October 7th, 2007

(no subject)

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 5-Oct-2007
Scientists search for brain center responsible for tinnitus
For the more than 50 million Americans who experience the phantom sounds of tinnitus -- ringing in the ears that can range from annoying to debilitating -- certain well-trained rats may be their best hope for finding relief.
National Institutes of Health

Public Release: 5-Oct-2007
Genes from the father facilitate the formation of new species
The two closely related bird species, the collared flycatcher and the pied flycatcher, can reproduce with each other, but the females are more strongly attracted to a male of their own species. This has been shown by an international research team in the latest Net edition of Science. The discovery sheds new light on how new species are formed.

Public Release: 4-Oct-2007
Psychological Science
In birds, expecting to mate leads to higher fertilization rates
A new study shows that species learn to adapt to their surroundings in order to increase their "reproductive fitness" -- the likelihood that they will successfully reproduce. In this experiment, the quail who knew they were going to have the opportunity to mate produced more offspring.

Public Release: 4-Oct-2007
U-M research: New plastic is strong as steel, transparent
By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel, but lighter and transparent.

Public Release: 4-Oct-2007
Hydrothermal vents: Hot spots of microbial diversity
Thousands of new kinds of marine microbes have been discovered at two deep-sea hydrothermal vents off the Oregon coast by scientists at the MBL and University of Washington's Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean. Their findings, published in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Science, are the result of the most comprehensive, comparative study to date of deep-sea microbial communities that are responsible for cycling carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur to help keep Earth habitable.
NASA Astrobiology Institute, National Research Council, L'Oréal USA, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation

Public Release: 4-Oct-2007
Living fossils have hot sex
University of Utah scientists discovered a strange reproductive method in primitive cycad plants: The plants heat up and emit a toxic odor to drive pollen-covered insects out of male cycad cones, and then use a milder odor to draw the bugs into female cones so the plants are pollinated. This method may represent an intermediate step in the evolution of plant pollination, the researchers report in the new issue of Science.
National Geographic Society, University of Utah, University of Queensland