Ecology & Zoology

A native Australian grass that plays dead during droughts and culls its own cells to survive could provide genetic keys to help food crops survive worldwide.

Like other so-called 'resurrection plants', Tripogon loliiformis has the ability to withstand desiccation (being dried out) for prolonged periods and can be revived by water but scientists have never known how these plants actually do it, or if the existing plant cells really do come alive again from a dormant state, or if its new growth is separate from the old cells. Professor Sagadevan Mundree of Queensland University have now proved sugar manipulation and the controlled sacrifice of cells are keys to the native grass's survival.

The armored shells of some marine mollusks have evolved to satisfy two conflicting design requirements, protection and sight, a new study shows.

In the animal world, if several males mate with the same female, their sperm compete to fertilize her limited supply of eggs. And longer sperm seem to have a competitive advantage, but even when it comes to sperm the size of the animals matter. The larger the animal, the more im-portant the number of sperm is relative to sperm length. That's why elephants have smaller sperm than mice.  

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically modified Atlantic salmon that expresses a gene from a Chinook salmon to grow faster, after reviewing it since 1996.

Researchers have discovered several new species of marine fungi inhabiting previously undescribed branches of the tree of life. Though there is always talk about what little we do know going extinct, little is known about species on land, now or in the past, much less about the fungi flourishing in the world's oceans.

It turns out that many marine fungi are very different from those found on land.

The research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, used large-scale DNA sequencing to describe the diversity of fungal microbes in a wide range of marine environments.

As the American media continues to speculate, analyze and in some cases choose the Republican and Democratic nominations for U.S. President, researchers in the journal Trends in Ecology&Evolution review the nature of leadership - at least in a set of small-scale mammalian societies, including humans and other social mammals such as elephants and meerkats. 

From the Biblical plagues of Egypt to a major infestation in Madacasgar two years ago, locust swarms have caused chaos throughout history. Just one swarm can cover 20% of the land surface of the Earth, affecting the livelihood of 10% of the world’s population by consuming up to 200 tons of vegetation per day.

One day a few years ago, while working on wasps in a rainforest in Costa Rica, entomologist Kevin J. Loope, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Riverside, began reading about the enigmatic matricidal behavior of some social insects. In most social insects, such as bees, ants and wasps, the workers, which are all female, work their whole lives to help the queen produce new offspring. Yet, in the literature Loope found anecdotal reports of workers killing their queen, presenting a fascinating evolutionary puzzle.

Nature reserves and national parks play a crucial role in sheltering wildlife, such as African elephants, from hunting and habitat destruction, but they have no problem at all exhausting the wildlife around them.

Researchers have examined the effect elephants have on the woody plant life in Kruger National Park, the largest protected area in South Africa, and found that elephants are the preserve's leading causes of fallen trees.

Horses need help when it comes to insect pests like flies but many horse owners are in the dark about how best to effectively manage it.

A new overview of equine fly management in the latest issue of the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, an open-access journal that is written for farmers, ranchers, and extension professionals.

One fly-management method that is gaining ground is the use of wasps that are parasitoids of fly pupae. The female wasp inserts an eggs into the fly puparium, and when the egg hatches, the wasp larva eats the fly pupa.

The authors conducted research on two wasp species that are sold commercially to see what type of manure they preferred.