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NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kahn Swick & Foti, LLC ("KSF") and KSF partner, the former Attorney General of Louisiana, Charles C. Foti, Jr., reminds investors that they have until April 10, 2017 to file lead plaintiff applications in a securities class action lawsuit against Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UA) (NYSE:UAA), if they purchased the Company’s shares between April 21, 2016 and January 30, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”).  The action is pending in United States District Court for the District of Maryland.  What You May Do If you purchased shares of Under Armour and would like to discuss your legal rights and how this case might affect you and your right to recover for your economic loss, you may, without obligation or cost to you, call toll-free at 1-877-515-1850 or email KSF Managing Partner Lewis Kahn (lewis.kahn@ksfcounsel.com). If you wish to serve as a lead plaintiff in this class action, you must petition the Court by April 10, 2017. Under Armour and certain of its executives are charged with failing to disclose material information during the Class Period, violating federal securities laws. The alleged false and misleading statements and omissions include, but are not limited to, that Under Armour's revenue and profit margins would not be able to withstand the heavy promotions, high inventory levels and ripple effects of numerous department store closures and the bankruptcy of one of its large retailers. On January 31, 2017, Under Armour released weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016, and the poor results were in fact tied to market factors such as department store closings. On this news, the price of Under Armour’s shares plummeted. KSF, whose partners include the Former Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr., is a law firm focused on securities, antitrust and consumer class actions, along with merger & acquisition and breach of fiduciary litigation against publicly traded companies on behalf of shareholders. The firm has offices in New York, California and Louisiana. To learn more about KSF, you may visit www.ksfcounsel.com.


STEVENSON, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The securities litigation law firm of Brower Piven, A Professional Corporation has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of purchasers of Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE: UA, UAA) (“Under Armour” or the “Company”) common stock during the period between April 21, 2016 and January 30, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”). The action is captioned Brian Breece v. Under Armour, Inc., et. al. (1:17-cv-00388). Investors who wish to become proactively involved in the litigation have until April 10, 2017 to seek appointment as lead plaintiff. Under Armour is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Maryland with its principal place of business located in Baltimore, Maryland. Brower Piven is the only firm headquartered in Maryland that has a practice dedicated primarily to representing plaintiffs in shareholder class action litigation. If you wish to choose counsel to represent you and the Class, you must apply to be appointed lead plaintiff and be selected by the Court. The lead plaintiff will direct the litigation and participate in important decisions including whether to accept a settlement for the Class in the action. The lead plaintiff will be selected from among applicants who retain counsel like Brower Piven and who claim the largest loss from investment in Under Armour common stock during the Class Period. Members of the Class will be represented by the lead plaintiff and counsel chosen by the lead plaintiff. No class has yet been certified in the above action. The complaint accuses the defendants of violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by virtue of the defendants’ failure to disclose during the Class Period that Under Armour’s revenue and profit margins would not be able to withstand the heavy promotions, high inventory levels and ripple effects of numerous department store closures and the bankruptcy of one of its large retailers. Instead, Under Armour promoted itself as a growth company that would continue to develop and market game-changing products. According to the complaint, the fraud was revealed on January 31, 2017 when Under Armour released weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016, and the poor results were in fact tied to market factors, such as department store closings. If you have suffered a loss in excess of $100,000 from investment in Under Armour common stock purchased on or after April 21, 2016 and held through the revelation of negative information during and/or at the end of the Class Period and would like to learn more about this lawsuit and your ability to participate as a lead plaintiff, without cost or obligation to you, please visit our website at http://www.browerpiven.com/currentsecuritiescases.html. You may also request more information by contacting Brower Piven either by email at hoffman@browerpiven.com or by telephone at (410) 415-6616. Brower Piven also encourages anyone with information regarding the Company’s conduct during the period in question to contact the firm, including whistleblowers, former employees, shareholders and others. Attorneys at Brower Piven have extensive experience in litigating securities and other class action cases and have been advocating for the rights of shareholders since the 1980s. If you choose to retain counsel, you may retain Brower Piven without financial obligation or cost to you, or you may retain other counsel of your choice. You need take no action at this time to be a member of the class.


STEVENSON, Md., Feb. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The securities litigation law firm of Brower Piven, A Professional Corporation, has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of purchasers of Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UA) (NYSE:UAA) (“Under Armour” or the “Company”) common stock during the period between April 21, 2016 and January 30, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”).  The action is captioned Brian Breece v. Under Armour, Inc., et. al. (1:17-cv-00388).  Investors who wish to become proactively involved in the litigation have until April 10, 2017 to seek appointment as lead plaintiff.  Under Armour is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Maryland with its principal place of business located in Baltimore, Maryland.  Brower Piven is the only firm headquartered in Maryland that has a practice dedicated primarily to shareholder class action litigation. If you wish to choose counsel to represent you and the Class, you must apply to be appointed lead plaintiff and be selected by the Court.  The lead plaintiff will direct the litigation and participate in important decisions including whether to accept a settlement for the Class in the action.  The lead plaintiff will be selected from among applicants claiming the largest loss from investment in Under Armour common stock during the Class Period.  Members of the Class will be represented by the lead plaintiff and counsel chosen by the lead plaintiff.  No class has yet been certified in the above action. The complaint accuses the defendants of violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by virtue of the defendants’ failure to disclose during the Class Period that Under Armour’s revenue and profit margins would not be able to withstand the heavy promotions, high inventory levels and ripple effects of numerous department store closures and the bankruptcy of one of its large retailers.  Instead, Under Armour promoted itself as a growth company that would continue to develop and market game-changing products. According to the complaint, the fraud was revealed on January 31, 2017 when Under Armour released weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016, and the poor results were in fact tied to market factors, such as department store closings. If you have suffered a loss in excess of $100,000 from investment in Under Armour common stock purchased on or after April 21, 2016 and held through the revelation of negative information during and/or at the end of the Class Period and would like to learn more about this lawsuit and your ability to participate as a lead plaintiff, without cost or obligation to you, please visit our website at http://www.browerpiven.com/currentsecuritiescases.html.  You may also request more information by contacting Brower Piven either by email at hoffman@browerpiven.com or by telephone at (410) 415-6616.  Brower Piven also encourages anyone with information regarding the Company’s conduct during the period in question to contact the firm, including whistleblowers, former employees, shareholders and others. Attorneys at Brower Piven have extensive experience in litigating securities and other class action cases and have been advocating for the rights of shareholders since the 1980s.  If you choose to retain counsel, you may retain Brower Piven without financial obligation or cost to you, or you may retain other counsel of your choice.  You need take no action at this time to be a member of the class.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: cerncourier.com

Completion of the preliminary design phase for the High-Luminosity LHC last year paves the way for civil-engineering work to begin. Le HL-LHC sera composé de plusieurs technologies et aimants innovants, et ces nouveaux éléments de l’accélérateur auront besoin de services supplémentaires tels que transmission de courant, distribution électrique, refroidissement, ventilation et cryogénie. Afin d’héberger les nouvelles infrastructures et les nouveaux éléments, des structures de génie civil, notamment des bâtiments, des puits, des cavernes et des galeries souterraines sont nécessaires. L’achèvement, l’année passée, de la phase de conception préliminaire du HL-LHC a permis le commencement des travaux de génie civil, et des contrats avec des entreprises externes vont à présent être conclus. The High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project at CERN is a major upgrade that will extend the LHC’s discovery potential significantly. Approved in June 2014 and due to enter operation in the mid-2020s, the HL-LHC will increase the LHC’s integrated luminosity by a factor 10 beyond its original design value. The complex upgrade, which must be implemented with minimal disruption to LHC operations, demands careful study and will take a decade to achieve. The HL-LHC relies on several innovative and challenging technologies, in particular: new superconducting dipole magnets with a field of 11 T; highly compact and ultra-precise superconducting “crab” cavities to rotate the beams at the collision points and thus compensate for the larger beam crossing angle; beam-separation and recombination superconducting dipole magnets; beam-focusing superconducting quadrupole magnets; and 80 m-long high-power superconducting links with zero energy dissipation. These new LHC accelerator components will be mostly integrated at Point 1 and Point 5 of the ring where the two general-purpose detectors ATLAS and CMS are located (see diagram). The new infrastructure and services consist mainly of power transmission, electrical distribution, cooling, ventilation, cryogenics, power converters for superconducting magnets and inductive output tubes for superconducting RF cavities. To house these large elements, civil-engineering structures including buildings, shafts, caverns and underground galleries are required. The definition of the civil engineering for the HL-LHC began in 2015. Last year, the completion of a concept study allowed CERN to issue a call for tender for two civil-engineering consultant contracts, which were adjudicated in June 2016. These consultants are in charge of the preliminary, tender and construction design phases of the civil-engineering work, in addition to managing the construction and defect-liability phase. At Point 1, which is located in Switzerland just across from the main CERN entrance, the consultant contract involves a consortium of three companies: SETEC TPI (France), which is the consortium leader, together with CSD Engineers (Switzerland) and Rocksoil (Italy). A similar consortium has been appointed at Point 5, in France. Here, the consultant contract is shared between consortium-leader Lombardi (Switzerland), Artelia (France) and Pini Swiss (Switzerland). In November 2016, the two consultant consortia completed the preliminary design phase including cost and construction-schedule estimates for the civil-engineering work. In parallel with the preliminary design, and with the help of external architects, CERN has submitted building-permit applications to the Swiss and French authorities with a view to start construction work by mid-2018. CERN has also performed geotechnical investigations to better understand the underground conditions (which consist of glacial moraines overlying a local type of soft rock called molasse), and has placed a contract with independent engineers ARUP (UK) and Geoconsult (Austria). These companies will confirm that the consultant designs have been performed with the appropriate skill, care and diligence in accordance with applicable standards. In addition, a panel comprising lawyers, architects and civil engineers is in place to resolve any disputes between parties. At ground level, the HL-LHC civil engineering consists of five buildings at each of the two LHC points, technical galleries, access roads, concrete slabs and landscaping. At each point, the total surface corresponds to about 20,000 m2 including 3300 m2 of buildings. A cluster of three buildings is located at the head of the shaft and will house the helium-refrigerator cold box (SD building, see images above), water-cooling and ventilation units (SU building) and also the main electrical distribution for high and low voltage (SE building). Completing the inventory at each point are two stand-alone buildings that will house the primary water-cooling towers (SF building) and the warm compressor station of the helium refrigerator (SHM building). Buildings housing noisy equipment (SU, SF, SHM) will be constructed with noise-insulating concrete walls and roofs. In terms of underground structures, the civil-engineering work consists of a shaft, a service cavern, galleries and vertical cores (see image above left). The total volume to be excavated is around 50,000 m3 per point. The PM shaft (measuring 9.7 m in diameter and 70–80 m deep) will house a secured access lift and staircase as well as the associated services. The service cavern (US/UW, measuring 16 m in diameter and 45 m long) will house cooling and ventilation units, a cryogenic box, an electrical safe room and electrical transformers. The UR gallery (5.8 m diameter, 300 m long) will house the power converters and electrical feed boxes for the superconducting magnets as well as cryogenic and service distribution. Two transverse UA galleries (6.2 m diameter, 50 m long) will house the RF equipment for the powering and controls of the superconducting crab cavities. At the end of the UA galleries, evacuation galleries (UPR) are required for personnel emergency exits. Two transversal UL galleries (3 m diameter, 40 m long) will house the superconducting links to power the magnets and cryogenic distribution system. Finally, the HL-LHC underground galleries are connected to the LHC tunnel via 16 vertical cores measuring 1 m in diameter and approximately 7 m long. The next important milestone will be the adjudication in March 2018 of the two contracts (one per point) for the civil-engineering construction work. In December 2016, CERN launched a market survey for the construction tender, which will be followed by invitations to tender to qualified firms by June 2017. The main excavation work, which may generate harmful vibrations for the LHC accelerator performance, must be performed during the second long shutdown of the LHC accelerator scheduled for 2019–2020. Handover of the final building is scheduled by the end of 2022, while the vertical cores connecting the HL-LHC galleries to the LHC tunnel will be constructed at the start of the third LHC long shutdown beginning in 2024. Realising the HL-LHC is a major challenge that involves more than 25 institutes from 12 countries, and in addition to civil-engineering work it demands several cutting-edge magnet and other accelerator technologies. The project is the highest priority in the European Strategy for Particle Physics, and will ensure a rich physics programme at the high-energy frontier into the 2030s.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Warming in the 21st century reduced Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet, about the amount of water used by 2 million people for one year, according to new research from the University of Arizona and Colorado State University. The research is the first to quantify the different effects of temperature and precipitation on recent Colorado River flow, said authors Bradley Udall of CSU and Jonathan Overpeck of the UA. "This paper is the first to show the large role that warming temperatures are playing in reducing the flows of the Colorado River," said Overpeck, UA Regents' Professor of Geosciences and of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences and director of the UA Institute of the Environment. From 2000-2014, the river's flows declined to only 81 percent of the 20th-century average, a reduction of about 2.9 million acre-feet of water per year. One acre-foot of water will serve a family of four for one year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. From one-sixth to one-half of the 21st-century reduction in flow can be attributed to the higher temperatures since 2000, report Udall and Overpeck. Their analysis shows as temperature continues to increase with climate change, Colorado River flows will continue to decline. Current climate change models indicate temperatures will increase as long as humans continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but the projections of future precipitation are far less certain. Forty million people rely on the Colorado River for water, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The river supplies water to seven U.S. Western states plus the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. Udall, a senior water and climate scientist/scholar at CSU's Colorado Water Institute, said, "The future of Colorado River is far less rosy than other recent assessments have portrayed. A clear message to water managers is that they need to plan for significantly lower river flows." The study's findings, he said, "provide a sobering look at future Colorado River flows." The Colorado River Basin has been in a drought since 2000. Previous research has shown the region's risk of a megadrought--one lasting more than 20 years--rises as temperatures increase. Overpeck said, "We're the first to make the case that warming alone could cause Colorado River flow declines of 30 percent by midcentury and over 50 percent by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated." The paper by Udall and Overpeck, "The 21st Century Colorado River Hot Drought and Implications for the Future," went online Feb. 17 in the American Geophysical Union journal Water Resources Research. The Colorado Water Institute, National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey funded the research. The team began its investigation because Udall learned that recent Colorado flows were lower than managers expected given the amount of precipitation. The two researchers wanted to provide water managers with insight into how future projections of temperature and precipitation for the Colorado River Basin would affect the river's flows. Udall and Overpeck began by looking at the drought years of 2000-2014. About 85 percent of the river's flow originates as precipitation in the Upper Basin--the part of the river that drains portions of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The team found during 2000-2014, temperatures in the river's Upper Basin were 1.6 degrees F (0.9 C) higher than the average for the previous 105 years. To see how increased temperatures might contribute to the reductions in the river's flow that have been observed since 2000, Udall and Overpeck reviewed and synthesized 25 years of research about how climate and climate change have and will affect the region and how temperature and precipitation affect the river's flows. Water loss increases as temperatures rise because plants use more water, and higher temperatures increase evaporative loss from the soil and from the water surface and lengthen the growing season. In previous research, Overpeck and other colleagues showed current climate models simulated 20th-century conditions well, but the models cannot simulate the 20- to 60-year megadroughts known to have occurred in the past. Moreover, many of those models did not reproduce the current drought. Those researchers and others suggest the risk of a multidecadal drought in the Southwest in the 21st century is much higher than climate models indicate and that as temperatures increase, the risk of such a drought increases. Udall said, "A megadrought in this century will throw all our operating rules out the window." Udall and Overpeck found all current climate models agree that temperatures in the Colorado River Basin will continue rising if the emission of greenhouse gases is not curbed. However, the models' predictions of future precipitation in the Basin have much more uncertainty. Overpeck said, "Even if the precipitation does increase, our work indicates that there are likely to be drought periods as long as several decades when precipitation will still fall below normal." The new study suggests Colorado River flows will continue to decline. Udall said, "I was surprised at the extent to which the uncertain precipitation aspects of the current projections hid the temperature-induced flow declines." The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation lumps temperature and precipitation together in its projections of Colorado River flow, he said. "Current planning understates the challenge that climate change poses to the water supplies in the American Southwest," Udall said. "My goal is to help water managers incorporate this information into their long-term planning efforts."


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Inspired by the hair of blue tarantulas, researchers from The University of Akron lead a team that made a structural-colored material that shows consistent color from all viewing directions. This finding overturns the conventional wisdom that long-range order photonic structures are always iridescent, opening new potential to mass produce structural colors because highly ordered designs are easy to scale-up and manufacture. Bor-Kai (Bill) Hsiung and his colleagues at UA, Ghent University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published their research, which is featured on the cover of the January 2017 journal of Advanced Optical Materials. "Structural colors are more vibrant and durable than the pigments used in most human-made products," explained Hsiung, the lead author of this research and a Biomimicry Fellow in the Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. program at The University of Akron. "They are produced by optical effects when light interacts with nanostructures that are about the same size as the wavelength of light." Think of a peacock, or a butterfly. The problem is that most structural colors are strongly iridescent, changing color when viewed from different angles. It's beautiful out in nature, but not very functional when we're watching television and we move to a new seat." The team first discovered that many vibrant blue tarantulas do not show iridescence even though the spiders use nanostructures to produce those colors. Since the spider's blue color is not iridescent, Hsiung's team suggested that the same process could be applied to make pigment replacements that never fade, as well as to help reduce glare on wide-angle viewing systems in phones, televisions and other devices. As they dug deeper, they found that the hairs of some species of blue tarantulas show a special flower-like shape that they hypothesized reduced the iridescent effect resulting from periodic structures. Then, thanks to the crowdfunding push they received earlier, they were able to test this hypothesis using a series of computer simulations and physical prototypes built using cutting-edge nano-3D printing technology. Their color produced by the 3D printed structures has a viewing angle of 160 degrees, the largest viewing angle of any synthetic structural colors demonstrated. "These structural colorants could be used as pigment replacements - many of which are toxic - in materials such as plastics, metal, textiles and paper, and for producing color for wide-angle viewing systems such as phones and televisions," Hsiung said.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Bumble bees tagged with microchips are offering insights into the daily lives of a colony. While most bees are generalists collecting both pollen and nectar over the course of their lifetime, individual workers tend to specialize on one of the two during any given day, dedicating more than 90 percent of their foraging sorties to either pollen or nectar. The observations also reveal that individual bumble bee workers differ vastly in terms of foraging activity. Just like honey bees, bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) play important roles as pollinators, helping with agriculture and fruit production. But despite the ecological services they provide, many aspects of their biology still remain a mystery. By outfitting each bumble bee with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag—similar to the sensors that protect merchandise from shoplifters—researchers were able to keep tabs on them at all times and log the data automatically instead of relying on human observations limited to certain times. “The way these studies have typically been done requires a human observer sitting in front of a hive entrance and taking notes all day, and nobody wants to do that,” says Avery Russell, a doctoral student in entomology and insects in the lab of Daniel Papaj, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. “With the RFID chips, we can track every nectar and pollen collection trip made over each worker’s lifespan and a portion of the colony’s lifespan.” Researchers then used the data to determine how patterns of specialization on each food type differed at timescales of a day or over a lifetime. Once a bumble bee queen has mated, she burrows into the ground and overwinters. The following spring, she emerges and starts a hive that lasts until the fall. A typical bumble bee colony grows to about 75 workers, with about 40 to 50 going out and foraging on flowers for nectar and pollen. After the colony’s growth phase, the colony produces unfertilized eggs that hatch into males. The male bumble bees then disperse in search for other unmated queens to begin the cycle anew. “Each individual bee only lives between two weeks to a month at the most,” says Russell, lead author of the study that is published in the journal Scientific Reports. “And even though they behave as generalists over their lifetime, our study showed that they tend to specialize on one food source over the course of a foraging day.” The researchers were surprised to find a big difference in efficiency, with the most active foragers making 40 times the number of trips each day as the least active workers. “Interestingly, when we studied the morphology between very active foragers and workers that barely leave the hive, we found that bees with more sensitive antennae foraged more,” Russell says. Similar variation has been in observed in honey bees and other eusocial species, where some workers are much more active than others, but no one had seen it to this extreme due to the limits of human observations. “If you watch a bee only for an hour or so, you can’t say what it will do over the course of a few days or over its whole life,” Russell says. “We don’t yet know why, but it could be that workers that forage less do so because they aren’t quite as skilled at foraging as others and make themselves useful by doing more around the hive.” To track the bees’ behavior, the team superglued tiny RFID tags to the backs of the bees. Each tag weighs only 2 to 3 percent of the bee’s weight. A Y-tube connects the hive to two arenas, one that offers pollen and one that offers nectar. When a bee leaves the hive to forage, it can choose to go to the pollen chamber or the nectar chamber. Two RFID readers mounted at the entrance keep track of the bees going in and out and help the researchers collect a wealth of data. “This setup gives us information about directionality,” Russell explains. “Is the forager leaving or returning from foraging? We also get an idea of whether a bee goes from one chamber to the other, or whether it makes repeated trips to only one chamber, and we get to know how long the trips were.” Since the team was especially interested in the sequence of the foraging trips over the course of the day, some heavy lifting was needed to make sense of all the data, so Russell enlisted the help of Sarah Morrison, a doctoral student in the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who studies orbital dynamics and the evolution of solar systems. “Each RFID reader only spits out timestamps and the identity of the bee, so if you want to know what the bees are doing, you need to parse all that information and turn it into things we can understand,” Russell says. “For example, how many trips a forager makes per day.” While honey bees are known to be very consistent and tend to stick to one species of plant and often one type of reward over a day, a phenomenon known as floral consistency, bumble bees were thought to be more generalist. So researchers were somewhat surprised to find the bees tend to make strings of foraging runs for the same reward on a given day. “One possible explanation is that foraging for pollen versus nectar requires very different behavioral regimes, so it makes sense for them to focus on one at a time,” he says. “Also, in many cases pollen and nectar are not both available from the same plant species.” Researchers still don’t know why bees switch between foraging for nectar or pollen. “It is possible they take cues from the brood,” Russell says, “in that they produce pheromones that say ‘we need more of this or more of that.'” Bumble bees that specialize in a task, either over the course of their lifetime or over the course of a foraging day, turned out to be no more active than their generalist peers, however. Neither were they found to be larger, more able foragers—raising the question as to why they specialize in the first place. “One of the reasons bees might specialize could be some sort of memory constraint,” Russell says. “Rather than having to switch back and forth between dealing with many different floral designs and constructions, it might be more efficient to just stick with one for the duration of a foraging day.” As for the more domestic individuals that were found to forage far less than their more adventurous colleagues, Russell says that this might reflect economics of skill allocation. “Those that are less good at foraging probably shouldn’t go foraging in the first place,” he explains, “as that requires a lot of learning how to recognize a flower and how to collect the nectar. Foragers hone their skills over dozens, if not hundreds, of visits until they figure out how to efficiently pry open the lips of a snapdragon flower, for example. Plus, they have to use visual and olfactory cues to learn which are the rewarding and the non-rewarding flowers.”


News Article | February 18, 2017
Site: phys.org

Just like their domesticated cousins, the honey bees, bumblebees play important roles as pollinators, thus helping in agriculture and fruit production. But despite the ecological services they provide, many aspects of their biology still remain a mystery. By outfitting each bumblebee with a radio frequency identification, or RFID, tag—similar to the ones used to protect merchandise from shoplifters—the researchers were able to keep tabs on them at all times and log the data automatically instead of relying on human observations limited to certain times. "The way these studies have typically been done requires a human observer sitting in front of a hive entrance and taking notes all day, and nobody wants to do that," says Avery Russell, the lead author of the study. Russell is a doctoral student in entomology and insect in the lab of Daniel Papaj, a professor in the University of Arizona's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "With the RFID chips, we can track every nectar and pollen collection trip made over each worker's lifespan and a portion of the colony's lifespan." The researchers then used this data to determine how patterns of specialization on each food type differed at timescales of a day or over a lifetime. The results are published in the journal Scientific Reports. Once a bumblebee queen has mated, she burrows into the ground and overwinters. The following spring, she emerges and starts a hive that lasts until the fall. A typical bumblebee colony grows to about 75 workers, with about 40 to 50 going out and foraging on flowers for nectar and pollen. After the colony's growth phase, the colony produces unfertilized eggs that hatch into males. The male bumblebees then disperse in search for other unmated queens to begin the cycle anew. "Each individual bee only lives between two weeks to a month at the most," Russell says, "and even though they behave as generalists over their lifetime, our study showed that they tend to specialize on one food source over the course of a foraging day." The researchers were surprised to find a vast difference in efficiency, with the most active foragers making 40 times the number of trips each day as the least active workers. "Interestingly, when we studied the morphology between very active foragers and workers that barely leave the hive, we found that bees with more sensitive antennae foraged more," Russell said. Similar variation has been in observed in honey bees and other eusocial species, where some workers are much more active than others, but no one had seen it to this extreme due to the limits of human observations. "If you watch a bee only for an hour or so, you can't say what it will do over the course of a few days or over its whole life," Russell says. "We don't yet know why, but it could be that workers that forage less do so because they aren't quite as skilled at foraging as others and make themselves useful by doing more around the hive." To track the bees' behavior, the team superglues tiny RFID tags to the backs of the bees. Each tag weighs only 2 to 3 percent of the bee's weight. A Y-tube connects the hive to two arenas, one that offers pollen and one that offers nectar. When a bee leaves the hive to forage, it can choose to go to the pollen chamber or the nectar chamber. Two RFID readers mounted at the entrance keep track of the bees going in and out and help the researchers collect a wealth of data. "This setup gives us information about directionality," Russell explains. "Is the forager leaving or returning from foraging? We also get an idea of whether a bee goes from one chamber to the other, or whether it makes repeated trips to only one chamber, and we get to know how long the trips were." Since the team was especially interested in the sequence of the foraging trips over the course of the day, some heavy lifting was needed to make sense of all the data. To do this, Russell enlisted the help of Sarah Morrison, a doctoral student in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who studies orbital dynamics and the evolution of solar systems. "Each RFID reader only spits out timestamps and the identity of the bee, so if you want to know what the bees are doing, you need to parse all that information and turn it into things we can understand," Russell says. "For example, how many trips a forager makes per day." While honey bees are known to be very consistent and tend to stick to one species of plant and often one type of reward over a day, a phenomenon known as floral consistency, bumblebees were thought to be more generalist. The present study came somewhat as a surprise in that Russell's team found the bees tend to make strings of foraging runs for the same reward on a given day. "One possible explanation is that foraging for pollen versus nectar requires very different behavioral regimes, so it makes sense for them to focus on one at a time," he says. "Also, in many cases pollen and nectar are not both available from the same plant species." Researchers still don't know why bees switch between foraging for nectar or pollen. "It is possible they take cues from the brood," Russell says, "in that they produce pheromones that say 'we need more of this or more of that.'" Bumblebees that specialize in a task, either over the course of their lifetime or over the course of a foraging day, turned out to be no more active than their generalist peers, however. Neither were they found to be larger, more able foragers—raising the question as to why they specialize in the first place. "One of the reasons bees might specialize could be some sort of memory constraint," Russell says. "Rather than having to switch back and forth between dealing with many different floral designs and constructions, it might be more efficient to just stick with one for the duration of a foraging day." As for the more domestic individuals that were found to forage far less than their more adventurous colleagues, Russell says that this might reflect economics of skill allocation. "Those that are less good at foraging probably shouldn't go foraging in the first place," he explains, "as that requires a lot of learning how to recognize a flower and how to collect the nectar. Foragers hone their skills over dozens, if not hundreds, of visits until they figure out how to efficiently pry open the lips of a snapdragon flower, for example. Plus, they have to use visual and olfactory cues to learn which are the rewarding and the non-rewarding flowers." Explore further: Bees able to spot which flowers offer best rewards before landing More information: Avery L. Russell et al, Patterns of pollen and nectar foraging specialization by bumblebees over multiple timescales using RFID, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep42448


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Naptime is important to infants in sustaining new learning. New research suggests that naps could have the same beneficial role in language learning of preschool children. The study, carried out at the University of Arizona, was published in the journal Child Development, and researched verb learning of three-year-old children. The paper indicates that children who took naps scored better in understanding the words 24 hours later, compared to their counterparts who skipped naptime. According to the findings of the current study, parents should reconsider when allowing their preschool children to skip naps, although regular naptimes tend to decline among preschoolers compared to infants. As part of the research, 39 children aged three were divided into two separate groups: one group consisted of children (called habitual nappers) who nap for at least four days every week and the other (called non-habitual nappers) who nap three or fewer days every week. The children had a normal development and were randomly assigned to either nap or not for at least a half an hour after learning a new verb. The children were taught two fictional verbs, each of which was presented with a video where actors would depict the supposed meaning of the words. One day after this learning exercise, both groups were shown videos of two other actors doing the same actions, each associated to one of the two made-up verbs. The children were then asked to assign a verb to an actor, as they had been taught one day before. The group who did not nap had remained awake for at least five hours after the verb learning exercise. Both habitual and non-habitual nappers were part of this group. As a result of this experiment, the kids who took a nap within an hour of learning the words performed better in associating the videos with the correct made-up verb, compared to their counterparts who skipped napping. The reason why researchers used different actors in each of the videos is that the completion of the learning process involves a part called generalization. Generalization allows the children to recognize the new verbs even when the actors performing them or the contexts have changed. This way, the researchers made sure that it was the verbs that the children recognized and not another contextual element. "We're interested in generalization because that's the target for word learning. You have to be able to generalize words to be able to use them productively in language," noted Michelle Sandoval, study author and UA alumna. Additional research has shown that children whose parents read to them have stronger language-processing areas of the brain. The study pointed out that reading to children causes an increased level of activity in the developing brain, associated with verbal, reading and imaging skills, which could give the kids an early cognitive advantage. "We are excited to show, for the first time, that reading exposure during the critical stage of development prior to kindergarten seems to have a meaningful, measurable impact on how a child's brain processes stories and may help predict reading success," noted Dr. John Hutton of Cincinnati Children's Hospital, lead author of that research. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Most dog owners will tell you they consider their beloved pets to be members of their families. Now new research suggests that dogs may be even more like us than previously thought. Evan MacLean, director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona, found that dogs and 2-year-old children show similar patterns in social intelligence, much more so than human children and one of their closest relatives: chimpanzees. The findings, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, could help scientists better understand how humans evolved socially. MacLean and his colleagues looked at how 2-year-olds, dogs and chimpanzees performed on comparable batteries of tests designed to measure various types of cognition. While chimps performed well on tests involving their physical environment and spatial reasoning, they did not do as well when it came to tests of cooperative communication skills, such as the ability to follow a pointing finger or human gaze. Dogs and children similarly outperformed chimps on cooperative communication tasks, and researchers observed similar patterns of variation in performance between individual dogs and between individual children. A growing body of research in the last decade has looked at what makes human psychology special, and scientists have said that the basic social communication skills that begin to develop around 9 months are what first seem to set humans apart from other species, said MacLean, assistant professor in the School of Anthropology in the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "There's been a lot of research showing that you don't really find those same social skills in chimpanzees, but you do find them in dogs, so that suggested something superficially similar between dogs and kids," MacLean said. "The bigger, deeper question we wanted to explore is if that really is a superficial similarity or if there is a distinct kind of social intelligence that we see in both species. "What we found is that there's this pattern, where dogs who are good at one of these social things tend to be good at lots of the related social things, and that's the same thing you find in kids, but you don't find it in chimpanzees," he said. One explanation for the similarities between dogs and humans is that the two species may have evolved under similar pressures that favored "survival of the friendliest," with benefits and rewards for more cooperative social behavior. "Our working hypothesis is that dogs and humans probably evolved some of these skills as a result of similar evolutionary processes, so probably some things that happened in human evolution were very similar to processes that happened in dog domestication," MacLean said. "So, potentially, by studying dogs and domestication we can learn something about human evolution." The research could even have the potential to help researchers better understand human disabilities, such as autism, that may involve deficits in social skills, MacLean said. Looking to dogs for help in understanding human evolution is a relatively new idea, since scientists most often turn to close human relatives such as chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas for answers to evolutionary questions. Yet, it seems man's best friend may offer an important, if limited, piece of the puzzle. "There are different kinds of intelligence, and the kind of intelligence that we think is very important to humans is social in nature, and that's the kind of intelligence that dogs have to an incredible extent," MacLean said. "But there are other aspects of cognition, like the way we reason about physical problems, where dogs are totally dissimilar to us. So we would never make the argument that dogs in general are a better model for the human mind -- it's really just this special set of social skills." MacLean and his collaborators studied 552 dogs, including pet dogs, assistance-dogs-in-training and military explosive detection dogs, representing a variety of different breeds. The researchers assessed social cognition through game-based tests, in which they hid treats and toys and then communicated the hiding places through nonverbal cues such as pointing or looking in a certain direction. They compared the dogs' results to data on 105 2-year-old children who previously completed a similar cognitive test battery and 106 chimpanzees assessed at wildlife sanctuaries in Africa.

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