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Latest Herbivore Stories

New Research Suggests Climate Change Effect On Plant Communities Is Buffered By Large Herbivores
2013-02-20 15:00:34

Penn State Can existing ecological communities persist intact as temperatures rise? This is a question of increasing relevance in the field of climate change and is the focus of a new study to be published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London on 20 February. The study suggests that the answer to this question may have as much to do with the biological interactions that shape communities as with the effects of climate change itself. The study's insights are based on...

Trichomes Save Insect From Beetle Predation
2013-02-06 13:07:00

University of Guam Everyone needs to eat. But it's a dog-eat-dog world, and with the exception of the top predators, everyone also gets eaten. To cope with this vicious reality, a tiny insect that eats plants has learned to employ the plant's hairs for physical protection from its beetle predator. The pest is called the cycad aulacaspis scale, and its invasion into numerous countries in recent years has caused immeasurable loss of biodiversity. Cycads belong to an ancient lineage of...

2012-11-28 11:21:37

When herbivores such as caterpillars feed, plants may "call for help" by emitting volatiles, which can indirectly help defend the plants. The volatiles recruit parasitoids that infect, consume and kill the herbivores, to the benefit of the plant. However, such induced plant odors can also be detected by other organisms. A new study published November 27 in the open access journal PLOS Biology shows how secondary parasitoids ('hyperparasitoids') can take advantage of these plant signals to...

Ferns Herbivore Defense
2012-11-21 13:00:05

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology Unlike flowering plants, bracken ferns do not release any odor signals to attract the enemies of their attackers for their own benefit. They dominated the earth for 200 million years and numerous different species can still be found all over the world: mosses, horsetails and ferns. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now found out that bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) do not release any...

Ancient Predators Shared Their Food Supply
2012-11-07 13:53:07

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Your mother probably told you that it´s considered good manners to share your food, but according to new research; for large predators living 9 million years ago, sharing a food supply was a daily way of life. To better understand how these ancient predators divided up the available prey, a team of researchers led by US researchers and the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid used radioactive dating technology and a...

Biological Pest Control Using Predators Of Insect Eggs And Larvae Increases Plant Fitness
2012-10-16 15:15:40

To solve the acute, global problem of securing food resources for a continuously growing population, we must work constantly to increase the sustainability and effectiveness of modern agricultural techniques. These efforts depend on new insights from plant ecology, particularly from work on native plants that grow in the primordial agricultural niche. Based on field studies on wild tobacco plants in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA, researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical...

2012-09-13 23:48:44

The Borderea chouardii plant, which is critically endangered and is found only on two adjacent cliff sides in the Pyrenees, employs a unique and risky doubly mutualistic reproductive strategy with local ants, according to research published Sep. 12 in the open access journal PLOS ONE. The researchers, led by Maria Garcia of the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (CSIC), found that two ant species acted as the main pollinators for the plant, while a third species dispersed seeds. About a third...

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2012-08-07 07:30:47

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Scientists have debated how big a role elephants play in toppling trees in South African savannas for years. Now, using some very high tech airborne equipment, they finally have an answer. Tree loss is a natural process, but in some regions it is increasing beyond what could naturally be expected. This extreme tree loss has cascading effects on the habitats of many species. Studying savannas across Kruger National Park, Carnegie...

2012-06-08 13:40:34

Inflorescence architecture of Babiana ringens may have evolved in response to selective pressures from both herbivores and pollinators Floral displays, such as the color, shape, size, and arrangement of flowers, are typically thought to have evolved primarily in response to selection by pollinators–for animal-pollinated species, being able to attract animal vectors is vital to an individual plant's reproductive success. But can herbivores also exert similarly strong selective forces...

2012-06-01 10:10:12

Major new marine herbivory study Coral reefs and seashores largely look the way they do because large fish and urchins eat most of the seaweed that might otherwise cover them, but a major new study has found that the greatest impact of all comes from an unexpected quarter — small marine snails. The study published in the journal Ecology Letters is the largest of its kind ever undertaken into the ecological impacts of marine grazing animals: it was led by Associate Professor...