Category Archives: Plants & Animals

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When A Rose Does Not Smell As Sweet

Air pollution from power plants and automobiles is destroying the fragrance of flowers and thereby inhibiting the ability of pollinating insects to follow scent trails to their source.

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Birds Select Healthy Diets

Our study shows for the first time that flavonoids are beneficial compounds that can boost the immune system in a living organism. We also found that wild birds actively select food containing flavonoids. Our results have important implications for the study of ecology and immunity in birds, and for the evolution of the relationship between plants and the birds and animals they rely on to disperse their seeds.

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Fish As Sole Seed Dispersers

This is the first report that I know of suggesting links between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems where fishing may be impacting tropical forests.

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Ants That Do The Seeds’ Bidding

Our results show that chemical cues alone, rather than visual or tactile characteristics of (ant garden) seeds, are sufficient to attract (ant garden) ants and elicit the seed-collecting behavior that underlies the complex (ant garden) mutualism.

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Saving Trees Can Kill Them

…as the beasts have been kept away, the whole ecology of the fenced areas has changed. The trees growth patterns slowed; many sickened, and their death rate doubled; they produced fewer thorns for the ants to use as homes and less nectar for the ants to eat.

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Ants And Elephants Fight Over Trees

Columns of angered ants will crawl up into elephant trunks to repel the ravenous beasts from devouring tree cover throughout drought-plagued East African savannas.

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Climate Change, Flying Foxes And Mass Extinctions

They are a keystone species for forest environments… There are lots of other species whose fate may also be in serious doubt.

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Does Genetically Engineered Corn Damage Streams?

This study provides the first evidence that toxins from Bt corn may travel long distances in streams and may harm stream insects that serve as food for fish.

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Insects Manipulated By Plants For Sex

The plants heat up and emit a toxic odor to drive pollen-covered insects out of male cycad cones, and then use a milder odor to draw the bugs into female cones so the plants are pollinated.