In an important new study forthcoming from The American Naturalist, biologists from the University of Oxford tracked a colony of mute swans for more than two decades to explore a longstanding evolutionary question: whether the number of eggs laid by a female bird – known as "clutch size" – changes in accordance with natural selection.
"Extensive debate in the literature…was first focused on the question: Why does a populations average clutch size differ from the most productive clutch size?" said researcher Ann Charmantier. "Gradually the debate switched to an evolutionary point of view with a second, related question: Why is clutch size not evolving despite significant heritability and directional selection?"
Many long-term studies of avian clutch size have looked for--but not seen-- an increase in the number of eggs laid. However, this 25-year study of the selection, inheritance, and evolution in the mute swan population of Abbotsbury, England, yielded data on clutch size consistent with the direction predicted by evolutionary theory.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Extraordinary regeneration of neurons in zebrafish
13.07.2020 | Universität Bayreuth
Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images
13.07.2020 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".
Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...
New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices
Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...
Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class
In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
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