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Researchers have published the first comprehensive, large-scale data set on how the brain of a mammal is wired, providing a groundbreaking data resource and fresh insights into how the nervous system processes information. Their landmark paper describes the publicly available Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas and demonstrates the exciting knowledge that can be gleaned from this valuable resource.
A new study finds that tree removal has far greater consequences for climate change in some soils than in others, a finding that could provide key insights into which ecosystems should be managed with extra care. In a comprehensive analysis of soil collected from 11 distinct U.S. regions, from Hawaii to northern Alaska, researchers found that the extent to which deforestation disturbs underground microbial communities that regulate the loss of carbon into the atmosphere depends almost ...
The latest results from a 25-year study of diet and aging in monkeys shows a significant reduction in mortality and in age-associated diseases among those with calorie-restricted diets. The study, begun in 1989, is one of two ongoing, long-term U.S. efforts to examine the effects of a reduced-calorie diet on nonhuman primates.
The genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world has been completed by a group of researchers. In the process of completing this history, they found that ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the 'Fertile Crescent,' a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel.
A new call that some bats use to tell other foraging bats to 'back off' from bugs they've claimed for themselves has been identified by scientists. This sound, called a 'frequency-modulated bout,' warns other bats away from prey. The researchers are first to report this ultrasonic social call produced exclusively by flying, foraging male big brown bats, in a new article.
As a spin-off of their Tropical Biodiversity course in Malaysian Borneo, a team of biology students discover a new spider species, build a makeshift taxonomy lab, write a joint publication and send it off to a major taxonomic journal. The new species Crassignatha danaugirangensis was named after the field center's idyllic setting at the Danau Girang oxbow lake.
One of the most serious threats to global biodiversity and the leisure and tourism industries is set to increase with climate change according to new research. Researchers have found that certain invasive weeds, which have previously been killed off by low winter temperatures, are set to thrive as global temperatures increase.
New Caledonian crows may understand how to displace water to receive a reward, with the causal understanding level of a 5- to 7-year-old child. Understanding causal relationships between actions is a key feature of human cognition. However, the extent to which non-human animals are capable of understanding causal relationships is not well understood. Scientists used the Aesop's fable riddle -- in which subjects drop stones into water to raise the water level and obtain an out-of reach-reward ...
Scientists argue that the study of natural history has waned in recent decades in developed countries. Declining course requirements and support for herbaria are among the documented evidence. Yet costly mistakes in policy relating to natural resources, agriculture, and health might have been avoided by paying attention to organisms' natural history, and future policies will be improved if natural history knowledge is used and expanded. New technologies offer ways to increase natural history ...
Knowing what another person wants is not a trivial issue, particularly when the other's desires are different from our own. The ability to disengage from our own desire to cater to someone else's wishes is thought to be a unique feature of human cognition. New research challenges this assumption. Despite wanting something different to eat, male Eurasian jays can disengage from their own current desire in order to feed the female what she wants even when her desires are different to his.
Salamanders in some of North America's best habitat are shrinking fast as their surroundings get warmer and drier, forcing them to burn more energy. A new article examines specimens caught in the Appalachian Mountains from 1957 to 2007 and wild salamanders caught at the same sites in 2011-2012. Animals measured after 1980 averaged 8 percent smaller -- one of the fastest rates of changing body size ever recorded.
Using high-powered DNA-based tools, a recent study identified soil microbes that negatively affect ragweed and provided a new understanding of the complex relationships going on beneath the soil surface between plants and microorganisms. The study allowed researchers to observe how three generations of ragweed and sunflower interacted with the microbial community in the soil. The plants interact with each other indirectly due to the differing effects they each have on the microbes in the ...
No more oil – renewable raw materials are the future. This motto not only applies to biodiesel, but also to isobutene, a basic product used in the chemical industry. In a pilot plant researchers now want to obtain isobutene from sugar instead of oil for the first time. And in order not to threaten food supplies, in the long term the sugar should come from wood or straw and not from sugar beet.
How does the Arctic tern (a sea bird) fly more than 80,000 miles in its roundtrip North Pole-to-South Pole migration? How does the Emperor penguin incubate eggs for months during the Antarctic winter without eating? These physiological gymnastics would usually be influenced by leptin, the hormone that regulates body fat storage, metabolism and appetite. However, leptin has gone missing in birds -- until now.
Climate change may be bad news for billions, but scientists have discovered one unlikely winner -- a tiny British bird, the long-tailed tit. Like other small animals that live for only two or three years, these birds had until now been thought to die in large numbers during cold winters. But new research suggests that warm weather during spring instead holds the key to their survival.
Whether traditional or derived from high technology, ceramics all have the same flaw: they are fragile. Yet this characteristic may soon be a thing of the past: a team of researchers has recently presented a new ceramic material inspired by mother-of-pearl from the small single-shelled marine mollusk abalone.
A 39-year study of wildflower blooms in a Rocky Mountain meadow shows more than two-thirds of alpine flowers changed their blooming pattern in response to climate change. Half are beginning to bloom weeks earlier, more than a third are reaching peak bloom earlier, and others' last blooms are later. Records of more than two million blooms show flowering plants' response to climate change is more complex than previously believed. Species that depend on wildflowers are likely to be affected.
The bobwhite quail, a favorite among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike throughout the United States, has literally flown the coop -- its numbers have been decreasing alarmingly for decades, but a groundbreaking project could prove to be a big move toward understanding bobwhite population trends.
As some countries and companies roll out new rules to limit animal testing in pharmaceutical products designed for people, scientists are stepping in with a new way to test therapeutic drug candidates and determine drug safety and drug interactions -- without using animals. The development of "chemosynthetic livers" could dramatically alter how drugs are made.