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15 December 2017

Study on redback spiders finds seemingly abhorrent mating strategy appears to benefit both males and females [Phys]

A mating strategy among redback spiders where males seek out immature females appears to benefit both sexes, a new University of Toronto study has found.
"There’s no evidence to suggest this behaviour is costly to females in terms of survivorship and reproductive output," says Luciana Baruffaldi, post-doctoral researcher and director of the Andrade lab at U of T Scarborough and lead author of the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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14 December 2017

La fonte accélérée du Groenland confirmée [Le Monde - Blogs]

La glace de la calotte polaire du Groenland est-elle en train de fondre vraiment plus vite qu’auparavant ? Et le changement climatique provoqué par nos émissions de gaz à effet de serre en est-il vraiment responsable ?

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14 December 2017

‘A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off [The Guardian]

Scientists have identified 2 million species of living things. No one knows how many more are out there, and tens of thousands may be vanishing before we have even had a chance to encounter them.

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13 December 2017

Engineers create plants that glow [Phys]

Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk.
MIT engineers have taken a critical first step toward making that vision a reality. By embedding specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, they induced the plants to give off dim light for nearly four hours. They believe that, with further optimization, such plants will one day be bright enough to illuminate a workspace.

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13 December 2017

How honey bee gut bacteria help to digest their pollen-rich diet [Phys]

The honey bee gut is colonized by specialized bacteria that help digest components of the floral pollen diet and produce molecules that likely promote bee health. In a study publishing 12 December in the open access journal PLOS Biology, a group of researchers led by Philipp Engel at the University of Lausanne and ETH Zürich, Switzerland, have uncovered which bacterial species perform which specific digestive functions in the bee gut.

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