ecology and evolution

Counting the animals

Credit: Shopping Diva at Flickr

The story

Today sees the start of London zoo’s annual stock-take where the numbers of each species are counted. This task maybe a quick job for the keepers of the big cats or large reptiles but spare a thought for the invertebrate keepers, counting every butterfly could keep them occupied for up to 4 weeks.

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Mega-crabs

 

This spooky video shows the giant red crab which have invaded Antarctic waters due to increased water temperatures: an example of how changes in non-living factors can alter the distribution of organisms.  This invasive species has the potential to destroy the delicately balanced food webs in this ecosystem.

Happy birthday Darwin!

The story

February 12th is Darwin Day, the day we celebrate Charles Darwin and his great achievement of proposing the theory of natural selection by evolution.  More

What’s in a (binomial) name?

Image: Nancy Vandermey (Wikipedia.org)

The story

The Sunda cloud leopard (Neofelis diardi) which lives in the forests of Indonesian islands was only named as a new species (distinct from the Neofelis nebulosa clouded leopard that lives on the Asian mainland) in 2007.
Now it has been confirmed that it exists as two sub species – one living on the island of Borneo (N. d. borneensis) and one that is Sumatran (N. d. diardi). More

Alien adaptation

The story

Monsters, the alien movie that was made on a shoe-string budget (reportedly around $200 000) is released in UK cinemas tomorrow. It may lack the eye-popping special effects of its predecessors but what it lacks in this department it may make up for in a realistic plot. Is this movie more science-fact than the usual science-fiction movie? More

Lizard lunch

The story

The award for ‘most observant scientist during his lunch break’ this week must go to Ngo Van Tri of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology who noticed something odd about the tank of lizards at his local restaurant. More

Attack of the killer shrimps

Photo:Heyrocker/Flickr

The story

It may have been killer piranhas hitting our cinema screens this summer but now something not quite as scary but potentially devastating to British wildlife has hit our water ways.

Dikerogammarus villosus is a tiny shrimp of between 3 and 30mm but has been given the moniker the killer shrimp because of its aggression and nasty habit of killing and maiming other small invertebrates which it often doesn’t eat. More

Hot news for chilli-heads


The story

Britain is home to a new world-record breaker.

The Infinity chilli developed by Fire Foods in Lincolnshire is the world’s hottest chilli More

Big beaks help cool birds down

Image: Jon Hanson

The story:

Two scientists have collaborated in a study that suggests that the size of a bird’s beak is linked to the temperature of its natural environment.

We already know that a bird’s beak is adapted for the food it eats and sometimes to attract a mate, but now it looks like it is also a good way of regulating temperature.  More

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