Student discovers threatened beetle is actually two separate subspecies

Discovery means the nationally threatened Gibson’s big sand tiger beetle is more at risk than previously thought

Student discovers threatened beetle is actually two separate subspeciesAn undergraduate research study has found that a threatened type of beetle found in Saskatchewan and Colorado is, in fact, made up of two genetically distinct subspecies. The discovery has important implications for conservation efforts for the insects and shows that both populations of Gibson’s big sand tiger beetle are more threatened than previously thought.…

Preventing transmission of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer

Discovery of protein variant may reduce spread of the highly contagious and fatal neurological disease

Preventing transmission of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deerA variant of the prion protein may reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) among white-tailed deer, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists. This variant of the prion protein, called the S96 variant, blocks CWD transmission in the lab – an important discovery in the fight against the highly contagious…

Augustana grad eager to share her love of the outdoors with others

Everyone should have the chance to connect with nature and understand its importance to our lives, Kate Corrigan believes

Augustana grad eager to share her love of the outdoors with othersKate Corrigan still has blister scars from backpacking up to the base of Mount Robson during a high school field trip, but it was that first trek that sparked a passion for the great outdoors. “For me, the outdoors is a place to disconnect, to reconnect. You’re away from the stress of work, school, social…

Gypsy moths have invaded North America. What can we do?

Insects are already in serious decline throughout the world, so killing insects for the sake of killing them seems ill-advised

Gypsy moths have invaded North America. What can we do?This seems to be a good year for gypsy moths and a bad one for people who love trees. Have you never seen a gypsy moth? This might be the best time to find them. Look for a light to dark brown, medium-sized moth flying in a seemingly erratic way. These are the males. They’re…

Nationwide citizen science program critical for bird conservation

Canadian Nightjar Survey recruits volunteer citizen scientists for the study of nocturnal birds

Nationwide citizen science program critical for bird conservationTen years ago, University of Alberta PhD candidate Elly Knight started a volunteer citizen science program. Since then, the Canadian Nightjar Survey has grown from a single volunteer in southern British Columbia to several hundred citizen scientists across the country – and more volunteers are needed. Their mission? To monitor the nightjars that breed in Canada. These fascinating,…

Cannabis should not be taken during pregnancy: study

New U of A research has implications for prenatal development in humans

Cannabis should not be taken during pregnancy: studyZebrafish exposed to the leading cannabinoids found in cannabis in the earliest stages of development suffer a significant drop in neural activity later in life, according to a University of Alberta study that has implications for prenatal development in humans. Richard Kanyo, the lead author on the study and post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine…

Scientists reveal the secret lives of Canada lynx

Cutting-edge recording technology captures never-before-heard sounds of the elusive boreal predators hunting, fighting and sleeping

Scientists reveal the secret lives of Canada lynxUsing a Fitbit and a spy mic, University of Alberta scientists have revealed new insights into the behaviour of the elusive Canada lynx. The research provides a first look at how miniaturized technology can open the door to remote wildlife monitoring. “Working on one of the boreal forest’s top predators, the Canada lynx, we found…

Is your cat outside killing wildlife right now?

Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 species worldwide

Is your cat outside killing wildlife right now?What a lovely sight! Look at Patches as she heads out for her morning jaunt in the fields near her home. How cute is she as she tiptoes through the dew-drenched grass, trying her best to keep her paws dry? Millions of cats do exactly this every day, and the outcome is always devastating for…

Bears that mark more trees more successful in mating

Brown bears that rub against trees more often tend to have more offspring and more mates

Bears that mark more trees more successful in matingBrown bears that are more inclined to grate and rub against trees have more offspring and more mates, according to a University of Alberta study. The results suggest there might be a fitness component to the poorly understood behaviour. “As far as we know, all bears do this dance, rubbing their back up against the…

The elegant and essential cones of coniferous trees

Many birds explore the nooks and crannies of these seed-bearing pods as they try to pry the seeds loose or find minute insects

The elegant and essential cones of coniferous treesAs we welcome spring, we see the remnants of pine and spruce cones previously covered by snow. Few of us think about how important these cones are to the floral and faunal communities – as food and to ensure the next generation of trees is born. Many species of coniferous trees produce cones – pines,…