Biology

Category: Biology

Among soft-bodied cephalopods, vampire squid live life at a slower pace. At ocean depths from 500 to 3,000 meters, they don't swim so much as float, and they get by with little oxygen while consuming a low-calorie diet of zooplankton and detritus. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 20 have found that vampire squid differ from all other living coleoid cephalopods in their reproductive strategy as well.

BiologyApril 17, 2015 07:04 PM

An evolutionary biologist fascinated by the way new species evolve, J. Albert C. Uy has longed to have his research featured in a film geared toward the general public. But concerns over the way some nature documentaries distort science always dissuaded him from collaborating with filmmakers.

The neural network necessary for normal face recognition has been not fully understood yet until now. Here, the research group of Dr. Daisuke Matsuyoshi (present affiliation: The University of Tokyo) led by Prof. Ryusuke Kakigi and Prof. Norihiro Sadato of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), by using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), revealed that suppression of the brain area responsible for object recognition by that for face recognition is necessarily for "normal face" recognition. The researchers simulated mathematically networks between the brain areas and showed that not only brain areas that execute face recognition but also brain areas that had been considered non-essential to face recognition are important for "normal face" recognition. This result was published in The Journal of Neuroscience, the weekly official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.


The high diversity of phytoplankton has puzzled biological oceanographers for a long time.
Diversity of life abounds on Earth, and there's no need to look any farther than the ocean's surface for proof. There are over 200,000 species of phytoplankton alone, and all of those species of microscopic marine plants that form the base of the marine food web need the same basic resources to grow--light and nutrients.


Researchers have discovered a new birth story for mosasaurs.
New Haven, Conn. - They weren't in the delivery room, but researchers at Yale University and the University of Toronto have discovered a new birth story for a gigantic marine lizard that once roamed the oceans.

Outbreaks of leukemia that have devastated some populations of soft-shell clams along the east coast of North America for decades can be explained by the spread of cancerous tumor cells from one clam to another. Researchers call the discovery, reported in the Cell Press journal Cell on April 9, 2015, "beyond surprising."


This is an artist's reconstruction of one Daspletosaurus feeding on another.
A new study documents injuries inflicted in life and death to a large tyrannosaurine dinosaur. The paper shows that the skull of a genus of tyrannosaur called Daspletosaurus suffered numerous injuries during life, at least some of which were likely inflicted by another Daspletosaurus. It was also bitten after death in an apparent event of scavenging by another tyrannosaur. Thus there's evidence of combat between two large carnivores as well as one feeding on another after death.


The camel skeleton was unearthed near the river Danube in Lower Austria, Tulln.
In 2006 construction began on a new shopping centre in Tulln. The works unearthed various archaeologically valuable objects that were salvaged during rescue excavations. Among these objects was also the complete skeleton of a large mammal.

Foraging bats obey their own set of 'traffic rules', chasing, turning and avoiding collisions at high speed according to new research publishing in PLOS Computational Biology.


These are bees on a hive.
Honey bees use different sets of genes, regulated by two distinct mechanisms, to fight off viruses, bacteria and gut parasites, according to researchers at Penn State and the Georgia Institute of Technology.


This is a ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) indigenous only to Madagascar. UC's Brooke Crowley is researching lemurs' geographic mobility.
Out of the mouths of lemurs come many answers to old mysteries about Madagascar's unique fauna. What were their origins, and how and why did they move around?


This image shows a Gammarus duebeni celticus pair.
Parasites can play an important role in driving cannibalism, according to a new study.

New research shows that courtship rituals evolve very fast in cichlid fish in Lake Malawi. Whenever species evolve to feed at different depths, their courtship evolves as well. In the shallows where the light is good, males build sand castles to attract females. Males of deep-dwelling species dig less elaborate pits and compensate with longer swimming displays. The results are published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

BiologyMarch 16, 2015 08:06 PM


Baboons take turns grooming each other to make friends and cement social bonds. A new study finds that baboon friendships influence the microscopic bacteria in their guts.
The warm soft folds of the intestines are teeming with thousands of species of bacteria. Collectively known as the gut microbiome, these microbes help break down food, synthesize vitamins, regulate weight and resist infection.

A study of a recently discovered fossil published by LMU zoologists reveals the specimen to be the oldest known crab larva: The fossil is 150 million years old, but looks astonishingly modern.


Researchers used a painted dot to track queen bees.
An Indiana University researcher and collaborators have published the first comprehensive analysis of the gut bacteria found in queen bees.

Older brains may be more similar to younger brains than previously thought.


Scientists find that people use the touch of a handshake to sample and sniff signaling molecules. A sterile glove was used to identify signaling molecules transmitted via a handshake.
Limp or firm, your handshake conveys subliminal social cues. Now, research reveals it also transmits chemical signals that could explain why the greeting evolved in the first place.


Scientists mapped and read sound memories in rat brains.
Lights, sound, action: we are constantly learning how to incorporate outside sensations into our reactions in specific situations. In a new study, brain scientists have mapped changes in communication between nerve cells as rats learned to make specific decisions in response to particular sounds. The team then used this map to accurately predict the rats' reactions. These results add to our understanding of how the brain processes sensations and forms memories to inform behavior.


The queen bee in this image is marked with a green dot.
Researchers from North Carolina State University, Indiana University and Wellesley College have characterized the gut microbiome of honey bee queens. This is the first thorough census of the gut microbiome - which consists of all the microorganisms that live in the gut of the organism - in queen bees.


Feeding experiment with different potato leaves: Detached leaves of unmodified plants were compared to plants with an altered chloroplast genome.
Colorado potato beetles are a dreaded pest of potatoes all over the world. Since they do not have natural enemies in most potato producing regions, farmers try to control them with pesticides. However, this strategy is often ineffective because the pest has developed resistances against nearly all insecticides. Now, scientists from the Max Planck Institutes of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm and Chemical Ecology in Jena have shown that potato plants can be protected from herbivory using RNA interference (RNAi). They genetically modified plants to enable their chloroplasts to accumulate double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) targeted against essential beetle genes. (Science, February 2015).


Mantis shrimp attack their dinners with the help of spring-loaded claws.
DURHAM, N.C. -- The miniweight boxing title of the animal world belongs to the mantis shrimp, a cigar-sized crustacean whose front claws can deliver an explosive 60-mile-per-hour blow akin to a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun.

With apologies to the poet John Donne, and based on recent work from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science user facility, it can be said that no plant is an island, entire of itself. Unseen by the human eye, plants interact with many species of fungi and other microbes in the surrounding environment, and these exchanges can impact the plant's health and tolerance to stressors such as drought or disease, as well as the global carbon cycle.

A University of Michigan-led study of penguin genetics has concluded that the flightless aquatic birds lost three of the five basic vertebrate tastes--sweet, bitter and the savory, meaty taste known as umami--more than 20 million years ago and never regained them.


In the Room of DOOM (Dissolved Oxygen Oyster Mortality), oyster tanks mimic the day-night oxygen swings that oysters experience in shallow Bay waters.
In shallow waters around the world, where nutrient pollution runs high, oxygen levels can plummet to nearly zero at night. Oysters living in these zones are far more likely to pick up the lethal Dermo disease, a team of scientists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center discovered. Their findings were published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.


The rich green color of the photosynthesizing sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, helps to camouflage it on the ocean floor.
How a brilliant-green sea slug manages to live for months at a time "feeding" on sunlight, like a plant, is clarified in a recent study published in The Biological Bulletin.


Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheetahs exist...
Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheetahs exist at incredibly low densities and require vast areas for their conservation. The research also offers some of the world's only photographs of this elusive big cat.


The images show two species of cone snail, Conus geographus (left) and Conus tulipa (right) attempting to capture their fish prey. As they approach potential prey, the snails release a...
As predators go, cone snails are slow-moving and lack the typical fighting parts. They've made up for it by producing a vast array of fast-acting toxins that target the nervous systems of prey. A new study reveals that some cone snails add a weaponized form of insulin to the venom cocktail they use to disable fish.


This is the skull of an extinct short-faced kangaroo (Simosthenurus occidentalis). Ancient DNA from these animals reveals they are a highly distinct evolutionary lineage.
Scientists have finally managed to extract DNA from Australia's extinct giant kangaroos - the mysterious marsupial megafauna that roamed Australia over 40,000 years ago.


This image shows a perfectly preserved example of the Lower Jurassic fish Dapedium from Lyme Regis, Dorset. Perfectly preserved specimens such as this allow us to calculate the biomechanical function...
The feeding habits of an unusual 200-million-year-old fish have been uncovered by a University of Bristol undergraduate in a groundbreaking study which has been published in Palaeontology, a leading scientific journal, this week - a rare achievement for an undergraduate student.

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