Ecological Dynamics of Coastal Plants, Birds, and Herbivores

Fatin Chowdhury ’20 In a recent paper, scientists from the University of Irvine examined the resistance of shrub plants to herbivory, as enabled by plant morphology or the presence of avian species. The scientists studied both direct and indirect defenses in nature and assessed these mechanisms in the context of energetic trade-offs. Characteristics that were already known to directly lower the success rate of herbivory … Continue reading Ecological Dynamics of Coastal Plants, Birds, and Herbivores

Environment Dependent Dietary Adjustment by Invasive Aquatic Species

Fatin Chowdhury ‘20 Recently, researchers at three Brazilian universities examined patterns of feeding behavior displayed by the Knodus moenkhausii fish invasive to Brazil. The researchers described a two-fold hypothesis. Firstly, the species is expected to be non-specialist and opportunistic, feeding on whatever food source is most readily accessible. Secondly, resource abundance affects the nature of the trophic niche it resides in. Accordingly, flexibility in diet … Continue reading Environment Dependent Dietary Adjustment by Invasive Aquatic Species

How Mosquitoes Find Their Next Meal

Ellie Teng ‘21 Getting a mosquito bite is common during warmer weather, however in certain places, it could be deadly, as mosquitoes are major transmitters of disease. Bloodborne pathogens are easily transferred between humans. To determine how a female mosquito identifies, tracks and prey on a potential host, a group of scientists from the University of Washington studied the two sensory systems in mosquitoes: the … Continue reading How Mosquitoes Find Their Next Meal

Why the Highveld Mole Rat Does Not Sense Pain

By Nicole Zhao ‘20  Plants and insects alike often use algogens, noxious substances, as defensive weapons against predators (1). Predators, such as humans, detect these algogens via the receptors of nociceptive sensory neurons and are warned to back off(2). It has previously been shown that Heterocephalus glaber, otherwise known as the naked mole rat, shows no pain behavior when exposed to hydrogen chloride and capsaicin, … Continue reading Why the Highveld Mole Rat Does Not Sense Pain

Global Warming Could Allow Squid to Thrive

Ellie Teng ‘21 The unique swimming technique of squid requires energy and oxygen. Jet propulsion allows the cephalopods to rapidly move about, but requires a large output of energy, thereby increasing the demand for oxygen. There is evidence suggesting increased CO2 has adverse effects on squid respiratory performance, however, there has been no research on the effects of prolonged exposure to CO2 for adult cephalopods. … Continue reading Global Warming Could Allow Squid to Thrive

Use of Arithmetic operations and Memory Processing Shown in Bees

By Mariam Malik ‘22 Some animals are mentally capable of understanding the concept of numbers, emotion, and even language. However, at RMIT University in Australia, an experiment done on bees shows that they are not only able to understand the concept of numbers, but they also show comprehension of arithmetic operations, such as addition and subtraction, with the use of colored symbols. To determine if … Continue reading Use of Arithmetic operations and Memory Processing Shown in Bees

Figure 1. The benthic zone, which includes the sea floor, sediment, and surrounding waters, is the lowest ecological level in a body of water.

Warming Waters Unexpectedly Alters Growth of Antarctica’s Sea Life

By Gene Yang ’19 In shallow Antarctic waters, a nine-month long study was the first of its kind to artificially warm conditions in the sea floor to predicted climate change levels, and in doing so, the researchers saw an increase in the growth rates of select species. Scientists placed artificial “settlement panels” on the sea floor of shallow Antarctic waters. The composition of these panels … Continue reading Warming Waters Unexpectedly Alters Growth of Antarctica’s Sea Life

Figure 1. Ghost crabs are Crustaceans of the subfamily Ocypodinae, found in intertidal zones in America’s Pacific Coast and elsewhere around the world.

Crustacean Body Size Changes with Climate

By Gene Yang ’19 Crustaceans play an important role in coastal ecosystems, an area of research that can provide new insight into climate change. A recent study found a correlation between body sizes of intertidal crustaceans, latitude, and sea-surface temperature. A collaboration of researchers from six universities sampled the body sizes of four keystone crustacean species from 44 sandy beaches in California and Chile: high-shore … Continue reading Crustacean Body Size Changes with Climate

How Far the Penguins Should March

Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 The effects of Global Climate Change can dramatically alter the environment as well as the organisms which inhabit it. One species that is particularly affected by climate change is the emperor penguin (EP), so much so that researchers from the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) believe they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The random and unpredictable nature of climate … Continue reading How Far the Penguins Should March

Figure 1. Acoustic analysis of buzzing from foraging bees provides a faster and less invasive method of monitoring bee pollination.

That Buzzing Noise

Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Bees play a critical role in crop survival. Because of this, farmers and scientists must always stay ahead by following patterns in their behavior to quickly manage and appropriately respond to complications in their population growth. Acoustic analysis of organisms is not a new concept; however, it is not often used on insects. Researchers led by Nicole Miller-Struttmann PhD from Webster University … Continue reading That Buzzing Noise