Category Archives: News & Archives

Discovery reveals secrets about how ghost orchids reproduce

Deep in remote Florida swamps, a team of researchers and photographers have made a new discovery that upends what we thought we knew about the ghost orchid, one of the world’s most iconic flowers, and how it reproduces. These rare, charming orchids were long thought to be pollinated by a single insect: the giant sphinx…
Read more

12 Bugs You Should Never Kill

Butterflies The mere presence of butterflies adds a heavenly vibe to any garden, but these graceful insects also help beautify plants by pollinating them. One of the best ways to attract a few of these magnificent creatures is by planting liatris, spiky flowers that some butterflies find very appealing. Praying Mantises Praying mantises are like…
Read more

How trees could save the climate

Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions. The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich has published a study in the journal Science that shows this would be the most effective method to combat climate change. The Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich investigates nature-based…
Read more

When the dinosaurs died, lichens thrived

When an asteroid smacked into the Earth 66 million years ago, it triggered mass extinctions all over the planet. The most famous victims were the dinosaurs, but early birds, insects, and other life forms took a hit too. The collision caused clouds of ash to block the sun and cool the planet's temperature, devastating plant…
Read more

Evolution of life in the ocean changed 170 million years ago

The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research. Until that point, the success of organisms living within the marine environment had been strongly controlled by non-biological factors, including ocean chemistry and climate. However, from the middle of the Jurassic…
Read more

How This Popular Garden Plant May Spread Parasites That Harm Monarchs

For monarch butterflies in the eastern United States, life revolves around milkweed, a group of about 100 plants in the genus Asclepius that provide food, shelter and nectar for the iconic insects. During their annual migration to the their overwintering sites in the mountains of Mexico, millions of the butterflies float from milkweed to milkweed…
Read more

Mowing for monarchs

You might think that mowing fields wouldn't benefit monarch butterfly populations. New research from Michigan State University, however, shows that disturbances like mowing -- at key times -- might help boost the iconic butterfly's numbers. The results are published in the current issue of Biological Conservation, and they show that strategic grassland management benefits monarchs in…
Read more

Pathogens may have facilitated the evolution of warm-blooded animals

Six hundred million years ago, fever appeared in animals as a response to infections: the higher body temperatures optimized their immune systems. At the time, virtually all animal species were cold-blooded. They had to sit in warm patches of habitat for extended periods of time to achieve fever-range body temperatures. For Michael Logan, a Tupper…
Read more

New causes of autism found in ‘junk’ DNA

Leveraging artificial intelligence techniques, researchers have demonstrated that mutations in so-called 'junk' DNA can cause autism. The study, published May 27 in Nature Genetics, is the first to functionally link such mutations to the neurodevelopmental condition. The research was led by Olga Troyanskaya in collaboration with Robert Darnell. Troyanskaya is deputy director for genomics at the…
Read more