Smalleye stingrays are the largest marine stingrays on record, reaching disc widths of up to 222 cm, and yet almost nothing is known about them. Scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation have for the first time used photo IDs to study this elusive animal in southern Mozambique, one of the only locations where it is regularly seen in the wild. Their findings are published today in the journal PeerJ.
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The cooling of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, which began approximately 35 million years ago and gave rise to its present icy state, has for decades been considered a classic example of climate change triggering rapid adaptation.
A grape variety still used in wine production in France today can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered.
Switchgrass is attractive as a potential bioenergy crop because it can grow for years without having to be replanted. Requiring less fertilizer than typical annual crops like corn, switchgrass can keep more nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon in the soil and out of our air and waterways. But, unlike corn, breeding of switchgrass for optimal traits is still in its early stages.
Call it the "Little Bog of Horrors." In what is believed to be a first for North America, biologists at the University of Guelph have discovered that meat-eating pitcher plants in Ontario's Algonquin Park wetlands consume not just bugs but also young salamanders.
Commercial fishers are acutely aware of the potential for marine litter to cause lasting damage to their catches and the wider industry, a new study suggests.
Coral reef experts from around the world are calling for an urgent re-evaluation of our climate goals in the light of increasing evidence of the unprecedented speed of change to these fragile ecosystems. Coral reefs, which have functioned relatively unchanged for some 24 million years, are now going through profound changes in their make-up.
An international team of researchers has analyzed human remains from 21 archaeological sites to learn more about the impact and evolution of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis during the first plague pandemic (541-750 AD). In a study published in PNAS, the researchers reconstructed 8 plague genomes from Britain, Germany, France, and Spain and uncovered a previously unknown level of diversity in Y. pestis strains. Additionally, they found the first direct genetic evidence of the Justinianic Plague in the British Isles.
New research on the evolutionary relationships between tree sloths and their extinct giant relatives is challenging decades of widely accepted scientific research.
The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) regulates water and sodium transport throughout cells and tissues, which is critical for controlling blood pressure and so, not surprisingly, the MR is common to all vertebrate animals. Aldosterone, which is a physiological steroid for land vertebrate MRs, evolved in lungfish (forerunners of land vertebrates), suggesting that the evolution of aldosterone was important in the conquest of land by preventing dehydration in animals living out of water.
Fecal transplants from young to aged mice can stimulate the gut microbiome and revive the gut immune system, a study by immunologists at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, has shown. The research is published in the journal Nature Communications today.
Just like humans leave DNA in the places we inhabit, water-dwelling animals leave DNA behind in the water column. In a paper published June 3 in the journal Current Biology, scientists report that sponges, which can filter 10,000 liters of water daily, catch DNA in their tissues as they filter-feed. This proof-of-concept study identified fish, seal, and penguin DNA in sponges from the Antarctic and Mediterranean, demonstrating that sponges can be used to monitor biodiversity.
An ample buffet of freshwater food, brought on by climate change, is altering the life history of one of the world's most important salmon species.