Category Archives: Plants & Animals

Flower Color And Fragrance Send Coordinated Message To Island Pollinators

The team investigated the way these plants communicate with a diverse assemblage of insect pollinators in the same community. They discovered a link between the color of the flowers and their fragrance, such that the two characteristics can be regarded as one integrated signal. This is the first study to demonstrate color-fragrance integration for an entire plant community. (Click on title for full story.)

Did Algae Kill The Dinosaurs?

Over time, the team grew skeptical of drought as the only explanation. Large and small animals nestle against each other, suggesting that the bodies were buried where they died and that the killer struck all kinds of animals without discrimination. In addition, whatever killed these animals “was fast-acting,dropping birds in their tracks.” And it happened again and again, creating multiple layers of bone beds. (Click on title for full story.)

When The Flower Forces The Pollinator To Adapt

This is one of the few examples where a pollinator had to adapt to the flowers that it pollinates, rather than the other way round, (Click on title for full story.)

Where Bees Can’t Reach To Groom Themselves Flowers Will Find The Pollen They Need

It has been hypothesised that specific body areas, bees cannot groom, serve as ‘safe sites’ for pollen transfer between flowers. For the first time, we experimentally demonstrated the position, area and pollen amount of safe sites at the examples of Apis mellifera and Bombus terrestris by combining artificial contamination of the bees’ body with pine or sunflower pollen and the subsequent bees’ incomplete grooming. (Click on title for full story.)

Flowers Defend Against Bee Nectar-Robbers

Short-tongued bees, on the other hand, chew through the hood of the plants’ flowers to better access the nectar. This method is to the detriment of the plant as the bees bypass its reproductive structures. Ecologists call them nectar robbers. But plants fight back. (Click on title for full story.)

Tundra Animals Help Off -Set Climate Change Impact On Plant Species

“We found that the warming increased the number of species in plots that were grazed, because it enabled small tundra plants to appear and grow there. But when we fenced reindeer, voles and lemmings out, vegetation became denser and the light was limited. As a result, many small and slowly-growing plant species were lost,” (Click on title for full story.)

Who Needs Pesticides When Ants Can Do The Job Better?

All farmers need to do is collect ant nests from the wild, hang them in plastic bags among their tree crops and feed them a sugar solution while they build their new nests. Once a colony is established, farmers then connect the trees that are part of the colony with aerial ‘ant walkways’ made from string or lianas. After that, the ants need little, except for some water in the dry season (which can be provided by hanging old plastic bottles among the trees), pruning trees that belong to different colonies so that the ants do not fight, and avoiding insecticide sprays. The review shows that crops such as cashew and mango can be exceptionally well protected from pests by weaver ants. One three-year study in Australia recorded cashew yields 49% higher in plots patrolled by ants compared with those protected by chemicals. Nut quality was higher too, so net income was 71% higher with ants than with chemicals. (Click on title for full story.)

Ants Defecating On Plants Shown To Be A Fertilizer Boost

“For the first time, we have shown that nutrients from ant waste are taken up by the leaves and transported to other places in the tree, This has great ecological importance. The ants, which primarily feed on insects in the trees, digest the insects and hand the nutrients on a silver platter to the plants. You can almost say that the plants receive the nutrition intravenously exactly where they need it,” (Click on title for full story)

Asian Elephants And African Elephants Treat Forests Differently

New research has shown that there are significant differences between the Asian and the African forest elephant – and it isn’t just about size and the shape of their ears. It is about what they eat and how they affect forest ecosystems As megaherbivores and the largest of our land animals, elephants have a significant impact on their habitat. In Central Africa, forest elephants act as ecological filters by breaking tree saplings and stripping them of foliage. But we have much more to learn about the impact of elephants on Southeast Asian rainforests. And new research suggests that the Asian elephant is a daintier eater – preferring palms, grasses and bamboo to tree saplings. (Click on title for full story.)

Having Detected Pest’s Odor, Anticipating Plant Prepares Defenses Before Any Damage Even Occurs

This is significant because it likely means that the plant has a dedicated mechanism to perceive this compound. The results provide evidence that goldenrod can detect a single compound from the fly, supporting the idea that there is a tight co-evolutionary relationship between these two species. In other words, over time, as the fly has adapted to take advantage of the plant, the plant has adapted to protect itself from the fly. (Click on title for full story).