Nature News -- ScienceDaily Nature. Read the latest scientific research on the natural world, ecology and climate change.

  • Dune ecosystem modelling
    on June 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Acacia longifolia, which is native to Australia, is a species which was cultivated in Portugal primarily to stabilize dunes and as an ornamental plant; now it has spread out uncontrollably in Portugal and into many ecosystems around the world. Using the acacia as an example, researchers show that the location has an effect on interaction with other species. […]

  • Plants sacrifice 'daughters' to survive chilly weather
    on June 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Plants adopt different strategies to survive the changing temperatures of their natural environments. This is most evident in temperate regions where forest trees shed their leaves to conserve energy during the cold season. In a new study, a team of plant biologists found that some plants may selectively kill part of their roots to survive under cold weather conditions. […]

  • How eggs got their shapes
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    The evolution of the amniotic egg -- complete with membrane and shell -- was key to vertebrates leaving the oceans and colonizing the land and air but how bird eggs evolved into so many different shapes and sizes has long been a mystery. Now, an international team of scientists took a quantitative approach to that question and found that adaptations for flight may have been critical drivers of egg-shape variation in birds. […]

  • Previously unknown pine marten diversity discovered
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    The elusive American pine marten, a little-studied member of the weasel family, might be more diverse than originally thought, according to new research. […]

  • Satellite data to map endangered monkey populations on Earth
    on June 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Using a combination of satellite and ground data, a research team can map multiple indicators of monkey distribution, including human activity zones as inferred from roads and settlements, direct detections from mosquito-derived iDNA, animal sound recordings, plus detections of other species that are usually found when monkeys are present, such as other large vertebrates. […]

  • Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks
    on June 21, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show. […]

  • How did bird babysitting co-ops evolve?
    on June 21, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    It's easy to make up a story to explain an evolved trait; proving that's what happened is much harder. Here scientists test ideas about cooperative breeding in birds and find a solution that resolves earlier disagreements. […]

  • Warming temperatures threaten sea turtles
    on June 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Warmer temperatures associated with climate change may lead to higher numbers of female sea turtles and increased nest failure, suggests a new report. […]

  • Bat biodiversity is in danger on islands worldwide
    on June 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    A new study investigates knowledge gaps among the largely unknown, but greatly threatened, group of island-restricted bats, and leads future research efforts to actual priorities. […]

  • The world's largest canary
    on June 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Biologists have now proven that the endangered São Tomé grosbeak is the world's largest canary -- 50 percent larger than the runner-up. […]

  • Over 150 Asian Giant Softshell Turtles Return to the Wild
    on June 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Biologists have just released 150 Endangered Asian giant softshell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) hatchlings into their natural habitat along the Mekong River. […]

  • When estimating extinction risk, don't leave out the males
    on June 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Extinction risk for some species could be drastically underestimated because most demographic models of animal populations only analyze the number and fertility of females, dismissing male data as 'noise'. […]

  • Drowsy dormice doze into decline
    on June 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Britain's population of hazel dormice, famed for their sleepy lifestyle, has declined by more than 70 percent in just over two decades, new research has shown. […]

  • Scientists demonstrate adaptation of animal vision in extreme environments
    on June 19, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Animals can adapt their ability to see even with extreme changes in temperature, researchers have discovered. The researchers looked deeply into the eyes of catfish living in cold-water streams at altitudes of up to nearly 3 km in the Andes Mountains, and found the protein known as rhodopsin that enables vision in dim light also accelerates the speed at which vision occurs as temperatures drop. […]

  • Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of the dinosaurs
    on June 19, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new research has found. […]

  • Three chameleon species discovered
    on June 19, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    A doctoral candidate liked to catch lizards when he was little, but never imagined he would be catching and discovering new species of chameleons. He has now discovered three new species of chameleons. The reptile trio, historically thought to be a single species, was found in different parts of the Albertine Rift in Central Africa. […]

  • Spineless creature studied in DC swamp
    on June 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Its name is Stygobromus hayi, the Hay's Spring amphipod. It is spineless. It lacks vision. It is an opportunistic feeder, consuming whatever resources are available -- perhaps including the remains of its own kind. That is where its similarities to some of Washington, D.C.'s more notorious megafauna end. Researchers report on a way to survey it without threatening its existence, as other studies had done. […]

  • 150-year records gap on Sulawesi ends with five new species in the world's largest tree genus
    on June 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Coming 150 years after the last description from Sulawesi, five new species from the world's largest genus of trees, Syzygium, highlight the extent of unexplored botanical diversity on the Indonesian island. […]

  • Alternative hypothesis on the faunal colonization of the Himalayas?
    on June 15, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Until now, the fauna of the Himalayas was considered to be an “immigration fauna," with species that have immigrated primarily from neighboring regions since the geological formation of this mountain range. Using molecular-genetic methods, a research team has now tested an alternative colonization hypothesis on lazy toads. The findings indicate that this group arose earlier than assumed in southern Tibet, and went on to colonize the Himalayas from there after its formation. […]

  • Animal evolution: Hot start, followed by cold shock
    on June 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession -- prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago. […]

  • Hydroelectric dams may jeopardize the Amazon's future
    on June 14, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico, experts report. […]

  • Earning a living in a changing climate: The plant perspective
    on June 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Some of the world's plants are using 'last-stand' strategies to survive rather than thrive as global climate change gathers apace. Ecologists assessed plant strategies in less suitable climates by tapping into big data collated from 16 different countries in 3 different continents over the past 50 years. […]

  • Birds of a feather
    on June 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Biologists have always been fascinated by the diversity and changeability of life on Earth and have attempted to answer a fundamental question: How do new species originate? A new study provides the first large-scale test of the link between population differentiation rates and speciation rates. The results confirm the evolutionary importance of population genetic differentiation. […]

  • Floodplain farm fields benefit juvenile salmon
    on June 12, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Central Valley rice fields managed as floodplains during the winter can create surrogate wetland habitat for native fish, study shows. […]

  • Late-nesting birds, bees face habitat threat
    on June 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Bird and bumblebee species that nest late in the year are suffering more from the destruction of habitats, new research suggests. With habitats such as hedgerows and hay meadows in decline in many countries, fewer nest sites are available -- leading to more competition. […]

  • Genetic differences across species guide vocal learning in juvenile songbirds
    on June 12, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Juvenile birds discriminate and selectively learn their own species’ songs even when primarily exposed to the songs of other species, but the underlying mechanism has remained unknown. A new study shows that song discrimination arises due to genetic differences between species, rather than early learning or other mechanisms. […]

  • Worldwide hotspots for alien plants and animals: Islands and coastal regions
    on June 12, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    The distribution of established alien species in different regions of the world varies significantly. Until now, scientists were uncertain about where the global hotspots for established alien species are located. Most alien species can be found on islands and coastal regions. […]

  • Lianas stifle tree fruit and seed production in tropical forests
    on June 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Vines compete intensely with trees. Their numbers are on the rise in many tropical forests around the world. A new study shows that lianas prevent canopy trees from producing fruit, with potentially far-reaching consequences for rainforest animals. […]

  • Lost ecosystem found buried in mud of southern California coastal waters
    on June 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Paleontologists investigating the sea bed off California have discovered a lost ecosystem that for thousands of years had nurtured communities of scallops and shelled marine organisms called brachiopods. They had died off by the early 20th century, replaced by the mud-dwellling burrowing clams that inhabit this seabed today. […]

  • Scientists advancing hope for reefs in the Philippines
    on June 8, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Researchers have returned from the Philippines with new species discoveries and deeper insights into threatened coral reef ecosystems. […]