Sperm Whales Learned to Avoid Nineteenth-Century Whalers

Nineteenth-century whalers questioned why sperm whales were getting drastically more challenging to capture. At the time, whalers of the North Pacific Ocean kept detailed logbooks about sperm whale sightings and harpoon strikes. These logbooks could help provide answers to the problem whalers faced in the 1800s and to the sperm whale populations struggling to recover today. Sperm whales that have encountered whalers might communicate to other sperm whales how to avoid the dangerous whalers. This information transfer between whales could help them adapt to rapidly changing environments.

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Phoning the Queen with Fanning and Pheromones

Like a game of telephone, bees pass pheromones to each other by sticking their butts in the air and frantically fanning their wings. This individual behavior helps the entire group aggregate around the queen. A recent study used video recording and machine learning to understand how these pheromones are passed from bee to bee and understand collective behavior in honey bees.

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Increasing Temperatures and Decreasing Insect Populations

Without insects, we wouldn’t have all of the edible plants that we rely on as important parts of our diets and entire ecosystems would be in trouble. Despite their importance, insects face many threats, including climate change. Through a literature review, a group of scientists found that increasing temperatures due to climate change and the resulting ecosystem changes are a leading cause of insect population declines globally. Some species have disappeared completely. However, different species respond to climate change differently. Monitoring and understanding their responses can help us prevent their loss.

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Can Human Infrastructure Improve Biodiversity?

Electrical towers are dotted across landscapes around the world, bringing power to people in cities and the country. But can these towers be used to help wildlife? In a new study, researchers in Sevilla, Spain modified the base of these towers to attract wildlife. They found that not only do these man-made structures attract wildlife, but they can also act as wildlife corridors — providing safe passage for critters as they move across human-modified landscapes.

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The “Heartbreaking” Effect of Algal Blooms – Heart disease and the Southern Sea Otter

Our favorite hand-holding marine mammals, sea otters, are threatened by environmental toxins. Chemicals produced by algae blooms move up the food chain and cause a multitude of diseases in top predators. A new study documented how algae blooms cause heart disease in sea otters, what this means for our own seafood consumption, and proposes solutions to our pollution.

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Puzzling Mice – City mice are better problem solvers

What’s your strategy for completing a jigsaw puzzle? Puzzles and games require problem solving and strategy. Animals also need to problem-solve to overcome challenges in their environment, but it’s not all fun and games for them. Human disturbance and constant change in cities can make for really challenging conditions for city animals, such as mice. City and county striped field mice will have to prove their problem-solving wit by sliding, lifting, carrying, and digging their way through eight obstacles.

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Cats and Dogs: Canine Distemper Virus and the Endangered Amur Tiger

Canine Distemper Virus, commonly found in domesticated dogs, in increasingly common in Amur tigers, which are the least numerous of the major tiger subspecies. Recent research challenges long-held ideas about CDV transmission, and present new strategies to counteract CDVs deadly effects on endangered Amur tigers.

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Cat-agorizing Cat Owners to Reduce Environmental Harm caused by Domestic House Cats

According to conservationists, domestic cats belong indoors for their safety and the safety of other animals. But, some cat owners disagree, causing rifts between pro-outdoor and pro-indoor cat parents. In a new study, researchers interviewed cat owners across the United Kingdom and cat-agorized cat owners into six distinct groups. Depending on the cat owner’s views , conservationists may have a larger impact if they target their message towards the emotional connection owners have with their feline friends.

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Stop Copying Me! – Spiders that buzz like wasps

Buzzzzzz. It’s a wasp. It’s a bee. No, it’s a spider! Did you know that some spiders can make a sound? Palpimanus spiders can produce a wasp-like buzz by rubbing their front appendages against their mouthparts. Many animals have learned not to eat anything that buzzes for fear of being stung. To avoid being eaten, Palpimanus spiders have copied this sound even though they are entirely harmless. Stop by to find out what all of the spider buzz is about!

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