Weedy rice gets competitive boost from its wild neighbors

Weedy rice is an agricultural pest with a global economic impact. It is an aggressive weed that outcompetes cultivated rice and causes billions of dollars in yield losses worldwide. A study from Washington University in St. Louis offers new insights into genetic changes that give weedy rice its edge over cultivated rice in tropical regions of the world.

Media Tip: Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source to accelerate biological and environmental research

In October 2023, the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, officially launched a new initiative to expand biological and environmental research at the world leading X-ray and analysis facility.

Tropical ecosystems more reliant on emerging aquatic insects, study finds, potentially putting them at greater risk

A team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Campinas in Brazil has found that tropical forest ecosystems are more reliant on aquatic insects than temperate forest ecosystems and are therefore more vulnerable to disruptions to the links between land and water.

Urban climate research project helps shape minority students’ science identity

An Urban Integrated Field Laboratory led by Argonne is focusing on creating a diverse next generation workforce and involving students in tackling future urban climate challenges.

DNA Decodes the Dining Preferences of the Shell-Shucking Whitespotted Eagle Ray

With mighty jaws and plate-like teeth, the globally endangered whitespotted eagle ray can pretty much crunch on anything. Yet, little information is available on critical components of their life history in the U.S., such as their diet.

Chicago State University to serve as ​‘scientific supersite’ to study climate change impact

Argonne and Chicago State University deployed instruments at the Chicago State University Campus to measure Chicago’s changing climate. These sensors are among the first for the Argonne-led Urban Integrated Field Laboratory called Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS).

Butterfly beginnings

Biologists from Washington University in St. Louis collaborated with a large number of butterfly and plant specialists to reconstruct the origin and global spread of butterflies. Working with researchers from dozens of countries, Michael Landis and Mariana P. Braga in Arts & Sciences helped create the world’s largest butterfly tree of life, assembled with DNA from more than 2,000 species representing all butterfly families.

New tools to combat Chicago’s changing climate

Argonne and Northeastern Illinois University launched instruments to measure Chicago’s changing climate. These sensors are the first for the Argonne-led Urban Integrated Field Laboratory called Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS).

Four major Illinois research institutions form a collaboration to improve urban forest drought resilience

Argonne, The Morton Arboretum, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign received a grant from NOAA to assess drought resilience in the urban tree canopy.

Hope for salamanders? Illinois study recalibrates climate change effects

For tiny salamanders squirming skin-to-soil, big-picture weather patterns may seem as far away as outer space. But for decades, scientists have mostly relied on free-air temperature data at large spatial scales to predict future salamander distributions under climate change. The outlook was dire for the mini ecosystem engineers, suggesting near elimination of habitat in crucial areas.

Hummingbirds use torpor in varying ways to survive cold temps

Hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism of any animal. The tropical hummingbirds that live in the Andes Mountains in South America must expend considerable energy to maintain their high body temperatures in cold environments. One tool that they use to survive cold nights is called torpor, a hibernation-like state that allows them to ramp down energy consumption to well below what they normally use during the day.

Noise from Urban Environments Affects the Color of Songbirds’ Beaks

A study examined the effects of anthropogenic noise on cognition, beak color, and growth in the zebra finch. Researchers first tested adult zebra finches on a battery of cognition assays while they were exposed to playbacks of urban noise versus birds tested without noise. Urban noises caused the birds to take longer to learn a novel foraging task and to learn an association-learning task. Urban noise exposure also resulted in treated males to develop less bright beak coloration, and females developed beaks with brighter orange coloration, respectively, than untreated birds. Findings suggest that urban noise exposure may affect morphological traits, such as beak color, which influence social interactions and mate choice.

New Critical Period of Embryonic Sex Determination in Sea Turtles Identified

A study shows that the temperature of the incubation environment could influence the sexualization of the gonads (reproductive organs) in sea turtles earlier than what is currently recognized. Researchers developed a new way to integrate the effect of thermal fluctuations on embryonic sex determination and predict sex ratios with much better accuracy than prior models. By measuring the strength of masculinization or feminization of temperatures using novel parameters, they have uncovered how temperature-sensitive sex determination works. These findings could be similar for other reptiles with temperature-dependent sex determination because similar molecular determinants and enzymatic mechanisms are at play.

Climate Change Double Whammy Causes Unexpected Effects in Pacific Mussels

Comparative physiologists studied how two aspects of climate change—warming temperatures and increasingly acidic waters—may affect the ecologically important Pacific blue mussel (Mytilus trossulus), a foundational species in the intertidal environments of the northern Pacific Ocean.

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity: Water Loss Hurts Bees Most in the Desert

Digger bees lose large amounts of water during flight, which compromises their activity period and survival in the desert heat. Researchers from Arizona State University will present their work this week at the American Physiological Society (APS) Intersociety Meeting in Comparative Physiology: From Organism to Omics in an Uncertain World conference in San Diego.

The bolder bird gets (and keeps) the girl

. In a paper published today in Royal Society Biology Letters, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) demonstrate a clear connection between personality in wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) and the likelihood of divorce. Though the link between personality and relationship outcomes in humans is well-established, this is the first study to do so with animals.