Tropical climates are famously rich in biodiversity, perhaps because old lineages persist well in those regions instead of being simply replaced by new ones, or perhaps because the tropical environment promotes fast speciation. A new study of the ant family tree suggests that both these explanations may be right.
Men and women wanted for hazardous duty. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Compensations include off-road driving, penguin spotting and no-hassle waste disposal.
That could be a job advertisement for station staff at Fildes Peninsula Antarctic research stations. It’s not as noble as the apocryphal advertisement for explorer Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in the early twentieth century, which promised honour and recognition, but then some of the site’s modern occupants deserve neither, according to a report released last month by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency.
Although mutations, the driver of evolution, occur at random, a study of the bacterium Escherichia coli reveals that nature often finds the same solution to the same problem again and again. Continue reading
Europe’s leading scientific institutions could work with less-developed regions to create a new type of research centre, suggests a proposal backed by science ministers last week.
Under the ‘teaming’ proposal, the partners would put forward joint business plans to bid for European Union (EU) start-up funds as part of Horizon 2020, the EU research funding programme for 2014–20, which will replace the current Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) after it expires next year. Ministers gave their backing for the general structure of Horizon 2020 last June. Continue reading