Flocks of birds manage to navigate through difficult environments by individuals having predispositions to favour the left- or right-hand side, according to research published in PLOS Computational Biology this week.
PLOS Computational Biology
Scientists at The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science found that budgerigars display individual bias to fly to the left or right. This allows flocks to quickly navigate past obstacles by being able to split and not slow down due to crowding.
High beach bacterial diversity may contribute to less water contamination.
Human activity influences ocean beach bacterial communities, and bacterial diversity may indicate greater ecological health and resiliency to sewage contamination, according to results published March 5, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Elizabeth Halliday from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and colleagues.
Beaches all contain bacteria, but some bacteria are usually from sewage and may contaminate the water, posing a public health risk. In this study, scientists studied bacterial community composition at two distant beaches (Avalon, California, and Provincetown, Massachusetts) during levels of normal- and high-contamination (measured using a fecal or ‘poop’ indicator) by genetically sequencing over 600,000 bacteria from 24 dry sand, intertidal sand, and overlying water sampling sites at the locations. Waters at the Avalon site frequently violate water quality standards, while waters at the Provincetown site have infrequent water quality violations.
New dinosaur species estimated up to 10 meters long and 4-5 tons.
The ability to predict exactly where and when a future outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria will emerge is of obvious utility for improving public health. But despite the fact that the public databases are already brimming with tens of thousands of cataloged DNA mutations that confer such resistance, those don’t reveal how other mutations may emerge, and forecasting outbreaks remains beyond the predictive power of modern science. Read more…
Discovery in France of the New Guinea flatworm – one of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world
One of the consequences of globalization and increased worldwide freight trade is the introduction of invasive alien species. In the list of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world, there is only one terrestrial flatworm: Platydemus manokwari, also called New Guinea flatworm. This species has now been found in France, Caen, and was identified by an international team led by Jean-Lou Justine of Institute of Systematics, Evolution, Biodiversity, Paris, France (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle / CNRS / UPMC / EPHE). This is the first discovery of the species in Europe, reported in an article to be published March 4th in the open-access journal PeerJ (http://PeerJ.com).