New insight into termites' architectural strategies could help us design more energy efficient self-sustaining buildings for humans.
Leaf-feeding caterpillars greatly enrich their intestinal flora by eating soil. It's even possible to trace the legacy effects of plants that previously grew in that soil through bacteria and fungi in the caterpillars. Researchers of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) have just published these findings in the journal Nature Communications. They are of interest not just to scientists, but also to plant growers and farmers.
The dramatic difference in gonad size between honey bee queens and their female workers in response to their distinct diets requires the switching on of a specific genetic program, according to a new study publishing March 21 in open-access journal PLOS Biology by Annika Roth and Martin Beye of Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf and colleagues. The finding may aid analysis of the interplay of genes and nutrition that drive caste dimorphism in honey bees.
An interdisciplinary team of scientists has identified a new mobile DNA element in the Wolbachia parasite, which may contribute to improved control strategies for mosquito vectors of diseases such as Dengue and West Nile virus.
Meadows adjacent to high-intensity agricultural areas are home to less than half the number of butterfly species than areas in nature preserves. The number of individuals is even down to one-third of that number. These are results of a research team led by Jan Christian Habel at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Thomas Schmitt at the Senckenberg Nature Research Society.
Honey bee colonies foraging on land with a strong cover of clover species and alfalfa do more than three times as well than if they are put next to crop fields of sunflowers or canola, according to a study just published in Scientific Reports by an Agricultural Research Service scientist and his colleagues.
A new species of Surazomus, which belongs to the class Arachnida and the order Schizomida, has been discovered in the eastern Amazon, according to a study published March 20 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Gustavo Ruiz and Roberta Valente of the Universidade Federal do Pará in Brazil.
Amidst worldwide talks about 'Insectageddon': the extinction of 40 percent of the world's insects, according to a recent scientific review, a response was published in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology. Its authors point out major flaws in the earlier study: query- and geographically biased summaries; mismatch between objectives and cited literature; and misuse of existing conservation data. Instead of serving as a wake-up call, those would rather compromise the credibility of conservation science, they warn.
Food safety regulations increasingly pressure growers to remove hedgerows, ponds and other natural habitats from farms to keep out pathogen-carrying wildlife and livestock. Yet, this could come at the cost of biodiversity. New research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology encourages the presence of dung beetles and soil bacteria at farms as they naturally suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens before spreading to humans.
Researchers have discovered that a bacterium found in camel crickets is capable of breaking down lignin -- the stuff that makes wood tough -- opening new research pathways for the development of biofuels and chemical manufacturing. The study also highlights the potential inherent in using ecosystem analysis as a tool for targeting research into the identification of commercially valuable microorganisms with industrial applications.