New "Silk Road" brings challenges and opportunities for biodiversity conservation

China is establishing an infrastructure and service network to connect the country, by land and sea, to different parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. This Chinese project would then represent not only an investment to foster international trade but also an opportunity for sustainable development leadership. According to Chinese government, this new "Silk Road" counts on the participation of least 65 countries, involve about two-thirds of the world's population and boost one-third...

Raman spectroscopy quantification of eumelanin subunits in natural unaltered pigments

Eumelanins are large polymers composed of 5,6-dihydroxyindole (DHI) and 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA). ROS generation is higher during the synthesis of DHI than during the synthesis of DHICA, thus the production of eumelanins with high relative DHI contents may compromise the viability of cells and organisms. Here it is shown that dispersive Raman spectroscopy allows a non-invasive direct detection and quantification of DHI and DHICA in unaltered eumelanins that can be applied...

Feather mites play a role in cleaning host feathers

Parasites and other symbionts are crucial components of ecosystems, regulating host populations and supporting food webs. However, most symbiont systems, especially those involving commensals and mutualists, are relatively poorly understood. In this study, the nature of the symbiotic relationship between birds and their most abundant and diverse ectosymbionts, the vane?dwelling feather mites, has been investigated.

Different responses to climate change in resident and migratory birds

The adjustment to climate change and the differential effects of temperature on resident and migratory birds were studied using the start dates of the laying in ten long-term studies in nest-boxes in Europe with data on at least one species of resident tit and one species of migratory flycatcher.

Dispersal capacity explains the evolution of lifespan variability

The evolutionary explanation for lifespan variation is still based on the antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis, which has been challenged by several studies. Alternative models assume the existence of genes that favor aging and group benefits at the expense of reductions in individual lifespans. Here a new model is proposed without making such assumptions.