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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Oak Trees Listen to the Weather
22 February 2013 1:30 pm
Trees that produce huge fruit crops one year and none the next can also show spot-on timing, even when far apart: Among valley oaks (shown here) and blue oaks, individual trees separated by hundreds of kilometers often have simultaneous acorn booms and busts. But what kicks off this synchronized acorn extravaganza? To find out whether environmental conditions or wind-borne pollen are key, researchers made annual acorn-counting pilgrimages to 12 sites ringing California's Central Valley. They matched acorn tallies with temperature and rainfall records. In the current issue of Ecology, they found both species of oaks bearing bumper acorn crops in the same week or two during boom years, even when trees were more than 600 kilometers apart. That's too far for pollen to travel reliably. Instead, the researchers found, when it comes to oaks matching their acorn output, weather during springtime flowering seemed to be key.
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