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Latest Herbivore Stories

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2011-07-27 05:55:00

Nibbling by herbivores can have a greater impact on the width of tree rings than climate, new research has found. The study, published this week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology, could help increase the accuracy of the tree ring record as a way of estimating past climatic conditions. Many factors in addition to climate are known to affect the tree ring record, including attack from parasites and herbivores, but determining how important these other factors have...

2011-07-15 09:21:00

Impacts include increases in infectious diseases and invasive species, as well as changes in soil, water, vegetation, and the atmosphere STONY BROOK, N.Y., July 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth," a review paper that will be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth's terrestrial, freshwater, and marine...

2011-07-12 12:55:57

Mammal's breath gives aphids cue to drop from plants to safety As soon as aphids feeding on a plant sense the heat and humidity in a mammal's breath, they drop to safety before they are inadvertently ingested together with the plant the animal is feeding on. These findings by Moshe Gish and colleagues, from the University of Haifa in Israel, show both how accurate aphids are at detecting this threat and how effective their escape behavior is. The work was just published online in Springer's...

2011-06-20 23:52:09

LMU chemists design a route for synthesis of loline alkaloids LMU chemists led by Professor Dirk Trauner have developed a concise and efficient method for the synthesis of the alkaloid loline and related compounds. Loline alkaloids are a biologically interesting group of natural products, which have unusual physicochemical and pharmacological characteristics, but are as of yet poorly understood. They are produced by fungal symbionts that infect weeds and forage grasses, and act as deterrents...

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2011-04-26 10:18:02

A plant's sugary offering betrays caterpillars to predatory ants Trichomes, hair-like projections on leaves, are part of a plant's defense against herbivores: they can be obstacles, traps, or reservoirs for toxic substances. The hairs of wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata contain primarily acyl sugars, which are composed of the common sugar, sucrose, bound to branched chain aliphatic acids, compounds that give baby vomit its distinctive odor. Tiny, freshly hatched caterpillars consume these...

2011-03-29 20:07:05

A study at Michigan State University has revealed a potential new way for plants to fend off pests "“ starvation. Gregg Howe, biochemistry and molecular biology professor, cites that this defense mechanism is just one example of a veritable evolutionary arms race between plants and herbivores. Howe, in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers insights to understanding the chemical weaponry of this war, which could lead to new approaches to protect...

2011-03-03 23:25:47

U of C research shows that human activity displaces predators more than prey A new paper by University of Calgary researchers, published today in PLoS ONE, demonstrates the edge given to prey in the "space race" by human activity. The research was conducted by two University of Calgary students, a University of Calgary Post-Doctoral Fellow and two University of Calgary professors from the Faculty of Environmental Design, Department of Geomatics in the Schulich School of Engineering and the...

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2011-02-17 10:17:39

Rising carbon dioxide levels associated with global warming may affect interactions between plants and the insects that eat them, altering the course of plant evolution, research at the University of Michigan suggests. The research focused on the effects of elevated carbon dioxide on common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Milkweed is one of many plants that produce toxic or bitter chemical compounds to protect themselves from being eaten by insects. These chemical defenses are the result of a...

2011-01-28 13:02:10

Plants are attacked by a multitude of insects and mammals. As defense against these herbivores they developed complex defense mechanisms over the course of evolution: spines, thorns, leaf hairs and a number of toxic chemical substances. For decades it has been controversially discussed whether the production of defense traits incurs costs to the plants. Now, using a new method the ecologists and plant biologists of the University of Zrich together with their American colleagues demonstrate...

2010-09-27 17:25:27

Nectar production in lima beans depends on light quality Flowering plants produce nectar to attract insect pollinators. Some plant species, such as Lima bean, also secrete nectar from so-called extrafloral nectaries to attract ants which in turn fend off herbivores. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, have discovered that the production of extrafloral nectar is light dependent. They have shown that the plants are able not only to distinguish between day and night, but...


Word of the Day
bellycheer
  • Good cheer; viands.
  • To revel; to feast.
The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".
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