March 22, 2017
- Ants are hardworking and beneficial insects, research reveals. In the activities of their daily lives, ants help increase air, water flow, and organic matter in soil. The work done by ants even forms a type of mulch that helps hold water in the soil.
- Tasty, versatile, and rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids: salmon is one of the most popular edible fish of all. Shops sell fish caught in the wild, but their main produce is salmon from breeding farms which can pollute rivers, lakes and oceans. Just how big is the problem? Scientists are working to answer this question by examining the dissolved organic compounds which enter Chile’s rivers from salmon farms. They warn that these substances are placing huge strain on ecosystems and are...
- Bees latch on to similarly-sized nectarless flowers to unpick pollen – like keys fitting into locks, scientists have discovered.
March 21, 2017
- The story of wildlife conservation is usually framed as man vs. treasured wildlife. But there's growing evidence that the narrative deserves to have leading roles for livestock such as sheep, yaks or cows. A group of researchers are building the case that allowing livestock to graze and forage amidst protected wildlife disrupts wildlife already struggling for survival -- and that different wildlife react to livestock invasions in different ways.
March 20, 2017
- Researchers have identified a more sensitive test for detecting the early stages of paratuberculosis, a fatal disease that plagues dairy herds and causes an estimated annual loss of up to $250 million to the US dairy industry.
March 16, 2017
- New work from a joint team of plant biologists and ecologists has uncovered the factor behind an important innovation that makes grasses -- both the kind that make up native prairies and the kind we've domesticated for crops -- among the most-common and widespread plants on the planet. Their findings may enable the production of plants that perform better in warmer and dryer climate conditions.
- Scientists have identified a key element underlying the superior function of stomata -- or tiny, gas-exchanging pores -- in grasses, where stomata function more efficiently than they do in other plant types.
- A world-first genetic study of cattle in Africa has revealed clues which could help secure the future of meat and dairy production on the continent. Scientists in England and East Africa carried out the study to help inform future breeding programs and stop indigenous cattle from dying out.
- Plants possess molecular mechanisms that prevent them from blooming in winter. Once the cold of winter has passed, they are deactivated. However, if it is still too cold in spring, plants adapt their blooming behavior accordingly. Scientists have discovered genetic changes for this adaptive behavior. In light of the temperature changes resulting from climate change, this may come in useful for securing the production of food in the future.
March 15, 2017
- Scientists have pinpointed a key genetic switch that helps soil bacteria living on and inside a plant's roots harvest a vital nutrient with limited global supply. The nutrient, phosphate, makes it to the plant's roots, helping the plant increase its yield.