The theory of evolution has long been an interesting subject for scientists around the world, ever since Darwin’s proposal. Many new findings have shaped our understanding of evolution and some have changed what we knew thus far. Now a new study by scientists on fruitflies might further change how we have understood the importance of ‘trade-offs’ in evolution. The study has discovered that fruitflies develop immunity to a type of bacteria over a few generations without losing any other desirable trait, prompting scientists to believe that they have obtained immunity for free, a concept that was always associated with trade-offs.
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The oceans make up 75% of our Earth and is home to a wide range of plants and animals that thrive in marine ecosystems around the world. Thanks to human actions, these ecosystems face a mounting threat, far too inconspicuous, for us to observe. Ocean pollution, raise in its temperature and rampant overfishing have threatened many species and have pushed them to the brink of extinction. On World Oceans Day, perhaps it is time to reflect what roles these oceans play in helping life on the land and think about how our activities have disturbed the fragile balance nature maintains in the deep blue seas.
Dogs are long considered our best friends. Since the days of our civilizations, it is thought that dogs have started to share the cities that we build and have lived in them - eating up our wastes, protecting our livestocks, guarding us and sometimes irking us with their behaviour. Stray dogs are now seen as a menace more than as loving inhabitants of our cities. An increasing number of huma-dog conflicts are a testimony to that. A new research has thrown some insights into the behavioural aspects of stray dogs and has identified factors and measures that can help us make peace with the strays. By being aware and understanding of the behaviours of strays, a lot of such conflicts can be avoided, say the researchers.
The 5th of June every year is celebrated across the world as ‘World Environment Day’. People mark this event by planting saplings, spreading awareness about the importance of the environment to our survival and ways we can conserve this gift of nature for the future generations to come. But, have you ever wondered how we go about our lives on the rest of the days? What if we stopped a moment to think of the change it would bring about if we chose to walk to work instead of the car or take the bus? Of course it would change the climate for the good. Find out some tales of inspiration and alarming facts in this special on World Environment Day.
If there is one thing that is rapidly disappearing from today’s urban landscape, it is the trees -- many of them being cut down relentlessly to make way for roads, buildings, dams and the likes. But what can we do about those that have miraculously escaped the axe, apart from hugging them? Mapping them! Yes, you read that right. Today, various tree mapping campaigns are on that is calling on everyone to help map the trees in your neighbourhood. This data is of immense importance for further studies on urban ecology. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your phone and get mapping...
Have you ever wondered how animals communicate with each other? While some might use sound by howling, chirping or roaring, others, like the resplendent superb fan throated lizards have evolved a unique form of communication using colors. In a new study, researchers have understood the complex system these lizards use to signal to each other using their colorful dewlaps. Using colors like orange, blue and black, these lizards signal differently to males and females of their own, say the researchers.
The 22nd of May is celebrated around the world as International Day for Biodiversity -- a day to celebrate the existence of that little sparrow on the tree, the colourful caterpillar on the leaf, the gigantic Blue whale in the ocean and the majestic elephant in our forests. It is a day to appreciate that our planet is blessed with so many life forms and understand each one’s role in maintaining this ecosystem. A small imbalance in this ecosystem can spell doom for all of us. On this day, here is a brief look at how we have understood biodiversity throughout our history and some important takeaways in the process.
Albeit irksome, termites are one of the fascinating insects we have around us that play a major role in the recycle of nutrients. Found in mounds made of soil, their nests reveal a host of information about the surroundings. In a recent study, researchers have investigated the relationship between the abundance and distribution of termite mounds, and the impact of soil properties and the fragmentation of the natural forests on the same. Since studies on termites found in Asia are very few, the researchers claim this study opens up a lot more fascinating information in the world of termites of southern India
Migration of birds is a spectacular event in its own right. It is a rare chance to spot those uncommon feathered visitors who are on a massive journey, sometimes spanning thousands of kilometers. Have you ever wondered why birds migrate? What are some of the factors that trigger migration? And how about some amazing tales of migration? Read about all these and more in this feature on migration of birds on account of World Migratory Bird Day.
Conserving wildlife seems to be the biggest concern for most ecologists who think habitat destruction, coupled with climate change, can spell doom for many animals on earth. The first step to know how badly a particular species is affected is by counting them. As simple as it sounds, counting populations, especially in the wild, is a daunting task. In addition to the sheer physical strain, social structures of certain animals like the elephants could result in errors in such population estimations. Now, a new study has leveraged the power of computer simulations to accurately estimate wild populations at the comfort of your desk.