Symbiosis between fungi and microalgae gives rise to lichen. Some lichen, however, such as Lobaria scrobiculata, have a unique feature: the fungus establishes a symbiosis with a cyanobacteria, thus requiring water in liquid form to activate photosynthesis. According to a new study, this forces the lichen to concentrate its resources on reproduction in places where water is scarce. For the first time, this study demonstrates the theory of life strategies in fungi.
Frying pans, pizza boxes, clothes and textiles are just some of the products which contain perfluoroalkyl compounds, used for their chemical stability and resistance. Their exposure through air, house dust, drinking water and even food, makes them a serious risk for human health. Now a group of scientists reveals the first exposure map of these substances among the Spanish population.
Inside the crater of a volcano on Graciosa Island in the Azores archipelago, in the Atlantic Ocean, an international team of researchers has discovered the bones of a new extinct species of songbird, a bullfinch which they have named Pyrrhula crassa. The remains were found in a small cavity through which time ago the lava flowed. This bird disappeared a few hundreds of years ago due to human colonization of the islands and the introduction of invasive species.
The Iberian Peninsula is undergoing climate change, with temperatures on the rise, and mountain ranges are not exempt from this trend. A team of scientists has analysed regional climate series from the Central Pyrenees for 1910 to 2013 (the most extensive climate records to date for the area), concluding that temperatures have risen at an increasing rate since 1970, particularly in spring and summer.
Most bird chicks need parental care to survive. In biparental species the chicks have greater chances of success if both parents participate in this task, especially under hostile situations. An international team of scientists has revealed that when temperatures rise, males and females in pairs of plovers shift incubation more frequently.
Surprisingly, there are still plant species waiting to be discovered in the Iberian Peninsula. Some are detected thanks to the latest study methods, and others, such as Linaria becerrae, are described when reinterpreting species which are already known. This new plant had been classified by mistake for 176 years in Málaga.
Sixteen million years ago, the reptile Diplocynodon ratelii lived in wooded ecosystems among the lakes and pools of what we know today as Catalonia (Spain). Fossils found at the Els Casots site in the Vallès-Penedès Basin confirm not only that these are the most recent remains of the genus in the Iberian Peninsula, but also that temperatures at the time were higher than today’s.
In the most arid areas where there is little to no water, there live nematodes of no more than 1 mm which feed on bacteria and help to mineralise soil and produce nutrients. In an orchard of Jaén a new species has appeared with a feature that makes them unique on the Iberian Peninsula: the males lack the copulatory organ.
Last week's attacks in Paris, committed in the name of a god, reopen a badly-healed scar in Europe. The world once again turns towards religious fundamentalism. A new study shows that hostility towards other out-groups is not an isolated phenomenon among Muslims living in Europe; but nor is it a synonym of violence. According to the author of the study, Ruud Koopmans, director of the WZB Berlín Social Science Centre (Germany), “Islam is not the problem”.