Biology

A new biological approach to control harmful algal blooms

Harmful algal blooms can be extremely destructive for local marine life. The acceleration of geographic expansion and intensity of these blooms on a global scale associated with climate change have recently been reported. September 2019, the first report published from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel (IPCC) linked climate change to harmful algal blooms. Existing methods to control them are often […]

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Biology

Mosquito control: The Inz-ECO solution

Mosquitoes are vectors for diseases, such as yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika, which pose a threat to human health on a global scale. Mosquito control is therefore an urgent consideration for public health. Dr Philip Koehler and Dr Roberto M. Pereira of the University of Florida have pioneered two innovative methods of mosquito control, Inz-ECO mosquito chips and Inz-ECO […]

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Biology

Symbiotically competent cyanobacteria for the bio-sustainable cultivation of rice

Every year, large amounts of nitrogen fertilisers are used around the world to sustain the cultivation of rice. The wetland culture conditions required for rice cause nitrogen to leach and contaminate freshwater, triggering a number of adverse consequences for aquatic habitats. Dr Consolación Álvarez and Dr Vicente Mariscal Romero, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain, propose the development […]

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Biology

Scalloped hammerhead sharks have more complex migratory routes than expected

Using a new method to study migratory routes of scalloped hammerhead sharks, Dr Claire Coiraton and Dr Felipe Amezcua, based at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, identified a more complex picture than previously thought. It turns out that not all sharks follow the same pattern of movements, with some preferring to stay in coastal areas while others opt for […]

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Biology

Integrated pest management: Advances in sustainable food production and food security

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an old concept that is based on environmentally safe pest management practices. This is set to change with the development of a revised model of integrated pest management. The new model aims to balance three important factors – economic viability, environmental safety and social acceptability – in achieving sustainable food production and food security. It […]

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Biology

Reconciling forest and tree conservation with food security

Forests and trees are a critical resource for human communities. However, conservation efforts to prevent biodiversity loss increasingly conflict with the rights and access of communities using forests for their livelihoods and crucially to meet their nutritional needs. Prof Terry Sunderland of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, has long pointed to the importance of forests in contributing to food […]

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Biology

How natural disturbances sustain diversity

While natural disturbances like fires and floods can pose a risk to human life, in some places these events can help to support a diverse ecosystem. Forest fires, for example, allow species like oak to thrive and support a rich insect population, which in turn feeds many different birds. Dr Mike Eichholz of Southern Illinois University Carbondale studies the influence […]

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Biology

Antlers: The long and short of it

Antlers play a central role in deer mating behaviour as both a weapon for competition between rivals, and a visual signal of mate quality. However, antler growth is energetically costly and the allocation of resources must be balanced against survival. Research led by Dr Bronson Strickland and Dr Steve Demarais, co-directors of the Deer Ecology and Management Research Laboratory at […]

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Biology

How ubiquitin determines the fate of our proteins

Regulation of the multitude of protein-protein interactions that take place in the cell is essential. HECT E3 ubiquitin ligases play an important role in regulating protein functions and maintaining cellular health. However, many questions about their biological functions remain unanswered. Working at the interface of biochemistry and biophysics, Dr Donald Spratt from Clark University in Massachusetts, uses NMR spectroscopy to […]

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Biology

Pipefish male pregnancy: Why do females prefer large mates?

Parental care is an important factor to reproductive success, and studies of care quality can help in understanding mate choice and other reproductive decisions. In the broad-nosed pipefish, males become ‘pregnant’ and care for their embryos until birth. Large and small male pipefish adopt different parental care strategies, and females favour larger mates. Researcher Ines Braga Goncalves at the University […]

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