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(Image by furtwangl via Flickr)

Sexual selection drives fruit fly mega sperm

Male fruit flies have super-sized sperm, making them an evolutionary anomaly. Now, researchers have determined why their “little swimmers” aren’t so little. Sexual selection typically favours organisms that produce a large number of small sperm instead of those organisms which invest lots of resources into a small number of large sperm. However, the sperm of […]

Chemicals released from mines like this oil sands mine in Alberta react with other compounds in the atmosphere to generate harmful pollutants called secondary organic aerosols (Image via Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Canadian oil sands mining has strong impact on aerosols

Oil sands are one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) in North America. SOAs are a component of atmospheric particulate matter, and are known to affect air quality and influence climate. A new study, which combined aircraft measurements, lab experiments, and computer modelling, found that oil sand extraction operations are directly […]

Image by robotpolisher via Flickr CC 2.0

Meerkats size each other up for success

In the wild, meerkats adjust their food intake and growth rate to match the size of their potential sexual rivals, according to a new study. The research also indicates a dominant meerkat will continue to grow if there is only a small size difference between them and their next heaviest potential rival. The researchers studied […]

Researchers believe the stalagmite rings could either form part of a refuge or serve a symbolic purpose. (Ja

Early Neanderthal constructions found in a French cave

Ancient ring-like structures found in a cave in France were probably built by Neanderthals, indicating they had more complex behaviour than previously thought. Researchers believe that the ring-shaped structures, which date to around 176,000 years ago, were constructed and carefully planned, although they are not certain of their purpose. The structures were found 336 metres […]

Obesity rising in least walkable Ontario neighborhoods

Obesity rates are rising in neighbourhoods in Southern Ontario with low walkability ratings, while in highly walkable neighbourhoods obesity rates remain steady. There was also a fall in the rate of new diabetes cases in the more walkable neighbourhoods, according to the results of a new study. The study examined patterns of obesity, diabetes, and […]

A giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama), Spencer Gulf, South Australia. (Photo by Scott Portelli, Wildlife Photographer, @scott.portelli)

In changing oceans, cephalopods are booming

As climate change affects the ocean environment, many species are declining – but not the ocean’s cephalopods. Populations of these creatures, which include octopus, cuttlefish, and squid, have increased over the past 60 years. Researchers believe their characteristics, such as rapid growth and short life-spans, allow them to adapt to changing ocean conditions more quickly […]

fossil fuel emissions

Emissions to cause even more profound warming

Burning all the Earth’s remaining fossil fuels could lead to an average temperature increase of about 8 °C across the globe—with an increase of 17 °C in the Arctic—by 2300, say researchers at the University of Victoria. Using a series of comprehensive Earth system models, researchers simulated long-term warming in response to releasing five trillion […]

Using a new

New strategy could yield more precise seasonal flu vaccine

Using a new strategy, researchers believe they are able to better anticipate seasonal flu strains, allowing for the development of more effective vaccines. Using techniques commonly employed in virology, the research team was able to assemble the 2014 flu virus strain before the onset of the epidemic. By assembling libraries of the human-affecting H1N1 and […]

Ecologist Jarrod Hodgson launches a fixed-wing UAV on Australia's sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. (Photo courtesy of Jarrod Hodgson via EurekAlert!)

Call to minimize drone impact on wildlife

Increasingly, researchers are turning to drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to study animals and ecosystems. But questions remain about any effect these drones might be having on wildlife.  While they say there is not yet enough scientific evidence to show the impact of drones on wildlife, two researchers believe there is enough information to […]

Image via Pexels under CC0

Infants much less likely to get the flu if moms are vaccinated during pregnancy

Babies whose mothers get flu shots while pregnant have a significantly reduced risk of becoming ill with the flu during their first six months. During those first months, infants cannot be immunized against influenza, and must rely on herd immunity and any protection provided by their mother’s antibodies. Researchers found infants six months and younger […]

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