General

Hermit creepy crawlies: Two new taxa of wood-feeding cockroach from China

Eureka Alert! - 10 hours 48 min ago
(Pensoft Publishers) Scientists from the Southwest University, Chongqing, China, have found a new species and a new subspecies of cockroach. What makes these creepy crawlies distinctive from the cockroaches most of us know is that they don't infest houses, on the contrary they prefer to live a hermit life hidden away drilling logs, far away from human eyes. The study was published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
Categories: Eureka Alert!, General

Microplastics in the ocean: Biologists study effects on marine animals

Eureka Alert! - 10 hours 48 min ago
(Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research) Ingestion of microplastic particles does not mechanically affect marine isopods. This was the result of a study by biologists at the North Sea Office of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research that was published recently in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The study marks the launch of a series of investigations aimed at forming a risk matrix on the sensitivity of different marine species to microplastic pollution.
Categories: Eureka Alert!, General

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Eureka Alert! - 10 hours 48 min ago
(Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)) To continue its striking development, ocean acidification research needs to bridge between its diverging branches towards an integrated assessment. This is the conclusion drawn by Professor Ulf Riebesell from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Dr. Jean-Pierre Gattuso from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Universite Pierre et Marie Curie. In a commentary in the journal Nature Climate Change, the two internationally renowned experts reflect on the lessons learned from ocean acidification research and highlight future challenges.
Categories: Eureka Alert!, General

Epithelial tube contraction

Eureka Alert! - 10 hours 48 min ago
(National University of Singapore) Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore have identified a novel mechanosensitive regulation of epithelial tube contraction. These findings are published on Dec. 19, 2014, in Current Biology.
Categories: Eureka Alert!, General

A vegetarian carnivorous plant

Eureka Alert! - 10 hours 48 min ago
(Oxford University Press) Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, does not only gain profit from eating little animals but also by consuming algae and pollen grains.
Categories: Eureka Alert!, General

Study on world's biggest animal finds more than one population in the southeastern Pacific

Science Daily: New Species - Thu, 2014-12-18 15:45
Scientists are examining molecular clues to answer a big question: how many types of blue whales exist in the waters of the southeastern Pacific?
Categories: General, Science Daily

Inside the cultural struggle to stamp out Ebola

Nature - Wed, 2014-12-17 13:45

Inside the cultural struggle to stamp out Ebola

Nature 516, 7531 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/516295a

Author: Erika Check Hayden

A front-line report from Sierra Leone examines efforts to change hearts and minds in West Africa’s villages.

Categories: General, Nature

365 days: 2014 in review

Nature - Wed, 2014-12-17 13:45

365 days: 2014 in review

Nature 516, 7531 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/516300a

Authors: Lauren Morello, Alison Abbott, Declan Butler, Ewen Callaway, David Cyranoski, Sara Reardon, Quirin Schiermeier & Alexandra Witze

Comets, stem cells and cosmic dust are among the year's top stories.

Categories: General, Nature

365 days: Nature's 10

Nature - Wed, 2014-12-17 13:45

365 days: Nature's 10

Nature 516, 7531 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/516311a

Ten people who mattered this year.

Categories: General, Nature

We Need Books to Save Biodiversity

Ernst Mayr Library Blog - Fri, 2014-12-12 12:18

Today we are reposting a blog from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.  Thank you to Grace Costantino for sharing.

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This month, we’re publishing a series of blog posts outlining the importance of biodiversity literature, made available for free and open access through the Biodiversity Heritage Library, to today’s scientific research and conservation initiatives. With your help, we can help save biodiversity. 
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is revolutionizing the way scientific research is conducted by providing free and open access to biodiversity literature and archives representing over 500 years of scientific exploration, research, and discovery.

What’s so special about Historic Literature and Archives? 
Historic literature and archival fieldbooks provide information that is critical to studying biodiversity. These documents are replete with data detailing the morphology, phylogeny and ethology of earth’s species. In many cases, this literature constitutes the only available knowledge for rareendangered, and extinct species.
In addition to species data, published books and fieldbooks capture ecosystem profiles, distribution maps, inter-dependency observations, and geological and climatic records. They also provide an historical perspective on species abundance,habitat alteration, and human explorationculture and discovery.

This information has a multitude of applications in modern-day science. It is used to populate species databases and datasets that inform present-day research. It not only allows scientists to study biodiversity, but also to save it by enabling new species identification and facilitating the development of holistic conservation methods that integrate all of the factors necessary for a species’ wellbeing into its overall protection strategy. Furthermore, the discoveries captured in historic literature provide the foundations upon which contemporary models, theories anddisciplines are based.
Sadly, much of these publications and archival content are available in only a few select libraries in the developed world.

“Science is all about disseminating knowledge and building upon what has come before, yet so much of our knowledge of plants and animals has remained inaccessible to those who could make use of it,” laments Dr. John Sullivan, an evolutionary biologist with the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia and Cornell University. “This has been a big part of the ‘taxonomic impediment.’”

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is Alleviating the Taxonomic Impediment 
The Biodiversity Heritage Library boasts a collection of over 45 million pages from over 150,000 volumes and has served more than 3.5 million people in nearly every country since its launch in 2007. Additionally, BHL has made over 93,000 of the illustrations within its collection available in Flickr, which in turn have been viewed over 80 million times. Services such as taxonomic name finding tools, custom PDF downloads, and open APIs allow users to easily locate and reuse these resources.

“BHL is radically changing the status quo and democratizing access to knowledge about biodiversity,” lauds Dr. Sullivan. “Now anybody in the world has instant access to the original species description in a couple of clicks!”

Cane Toad. From the first published account of the flora and fauna of North America: Catesby, Mark.Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-47).http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/38993574.

Categories: General

New breast cancer classification based on epigenetics

Biology News - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:09


This is an image of a breast tumor identified as Epi-Luminal B of poor prognosis. Breast cancer is the most common in women. One in nine will suffer breast cancer over their lifetime. Progress in prevention and early detection, and the use of chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy), have achieved significantly increase survival in this disease in the last ten years, but much remains to be done.

Categories: Biology News, General

New way to turn genes on

Biology News - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:09

Using a gene-editing system originally developed to delete specific genes, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reliably turn on any gene of their choosing in living cells.

Categories: Biology News, General
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