Ecology & Zoology

Carbon dioxide, in its ionic form bicarbonate, has a regulating function in the splitting of water in photosynthesis. This means that carbon dioxide has an additional role to being reduced to sugar, according to scientists at Umeå University in Sweden.


Researchers recently used an array of high-speed video cameras operating at 7,500 frames a second to capture the wing and body motion of Drosophila hydei
after they encountered an image of an approaching predator. 

The fruit flies are about the size of a sesame seed and rely on a fast visual system to detect approaching predators. And scientists found out that even Top Gun pilots might be envious of the screaming-fast banked turns and slick moves the flies employed. In the midst of a banked turn, the flies can roll on their sides 90 degrees or more, almost flying upside down at times.


It is barely possible to see the parasitic worm Amakusaplana acroporae when it sits on its favorite hosts, the staghorn coral Acropora, thanks to its excellent camouflage. However, new research from the University of Southampton has found that the small flatworm could cause significant damage to coral reefs. 


Ruminant cows and sheep account for a major proportion of the methane produced around the world - an estimated 20 percent of global methane emissions stem from ruminants.

In the atmosphere, methane is a shorter-term problem than CO2 but has 23X the warming effect  – that's why researchers are looking for ways of reducing methane production. Comparatively little is known about the methane production of other animal species, but one thing seems to be clear: Ruminants produce more of the gas per amount of converted feed than other herbivores.


Guess who’s not being displayed in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's new "Tentacles" exhibit, opening April 12? Who is just too difficult for this award-winning institution to handle?
A new initiative is underway to breathe life back into the 700,000-gallon ocean tank at Biosphere 2. The new ocean at Biosphere 2 will provide a glimpse into the sea that's closest to Southern Arizona – the Gulf of California, which stretches for a thousand miles from the mouth of the Colorado River to Mazatlan on the mainland of Mexico.

The original "ocean" was one of several habitats intended to sustain a crew of scientists living and working inside the Biosphere 2 dome isolated from the outside world. When the "enclosed missions" ended in 1994, the fragile ecology of the ocean habitat collapsed. The corals died and algae and bacterial mats took over, crowding out the reef.  
Enjoy Greek yogurt?

Maybe, if you hate nature.

Because it is now a $2 billion a year industry, activists have turned on it, a fate that the $29 billion organic food industry has so far escaped.

One Green Planet says the greek yogurt manufacturing process is "creating an ecological nightmare beyond all comprehension" which tells you that no one at One Green Planet can do simple math. And they are prone to hyperbole. It is entirely in my ability to comprehend what a cup of yogurt can do.

Wildlife fences are constructed for lots of reasons, including having them killed by cars (and people along with them) to prevent the spread of disease and to protect small small populations of threatened species.

Near more populated areas, the concern is different; predatory animals will wantonly kill livestock and ruin crops, a few threaten human lives.

Separating people and wildlife by fencing is a mutually beneficial way to avoid detrimental effects but a paper in Science, clearly written by people who clearly do not live near bears, wolves or mountain lions, argues it is a last resort.


Six new species of Dracula ants from the Malagasy region have been discovered and they represent a completely new twist in the typically rigid caste system of ants, where anatomy is typically destiny. 

Mystrium species have unique features such as long, spatulate mandibles that snap together (Gronenberg et al. 1998); wingless queens that in some undetermined species are even smaller than workers (Molet et al. 2007); and large, wingless individuals intermediate between workers and queens, which behave like queens (Molet et al. 2012).


The University of the Basque Country Cell Biology in Environmental Toxicology group has conducted research using thick-lipped grey mullet and in six zones and report acquisition of feminine features by male fish in all the estuaries, not only in the characteristics of the gonads of the specimens analyzed but also in various molecular markers. 

According to Miren P. Cajaraville, director of the research group, the results -  Arriluze and Gernika in 2007 and 2008, Santurtzi, Plentzia, Ondarroa, Deba and Pasaia since then  -show that "endocrine disruption is a phenomenon that has spread all over our estuaries, which means that, as has been detected in other countries, we have a problem with pollutants."