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Controversial insecticides shown to threaten survival of wild birds

Sparrows in a field (stock image). Credit: © Ingo Bartussek / Adobe Stock New research at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) shows how the world's most widely used insecticides could be partly responsible for a dramatic decline in songbird populations. A study published in the journal Science on Sept. 13 is the first experiment to…

Carp aquaculture in Neolithic China dating back 8,000 years

Carp (stock image). Credit: © thornchai / Adobe Stock In a recent study, an international team of researchers analyzed fish bones excavated from the Early Neolithic Jiahu site in Henan Province, China. By comparing the body-length distributions and species-composition ratios of the bones with findings from East Asian sites with present aquaculture, the researchers provide…

Suggested move to plant-based diets risks worsening brain health nutrient deficiency

Woman with vegetarian meal (stock image). Credit: © sonyakamoz / Adobe Stock The momentum behind a move to plant-based and vegan diets for the good of the planet is commendable, but risks worsening an already low intake of an essential nutrient involved in brain health, warns a nutritionist in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention…

Guacamole lovers, rejoice! The avocado genome has been sequenced

Avocados (stock image). Credit: © nata_vkusidey / Adobe Stock Scientists have sequenced the avocado genome, shedding light on the ancient origins of this buttery fruit and laying the groundwork for future improvements to farming. With regard to modern affairs, the study reveals for the first time that the popular Hass avocado inherited about 61 percent…

Eating more plant-based foods may be linked to better heart health

Shopping bag full of fresh vegetables and fruits (stock image). Credit: © Alexander Raths / Adobe Stock Eating mostly plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods may be linked to better heart health and a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease according to new research published in the Journal…

Eating more plant-based foods may be linked to better heart health

Shopping bag full of fresh vegetables and fruits (stock image). Credit: © Alexander Raths / Adobe Stock Eating mostly plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods may be linked to better heart health and a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease according to new research published in the Journal…

Diet change needed to save vast areas of tropics

Grocery bag, assorted food (stock image). Credit: © samael334 / Adobe Stock One quarter of the world's tropical land could disappear by the end of the century unless meat and dairy consumption falls, researchers have warned. If the global demand for animal products continues to grow, large swathes of natural land will vanish potentially leading…

Scent brings all the songbirds to the yard

Black-capped chickadee (stock image). Credit: © Brian / Adobe Stock Chickadees can smell! That is the news from a study out of Lehigh University, the first to document naturally hybridizing songbirds' preference for the scent of their own species. Amber Rice, an evolutionary biologist at Lehigh, studies natural hybridization-when separate species come into contact and…

Scent brings all the songbirds to the yard

Black-capped chickadee (stock image). Credit: © Brian / Adobe Stock Chickadees can smell! That is the news from a study out of Lehigh University, the first to document naturally hybridizing songbirds' preference for the scent of their own species. Amber Rice, an evolutionary biologist at Lehigh, studies natural hybridization-when separate species come into contact and…

Scent brings all the songbirds to the yard

Black-capped chickadee (stock image). Credit: © Brian / Adobe Stock Chickadees can smell! That is the news from a study out of Lehigh University, the first to document naturally hybridizing songbirds' preference for the scent of their own species. Amber Rice, an evolutionary biologist at Lehigh, studies natural hybridization-when separate species come into contact and…

Artificial intelligence helps banana growers protect the world’s most favorite fruit

Bananas (stock image). Credit: © Worawut / Adobe Stock Artificial intelligence-powered tools are rapidly becoming more accessible, including for people in the more remote corners of the globe. This is good news for smallholder farmers, who can use handheld technologies to run their farms more efficiently, linking them to markets, extension workers, satellite images, and…

Green chemists find a way to turn cashew nut shells into...

Cashew nuts in shells (stock image). Credit: © mamsizz / Adobe Stock A team of international scientists has found an environmentally friendly way of producing potential sunscreens by using cashew nut shells, a waste material. The team of "green chemists" from the University of the Witwatersrand, along with colleagues from Universities in Germany, Malawi and…

Genetic breakthrough in cereal crops could help improve yields worldwide

Corn field (stock image). Credit: © Soru Epotok / Adobe Stock A team of Clemson University scientists has achieved a breakthrough in the genetics of senescence in cereal crops with the potential to dramatically impact the future of food security in the era of climate change. The collaborative research, which explores the genetic architecture of…

Building up an appetite for a new kind of grub

Fried mealworms (stock image). Credit: © Robert Leßmann / Adobe Stock Edible insects could be a key ingredient to avoiding a global food crisis, according to a new report, but there are significant barriers to overcome before they are part of the mainstream. The rapidly changing climate and an expanding global population are serious risks…

Honeybees infect wild bumblebees through shared flowers

Honeybee on flower (stock image). Credit: © Antony Cooper / Adobe Stock Many species of wild bumblebees are in decline -- and new research shows that diseases spread by domestic honeybees may be a major culprit. Several of the viruses associated with bumblebees' trouble are moving from managed bees in apiaries to nearby populations of…

U.S. beekeepers lost over 40 percent of colonies last year, highest...

Honey bees (stock image). Credit: © rupbilder / Adobe Stock Beekeepers across the United States lost 40.7% of their honey bee colonies from April 2018 to April 2019, according to preliminary results of the latest annual nationwide survey conducted by the University of Maryland-led nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership. Honey bees pollinate $15 billion worth of…

Global commodities trade and consumption place the world’s primates at risk...

Orangutan (stock image). Credit: © Uryadnikov Sergey / Adobe Stock A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal PeerJ -- the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences highlights the fact that the economic benefits of commodity export for primate habitat countries has been limited relative to the extreme environmental costs of pollution, habitat degradation, loss…

Ancient DNA from Roman and medieval grape seeds reveal ancestry of...

Statue of Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine (stock image). Credit: © Ruslan Gilmanshin / Adobe Stock A grape variety still used in wine production in France today can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered. With the help of an extensive genetic database of modern grapevines, researchers were able…

Honey bee colonies down by 16 percent

Beekeeper (stock image). Credit: © AUFORT Jérome / Adobe Stock The number of honey bee colonies fell by 16% in the winter of 2017-18, according to an international study led by the University of Strathclyde. The survey of 25,363 beekeepers in 36 countries found that, out of 544,879 colonies being managed at the start of…

A combination of insecticides and mite weakens honeybees

Varroa mite on a queen honeybee pupa (stock image). Credit: © Vera Kuttelvaserova / Adobe Stock Today, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern and the honeybee research association COLOSS have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports that shows a synergistic time-lag interaction between the parasitic mite…

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