0213001849

The Millipede With A Garden On Its Back

We have reported here the first known associations of bryophytes with Diplopoda, and one of the few with Arthropoda. It is also, so far as we know, the first reported case of tropical bryophyte entomochory, in which spores and propagules that fell on the backs of diplopods germinated and produced small plants (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

China’s Massive Reforestation Being Undone By Small Forest Animals

Squirrels rarely eat bark in this way in untouched, natural forests where they live on fruits, seeds, insects and bird eggs, Fu Yiqiang, a zoologist at Leshan Normal University said. However, commercial forests, which are usually monocultures made up of one kind of tree, do not have a thriving ecosystem which can provide squirrels with a diverse diet, which leads to them mainly eating bark for sustenance, Fu said. Fu added that these kinds of forests also lack predators, so the squirrel population often explodes in size. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Did Humans Make The Sahara A Desert?

The story that emerged suggests that as communities of people spread, they changed the landscape to accommodate crops and livestock, causing an exchange in plant species that covered the ground for specimens that exposed the soil. As sunlight bounced from the brighter soil, it warmed the air, building a feedback loop that shifted the atmospheric conditions enough to reduce the frequent monsoon rains and benefit scrub vegetation over grasslands until rainfall virtually vanished, leaving only a scattering of hardy desert plants. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

When Scientists Began Systematic Screening Of Plants To Fight Cancer

“If you look at the source of drugs used in cancer,” Newman says, “60-plus percent of them are either a natural product, a modified natural product, or depend upon what is known as a natural product pharmacophore”—in other words, a synthetic version of a natural molecule. Hartwell was “the leader” in organizing the discovery of natural products to fight cancer, Newman adds. “He was a prophet before his time. Prior to that, nobody had really looked.” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

When Tomatoes Cry: Plants Know They Are Being Eaten.

“What is surprising and cool is that these plants only create defense responses to feeding vibrations and not to wind or other vibrations in the same frequency as the chewing caterpillar,” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

New Sleep Aid Isolated From Ancient Herbal Remedy

Can’t sleep? Your sleep problems may be improved if you try an Indian herb, Ashwagandha. Researchers in the sleep institute in Japan found that an active component of Ashwagandha leaves significantly induces sleep. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Are Tree Trunks Contributing To Global Climate Change? (WHAT?)

Methane is about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide, with some estimates as high as 33 times stronger due to its effects when it is in the atmosphere. Because of methane’s global warming potential, identifying the sources and “sinks” or storehouses of this greenhouse gas is critical for measuring and understanding its implications across ecosystems. Upland forest soils usually take up and store methane, but this effect can be counteracted by methane emissions from tree trunks, (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

How Dust From The Gobi Desert Keeps Giant Sequoias In California Thriving

The scientists found that dust from the Gobi Desert and the Central Valley of California contributed more phosphorus for plants in the Sierra Nevadas than bedrock weathering, which is the breaking down of rock buried beneath the soil. Phosophorus is one of the basic elements that plants need to survive, and the Sierra Nevadas are considered a phosphorus-limited ecosystem. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

More Than A Carbon Sink: Forests Necessary For Moderating Temperatures

While forests often absorb more solar radiation than grasslands or croplands, they also put more moisture into the air and promote more mixing of the air near the surface than those shorter types of vegetation. “What we are finding is that these mechanisms are often more important, even in some of the higher-latitude regions, where surface light reflection has been given more weight,” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

A Diet of Fruit (Not Leaves) Made Primates Big Brainiacs

Ask any biologist what makes primates special, and they’ll tell you the same thing: big brains. Those impressive noggins make it possible for primates from spider monkeys to humans to use tools, find food, and navigate the complex relationships of group living. But scientists disagree on what drove primates to evolve big brains in the first place. Now, a new study comes to an unexpected conclusion: fruit. (Click on title for full story.)