Fire Management in California's Chaparal: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District conducted a controlled burn of central marine chaparral at Fort Ord, Calif., Oct. 15, to expose unexploded ordnance at the formerly utilized defense site. The burn, carefully coordinated with local agencies, lasted less than two hours and was timed so that prevailing winds would help blow the smoke away from population centers. The controlled burns are part of a comprehensive ordnance removal program at Fort Ord, which closed in 1994 under recommendation from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. (U.S. Army photo/Released) Animals Biology Environment 

Fire Management in California’s Chaparral Harms Birds

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore California suffered its largest and most destructive wildfires in 2017. Victims included hundreds of wild animals. When the blazing fires were finally extinguished, the surviving animals—including birds—were forced to find new homes. Now, for the first time, researchers investigating the effect of fire management practices on birds in California’s chaparral have found that one practice known as mastication, which consists of mechanically crushing vegetation to remove fuel, threatens bird communities. “The best available science tells us that managing chaparral imperils wildlife and increases fire risk,” says…

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language detectives Videos 

Language Detectives

Where did the Uto-Aztecan language originate? An interdisciplinary research project looked at a set of 100 words to understand the sound sequences of this language. Watch this video to see how an anthropologist and a computational biologist carried out this research. This is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History. Museum curators Peter Whiteley, an anthropologist, and Ward Wheeler, a computational biologist, joined forces to trace the evolution of Native American languages by applying gene-sequencing methods to historical linguistics. I became fascinated by the idea…

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Citizen Science Promotes Environmental Engagement Citizen Science Environment 

Citizen Science Promotes Environmental Engagement

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Citizen science projects are rapidly gaining popularity among the public, in which volunteers help gather data on species that can be used by scientists in research. And it’s not just adults who are involved in these projects—even kids have collected high-quality data in the US. In addition to producing more data for scientific research, citizen science promotes interest in conservation and public awareness. Now, an Australian study has found that first-year university students can benefit from increased environmental engagement and greater understanding of their studies when…

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Fabulous Fat: Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Combat Malnutrition Health 

Fabulous Fat: Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Combat Malnutrition

By Shayna Keyles @shaynakeyles Malnutrition affects hundreds of millions of children around the world. As of 2017, about 23 percent of children under five suffer from stunted growth because of malnutrition and about 8 percent experience extreme wasting, which is characterized by a low weight-to-height ratio. Although over the years many treatments have been developed that reduce chances of mortality, increase weight gain, and improve lean tissue creation—all signs of healthy development—more work is necessary to create an inexpensive, accessible, and long-term solution. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; also known as…

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Biology Education Science Policy 

The “Google Manifesto”: Bad Biology, Ignorance of Evolutionary Processes, and Privilege

By Agustin Fuentes, PhD, University of Notre Dame There are biological differences between the sexes, including average body size and upper body strength, and aspects of reproductive physiology. There is also a range of gendered differences in behavior and perception as contemporary societies structure developmental patterns and expectations differently for boys and girls. But there are more biological similarities than differences, and more gender overlaps than discontinuities, between males and females—we are the same species after all. These differences and similarities can, and do, play roles in shaping performance on specific tasks by individuals…

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Spinach and Siderophores: The Bacterial Battle for Iron Biology Health 

Spinach and Siderophores: The Bacterial Battle for Iron

By Ada Hagan @adahagan Many remember the boisterous, muscle-bound, tattooed sailor Popeye and the thin-as-a-rail Olive Oyl from Saturday morning cartoons. In times of need, such as when his rival Bluto abducted Olive Oyl for the 50th time, Popeye would squeeze open a tin can of spinach. Eating the spinach, sometimes miraculously through his corn-cob pipe, gave Popeye that extra boost of energy needed to escape his bonds and rescue Olive Oyl. What was so special about spinach that gave Popeye his superpower? Iron. Or so I thought. It’s popularly…

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GotScience Book Review Animals Biology Book Reviews 

Book Review: Wild Sex: The Science Behind Mating in the Animal Kingdom

Title: Wild Sex: The Science Behind Mating in the Animal Kingdom Reviewed by: Kate Stone for GotScience.org, a Science Connected publication Author: Dr. Carin Bondar Publisher: Pegasus Books On sale: Now (September 2016) Best for: 18 and up Reviewer’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 Introduction Sexual reproduction. It provides the genetic diversity that is essential for complex life on Earth. Birds do it; bees do it—every member of the animal kingdom does it, from fruit flies to blue whales. But if you think humans have a tough time dating, try…

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Life Cycle of a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly Animals Biology Photos 

Life Cycle of a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

By Yvi San Google+ The pipevine swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor, is a relatively small black swallowtail with gorgeous, iridescent blue scaling. It measures approximately 7–10 cm (2.75–4 in) from tip of wing to tip of wing. It is commonly found in the Deep South, but during the summer you can find it in the Southwest, including parts of California, and from Kansas to New York. Last year I planted woolly Dutchman’s pipevine, Aristolochia tomentosa, to attract this butterfly to my garden. I was rewarded at the beginning of summer with…

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Pathogenic Triggers of Bacterial DNA Discovered Biology Health 

Pathogenic Triggers of Bacterial DNA Discovered

By Shayna Keyles @shaynakeyles Bacteria, those mysterious, microscopic creatures living in, on, and around us, are very often our benign neighbors with whom we quietly cohabitate and occasionally exchange mutual support. However, as anyone who has ever gotten pneumonia or strep throat knows, bacteria are not always looking out for our best interests. Occasionally, bacteria become pathogenic and infect their hosts, and if we are their hosts, we get sick. In a groundbreaking study published on July 29 in Science Access, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory uncovered the molecular…

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Bumblebees: A bumblebee covered in tiny body hairs. University of Bristol Biology 

Bumblebee Hairs Detect Floral Electric Fields

It is well known that bees dance to tell each other where to find the best flowers, but have you ever wondered how bees find the flowers in the first place? A new study suggests that each bumblebee has tiny hairs that vibrate in response to electrical signals transmitted by flowers. It’s been known for a while that flowers communicate with pollinators, such as bumblebees, by sending out electric signals. However, scientists have been wondering how the bees detect those floral messages. The Hair of the Bumblebee Researchers at the University…

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