Plants can detect insect attacks by ‘sniffing’ each other’s aromas

Caterpillar saliva causes maize to release a fragrant chemical that prepares other parts of the plant for attack. Image credit - Pxhere, licensed under CC0

Fragrant aromas from plants can actually be a response to attacks by insects, and can alert neighbours to an attack or summon the insects’ predators. Now, scientists are deciphering these secret codes to develop better, greener chemicals to defend crops against herbivorous insects. Plants have nowhere to run from their enemies – flying, crawling and … Read more

Fish farmers seek new weapons to fight thriving parasites

The number of fish parasites is rising with climate change and as fish farming becomes more common, say researchers. Image credit - Flickr/Artur Rydzewski, licensed under CC BY 2.0

by Alex Whiting Salmon farmers battling large numbers of parasites that flourish on fish farms are seeking – and finding – new ways to cut their losses and protect marine wildlife. About 20% of farmed salmon in Norway die as a result of parasites, according to Seafarm Development, a company developing technologies for fish farms, and researchers … Read more

The carbon cost of home delivery and how to avoid it

Delivering online purchases to people’s homes and offices is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions. Image credit -Piqsels, licenced under CC0 1.0

by Caleb Davies Delivering online shopping to people’s homes is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly when deliveries fail and the journey needs to be repeated. Researchers are now re-thinking home deliveries to see if there is a better way of doing things, with ideas including robot couriers, jointly owned parcel lockers and … Read more

Understanding different brown bear personalities may help reduce clashes with people

Brown bears show individuality in the distance they travel each day, their preference for daytime or night-time movement and other behaviours, according to research. Image credit - Rufus46, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The brown bear is one of Europe’s five large carnivores and can sometimes cross paths with people, with potentially fatal consequences. But bears have different personalities and behaviours, say researchers, and understanding this is the key to reducing conflict and protecting both them and humans. Brown bears once thrived in woodlands throughout Europe, but human … Read more