Plants & Animals

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Weekly News Bites
11 Mar 2022
Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are giant, extinct crocodiles, insect-inspired microbots, and ageing of our internal organs.
Frog: Occidozyga baluensis
11 Mar 2022
A study on puddle frogs suggests underestimated biodiversity in Southeast Asia.
Three of the fish species selected for this study: Aluterus scriptus (left), Siganus fuscescens (center) and Amphiprion frenatus (right). (Photos courtesy of Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan).
10 Mar 2022
Scientists have developed a model that predicts six tropical fish species will expand into northern parts of Japan as sea temperatures rise.
10 Mar 2022
Giants in History: Roseli Ocampo-Friedmann (23 November 1937 – 4 September 2005) was a Filipino-American scientist whose research focused on cyanobacteria and microorganisms that inhabit extreme environments.
Peppercorns
09 Mar 2022
Researchers in Malaysia are using the chemistry of natural products for sustainable health and energy solutions.
Blooming flower
09 Mar 2022
Scientists from Hokkaido University and colleagues have identified a pathway that accelerates plant flowering in low-nitrogen soils — a finding that could help enhance agricultural production.
Testing liquid flow
24 Feb 2022
A surprising tree-inspired discovery is helping scientists design surfaces that encourage different liquids to move in varying directions.
24 Feb 2022
Whale and dolphin post-mortem imaging could breathe new life into marine conservation.
Woodpecker
22 Feb 2022
Inspired by the woodpecker’s ability to strike trees with its beak rapidly and repeatedly without injury, engineers in Malaysia have used computer simulations to find ways to improve the design of composite beams used in impact-prone structures.
21 Feb 2022
Diarrhea is common in calves and causes enormous financial losses to the livestock industry worldwide. Antibiotics are often used to treat this, but it causes harmful side effects. A research group addressed this problem by exploring an alternative method. Feces from healthy donors were analysed before being transplanted into calves suffering from diarrhea in a process called fecal microbiota transplantation.
17 Feb 2022
An international team of researchers respond to criticisms on previous work that demonstrated Mirror Self-Recognition (MSR) in the cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus, by 1) successfully repeating the mark test with a larger sample size, 2) showing the MSR behaviour to be the visual result of the mark not a physical response to it, and 3) showing that MSR-trained fish do not show aggression to spatially varied mirror images of themselves. Additionally, they further demonstrate potential self-awareness in L. dimidiatus by showing that they do not demonstrate MSR behaviour when visually presented with the mark on other fish and solidify the importance of ecologically relevant marks presented in previous work by showing MSR behaviour of L. dimidiatus with brown marks, meant to resemble a main food source of the fish, as opposed to no such behaviour in fish with green or blue marks.
Head regeneration of the hemichordates, Ptychodera flava
15 Feb 2022
Better understanding of regeneration in hemichordates may eventually lead to advances in reparative medicine
Rice flower and ovule
04 Feb 2022
Rice has long been a staple food for more than half the global population. The United Nations even declared 2004 the International Year of Rice to raise awareness and encourage action to protect and advance the crop for a rapidly growing population. The genetic guidance rice uses to grow and reproduce, however, is still not fully understood. Now, a research team based in Japan is learning more, including how critical one gene is for the plant to develop grains of rice, which serve as both seeds and food.
03 Feb 2022
Giants in History: Rapee Sagarik (4 December 1922 – 17 February 2018) was Thailand’s renowned expert on orchids. Sagarik dedicated his career to the research of native orchids in Thailand.
Photo of the entire amber-encased fossil specimen of Huablattula hui, a cretaceous cockroach (Ryo Taniguchi, et al. The Science of Nature. September 28, 2021).
25 Jan 2022
Studying the sensory organs of a 100-million-year-old cockroach offers new insights into how the species may have lived.
24 Jan 2022
Researchers from Hokkaido University have proposed a framework to assist in the demarcation between genetically modified organisms and genome-edited organisms, taking into account both scientific and socio-ethical considerations.
The experimental system used in the research. Water is pumped from the main Horonai stream, through 48 artificial stream chambers, and then flows back out to the the main stream (Photo: Samuel Ross).
12 Jan 2022
Predator species may buffer the negative impacts of climate change by mitigating against the loss of biodiversity, according to new research led by scientists in Trinity College Dublin and joined by scientists at Hokkaido University
Figure 1. Mass Imaging.
06 Jan 2022
Enzymatic hydrolysis of planteose: α-Galactosidase is a promising molecular target for root parasitic weed control
17 Dec 2021
The discovery of the first millipede with more than 1,000 legs is reported in Scientific Reports this week. Prior to this, no millipede had been found with more than 750 legs.
A Batman River loach,
10 Dec 2021
The critically endangered Batman River loach is the first of Shoal and Re:wild's Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Fishes to be rediscovered
23 Nov 2021
A joint research team at the Division of Biotechnology, DGIST, confirmed that microplastics(MPs) ingested orally accumulate in the brain and act as neurotoxic substances.
A male brown bear observed in the Rusha area on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido, in 2018. Photo taken by Yuri Shirane.
18 Nov 2021
Surveys have revealed an upward trend in the number of brown bears over the past three decades in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. Researchers at Hokkaido University have been investigating the causes and implications of the increase.
Asia research News - Editor's Choice
05 Nov 2021
Quick seawater test may reveal health of corals, Infectious disease caused by a new nairovirus, Converting CO2 into useful compounds and Automated COVID-19 diagnosis from chest scans all in the November Editor's Choice. Plus our latest podcast: Gender and Conflict in Myanmar.
Mukawa estuary, Hokkaido, one of the 22 estuaries sampled for the study (Photo: Akihide Kasai).
04 Nov 2021
The diversity of threatened fish in estuaries increases when surrounded by forest cover, whereas estuaries surrounded by farmland show the opposite effect.
27 Oct 2021
Giants in History: Maqsudul Alam (14 December 1954 – 20 December 2014) was a biologist from Bangladesh who is renowned for his research on genome sequencing.
Some of the recorded carnivore species
20 Oct 2021
Just as humans may leave their home five minutes early to avoid a talkative neighbor or depart work late to avoid a rude coworker, carnivorous mammals may go out of their way to avoid other species. But they’re not trying to navigate awkward social interactions; rather, they are negotiating space and resources for survival.
Figure 1. Total soluble solids (TSS) (A), cell turgor (B), osmotic pressure determined by the vapor pressure method (C), vapor pressure method-based calculated water potential (D), osmotic pressure determined by the freezing point method (E) and freezing point method-based calculated water potential (F) in each tissue in the watercored apple fruit.
23 Sep 2021
Single cell analyses reveal hidden turgor-associated metabolic changes and water flow across the flesh in watercored apples
Võ Quý, a hero of the environment
20 Sep 2021
Võ Quý (31 December 1929 – 10 January 2017) was a Vietnamese ornithologist who studied the destruction of tropical forests and agricultural lands in Vietnam by Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
15 Sep 2021
Using the lamprey, researchers from Japan analyzed the photosensory mechanism of the pineal organ, also called the pineal gland, in non-mammalian vertebrates and discovered a novel mechanism of pineal color discrimination (two-cell system) in which two types of photoreceptor cells, each containing two different opsins, are used to detect color. This discovery may provide insight into the evolution of color detection in other animals, including color vision in humans.
Shouta M. M. Nakayama (yellow hoodie), Haruya Toyomaki (black polo shirt) and Yared Beyene (blue jacket), along with dogs sampled in the study and the family that owns them (Photo: Shouta M. M. Nakayama).
13 Sep 2021
Abnormally high levels of DNA methylation have been identified in dogs exposed to high levels of lead near a mining area in Kabwe, Zambia, by a team of scientists from Japan and Zambia.

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