ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: The weaker sex: Male honey bees more susceptible than females to widespread intestinal parasite

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry

The weaker sex: Male honey bees more susceptible than females to widespread intestinal parasite

Posted: 18 Jan 2014 09:25 AM PST

A research team has found that male European honey bees, or drones, are much more susceptible than female European honey bees, known as workers, to a fungal intestinal parasite called Nosema ceranae. Originally from Asia, Nosema ceranae has rapidly spread throughout the world, and may contribute to the high number of colony deaths now observed in many regions of the northern hemisphere. These findings demonstrate the delicate nature of male honey bees, which are important to honey bee colony reproduction, to a well-distributed parasite.

Poison-breathing bacteria may be boon to industry, environment

Posted: 17 Jan 2014 12:37 PM PST

Buried deep in the mud along the banks of a remote salt lake near Yosemite National Park are colonies of bacteria with an unusual property: they breathe a toxic metal to survive. Researchers discovered the bacteria on a recent field expedition to Mono Lake in California, and their experiments with this unusual organism show that it may one day become a useful tool for industry and environmental protection.

Single class of queen pheromones stops worker reproduction in ants, bees, wasps

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 12:08 PM PST

A new study has found that the chemical structure of queen pheromones in wasps, ants and some bees is strikingly similar, even though these insects are separated by millions of years of evolution and each evolved eusociality independently of the other. The results suggest that queen pheromones used by divergent groups of social insects evolved from conserved signals of a common solitary ancestor.

Receptors discovered that help plants manage environmental change, pests, wounds

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 12:08 PM PST

Researchers have found adenosine triphosphate receptor in plants and believe it to be a vital component in the way plants respond to dangers, including pests, environmental changes and plant wounds. This discovery could lead to herbicides, fertilizers and insect repellants that naturally work with plants to make them stronger.

Soil production breaks geologic speed record

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 12:08 PM PST

New measurements from mountains in New Zealand show that rock can transform into soil more than twice as fast as previously believed possible.

Life cycle of a jellyfish (and a way to control it)

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 10:06 AM PST

Those free-swimming jellyfish in the sea don’t start out in that familiar medusa form, but rather start as sessile and asexual polyps. Now, researchers have discovered what triggers that transformation in the moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). The key is a novel metamorphosis hormone that accumulates during the cold winter to induce a synchronized emergence of jellyfish in the spring.

Soil microbes alter DNA in response to warming

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 10:04 AM PST

Scientists studying grasslands in Oklahoma have discovered that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius in the air temperature above the soil creates significant changes to the microbial ecosystem underground. Compared to a control group with no warming, plants in the warmer plots grew faster and higher, which put more carbon into the soil as the plants senesce. The microbial ecosystem responded by altering its dna to enhance the ability to handle the excess carbon.

Important discovery for diagnosis of genetic diseases

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 08:35 AM PST

A new study shows the importance of the chromatin architecture in controlling the activity of genes, especially those required for proper embryonic development. This discovery could have a significant impact on the diagnosis of genetic diseases.