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Ecology

Bengaluru | Oct 17, 2019
Living in Bengaluru not 'cool' anymore, shows study

Projected to be the third fastest-growing city in the world, Bengaluru's transformation from being the 'Garden City' to the 'Silicon Valley of India' has made it the modern face of the Indian economy. But all this development has come at a cost with the city losing 89% of its green cover in just forty years. Once known for its cool climate, it is now infamous for its horrible traffic and concrete buildings. Middle-class ghettos and affluent gated communities have replaced the famed lakes, and the gardens have been cleared for IT parks. Thanks to the exponential growth, poor urban planning and corruption, experts believe that the city is going to be unlivable in a few years. In a recent study, published in the journal Remote Sensing Application: Society and Environment, researchers at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Albany, State University of New York, have explored the impact of increased urbanisation on Bengaluru. 

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Oct 17, 2019
Four Indian researchers on the list of Green Talents Competition awardees

In a press announcement, the Green Talents programme, held under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany, has announced this year’s 25 winners from all over the word. These awardees, called ‘Green Talents’, will travel to Germany in late October to attend the Science Forum for talented junior researchers from the field of sustainability science.

General, Science, Ecology, News
Bengaluru | Oct 10, 2019
How did the iconic blackbuck evolve? IISc scientists find new insights

The blackbuck is an antelope species native to the Indian subcontinent. Although the term 'antelope' is loosely used to refer to many ruminating ungulates, the blackbuck is the only animal that belongs to the genus named Antilope. True antelopes belong to one of the four genera—Gazella, Nanger, Eudorcas and Antilope. Scientists are still debating the evolutionary relationships between these members. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, have traced the evolutionary relationships of the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) using phylogenetics. The study was published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 25, 2019
Have policies to conserve groundwater in Haryana and Punjab worsened Delhi's air?

The city of Delhi has been consistently ranked as one of the world's most polluted cities. As the monsoon ends, haze sets in, with Deepawali around the corner, bringing the entire city to a standstill with low visibility. Besides vehicular emissions, smoke from diesel generators and construction dust, a significant contributor to this problem is the practice of crop residue burning by farmers in Punjab and Haryana. A recent study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, suggests that groundwater conservation policies, adopted by Punjab and Haryana, have changed the patterns of rice production. These policies, the researchers argue, have led to the concentration of crop residue burning into a narrower period, later in the season.

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 23, 2019
High up the Himalayas, study finds, flowers get smaller and nectar gets concentrated to suit tiny pollinators

The flowers in the Himalaya, a favourite among mountaineers, may have borrowed a lesson or two from the adrenaline-high visitors. As they climb higher, mountaineers carry only essential things, shedding any extra baggage. Likewise, the flowers here shrink in their size and hold less nectar to suit their tiny pollinators, finds a recent study on Rhododendrons, a type of woody flowering plants. The study was conducted by researchers at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Bengaluru and is published in the journal Alpine Botany. 

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 20, 2019
India, an emerging hotspot for antimicrobial resistance in farm animals, finds study

Antimicrobials, a class of drugs used in humans and animals to treat diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and parasites serve as a proxy for good hygiene and make up for the poor husbandry practices in animal farms in low and middle-income countries around the world. However, this dereliction comes with a considerable cost wherein, the overuse of these drugs has led to these microbes developing resistance against the very same drugs used to kill them.  Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans is linked to several animals, especially those that are raised for food. Despite this knowledge, it has received little attention in the world of animal science. A new study, published in the journal Science, has mapped the global trends of antimicrobial resistance in farm animals, with particular focus on developing countries, including India. 

General, Science, Technology, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 13, 2019
Study finds monkeys use gestures to communicate, just like apes.

Humans have evolved a complex system of communication expressed through language and primates are perhaps not far behind. Basic signals like facial expressions, gestures and vocalisations, used to share information, are used by humans and other primates. In a new study, researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, have investigated and compared gestural communication in wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata), to those in other apes. 

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Sep 12, 2019
Researchers design a synthetic antivenom to treat snake bites from the Indian krait

The Indian krait is undoubtedly the deadliest of all venomous snakes in the country, and possesses the most lethal concoction of poisons. In a study, a multi-institute research team, led by the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, have designed a synthetic antivenom with a nucleic acid aptamer which can diagnose Indian krait bites accurately and effectively.

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 9, 2019
Seeing climate change through the eyes of the Pikas

It’s getting tougher for the Royle’s pikas to survive in the Himalayas. But, these tiny, herbivores wouldn't move as they are particular about where they live. Restricted to rocky, mountainous terrains, they are now facing the wrath of rising temperatures and fluctuating environments. What would become of them in a few more decades? Can these fussy relatives of the rabbit find new homes and thrive? A new study by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun tries to find out what the future holds for them, and that the findings are not good news.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 4, 2019
Researchers design salt-tolerant varieties of Indian rice

In a country that predominantly depends on rain for irrigation, loss of crops due to disruptive weather continues to be a source of distress to farmers, and approaches to make crops tolerant to the vagaries of weather are necessary. In a recent study, researchers have shown that, by modifying particular genes, rice plants can be kept alive through periods of acute salinity in their water supply. 

General, Science, Technology, Ecology, Deep-dive