‘Benign’ malaria key driver of human evolution in Asia-Pacific

kristyEarth Systems Science

‘Benign’ malaria key driver of human evolution in Asia-Pacific

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 02:09 PM PDT

The malaria species rampant in the Asia-Pacific region has been a significant driver of evolution of the human genome, a new study has shown. An international team of researchers has shown that Plasmodium vivax malaria, the most prevalent malaria species in the Asia-Pacific, is a significant cause of genetic evolution that provides protection against malaria.

Antimicrobials alter intestinal bacteria composition in swine, researchers find

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 12:01 PM PDT

Researchers, concerned about the use of antibiotics in animal production, have found that antimicrobial growth promoters administered to swine can alter the kind of bacteria present in the animal’s intestinal track, resulting in an accelerated rate of growth and development in the animals.

Human impact felt on Black Sea long before industrial era

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 12:01 PM PDT

Researchers have pieced together a unique history of the Danube River delta and watershed that ultimately provides evidence for a transformative impact of humans on the Black Sea over hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Gardener’s delight offers glimpse into the evolution of flowering plants

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 11:48 AM PDT

Double flowers — though beautiful — are mutants. Biologists have found the class of genes responsible in a plant lineage more ancient than the one previously studied, offering a glimpse even further back into the evolutionary development of flowers.

Syrian obsidian discovery opens new chapter in Middle Eastern studies

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 10:53 AM PDT

An archaeologist has revealed the origin and trading routes of razor-sharp stone tools 4,200 years ago in Syria.

New Danish fungal species discovered

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 09:17 AM PDT

A new fungal species, called “Hebelomagriseopruinatum,” has now officially been included in the list of species. The fungus, whose name can be translated into “the gray-dewy tear leaf,” was discovered on Zealand in Denmark during a mushroom-hunting tour.

Hormone therapy for fruit flies means better pest control

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 09:17 AM PDT

Released en masse, sterile Mexican fruit flies can undermine a wild population of the fruit-damaging pests so that fewer applications of insecticide are needed. But the irradiation used to sterilize the flies weakens them, hindering their ability to outcompete wild-type males for female mates. Now, scientists have devised a hormone therapy for making sterile flies “more macho,” improving their chances of mating with female flies before their wild rivals do.

Bees, fruits and money: Decline of pollinators will have severe impact on nature and humankind

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 07:11 AM PDT

Globally we are witnessing a decline in pollinators, such as wild bees, honeybees and hover flies, caused by the destruction and fragmentation of habitats, agricultural intensification and use of pesticides, introduction of novel diseases and competing alien species, and climate change. The combined impacts of these drivers will accelerate the loss of pollinator diversity and potentially disrupt plant-pollinator interactions.

Australian shipping emissions identified

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 07:11 AM PDT

Ship engine exhaust emissions make up more than a quarter of nitrogen oxide emissions generated in the Australian region according to a recently published study. Nitrogen oxide is a non-greenhouse gas, unlike similarly named nitrous oxide.

Coastline erosion due to rise in sea level greater than previously thought, new model finds

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 07:01 AM PDT

A new model is allowing researchers to predict coastline erosion due to rising sea levels much more accurately. It would appear that the effects of coastline erosion as a result of rising sea-level rise in the vicinity of inlets, such as river estuaries, have until now been dramatically underestimated.

For the rooster, size matters: How size of hen’s comb is linked to ability to lay more eggs

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 07:00 AM PDT

A lone rooster sees a lot of all the hens in the flock, but the hen with the largest comb gets a bigger dose of sperm — and thus more chicks. Researchers in Sweden have now shown how the size of a hen’s comb is bound up with the ability to lay more eggs.

Less ferocious Tasmanian devils could help save species from extinction

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 07:10 PM PDT

Evolving to become less aggressive could be key to saving the Tasmanian devil — famed for its ferocity — from extinction, research suggests. The species is being wiped out by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), a fatal infectious cancer spread by biting. The new study found the less often a devil gets bitten, the more likely it is to become infected with the cancer.

Tracking fish through a coral reef seascape: Ear-bone ‘tree rings’ provide evidence of connectivity

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 12:40 PM PDT

Ocean scientists have long known that juvenile coral reef fishes use coastal seagrass and mangrove habitats as nurseries, later moving as adults onto coral reefs. But the fishes’ movements, and the connections between different tropical habitats, are much more complex than previously realized, according to a new study. The findings have important implications for management and protection of coral reefs and other marine environments.

Reciprocity an important component of prosocial behavior: Scorekeeping of past favors isn’t, however, a factor

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 12:40 PM PDT

While exchanging favors with others, humans tend to think in terms of tit-for-tat, an assumption easily extended to other animals. As a result, reciprocity is often viewed as a cognitive feat requiring memory, perhaps even calculation. But what if the process is simpler, not only in other animals but in humans as well? Researchers have determined monkeys may gain the advantages of reciprocal exchange of favors without necessarily keeping precise track of past favors.