Weekly News Bites: Mice and centennial seed dispersal, a new isle, and something worse than microplastics

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are how mice help disperse seeds of a centennial blooming plant, a new isle created by recent volcanic activity, and how organisms breaking up microplastics is not always a good thing.

When there are lots of seeds available to eat (e.g. during a once-in-a-century sasa bamboo seeding) mice act differently depending on their size and species according to Nagoya University researchers. Bigger mice tend to eat the seeds straight away if in a safe environment while smaller ones store them for later. These different activities help seed dispersal and forest regeneration.

New fish parasites have been discovered off of the Indian coast by Hiroshima University, the University of Kerala and Nagasaki University. The discovery of these parasitic crustaceans can help illuminate our knowledge of deep-sea biodiversity.

An increase in urban greenspaces could lead to a decrease in suicide rates says research by National Cheng Kung University. The researchers compared data from Taiwan’s townships and saw that communities who had access to green space over the long term had a decrease in suicide risk.

Chronic rhinosinusitis can cause a blocked or runny nose, facial pain or losing the sense of smell, and can last more than 12 weeks. Friendly bacteria in our nose, especially F. nucleatum, can help protect against developing some forms of this condition says University of Fukui and the University of Tsukuba. Knowing this can help influence treatment and probiotic prevention strategies.

An underwater volcano has created a new isle off the coast of Japan, near the island of Iwo Jima. An eruption on 30 October has caused enough magma to pile up that it has broken the surface of the water. University of Tokyo researchers say that if the volcanic activity continues the new isle might merge with Iwo Jima.

Plankton that eat microplastics may sound like a good thing, but the little creatures may just be breaking up particles into smaller and potentially more dangerous nanoplastics. Ocean University of China and University of Massachusetts scientists say the animals think the small plastic particles might be algae and so eat them. The resulting nanoplastics can be more reactive thus toxic to living things.