Study of life

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Lundgren, E. J., Ramp, D., Stromberg, J. C., Wu, J., Nieto, N. C., Sluk, M., Moeller, K. T., Wallach, A. D.
April 30, 2021
Water is scarce in dryland ecosystems. Some larger animals in these regions dig wells that may provide water to other species. This behavior may have been common among megafauna that are now extinct, especially in North and South America, where megafaunal extinctions were the most severe. Lundgren et al. tested whether feral equids (horses and donkeys) reintroduced to desert regions in the North American southwest dig wells that provide ecosystem-level benefits. They found that equid-dug wells increased water availability, were used by a large number of species, and decreased distance between water sources. Abandoned wells also led to increased germination in key riparian tree species. Such equid-dug wells improve water availability, perhaps replacing a lost megafaunal function. Science , this issue p. [491][1] Megafauna play important roles in the biosphere, yet little is known about how they shape dryland ecosystems. We report on an overlooked form of ecosystem engineering by donkeys and horses. In the deserts of North America, digging of ≤2-meter wells to groundwater by feral equids increased the density of water features, reduced distances between waters, and, at times, provided the only water present. Vertebrate richness and activity were higher at equid wells than at adjacent dry sites, and, by mimicking flood disturbance, equid wells became nurseries for riparian trees. Our results suggest that equids, even those that are introduced or feral, are able to buffer water availability, which may increase resilience to ongoing human-caused aridification. [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abd6775
Science X staff
April 19, 2021
Up to 25 percent of global food production is lost annually due to insects, primarily beetles. For the past 500 million years, beetles have successfully spread and adapted to life around the globe and now account for one of every five animal species on Earth. Yet as far back as ancient Egypt, these tough little bugs have invaded granaries and vexed us humans by destroying our crops.
Mack, M. C., Walker, X. J., Johnstone, J. F., Alexander, H. D., Melvin, A. M., Jean, M., Miller, S. N.
April 16, 2021
Wildfire activity has been increasing in the boreal forests of the Northern Hemisphere, releasing carbon into the atmosphere from biomass and soil, with potential feedback to climate warming. In a long-term study, Mack et al. analyzed wildfire impacts on the carbon balance of boreal forest in Alaska, with particular focus on forest-regeneration patterns. After fire, the species composition in most of the study sites changed from black spruce to a mixture of conifers and deciduous broadleaf tree species. The stands that had shifted to deciduous dominance stored fivefold more soil carbon than stands that returned to black spruce dominance. Therefore, the functional traits of deciduous trees compensated for the combustion loss of soil carbon, pointing to a potential mitigation of the feedback effect of boreal forest fire to climate warming. Science , this issue p. [280][1] In boreal forests, climate warming is shifting the wildfire disturbance regime to more frequent fires that burn more deeply into organic soils, releasing sequestered carbon to the atmosphere. To understand the destabilization of carbon storage, it is necessary to consider these effects in the context of long-term ecological change. In Alaskan boreal forests, we found that shifts in dominant plant species catalyzed by severe fire compensated for greater combustion of soil carbon over decadal time scales. Severe burning of organic soils shifted tree dominance from slow-growing black spruce to fast-growing deciduous broadleaf trees, resulting in a net increase in carbon storage by a factor of 5 over the disturbance cycle. Reduced fire activity in future deciduous-dominated boreal forests could increase the tenure of this carbon on the landscape, thereby mitigating the feedback to climate warming. [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abf3903
April 14, 2021
Codagenix Appoints Linda Maldonado as VP, Biologics Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls - read this article along with other careers information, tips and advice on BioSpace
Richard Smith
March 8, 2021
As an early-stage founder, how do you identify the right investors? Or know how to hire the best possible team to set up your company for growth? Should you bootstrap, and if so, how do you do it successfully? How do you nail virtual pitch meetings? What about product market fit? Board construction and good [...]
European Congress of Radiology
March 4, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- The Lancet Oncology Commission on Medical Imaging and Nuclear Medicine, launched today during the European Congress of Radiology 2021, presents...
Regulus Therapeutics Inc.
January 27, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- Regulus Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: RGLS), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines...
Seelos Therapeutics, Inc.
January 6, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- Seelos Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SEEL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapies for central...
May 21, 2020
The Wire Science
In her new book, Lydia Denworth argues that friendship has a direct bearing on our mental and physical health.
Science X staff
September 30, 2019
A triple drug combination has been used to extend the lifespan of fruit flies by 48% in a new study led by UCL and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing.
David Riggs
September 17, 2019
We face two major threats today: one to the health of our planet and the other to our own. Fortunately, biology and technology are creating fixes for the planet as well as for the human body.
August 13, 2019
Ninety-nine percent of cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). More than 200 HPVs, some of which are associated with varying degrees of cancer risk, complicate diagnosis and treatment. A report in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, published by Elsevier, describes a new "two-for-one" diagnostic approach that not only detects the type of HPV infection, but also indicates precancerous markers. This test may improve the ability to diagnose the riskiest forms of HPV...
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