Plants reveal decision-making abilities under competition

Biologists have demonstrated that plants can choose between alternative competitive responses according to the stature and densities of their opponents. A new study by researchers reveals that plants can evaluate the competitive ability of their neighbors and optimally match their responses to them.

Animals facing competition have been shown to optimally choose between different behaviors, including confrontation, avoidance and tolerance, depending on the competitive ability of their opponents relative to their own. For example, if their competitors are bigger or stronger, animals are expected to "give up the fight" and choose avoidance or tolerance over confrontation, according to Science Daily.

Bees use invisible heat patterns to choose flowers

A new study, has found that a wide range of flowers produce not just signals that we can see and smell, but also ones that are invisible such as heat, according to Science Daily.

In the hidden world of flower-pollinator interactions, heat can act not only as life-sustaining warmth, but can also be part of the rich variety of sensory signposts that flowers use to provide advertisement and information for their insect pollinators.

The majority of flowers examined, including many common in gardens, such as poppies and daisies, had complex patterns of heat across their petals, echoing the colourful patterns that we see with our own eyes.

On average these patterns were 4-5°C warmer than the rest of the flower, although the patterns could be as much as 11°C warmer.

Smoke rings' in the ocean could 'suck-up' small creatures and send them 'flying'

Researchers have spotted the equivalent of smoke-rings in the ocean which they think could 'suck-up' small marine creatures and carry them at high speed and for long distances across the ocean, according to Science Daily.

The ocean is full of eddies, swirling motions some tens to hundreds of kilometres across, which mix the water and carry it across the average currents. The 'smoke-rings' are a pair of linked eddies spinning in opposite directions that travel up to ten times the speed of 'normal' eddies and were spotted in the Sea. The rings in the ocean are cut in half by the sea surface, so we see the two ends of the half ring at the surface.

Did humans descend from SPONGES?

It's one of biology's most-heated debates – what are the origins of animals?

Now, researchers have waded into the debate with a new study, suggesting that the humble sponge may be our earliest ancestor, according to Daily Mail.

The findings cast doubt on previous studies, which have suggested that complex comb jellies may be the oldest lineage of living animals.

In 2008, one of the early phylogenomic studies suggested that comb jellies were the earliest members of the animal kingdom, rather than sponges. 

Since then, studies have flip-flopped between whether sponges or comb jellies are our deepest ancestors.

Now, researchers have identified the cause of this flip-flop and in doing so, the researchers believe they have revealed that sponges are the most ancient lineage.

Schooling fish mainly react to one or two neighbors at a time

The study, developed a new method combining behavioral analyses with a computer model to map the chain of direct interactions in a school of fish. The international research team, found individual fish pay attention to its neighbours when the school moves together according to Science daily.

Schooling fish exhibit remarkable group-level co-ordination where many individuals move together seamlessly. This is because individuals in the group respond to the movement of other group members. However, it is not known how many individuals each fish pay attention to.