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Kocher S.D.,Museum of Comparative Zoology | Pellissier L.,University of Aarhus | Pellissier L.,University of Fribourg | Purcell J.,University of Lausanne | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Eusociality is taxonomically rare, yet associated with great ecological success. Surprisingly, studies of environmental conditions favouring eusociality are often contradictory. Harsh conditions associated with increasing altitude and latitude seem to favour increased sociality in bumblebees and ants, but the reverse pattern is found in halictid bees and polistine wasps. Here, we compare thelife histories and distributionsofpopulationsof176 speciesofHymenoptera from the Swiss Alps. We show that differences in altitudinal distributions and development times among social forms can explain these contrasting patterns: highly social taxa develop more quickly than intermediate social taxa, and are thus able to complete the reproductive cycle in shorter seasons at higher elevations. This dual impactofaltitude and development time onsociality illustrates that ecological constraints can elicit dynamic shifts in behaviour, and helps explain the complex distribution of sociality across ecological gradients. copy; 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Archibald S.B.,Simon Fraser University | Archibald S.B.,Brandon University | Greenwood D.R.,Museum of Comparative Zoology | Mathewes R.W.,Simon Fraser University
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2013

We test Janzen's (1967) hypothesis that the low temperature seasonality in the modern tropics accounts for increased local species turnover (beta diversity) across montane landscapes relative to those of the more seasonal Temperate Zone. In the Eocene, low seasonality extended beyond the hot tropics to Polar Regions, therefore, its effects on montane dispersal ability should have been decoupled from low latitude. We sampled fossil insect communities across the Okanagan Highlands: a thousand kilometer transect of temperate, low temperature seasonality, higher mid-latitude Eocene uplands of far-western North America. We find high species turnover, supporting a prime role of temperature fluctuation in controlling montane beta diversity. This high upper mid-latitude montane endemism is consistent with greater Eocene global biodiversity. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

News Article | March 25, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Prairie dogs are cute, furry and are vicious serial killers with a thirst for blood, according to a new study. These animals are highly social, intelligent creatures who only consume plants for their dietary intake. Ground squirrels are apparently killed by the creatures in an effort to reduce competition for food, researchers deduced. Both species of animals consume a similar diet, including prickly pears and specific grasses. Similar behavior, first noted in prairie dogs in Colorado during 2007, has never before been seen taking place among herbivores. Five additional years of study by researchers revealed the behavior was most common in May, as young squirrels first venture out of their nests on the search for food. Biologists examined survival rates of youngsters born to parents of squirrel-killing, and compared that data to prairie dogs born to parents who did not murder their neighboring rodents. The study found that reducing populations of ground squirrels led to greater survival rates for young prairie dogs. The behavior was also the driving factor driving fitness in the creatures, far outpacing any other characteristic driving health. "Although carnivores are known to kill competing species, who would have thought that herbivores do so as well? In the case of carnivores, one possibility is that the species are eliminating potential predators on their young, but that doesn't seem likely in this case," Jonathan Losos of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University told Discovery News. One possibility for the unusual behavior may be that groundhogs living in areas of dense grasslands are more likely to encounter ground squirrels, driving the murderous behavior. As humans introduce foreign species to areas outside their natural habitats, such activities may become more common, researchers speculate. During the study, researchers recorded 47 prairie dogs that killed ground squirrels, with 36 of the animals being females. The deadliest specimen seen was "Killer Supreme," who was recorded killing nine squirrels over the course of four years. They may be cute, but prairie dogs can be cold-blooded killers. Research into how prairie dogs murder ground squirrels to reduce competition for food was profiled in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

News Article
Site: www.nature.com

Vladimir Nabokov's influence on Russian and English literature and language is assured. Many people also know of the novelist's lifelong passion for butterflies. But his notable contributions to the science of lepidopterology and to general biology are only beginning to be widely known. Nabokov was no amateur entomologist. He served for six years as curator of the butterfly collection at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published a dozen papers on taxonomy — the description and classification of organisms — that remain important. His observations on butterfly morphology have stimulated breakthrough research in evolutionary biology. Several of his original biogeographic hypotheses have been confirmed in the past few years. Fine Lines, a collection edited by Stephen Blackwell and Kurt Johnson, explains the importance of Nabokov's scientific work and traces its influence on his novels. The book begins with 154 of Nabokov's black-and-white and colour drawings of butterflies' fine anatomical structures. Most represent the European, Asian and American species of the 'blues' of the tribe Polyommatini, Nabokov's favourite group. Ten essays follow, by prominent researchers including evolutionary biologist James Mallet, current Harvard butterfly curator Naomi Pierce and lepidopterist Robert Pyle, explaining the interplay of science and art in Nabokov's writings. Fine Lines clearly demonstrates the significant impact that science had on Nabokov's evolution as a writer. The decision to open the book with the drawings is a masterstroke. They illustrate one of the most important aspects of Nabokov's creativity — his tremendous attention to details, described with scrupulous precision. In his novels, he seamlessly marshals minutiae — impressions, passing fancies, ideas — to create a universe strongly rooted in observation. The particular or apparently trivial was, for him, always worth probing. In his entomological studies, he analysed fine, nearly invisible, dots on the wings of New and Old World butterflies to hint at what may have happened on Earth millions of years ago. With no palaeontological data, Nabokov speculated that North and then South America were populated by five waves of butterflies migrating from Asia ( Psyche 52, 1–61; 1945) — a picture confirmed by DNA analysis almost 70 years on ( et al. Proc. R. Soc. B 278, 2737–2744; 2011). This pointillism is harder than it seems. Piling up millions of elements can easily end in chaos; to create a picture, one needs to understand the nature of these elements and to be able to choose between them. The core of scientific drawing differs greatly from photography in focusing on the heart of the matter and avoiding unnecessary details. This is important for science, and no less for art. Both have the same central goal — to reveal an unknown or invisible essence of things. That is one of the main points of Fine Lines. Yet science and art diverge in their communication. In science, the ability to convey the idea properly and simply is a matter of special talent, but almost everyone can learn to do it. Not so in art. Nabokov's drawings are scientifically perfect, but also staggeringly fine aesthetically. They show how the merging of content and form in art conveys ideas wonderfully. However, even the most wonderful idea becomes banal if artistry is lacking. The personal, artistic and scientific aspects of Nabokov's life were tightly intertwined. As one of the book's essayists, science writer Dorion Sagan, concludes, nature and art were a continuum for him: “the distinct but equally necessary paths of art and science seem to scale opposite sides of the same majestic mountainscape”. Nabokov's fiction is permeated by science, as Fine Lines amply reveals. He was a master in the use of motif and symbols. In his novel Lolita (Olympia, 1955), for instance, the town Lepingville is named after 'lepping', butterfly hunters' slang for chasing butterflies, and Elphinstone after Elphinstonia, a subgenus in the white butterfly genus Euchloe. The fictional play-within-the-novel, The Enchanted Hunters, is built almost entirely on symbols associated with butterflies. Diana, its protagonist, is both the virgin goddess of hunting and a butterfly species (Speyeria diana). In his essay, Nabokov scholar Brian Boyd reveals that Edusa Gold, who directs the play, is an echo of Colias edusa, an old but preocccupied name for the clouded yellow (now Colias croceus). I can add that her sister Electra Gold was named after Colias electra, an unavailable name for the African clouded yellow, now Colias electo. That these names are effectively hidden — no longer in use, but buried in lists of unavailable scientific epithets — chimes with the secrecy in this controversial novel. I prepared this review at the Nabokov House Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. While there, I discovered in the Nabokov family's copy of An Illustrated Natural History of British Butterflies and Moths by Edward Newman (William Glaisher, 1870) that Nabokov had, as a child, coloured in the black-and-white image of the clouded yellow with remarkable accuracy. As zoologist Victor Fet describes in Fine Lines, Nabokov's childhood concentration on butterfly collecting and drawing effectively provided very specific training in memory and paying attention, as well as that focus on minute detail. Few have so beautifully and meaningfully meshed serious scientific endeavour with artistic brilliance, visual and verbal. Fine Lines helps us to understand the phenomenon of creativity, without which neither good science nor true art can exist.

ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The International CES AsiaTM today announced that Shailesh Rao, vice president of Asia Pacific, Latin America & emerging markets at Twitter, will deliver an address at the inaugural CES Asia, as part of the event’s Industry Mover Speaker Series. Rao joins leaders from Audi, IBM and Intel as confirmed speakers at the 2015 CES Asia, owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) ® and co-produced by INTEX. Featuring top technology companies from around the world, CES Asia will run May 25-27 in Shanghai, China, drawing global businesses to showcase the latest products and technologies entering the Asian marketplace. Rao’s address will take place at 10:30 AM, Tuesday, May 26 in the Kerry Hotel, Level 3, Shanghai Ballroom 2-3. He will discuss the revolution of the digital transformation and the trends and strategies driving Asian businesses to the next level. “Twitter has been at the forefront of the social media revolution, with user-generated content changing the way people communicate, conduct business and gather information in today’s digital age,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “We are honored to have Mr. Rao join the Industry Mover Series at CES Asia and look forward to hearing his insight surrounding the social media transformation and the digital trends that will impact the Asian markets.” “Asia is the heart of the digital revolution with over half of all Internet, mobile and social media users in the world,” said Rao. “That's why I'm so excited to give this address at the inaugural CES Asia event to showcase how Twitter is leading the transformation across the region as the best way for people and businesses to connect to their world every day." Shailesh Rao is responsible for revenue and operations for all markets outside of the United States and Europe. Since joining Twitter in 2012, he has developed the company’s international cross-functional strategy and expanded its presence from three countries to more than 30 countries. Previously, Rao spent seven years at Google, where he built three critical business units: Local Search, India and You-Tube and Display across Asia-Pacific. He is @shaileshrao on Twitter. The Industry Mover Speaker Series is an exclusive platform at CES Asia for some of the world’s most influential brands. Industry Mover sessions will bring exceptional insight into the next generation of technology, presented by visionaries that are responsible for introducing this future to the world. Industry Mover sessions, as well as keynote addresses, are complimentary for all CES Asia attendees, and a CES Asia badge is all that is required for entry. Rao joins Audi’s Rupert Stadler, IBM’s D.C. Chien and Intel’s Kirk Skaugen as confirmed CES Asia speakers. Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management at AUDI AG, will deliver the preshow keynote address at CES Asia at 5 PM Sunday, May 24 in the Jumeirah Hotel, DaGuan Theatre. Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group for Intel Corporation, will take the keynote stage at 10:30 AM, May 25 at the Kerry Hotel, Level 3, Grand Shanghai Ballroom 2-3. D.C. Chien, CEO of IBM Greater China Group, will speak at 3:30 PM, May 25 at the Kerry Hotel, Level 3, Grand Shanghai Ballroom 2-3. Initially 20,000 gross square meters (8,500 net square meters), the CES Asia show floor has recently expanded by nearly 10 percent and will house an estimated 250 exhibitors that currently represent 14 countries. Major global brands are supporting the show through show floor exhibitions and private meeting room space to conduct critical business at CES Asia. Top brands participating in CES Asia are highlighted below: The full list of companies exhibiting at CES Asia can be found via the Exhibitor Directory. In addition to ground-breaking exhibits on the show floor, CES Asia will showcase a dynamic conference program with topics ranging from the Internet of Things, connectivity, 3D printing, robotics, lifestyles, smart home and sports and fitness. Additional speakers and panel sessions will be announced in the coming weeks. CEA is co-producing CES Asia with INTEX Shanghai Co. Ltd., a prominent producer of international tradeshows in China. Special co-organizers for CES Asia include the Chinese Electronic Chamber of Commerce (CECC) and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Product (CCCME).To register for the 2015 CES Asia, please visit CESAsia.com. Journalists traveling from outside of China will require a J-2 visa. For questions about exhibiting at CES Asia, contact Brian Moon at bmoon@CE.org or +1 703-907-4351. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $286 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® and co-produced by INTEX, the International CES Asia will serve as the premier event for the consumer technology industry, showcasing the full breadth and depth of the innovation value-chain in the Asian marketplace. Key global businesses will come to this new event to grow and reinforce their brand by showcasing the latest products and technologies to CE industry executives, foreign buyers, international media and a limited number of consumers from China. Attendees will have exclusive access to some of the largest brands from China and around the world, while celebrating the innovation that defines the CE industry. INTEX is the sub joint venture company of CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade) Shanghai, which started 1992. INTEX is a prominent producer of international tradeshows in China, owning venues in Shanghai, and managing various exhibition venues outside of Shanghai. INTEX Shanghai is the vice chairman of SCEIA, the Deputy Director of CAEC and the member of UFI. As the first venue management company that imported the first level pattern of management and experience in Shanghai, it is jointly invested by Shanghai Hongqiao E&T Development Zone United Development Co., Ltd., Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai and Istithmar P&O Estates FZE. INTEX was the first international exhibition center passing ISO9001 quality certification in China and has a stand-out reputation in the domestic exhibition industry.

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