HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Squirrels place winning bet in unpredictable world

Squirrels place winning bet in unpredictable world In an evolutionary game of tug-of-war, red squirrels have gained the upper hand over the cunning spruce trees, says new University of Alberta research that suggests the clever animals are staying one step ahead of its food source.

A team of scientists, led by Dr. Stan Boutin from the U of As Faculty of Science, has discovered that red squirrels are able to counter the trees "swamp and starve" strategy of boom and bust seed production by producing an extra litter of babies in anticipation of a lush season of tree seeds.

In a paper published in "Science," Boutin and his international team of researchers, describe how they have studied the relationship between the American and Eurasian red squirrel and the trees they feast on. Over the 20 years Boutin has spent studying this chess match, he has noticed a surprising pattern. Red squirrels are somehow able to predict years when a bountiful crop is about to occur and remarkably produce a second litter of babies to take advantage of the onslaught of food about to arrive.

The international team of researchers found that the trees have been trying to outwit the squirrels by implementing a "swamp and starve" tactic. This is actually an evolutionary strategy by the trees to thwart the animals that eat its seed. In bust years the trees try to starve their seed predators so that in boom years there are few seed eaters around and they are swamped by all of the seed available. The seed predators cant respond in time to the increased production because they cant predict when it is going to occur. The net result is that more seed escapes to germinate in a mast year as compared to a strategy where the trees produce a constant amount of seed each year.

Normally this tactic works. By the time the seed matures in the fall, most seed eaters, like squirrels, have already made their "decisions" about having babies for that year. So when t
'"/>

Contact: Phoebe Dey
phoebe.dey@ualberta.ca
780-492-0437
University of Alberta
21-Dec-2006


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Squirrels winning at outwitting trees survival strategy
2. Testosterone replacement therapy: How safe for aging men?
3. Waters off Washington state only second place in world where glass sponge reefs found
4. New joint replacement material developed at MGH put to first clinical use
5. Finding protection from tumor growth in unexpected places
6. 100 percent of pregnant women have at least one kind of pesticide in their placenta
7. Preterm infants with RDS -- surfactant replacement therapies improves neonatal survival
8. Replacement warhead program poses challenges for weapons complex
9. Robust time estimation reconciles views of the antiquity of placental mammals
10. New placenta screening for high-risk pregnancies
11. Malaria: The right vaccine in the right place?

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:11/20/2018)... Ontario (PRWEB) , ... November 20, 2018 , ... The ... system to track all newborn screening (NBS) specimens across the state. The ... from hospitals and delivery to the state newborn screening laboratory in Salt Lake City. ...
(Date:11/16/2018)... , ... November 16, 2018 , ... ... P.G., was awarded the International Bottled Water Association’s (IBWA’s) IBWA/Shayron Barnes-Selby Advocacy Award ... IBWA’s Advocacy Award, named “The Selby” after longtime IBWA contributor Shayron Barnes-Selby, is ...
(Date:11/15/2018)... TORONTO (PRWEB) , ... November 15, 2018 , ... Firmex ... Divestopedia. Firmex and Divestopedia surveyed over 480 investment bankers and M&A advisors worldwide to ... Dentons share their insights on the key findings in the report. , Highlights ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/7/2018)... ... November 07, 2018 , ... ... a campaign to increase awareness of the adult tissue stem cell counting problem ... of November, the company is intensifying this effort with new educational publications and ...
(Date:11/5/2018)... ... November 05, 2018 , ... Frederick ... center to increase access to science research and education in the Frederick County ... (CREST) aims to provide access to STEM-based undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate ...
(Date:11/5/2018)... ... November 05, 2018 , ... 2Blades has completed ... Like (TAL) effector code technology for applications in advancing research in epigenetic technology. ... plants. Since its discovery in 2009, the efficacy of TAL effector-based DNA targeting has ...
(Date:10/31/2018)... ... 2018 , ... Rooam , the premier payment platform for the nightlife ... its acquisition of the Tally payment app, the leading payment platform in Chicago that ... grow its market share and increase the number of restaurant and bar locations offered ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: