The findings could help farmers and landowners plant crops, flowers, shrubs, bushes and wildflowers that will produce nectar over a wider expanse of time when pollinators depend on them. | File photo

Pollinators need more timely nectar sources

A study from Great Britain could help farmers plant species that produce nectar over a longer period of time

Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom have for the first time measured farmland nectar supplies throughout the entire year and have been able to highlight when a lack of food fails to meet a pollinator’s demand. The findings could help farmers and landowners plant crops, flowers, shrubs, bushes and wildflowers that […] Read more

Wild pigs are captured with a net gun to fit them with GSP collars.  |  University of Saskatchewan/Ryan Brook photo

Wild pigs called ‘ecological train wrecks’

A University of Saskatchewan study finds that the species is expanding its range by nine percent a year in Canada

The first-ever comprehensive mapping study of wild pig distribution in Canada has been undertaken by researchers in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. The survey showed that the invasive species is expanding its range by nine percent a year and has spread out to cover more than 777,783 sq. kilometres. […] Read more

Gloria Coruzzi of New York University’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology studies gene regulatory networks controlling nitrogen use efficiency and root nutrient uptake.  |  New York University photo

Rice gene response to water and nutrients discovered

Researchers at New York University have discovered how each gene in the rice genome senses and responds to combinations of water and nutrients. The finding could lead to ways to engineer rice crops to grow in various soils that now may be marginal, too dry, or lack the necessary nutrients to sustain rice growth. Rice […] Read more

Paul Abram, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada, checks a lab colony of native stink bugs.  |  Agriculture Canada/Denis Lauzer photo

Samurai wasp may be helpful invasive species

In 2018, researchers at Agriculture Canada’s Agassiz Research and Development Centre discovered the presence of the samurai wasp for the first time in Canada. But the arrival of this invasive Asian insect might not be a bad thing. The tiny wasp lays its eggs inside the eggs of another invasive species from Asia, the destructive […] Read more

Honeybee colonies play a crucial role in work done at the University of Guelph’s Honey Bee Research Centre.  |  University of Guelph/Nuria Morfin-Ramirez photo

Neonics hinder bees’ grooming ability: study

University of Guelph researchers find that insecticide affects honeybees’ ability to rid themselves of deadly varoa mites

A University of Guelph study is the first to discover the serious impact of the neonicotinoid insecticide called clothianidin on a honeybee’s ability to groom and rid itself of deadly varroa mites. Neonicotinoids are the most commonly used insecticides in Canada. They are sprayed in fruit and vegetable production, which are resources bees frequently use […] Read more

Small hive beetles can pose a serious threat to honeybees.  |   Humberto Boncristiani photo

Researchers crack small hive beetle genome

The breakthrough should help scientists develop targeted control methods and more efficient insecticidal treatments

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have deciphered the genome of a serious threat to honeybees. Small hive beetles are five to seven millimetres long, oval and dark-brown or black in colour with distinct club-shaped antennae. They eat everything in a bee colony, including pollen, brood, honey, combs, and dead adult […] Read more

Protein regulation helps plants fight disease

Researchers discover how a protein is regulated between a plant’s healthy state and one in which it is under threat

At the University of California, Riverside, a research team has discovered a regulatory, genetic mechanism that helps plants fight bacterial infections. Microbial pathogens can cause detrimental or even deadly human, animal and plant diseases and can lead to severe losses in crop yields. Understanding not only the pathogen impact but the immune responses of plants […] Read more

Producers grow wheat, rice, corn and soybeans on more than 50 percent of the world’s agricultural land. | File photo

Study outlines dangers of monoculture reliance

Producers grow wheat, rice, corn and soybeans on more than 50 percent of the world’s agricultural land

Human-caused changes in Earth’s biodiversity are well documented but a recent international study led by the University of Toronto looked at the impact of crops grown globally across 22 subcontinental-scale regions between 1961 and 2014. The study suggested that not only are the same kinds of crops being grown but that they present major challenges […] Read more

Luke Dunning, a postdoctoral research associate with the University of Sheffield’s animal and plant sciences department, collects grasses in Tanzania.  |   University of Sheffield photo

Grasses steal genes from their neighbours

British researchers discover that grasses can use a process called lateral gene transfer to shortcut their evolution

Scientists at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom have discovered that grasses can shortcut their evolution by taking genes from their neighbours in a system called lateral gene transfer. The researchers were studying the photosynthesis of grasses, the chemical process by which plants make their food from carbon dioxide and water in the […] Read more

Sandra Cortijo of Cambridge University helped put together the open-access atlas documenting the levels of noise in gene expression measured in plants. | Cambridge University photo

Noisy twin plants now have their own atlas

Compiling the range of gene expression in plants may help study how plants cope with variable environmental conditions

Parents of identical twins will often tell you that, even though their twins are genetically the same and obviously raised under the same conditions, they still have varying behaviours. The same holds true for twin plants. Plants that are genetically identical and grown in the same soil under the same environmental conditions can also have […] Read more