ScienceDaily: Social amoebae travel with a posse: Tiny single-celled organisms have amazingly complicated social lives

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

Social amoebae travel with a posse: Tiny single-celled organisms have amazingly complicated social lives

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 01:17 PM PDT

Some social amoebae farm the bacteria they eat. Now scientists have taken a closer look at one lineage, or clone, of D. discoideum farmer. This farmer carries not one but two strains of bacteria. One strain is the “seed corn” for a crop of edible bacteria, and the other strain is a weapon that produces defensive chemicals. The edible bacteria, the scientists found, evolved from the toxic one.

Natural affinities — unrecognized until now — may have set stage for life to ignite

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 01:15 PM PDT

The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research. It could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life came about on the planet.

Mini-monsters of the forest floor

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 01:15 PM PDT

A biologist has identified 33 new species of predatory ants in Central America and the Caribbean, and named about a third of the tiny but monstrous-looking insects after ancient Mayan lords and demons.

Ice-free Arctic winters could explain amplified warming during Pliocene

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 10:35 AM PDT

Year-round ice-free conditions across the surface of the Arctic Ocean could explain why the Earth was substantially warmer during the Pliocene Epoch than it is today, despite similar concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to new research.

Large Gulf dead zone, but smaller than predicted

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 10:34 AM PDT

Scientists have found a large Gulf of Mexico oxygen-free or hypoxic ‘dead’ zone, but not as large as had been predicted. Measuring 5,840 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut, the 2013 Gulf dead zone indicates nutrients from the Mississippi River watershed, which drains 40 percent of the lower 48 states, are continuing to affect the nation’s commercial and recreational marine resources

Global warming endangers South American water supply

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 10:31 AM PDT

Chile and Argentina may face critical water storage issues due to rain-bearing westerly winds over South America’s Patagonian Ice-Field to moving south as a result of global warming.

Borneo’s orangutans are coming down from the trees; Behavior may show adaptation to habitat change

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 05:33 AM PDT

Orangutans might be the king of the swingers, but primatologists in Borneo have found that the great apes spend a surprising amount of time walking on the ground. The research found that it is common for orangutans to come down from the trees to forage or to travel, a discovery which may have implications for conservation efforts.

Tuna and floating objects: Mysterious links

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 05:32 AM PDT

More than 2 000 years ago, Roman fishermen already used the natural propensity of some species of fish to gather under floating objects, to enhance their catches in the Mediterranean. Today, numerous industrial and artisanal tuna fisheries around the world exploit this “aggregating phenomenon.” Over the last thirty years, seine fishing in particular has developed rapidly through the use of massive floating objects, natural at first, then more recently fish aggregation devices (abbreviated to FAD) remotely monitored using electronic beacons. Today, these floating objects enable 40% of worldwide tropical tuna catches.