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Tag Archive for Biology

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Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn’t restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the Congo River basin. Just ask professor John Nelson and alumnus Douglas Rayner—they’re having their membership cards stamped with a long-hidden plant found nowhere but South Carolina.

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Mysterious glowworm found in Peruvian rainforest

(Phys.org) —Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer has discovered what appears to be a new type of bioluminescent larvae. He told members of the press recently that he was walking near a camp in the Peruvian rainforest at night a few years ago, when he came upon a side of exposed earth upon which there were many little green glowing dots. Taking a closer look, he found that each dot was in fact the glowing head of a worm of some sort. He posted pictures of what he’d found on Reddit which were eventually spotted by entomologist Aaron Pomerantz, with the Tambopata Research Center. After contacting Cremer, Pomerantz made a pilgrimage to see the worms, gathered some samples and set to work studying them. Shortly thereafter, he determined that the worms were the larvae of an unknown type of beetle, likely a type of click beetle.

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Amazon frogs found to build mental maps of their local area

(Phys.org) —A quartet of researchers with the University of Vienna has found that the brilliant-thighed poison frog is able to build a mental map of its immediate surroundings and use it to navigate. The finding, the team reports in their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that such frogs have the mental ability to understand the environment in which they live.

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Researchers discover natural resistance gene against spruce budworm

Scientists from Université Laval, the University of British Columbia and the University of Oxford have discovered a natural resistance gene against spruce budworm in the white spruce. The breakthrough, reported in The Plant Journal, paves the way to identifying and selecting naturally resistant trees to replant forests devastated by the destructive pest.

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Researchers discover a nitrogen sensor widespread in the plant kingdom

Quantitatively, nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for the growth of plant organisms – from simple green algae to highly developed flowering plants. Nitrogen supply is essential for the development of all cell components, and as a good supply results in faster plant growth, it is commonly used as a fertiliser in agriculture. Nitrogen is assimilated in the chloroplasts of plant cells to produce the amino acid glutamine. This molecule serves as a storage form and central distributor that feeds nitrogen into various metabolic pathways. Scientists from the research group of Professor Karl Forchhammer at the Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infection Medicine have investigated how plants keep track of their nitrogen supply. In cooperation with Dr. Marcus Hartmann at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and colleagues from the University of St. Petersburg, they discovered that plants possess a sophisticated glutamine sensor. So-called PII signalling proteins act as a “fuel gauge” for the amount of available nitrogen by measuring the glutamine concentration. This information is then used by the plants to precisely control their growth.

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