibiotics in this way. Dr Joan Torrent and his colleagues at Oligo Basics, of Cascavel, Paraná, Brazil, are investigating novel alternatives to antibiotics. They are focusing their efforts on plant-derived functional […]

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Biology

Growing soybean in Canada: Collaborative genomics research

The collaborative research initiative, SoyaGen, was launched officially in October 2015 to develop soybean as a valuable and viable crop in Canada. François Belzile and Richard Bélanger of the Université Laval, Québec, co-lead this ambitious project involving six research institutions. Supported by Genome Canada, Génome Québec, the Western Grain Research Foundation and fourteen other partners, the project also includes grower […]

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Biology

Unravelling the secrets of the cell with suspended microchannel resonators

Researchers can learn much about the properties of many materials simply by weighing them. In cell biology, repeatedly measuring the mass of a cell reveals how fast the cell grows. However, this is very challenging: the mass of a single-cell is extremely difficult to measure with enough accuracy and without perturbing the cell. The laboratory of Dr Scott Manalis at […]

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Biology

Poultry science: chicken & egg

Production of poultry meat and egg comprise a significant part of the economy throughout Alabama. At Auburn University, the Department of Poultry Science in the College of Agriculture conducts research to aid local, national, as well as many different international poultry industries. Emeritus Professor Edwin Moran’s efforts typify the broad scope of work being performed in the Department. In one […]

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Biology

Non-native lake trout suppression: A fisheries restoration success story

Introduction of non-native species can cause severe disruption to ecosystems. A rapid growth in lake trout numbers in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho threatened both native species conservation and the popular recreational fishery on the lake. This prompted Andrew M. Dux, Matthew P. Corsi and colleagues at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, along with Michael J. Hansen of the […]

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Biology

The great grunion run: Monitoring grunion runs to inform conservation

Grunion runs describe the unusual breeding behaviour of the California grunion, which come ashore on sandy beaches to spawn. Fertilised eggs then incubate in the sand and only hatch when scouring waves from the next spring tide reveal them. These life history traits leave both adult fish and eggs vulnerable to negative human impacts. Professor Karen L. M. Martin from […]

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Biology

Legumes can help to eliminate trace element deficiency in Africa

Nutrient-poor soils in Africa is a pressing issue. As a result, many people in the African continent suffer from nutrient deficiency due to not being able to access nutritious foods. This is what makes the work of Professor Felix D. Dakora of Tshwane University of Technology so important. His pioneering research into finding foods that will enable increased nutrient consumption […]

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