Dr. Rainer Melzer's paper, 'Convergent protein evolution enabled phytoplasmas to generate 'zombies?' was recently published by 'Trends in Plant Science'. The paper examines bacterial pathogens that induce 'zombie plants'.
Every July BatLab sets sail for France in search of the secret of ever-lasting youth. This is the goal of Prof. Emma Teeling’s European Research Council funded Ageless project which focuses on determining the molecular bases underlying the evolution of exceptional longevity in the Greater Mouse Eared Bat, Myotis myotis. Given their small size and high metabolic rate it would be expected that these bats should live about as long as a mouse (2-3 years), but contrary to this, a tagged Myotis bat has been recaptured at an amazing 41 years old! To discover just how these bats live for so long every year the Ageless team samples a tagged population of Myotis myotis of known age in Brittany, France
Whether you are a cow, a sheep, a goat or a human, it pays to have a good relationship with the bacteria in your gut. So could we use nitrogen more smartly to broker intestinal harmony? Dr Gavin Stewart is investigating.
Oysters are a delicacy in demand, but farming them is not without its stresses. ‘Invading’ species can take hold at oyster farms, where they grow rapidly. Conversely, some types of farmed oyster can themselves ‘escape’ and cause problems in the wild. Dr Tasman Crowe and his group at UCD School of Biology and Environmental Sciences are taking an ecological-eye view of these issues in oyster farming, with the aim of protecting oysters from the the environment and of protecting the environment from oysters. (Posted 5 August 2015)
Keeping track of animal populations is an important task when monitoring the environment. Knowing whether populations of wild animals are robust or if they are teetering on the brink of disaster can help us better manage and protect them. But head counts are arduous and don’t always give the best indication of how populations are faring, and tracking individual animals is costly and often unfeasible. Could clues from DNA offer more insights? Dr Jens Carlsson and his group at the School of Biology and Environmental Science think so - and they are developing less costly and faster ways of analysing that DNA for ecological information.