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Song Sparrow (Image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Sparrows’ song might help determine health of potential mates and compatibility

Complexity of a male bird’s song can help attract the most compatible mate, new research suggests. Researchers investigated whether song repertoire and complexity advertises the singer’s genetic dissimilarity to others in the population — something that could help a couple raise the most viable young. A male bird’s health influences how well it can learn […]

How climate change alters competition for food in the Arctic

Competition between belugas and Greenland halibut in Cumberland Sound in the Arctic has changed with the climate. Belugas and halibut are considered intraguild predators, i.e. predators that feed on one another to reduce competition for resources. Researchers have tracked predation between the two species over a 30-year period. Their findings show that the belugas consume […]

New method uses over 200 years of data to track early bloomers

There’s now a tool to find out whether your flowers are blooming unusually early in the season. Thanks to scores of data recorded by both researchers and citizen scientists, the new statistical estimator contrasts the time a flower bloomed over the past two centuries to observation in the present day. Study authors say that their […]

Exercise can prevent falls in the elderly

Regular exercise and consistent vision treatment in elderly patients can help prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injury among this age group. These findings come from a meta-analysis of 54 randomized clinical trials involving almost 42,000 people and 39 interventions. The data suggest that gentle exercise, such as tai chi, can decrease the […]

Indigenous drug users more likely to die of substance abuse than non-Indigenous users

Indigenous youth who use drugs are 13 times more likely to die than their non-Indigenous peers, and women face greater risk than young men, according to results of a new study. A team of researchers analyzed data on 610 young Indigenous people aged 14-30 years who used drugs in Vancouver and Prince George, BC, on […]

Image by Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service via Flickr CC2.0

Threespine stickleback can learn to adapt to low-oxygen environments

As aquatic oxygen levels decrease with the changing climate, marine and lakewater species face a challenging task of adapting to hypoxic environments – or risk perishing. To examine potential for adaptation, researchers investigated two populations of threespine stickleback: one from a lake that naturally experiences seasonal long-term hypoxia and the other one that does not. […]

Forest fragmentation edges out 85% of vertebrate species around the world

Most forest-dwelling species have been disrupted by fragmentation, new research suggests. Using a new analysis method, scientists assessed the impact of human-induced forest fragmentation on the abundance of 1,673 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians around the globe. Their findings revealed that in many forests, the animal communities in the core differ greatly from […]

Armillaria fungus (Pixabay/CC0)

How the world’s largest fungus grew to its humongous proportions

One of the largest terrestrial living organisms, an Armillaria ostoyae specimen dubbed the ‘Humongous Fungus’, covers almost 9 kilometres and weighs 544 tonnes. Armillaria fungi live mostly underground, which gives them the needed space to grow to epic proportions. A team of scientists set out to pinpoint the genetic mechanism that allows this fungus group to grow. They sequenced […]

(Pixabay/CC0)

Grizzlies can tolerate saturated fats better than humans

Unlike humans, grizzly bears experience no immediate adverse effects from eating a diet rich in saturated fats, according to results of a new study. Researchers fed two groups of captive bears different diets, one high in “healthy” fats like oats and salmon and the other full of saturated fats like beef and cheese. The bears […]

(Pixabay/CC0)

Survival of the fullest: Red knots’ chances of surviving winter increase with its body weight

Endangered rufa red knots – which make one of the world’s longest migrations, from southern South America to the Arctic – are more likely to leave for breeding grounds earlier, arrive sooner and breed successfully if they start out their summer migration on a full stomach. Using innovative radio tracking, researchers observed a group of […]

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