Earth

Research recently published in The Journal of Physiology has found that elderly people walk at a slower speed and tire more quickly because of loss of strength and mass in leg muscles. Using computer simulations they found that these physiological changes explain the slower walking speed preferred by the elderly, and that a focus on building up these leg muscles may be the only effective way to improve elderly walking.

DURHAM, N.C. -- To a mantis shrimp, walking away from a fight doesn't mean being a wimp. It means recognizing who they're up against and knowing when to bail rather than drag out a doomed battle, Duke University researchers say.

Mantis shrimp use sparring matches to decide when to fight and when to fold, finds a study published Jan. 17 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The study is part of a larger area of research that uses game theory to understand how animals resolve fights without killing each other.

California sea lions have fully rebounded under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), with their population on the West Coast reaching carrying capacity in 2008 before unusually warm ocean conditions reduced their numbers, according to the first comprehensive population assessment of the species.

The massive algal blooms caused by excess fertilizer from farms and cities running off into water supplies are having severe human health and economic consequences.

In recent years, stunning satellite images show toxic algal blooms across the world, including Lake Erie, the Baltic Sea, and the Yellow Sea. In fact, according to a recent publication in Science, nutrient pollution is the second greatest environmental threat to humanity, with economic damages from the issue costing up to $2.3 trillion annually.

Climate change has scientists worried that birds' annual migration and reproduction will be thrown out of sync with the seasons. Because birds' songs are correlated with their breeding behavior and are easily identifiable to species, monitoring birdsong can be a good way to keep tabs on this possibility, and a new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications takes advantage of this approach to provide new baseline data for the birds of northern California.

How did Borneo get its elephant? This could be just another of Rudyard Kipling's just so stories. The Bornean elephant is a subspecies of Asian Elephants that only exist in a small region of Borneo. Their presence on this southeastern Asian island has been a mystery.

Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows.

Working with the South African government, researchers from the universities of Exeter and Cape Town tested bans on catching "forage fish" such as sardines and anchovies - key prey for the endangered penguins - from 20km around their breeding islands.

The body condition and survival of chicks improved when the no-fishing zones were in place.

Female fiddler crabs are sensitive to changes in the speed of a male's courtship display, significantly preferring displays that accelerate to those that are performed at a constant speed or slow down.

The new research is published in the journal Biology Letters and was carried out by Dr Sophie Mowles of Anglia Ruskin University, alongside academics from the Australian National University in Canberra.

In the winter of 2015/16, something happened that had never before been seen on this scale: at the end of December, temperatures rose above zero degrees Celsius for several days in parts of the Arctic. Temperatures of up to eight degrees were registered north of Svalbard. Temperatures this high have not been recorded in the winter half of the year since the beginning of systematic measurements at the end of the 1970s. As a result of this unusual warmth, the sea ice began to melt.

UConn engineers have created a biodegradable pressure sensor that could help doctors monitor chronic lung disease, swelling of the brain, and other medical conditions before dissolving harmlessly in a patient's body.

The UConn research is featured in the current online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.