Nature is full of mind boggling interactions, some that seem they are straight out of a fiction novel! Studying a host-parasite-hyperparasite interaction between a species of moth and two species of wasp, scientists from the Ecology lab at the Department of Animal Science, Central University of Kerala, explore how wasps control the behaviour of moth larvae and also contribute to controlling their population.
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Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs), is a highly widespread herpes virus commonly found in Asian and African elephants. Of the 130 types of herpes viruses found worldwide, only some are known to infect humans, yet 90% of the human population is infected with some form of herpes virus. The rest can infect organisms as diverse as cats, birds, horses and fish.
Nature has an incredibly diverse array of life-hacks that can help us better solve various problems. Interesting phenomenon and natural resources can be abounding in even the most unexpected corners. One such unexpected location are the various hot water springs of Himalayas. Thriving with microbial life which can survive temperatures as high as 90˚C, these hot water springs are a treasure trove of exotic thermos-tolerant microbial enzymes which have a wide array of applications.
India produces a large amount of agricultural products due to its fertile soil and dependable rainfall patterns. Any harm to the soil would affect the lives of millions in the country. Soil erosion due to rainfall is one such threat. In an first of its kind study an international team of scientists have designed a global map of soil erosivity to devise mechanisms to protect our soils from erosion due to rainfall.
We live in a world where day to day objects seems to be getting smaller and better. The advent of nanotechnology is a major contributing factor to this phenomenon. Defined as the “engineered construction of matter at the molecular level”, nanotechnology has applications and uses in a multitude of fields. From medicine, electronics, food, clothing, batteries and environment, nanotechnology seems to be pushing the limits of all these fields. Now, scientist have discovered yet another novel application of nanotechnology – facilitating soil microbial growth.
Plants belonging to the genus Parthenium are native to the North American tropics. These hardy plants have moved out of their native range and colonized far off countries like Australia, parts of Africa and even India. The species hysterophorus belonging to this genus has earned common names like famine weed as spreads it into farm lands, uses up the nutrients in the soil and causes devastating loss in yield of crops.
An important aspect in the life of social animals is to gather information from others in their group. Young members of the group also learn how to forage, feed, evade predators and attract mating partners from older members. Scientists from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata explore how Zebra fish, that live in shoals of 20 individuals in the wild, learn informations from their partners in a laboratory environment.
Flooding in urban areas in a major threat to life and property. While there is a focus on immediate relief to the victims after the flood, long term effects of the flood need to be explored in more depth. In a recent study, an international team of scientists explores the aftermath of the floods in Chennai in 2015 with regards to the potability of groundwater. The team shows that even five months after the floods the groundwater is still unsafe for human consumption due to heavy metal and microbial contamination.
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have described a new species of plant in Coastal Karnataka. Here the team describes the morphological features that helped them identify the plants as a separate species. They find that Reissantia sessiliflora is endemic to the region and highlight the threats faced by the plant along with the actions the public can take for its conservation.
Snakehead fishes are predatory ray-finned fishes belonging to the family Channidae. Found across Asia and Africa, snakehead fishes are important sources of food, and are widely cultivated by humans. Snakehead fishes are known survive on wet land for up to 4 days, and are considered to be a highly invasive species, with a single snakehead female capable of laying up to 150,000 eggs in just a span of two years. So far, 38 valid species of snakeheads had been recognised.