107

Random effects key to containing epidemics

To control an epidemic, authorities will often impose varying degrees of lockdown. In a paper in the journal Chaos, scientists have discovered, using mathematics and computer simulations, why dividing a large population into multiple subpopulations that do not intermix can help contain outbreaks without imposing contact restrictions within those local communities.

read more
Vampire bats social distance when they get sick

A new paper in Behavioral Ecology, published by Oxford University Press, finds that wild vampire bats that are sick spend less time near others from their community, which slows how quickly a disease will spread. The research team had previously seen this behavior in the lab, and used a field experiment to confirm it in the wild.

read more
Insights into a tiny insect that causes big damage

The western flower thrips—an invasive insect that’s not much bigger than a pinhead—takes a huge bite out of agriculture around the world, racking up billions of dollars’ worth of damage on a wide range of food, fiber and ornamental crops each year. Scientists now have a complete genetic blueprint to help them better understand the pest and to find ways to control it.

read more
Those funky cheese smells allow microbes to ‘talk’ to and feed each other

Researchers at Tufts University have found that those distinctly funky smells from cheese are one way that fungi communicate with bacteria, and what they are saying has a lot to do with the delicious variety of flavors that cheese has to offer. The research team found that common bacteria essential to ripening cheese can sense and respond to compounds produced by fungi in the rind and released into the air, enhancing the growth of some species of bacteria over others. The composition of bacteria, yeast and fungi that make up the cheese microbiome is critical to flavor and quality of the cheese, so figuring out how that can be controlled or modified adds science to the art of cheese making.

read more
Fuels, not fire weather, control carbon emissions in boreal forest

As climate warming stokes longer fire seasons and more severe fires in the North American boreal forest, being able to calculate how much carbon each fire burns grows more urgent. New research led by Northern Arizona University and published this week in Nature Climate Change suggests that how much carbon burns depends more on available fuels than on fire weather such as drought conditions, temperature, or rain. In a large retrospective study that stretched across Canada and Alaska, the international team of researchers found that the carbon stored belowground in soil organic matter was the most important predictor of how much carbon a fire will release.

read more
Duplications and inversions of DNA segments lead to the masculinization of female moles

Moles roam in an extreme habitat. As mammals that burrow deep into the earth, they have forepaws with an extra finger and exceptionally strong muscles. What’s more, female moles are intersexual while retaining their fertility. Typical for mammals, they are equipped with two X chromosomes, but they simultaneously develop functional ovarian and testicular tissues. In female moles, both tissue types are united in one organ, the ovotestis—a feature unique among mammals.

read more

Copyright © All right reserved.