Ecology & Zoology

Due to the president making bee colonies a national priority, there is a lot of talk from environmentalists about banning neonicotinoid pesticides but they may be blaming out of convenience rather than evidence. 

Car and truck exhaust fumes can be bad for humans and for pollinators too. In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, University of Washington and University of Arizona researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers.


Cloudina were tiny, filter-feeding creatures that lived on the seabed during the Ediacaran Period, which ended 541 million years ago. Fossil evidence indicates that animals had soft bodies until the emergence of Cloudina. Now they are involved in a new study which sheds light on how one of Earth's oldest reefs was formed.  

Researchers have discovered that one of these reefs – now located on dry land in Namibia – was built almost 550 million years ago, by these first animals to have hard shells. Scientists say it was at this point that tiny aquatic creatures developed the ability to construct hard protective coats and build reefs to shelter and protect them in an increasingly dangerous world.  


A new paper in Science identifies the regulatory molecules involved in the genetic and developmental pathways that electric fish have used to convert a simple muscle into an organ capable of generating a potent electrical field.

The work establishes the genetic basis for the electric organ, an anatomical feature found only in fish.

The most shocking part to non-biologists? It evolved independently half a dozen times in environments ranging from the flooded forests of the Amazon to murky marine environments.


For people from eastern states like New York or Boston, California is a dream. People feel like they could just take over and declare themselves King and no one would try to stop them because it would hurt their feelings. It's like Canada, except the women are all in Daisy Duke shorts and bikini tops.

But that passive demeanor isn't good when nature wants to kill you. And she does. Watersnakes, commonly seen in the lakes, rivers and streams of the eastern United States, are invading California waterways and may wipe out native species, according to a new study. 


Field surveys are so 20th century. Satellites are the wave of the future when studying remote penguin populations. Like with space travel, we may someday wonder why we wouldn't send robots or satellites to do a man's work.


A new study finds that migratory birds that breed in Arctic Alaska are initiating nests earlier in the spring, and that snow melt occurring earlier in the season is a big reason for it.  

The researchers looked in nearly 2,500 nests of four shorebird species: semi-palmated sandpiper, red phalarope, red-necked phalarope, and pectoral sandpiper, and one songbird, the lapland longspur, and recorded when the first eggs were laid in each nest. The research occurred across four sites that ranged from the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay to the remote National Petroleum Reserve of western Arctic Alaska.


Around 165 million years ago, a bizarre parasite lived in the freshwater lakes of present-day Inner Mongolia - fly larva with a thorax formed entirely like a sucking plate.

With this odd thorax, the animal could adhere to salamanders and suck their blood with its mouthparts formed like a sting. To date no insect is known that is equipped with a similar specialised design. 


Spiders are traditionally viewed as predators of insects but zoologists have published a study that finds spiders all over the world also prey on fish. 

That spiders are not exclusively insectivorous and larger-sized species supplement their diet by occasionally catching small fish is somewhat new.


Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifer...

Honeycomb of European honey bees (Apis mellifera) with eggs and larvae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time once again for everyone’s favorite game show: Environmental Whack-a-Mole!

Throughout Earth's geological history, there have been numerous warming and cooling phases. The last Ice Age only ended 11-12,000 years ago

The Antarctic Peninsula, the northern most region of Antarctica, is experiencing some dramatic changes, including population declines of some penguin species, but this is not the first time that region has felt the effects of climate warming.

How did penguins respond to the melting of snow and ice cover 11,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age?