Primate venom sheds light on why so many people suffer cat allergies

Research into the toxin of the world’s only venomous primate, the slow loris, is shedding light on the potential origins of the allergic qualities of cats. An international team, led by University of Queensland’s Associate Professor Bryan Fry, has been studying slow lorises at the Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre in Indonesia. The bite of the … Read more Primate venom sheds light on why so many people suffer cat allergies

Cuttlefish eat less for lunch when they know there’ll be shrimp for dinner

When cuttlefish know that shrimp – their favourite food – will be available in the evening, they eat fewer crabs during the day. This capacity to make decisions based on future expectations reveals complex cognitive abilities. “It was surprising to see how quickly the cuttlefish adapted their eating behaviour – in only a few days … Read more Cuttlefish eat less for lunch when they know there’ll be shrimp for dinner

Soil biodiversity is fundamental to maintain the health and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide

A study published in the prestigious journal Nature Ecology and Evolution and led by researchers from the Laboratoy of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning at the Pablo de Olavide University (UPO) provides novel evidence that multiple elements of soil biodiversity are fundamental for maintaining the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems across global biomes. A gram of soil … Read more Soil biodiversity is fundamental to maintain the health and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide

Feeding bluebirds helps fend off parasites

If you feed the birds in your backyard, you may be doing more than just making sure they have a source of food: you may be helping baby birds give parasites the boot. New research published in the Journal of Applied Ecology from UConn assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Sarah Knutie shows that feeding bluebirds … Read more Feeding bluebirds helps fend off parasites

The consequences of craniofacial integration for the adaptive radiations of Darwin’s finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers

Darwin’s finches are among the most celebrated examples of adaptive radiation in the evolution of modern vertebrates and their study has been relevant since the journeys of the HMS Beagle in the eighteenth century which catalysed some of the first ideas about natural selection in the mind of a young Charles Darwin. Despite many years … Read more The consequences of craniofacial integration for the adaptive radiations of Darwin’s finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers

How do men and women store fat differently? Ask the fruit fly

When it comes to determining how women and men store fat differently, it turns out fruit flies may hold the key. People and fruit flies are astonishingly alike genetically. In fact, nearly 75 per cent of disease-causing genes in humans can be found in the fly in a similar form. In a new study, recently … Read more How do men and women store fat differently? Ask the fruit fly

ANU gives koalas a home and care after bushfires

Koalas displaced and injured by Australia’s bushfire crisis are being cared for and housed temporarily at The Australian National University (ANU). Three of the Snowy Mountain koalas have been named after the American aerial firefighters tragically killed in the air-tanker crash in southeast NSW last week – Ian McBeth, Paul Hudson and Rick DeMorgan Jr. The … Read more ANU gives koalas a home and care after bushfires

Helping prevent eco-interventions from backfiring

Drastic ecosystem interventions like eradicating an unwanted species can sometimes backfire, but new University of Queensland-led modelling may help to avoid these ecological hiccups. Dr Matthew Adams, from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said despite all good intentions, ecological interventions can have devastating consequences. “It would be great if we could simply assume … Read more Helping prevent eco-interventions from backfiring

Squid brains approach that of dogs

We are closer to understanding the incredible ability of squid to instantly camouflage themselves thanks to research from The University of Queensland. Dr Wen-Sung Chung and Professor Justin Marshall, from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, completed the first MRI-based mapping of the squid brain in 50 years to develop an atlas of neural connections. “This the … Read more Squid brains approach that of dogs

Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife

Conservationists should be wary of assuming that genetic diversity loss in wildlife is always caused by humans, as new research published today by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) reveals that, in the case of a population of southern African lions (Panthera leo), it’s likely caused by ecological rather than human factors. Published … Read more Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife