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Predators have outsized influence over habitats
Grasshopper's change in diet to high-energy carbohydrates while being hunted by spiders may affect the way soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to research results published this week in the journal Science. (2012-06-15)

Grasshoppers 'stressed' by spiders affect the productivity of our soil
How do grasshoppers who are being frightened by spiders affect our ecosystem? In no small measure, say researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Yale University in the US. (2012-06-14)

Study finds predators have outsized influence over habitats
A grasshopper's change in diet to high-energy carbohydrates while being hunted by spiders may affect the way soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Yale and Hebrew University researchers in Science. (2012-06-14)

Stanford marine biologist Barbara Block wins Rolex Award for Enterprise
Barbara Block, a professor at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, has been named a 2012 Rolex Laureate for her plan to monitor and protect large marine predators in the (2012-06-13)

Recreational fishing causes Cape Cod salt marsh die-off
As recreational fishing activity has reduced predators in many of Cape Cod's salt marsh ecosystems, Sesarma crabs have feasted on grasses, causing dramatic die-offs of the marshes, according to a new study. The researchers assessed the (2012-06-11)

T cells 'hunt' parasites like animal predators seek prey, a Penn Vet-Penn Physics study reveals
By pairing an intimate knowledge of immune-system function with a deep understanding of statistical physics, a cross-disciplinary team at the University of Pennsylvania has arrived at a surprising finding: T cells use a movement strategy to track down parasites that is similar to strategies that predators such as monkeys, sharks and bluefin tuna use to hunt their prey. (2012-05-27)

Light pollution transforming insect communities
Street lighting is transforming communities of insects and other invertebrates, according to research by the University of Exeter. The study shows for the first time that the balance of different species living together is being radically altered as a result of light pollution in our towns and cities. Believed to be increasing by six percent a year globally, artificial lighting is already known to affect individual organisms, but this is the first time that its impact on whole communities has been investigated. (2012-05-22)

What sounds good doesn't always taste good
Bats use a combination of cues in their hunting sequence - capture, handling and consumption - to decide which prey to attack, catch and consume and which ones they are better off leaving alone or dropping mid-way through the hunt. Eavesdropping bats first listen to their prey, then they assess its size, and finally they taste it. The work by Dr. Rachel Page and her team from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama is published online in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature. (2012-05-21)

Colorful butterflies increase their odds of survival by sharing traits
Bright black-and-red butterflies that flit across the sunlit edges of Amazonian rain forests are natural hedonists, and it does them good, according to genetic data published today in the journal Nature. (2012-05-16)

Big-mouthed babies drove the evolution of giant island snakes
Research in the American Naturalist suggests that the need to have big-mouthed babies drove the evolution of giant tiger snakes on Australian islands. The findings offer a new dimension to the study of island gigantism and dwarfism. (2012-05-15)

Ancient sea reptile with gammy jaw suggests dinosaurs got arthritis too
Imagine having arthritis in your jaw bones... if they're over two meters long! A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol has found signs of a degenerative condition similar to human arthritis in the jaw of a pliosaur, an ancient sea reptile that lived 150 million years ago. Such a disease has never been described before in fossilized Jurassic reptiles. (2012-05-15)

Evolution in an island, the secret for a longer life
ICP researchers published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B one of the first fossil-based evidences supporting the evolutionary theory of aging, which predicts that species evolving in low mortality and resource-limited ecosystems tend to be more long-lived. The study shows that the tooth height of endemic insular mammals is an indicator of longevity. (2012-04-25)

Loss of predators in Northern Hemisphere affecting ecosystem health
A survey done on the loss in the Northern Hemisphere of large predators, particularly wolves, concludes that current populations of moose, deer, and other large herbivores far exceed their historic levels and are contributing to disrupted ecosystems. They are crippling the growth of young trees and reducing biodiversity. This also contributes to deforestation and results in less carbon sequestration, a potential concern with climate change. (2012-04-09)

Task force recommends reducing global harvest of 'forage fish'
A task force has strongly recommended more conservative catch limits for global (2012-04-02)

New study is first to show that pesticides can induce morphological changes in vertebrate animals
The world's most popular weed killer, RoundupĀ®, can cause amphibians to change shape, according to research published today in Ecological Applications. (2012-04-02)

Evolving to fight epidemics: Weakness can be an advantage
When battling a deadly parasite epidemic, less resistance can sometimes be better than more, a new study suggests. A freshwater zooplankton species known as Daphnia dentifera endures periodic epidemics of a virulent yeast parasite that can infect more than 60 percent of the Daphnia population. (2012-03-30)

Mites form friendly societies
For plant-inhabiting predatory mites, living among familiar neighbors reduces stress. This allows individuals to focus on other tasks and be more productive, in particular while they are foraging. The new study by Markus Strodl and Peter Schausberger, from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria, supports the theory that so-called 'social familiarity' reduces the cognitive, physiological and behavioral costs of group-living, leading to increased efficiency in other tasks. (2012-03-29)

Insect DNA offers tiny clues about animals' changing habitats
The long-term impact of climate change on natural communities of wild animals could be better understood thanks to a new study. (2012-03-08)

Study extends the 'ecology of fear' to fear of parasites
Work at Washington University in St. Louis, just published in EcoHealth, shows that the ecology of fear, like other concepts from predator-prey theory, also extends to parasites. Raccoons and squirrels would give up food, the study demonstrated, if the area was infested with larval ticks. At some level, they are weighing the value of the abandoned food against the risk of being parasitized. (2012-02-24)

Solved! Mystery that stumped ecosystem modelers
As scientists warn that the Earth is on the brink of a period of mass extinctions, they are struggling to identify ecosystem responses to environmental change. But to truly understand these responses, more information is needed about how the Earth's staggering diversity of species originated. (2012-02-22)

New miniature grasshopper-like insect is first member of its family from Belize
Scientists at the University of Illinois, US have discovered a new species of tiny, grasshopper-like insect in the tropical rainforests of the Toledo District in southern Belize. Dr. Sam Heads and Dr. Steve Taylor co-authored a paper, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, documenting the discovery and naming the new species Ripipteryx mopana. The name commemorates the Mopan people - a Mayan group, native to the region. (2012-02-15)

Notre Dame biologists tackling big question in evolution
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame, the University of Iowa and Cornell University have been awarded collaborative grants totaling $1.1. million from the National Science Foundation to answer a fundamental question: As a new species evolves, how, and to what extent, do other species that depend on it evolve as well? (2012-02-14)

Bumblebees get by with a little help from their honeybee rivals
Bumblebees can use cues from their rivals the honeybees to learn where the best food resources are, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London. (2012-02-14)

Tiny primate is ultrasonic communicator, Dartmouth professor finds
Tarsiers' ultrasonic calls -- among the most extreme in the animal kingdom -- give them a (2012-02-08)

Redder ladybirds more deadly, say scientists
A ladybird's color indicates how well-fed and how toxic it is, according to an international team of scientists. This research directly shows that differences between animals' warning signals reveal how poisonous individuals are to predators. The study shows that redder ladybirds are more poisonous than their paler peers and reveals that this variation is directly linked to diet in early life, with better-fed ladybirds being more visible and more deadly. (2012-02-06)

For the birds
Location matters for birds on the hunt for caterpillars, according to researchers at UC Irvine and Wesleyan University. Findings suggest that chickadees and others zero in on the type of tree as much as the characteristics of their wriggly prey. (2012-01-26)

Why bats, rats and cats store different amounts of fat
Why different animals carry different amounts of fat depends on how they have solved the problem of avoiding both starving to death and being killed by predators, new research from the University of Bristol suggests. (2012-01-20)

Carbon dioxide is 'driving fish crazy'
Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes with serious consequences for their survival, an international scientific team has found. Carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes' ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators, says Professor Phillip Munday of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University. (2012-01-20)

Juvenile predation preventing Steller sea lion recovery
A new study suggests that the impact of predation on juvenile Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska has been significantly underestimated, creating a (2012-01-17)

UGA study offers hope for hemlock attack
Thousands of broken trees line the banks of the Chattooga River. The dead gray stabs were once evergreen monsters offering shade to trout and picturesque views to visitors. These Eastern hemlocks are dying rapidly, and University of Georgia researchers are working to save them. (2012-01-10)

Predators hunt for a balanced diet
Predators select their prey in order to eat a nutritionally balanced diet and give themselves the best chance of producing healthy offspring. A new study shows for the first time that predatory animals choose their food on the basis of its nutritional value, rather than just overall calorie content. (2012-01-10)

Stop abusing insecticides in rice
To prevent devastating insect pest outbreaks in rice that cause millions of dollars of damage, the International Rice Research Institute has called for a ban on certain insecticides in rice production as part of its new Action plan to reduce planthopper damage to rice crops in Asia. At a conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, IRRI brought together leaders in the rice industry to advance towards a (2012-01-05)

Prehistoric predators with supersized teeth had beefier arm bones
The toothiest prehistoric predators also had beefier arm bones, finds a new fossil study. Sabertooth tigers may come to mind, but these extinct cats weren't the only animals with fearsome fangs. Millions of years before cats came to be, multiple sabertooth predators converged on the same combination of knife-like canines and well-built arm bones. And the longer the teeth, the thicker the forelimbs, finds a new study from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. (2012-01-04)

Prehistoric predators with supersized teeth had beefier arm bones
The toothiest prehistoric predators also had beefier arm bones, according to results of a study published today in the journal Paleobiology. (2012-01-04)

Seriously, we're poisonous: Coloration is an honest signal of toxicity in poison frogs
The following articles appear in the January 2012 issue of the American Naturalist: (2012-01-04)

50 million year old cricket and katydid fossils hint at the origins of insect hearing
How did insects get their hearing? A new study of 50 million year-old cricket and katydid fossils -- sporting some of the best preserved fossil insect ears described to date -- help trace the evolution of the insect ear, says a new study by researchers working at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. (2012-01-02)

An ecosystem being transformed - Yellowstone 15 years after the return of wolves
On the 15th anniversary of the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, a quiet but profound rebirth of life and ecosystem health is emerging, scientists conclude in a new report. (2011-12-21)

Caterpillars mimic one another for survival
In the world of insects, high risk of attack has led to the development of camouflage as a means for survival. Researchers have uncovered some of the most extensive evidence of caterpillars using another strategy previously best-known in adult butterflies: mimicry. (2011-12-16)

Pythons and people take turns as predators and prey
People and giant snakes not only target each other for food -- they also compete for the same prey, according to a study co-authored by a Cornell University researcher. (2011-12-14)

Picture book portrays a 'hoppy' future for endangered frogs
Move over Kermit. ASU microbiologist and author Elizabeth Davidson offers kids (and their parents) a pollywog hero and a forum for global environmental solution-building in (2011-12-13)

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