GrrlScientist | The Guardian - RSS Feed

GrrlScientist is an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology and ecology, especially in birds

Latest articles

Evolving toxins makes frogs more likely to go extinct | @GrrlScientist

Prey species evolve a variety of ways to avoid predators, including camouflage, conspicuous colouration, and chemical toxins. But a new study of amphibians indicates that evolving toxins against predators increases the rate of extinction for prey speciesPrey species evolve a variety of ways to avoid their predators, including chemical toxins, camouflage,...

What happened to wildlife when Chernobyl drove humans out? It thrived | @GrrlScientist

People were evacuated after the Chernobyl accident, but what happened to the local wildlife? A new study shows that wildlife in the Chernobyl disaster zone is thriving, indicating that the presence of humans is more damaging to wildlife than is radiation poisoningAfter a fire and explosion destroyed the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986, more than...

Hummingbirds nest near hawks for protection | @GrrlScientist

Hummingbird eggs and babies are a favourite snack for nest-robbing jays, so what’s a mother to do to protect her family? According to a new study, it’s best to build her nest near or under a hawk nestTiny hummingbird eggs and babies are a favourite snack for nest-robbing jays, so what’s a mother hummingbird to do to protect her family? According to...

Predictable evolution: bad news for toads, good news for their predators | @GrrlScientist

Researchers reveal that, under certain circumstances, the process of evolution can be highly predictable, especially when there are limited solutions to a particular problem, such as resistance to dangerous toxinsA research paper that was published a few days ago in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that evolution...

Birds in love produce more babies, study shows | @GrrlScientist

A new study finds that birds who freely choose their own mates have 37 percent more offspring than those which were paired up by researchers in a sort of avian ‘arranged marriage’ — findings that have far-reaching implications for conservation and captive breeding practicesBirds who freely choose their own mates produce 37 percent more offspring than...

Farms versus birds: winners & losers - in pictures | @GrrlScientist

Portraits of some tropical bird species in Colombia’s Chocó-Andes region that will be agriculture’s winners and losers when their cloudforest neighbourhood is converted into cattle pastureRead more here. Continue reading...

Could some farming practices benefit tropical birds? | @GrrlScientist

Conversion of tropical forests to farms is a big driver of wildlife extinctions. But a new study shows that some farming practices have the potential to simultaneously protect natural habitats and boost farm yieldsOne of the main drivers of extinction is habitat loss that arises when tropical rainforests are converted to farms -- a trend that is escalating...

Life history trade-offs: why tropical songbirds have fewer chicks | @GrrlScientist

Tropical songbirds produce fewer, high-quality nestlings per breeding effort than do songbirds that breed in temperate zones, according to a study published today. This study reports that tropical songbirds’ nestlings grow longer wings, and faster, which means they spend less time in the nest where they are vulnerable to predatorsIt has been a long-standing...

White sky at night not a city bird's delight | @GrrlScientist

Free-living songbirds show increased stress hormone levels when nesting under white street lights. But different light spectra may have different physiological effects as this study finds, suggesting that using street lights with specific colour spectra may mitigate effects of light pollution on wildlifeA study published today in the journal Biology...

Velvet ants share warning signals with the neighbours | @GrrlScientist

North American velvet ants are one of the world’s largest complexes of mimics. Although these beautiful insects produce an intensely painful venom, neighbouring species still mimic each other’s many warning signals, a trait that effectively protects them all from predatorsA team of American scientists report they’ve discovered of one of the world’s...

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