Science News Archive - February 14, 2009

Researchers in Toronto are using tiny backpacks containing geolocator sensors to track songbirds on migration. Bridget Stutchbury, a biology professor at York University, said the research has revealed that scientists have underestimated how quickly the birds can travel. Stutchbury and her team placed miniaturized geolocators on 14 wood thrushes and 20 purple martins in 2007, tracking their journey from Pennsylvania to South America and back. They found the songbirds can fly more than 311 miles per day and their overall migration rate is much faster in spring than in fall.


According to biologists, birds that fare best in courtship strut faster and more pay attention to their potential mate by adjusting to her movements.


A conference on second generation biofuels organized by German commodity analysts FO Licht heard on Friday that new-generation biofuels will come from a wide range of sources and no single feedstock may dominate.


Michigan State University researchers are dramatically speeding up identification of genes that affect the structure and function of chloroplasts, which could lead to plants tailored specifically for biofuel production or delivering high levels of specific nutrients.

Field work and computer simulations in Michigan and Wisconsin are helping biofuels researchers understand the basics of getting home-grown energy from the field to consumers.

The extinction of species is a consequence of their inability to adapt to new environmental conditions, and also of their competition with other species.

The next launch of the U.S.


Advances in biotechnology are laying the groundwork for a huge boom as it becomes more largely applied in fields of healthcare and alternative fuel production.

British researchers say a study they conducted found most women trying to get pregnant are not following dietary recommendations. The research team from Britain's University of Southampton found in a study of 12,500 British women that those attempting to become pregnant were only slightly more likely

International researchers say they have completed a draft of the genetic blueprint of Neanderthals, humans' primitive cousin. The scientists say their discovery shows Neanderthals made very little, if any contribution to human genes, USA Today reported Saturday. Neanderthals occupied Europe from about 800,000 to 30,000 years ago, the newspaper noted. Team chief Svante Paabo of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig said their findings provide a good overview of the Neanderthal genome. We see this as a tool for future biologists (looking for) what's really unique to modern humans, Paabo was quoted by the newspaper as saying. For their research, scientists relied on a 37,000-year-old thigh bone found in Croatia, a 43,000-year-old bone from Spain, a 41,000 year-old-bone from Germany and a 70,000-year-old bone from Mezmaiskaya Cave in the Caucasus.

Word of the Day
  • A woman chauffeur.
  • A woman who operates an automobile.
The word 'chaffeuse' comes from French, and is the feminine form of 'chauffeur'.