Environmental

Recent Posts

Colony collapse disorder, has the answer finally been found? Possibly
Posted on 4 Feb 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have discussed the various research done and theories put forth related to colony collapse disorder (see Colony Collapse Disorder for an overview). The range of potential causes includes pesticides, global warming, disease, and habitat destruction... Read More

Are Grizzly Bears Tool Users? A Sample of One Suggests the Possibility
Posted on 16 Mar 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Tool use is usually interpreted as a sign of sophisticated brain processing and/or social organization. With the exception of primates, there are not many mammals that use tools (e.g., sea otters use rocks to smash open clams, dolphins use sponges on... Read More

Having the Right Blend of "Personalities" Can Impact the Survival of the Animal Group
Posted on 6 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

It was not that long ago that anyone who suggested that animals had "personalities" was seen as anthropomorphizing. While that criticism is not without some merit, research has shown that it may not be correct in all or most circumstances. ... Read More

As Much as 1/3 of Earth's Biomass Lives Beneath the Ocean Floor
Posted on 28 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

They are referred to as intraterrestrials, organisms that live inside the Earth. Most live beneath the bottom of the oceans. Some live in the tens of meters of mud just beneath the seafloors; others, following fractures in rock, live hundreds of meters... Read More

Armadillos may transmit leprosy
Posted on 11 Sep 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

It has been long suspected, and more or less recently confirmed, that animals (particularly those that were domesticated thousands of years ago) are the source of many major human diseases, including diseases that ironically are no longer found in animals... Read More

How do schools of fish maneuver together? Watch the trees, not the forest
Posted on 21 Jan 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Watching large schools of fish maneuver with the grace of a water ballet leads to an obvious question: How do so many animals spread over what is often many yards coordinate their activities with such precision? They keep an eye on their immediate neighbors... Read More

Bee Explorers Have a Slightly Different Genetic Makeup than the Rest of the Hive
Posted on 6 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Researchers have found that honey bees who consistently explore new environments for food have different genetic activity in their brains than their less-adventurous hive mates. In a demonstration how nature often uses the same tools in various settings... Read More

Unique Marine Ecosystems Indicate How Ocean Acidification Will Affect Sea Life
Posted on 27 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

A number of adverse environmental impacts are projected to occur from global warming. Although several atmospherically located substances will drive temperature increases, significant levels of CO2 may acidify the oceans. Ocean acidification is the name... Read More

Coyotes May Be Indirectly Responsible for Spreading Lyme Disease
Posted on 25 Jun 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Deer often are blamed for the spread of tick-borne Lyme disease; many local programs focus on deer populations as a method to control Lyme disease. A new thesis suggests these programs are not targeting the actual driving force, coyotes. Researchers note... Read More

Acidification of Oceans May Affect the Brains of Fish
Posted on 28 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Yesterday's post noted some of the adverse consequences that are likely to arise from acidification of oceans. Another recent study shows that such acidification can influence the behavior of fish because of impacts on their brains; the response of... Read More

Noise Can Alter the Composition of an Ecosystem
Posted on 5 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have reviewed the wide variety of "selection factors" than can drive evolution in a species. Now it appears that noise can alter the makeup of an entire ecosystem. Researchers have found that noise can drive away some species and... Read More

Hydrothermal vent communities are unexpectantly diverse
Posted on 20 Feb 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

During the late 1970's, researchers discovered and elucidated deep-sea vent ecosystems. The picture was one of large tube worms, mussels, and other animals that lived on the chemical energy put forth by these vents. Now, researchers are finding that... Read More

Fungus identified as cause of widespread die-off of little brown bats in U.S.
Posted on 22 Jan 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

A lethal disease has been causing large die-offs of little brown bats; it has been found in bats hibernating in 16 States and 4 Canadian provinces. Researchers have now identified the fungus Geomyces destructans as the primary cause of white-nose syndrome... Read More

Transgenerational Epigenetic Effects Demonstrated in Animals to Occur From a Variety of Pollutants
Posted on 18 Mar 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have discussed the interplay between DNA, the various forms of RNA, and proteins regarding gene "expression"; prior posts have also noted the process of methylation of genes [see Wikipedia - Methylation ], which often reflects the... Read More

Evolutionary Change Is Just That, Change, and Change Often Is a Mixed Bag and More Complex Than Anticipated
Posted on 3 Apr 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

There is an unfortunate tendency to conceive of evolutionary change as causing an adaption to a selection factor that marks an improvement in addressing the environment in which the selection factor exists. Were it only so simple. Change may be an improvement... Read More