Biological builders like beavers, elephants, and shipworms re-engineer their environments. How this affects their ecological network is the subject of new research, which finds that increasing the number of "ecosystem engineers" stabilizes the entire network against extinctions.
Utah State University biologist Edmund 'Butch' Brodie, Jr. and colleagues from Brazil's Butantan Institute describe oral glands in a family of terrestrial caecilians, serpent-like amphibians related to frogs and salamanders.
Caecilians are limbless amphibians that can be easily mistaken for snakes. Though caecilians are only distantly related to their reptilian cousins, researchers in a study appearing July 3 in the journal iScience describe specialized glands found along the teeth of the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), which have the same biological origin and possibly similar function to the venom glands of snakes. As such, caecilians may represent the oldest land-dwelling vertebrate animal with oral venom glands.
In a new study in rotifers (microscopic invertebrates), scientists tested the evolutionary fitness of older-mother offspring in several real and simulated environments, including laboratory culture, under threat of predation in the wild, or with reduced food supply. They confirmed that this effect of older maternal age, called maternal effect senescence, does reduce evolutionary fitness of the offspring in all environments, primarily through reduced fertility during their peak reproductive period. They also suggest an evolutionary mechanism for why this may occur.
Solar energy researchers are shining their scientific spotlight on materials with a crystal structure discovered nearly two centuries ago.
University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have made it possible to remotely determine the temperature beneath the surface of certain materials using a new technique they call depth thermography. The method may be useful in applications where traditional temperature probes won't work, like monitoring semiconductor performance or next-generation nuclear reactors.
COVID-19, climate emergencies, and mass extinction all share striking similarities, especially with regard to their 'lagged impacts.' In each, early intervention can prevent further damage.
In an article published today in Science, a multidisciplinary research team from more than 10 universities and research institutes outlines how integrating a more diverse set of species and environments could enhance the biomedical research cycle.
Cyanobacteria hardly need any nutrients and use the energy of sunlight. Bathers are familiar with these microorganisms as they often occur in waters. A group of researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has discovered that the multicellular species Phormidium lacuna can be genetically modified by natural transformation and could thus produce substances such as ethanol or hydrogen. They present their results in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone. 0234440).
Intensive erosion can temporarily change the earthquake activity (seismicity) of a region significantly. This has now been shown for Taiwan by researchers from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in cooperation with international colleagues. They report on this in the journal "Scientific Reports".