Fire on the Mountain

University of Arizona Report on Research | June 2004

For humans, forest fires, such as the one that scorched 85,000 acres atop Mount Lemmon last summer, are tragic. But they are natural and necessary events for healthy forests, tree-ring studies show. If land managers had known this a hundred years ago, they could have prevented catastrophic wildfires that now threaten forests throughout the Southwest.

African Lake Demonstrates Effects of Global Warming

UANews | August 2003

Africa, a continent beset by poverty, civil wars and a catastrophic AIDS epidemic, now has one more worry – global warming. A team of researchers, led by University of Arizona geosciences Professor Andrew Cohen, has determined that regional climate shifts paralleling global warming patterns have caused fish yields from Africa’s Lake Tanganyika to drop by about 30 percent over the past 80 years, and could produce further declines in the future. read story

Coats of Different Color: Desert Mice Offer New Lessons on Survival of the Fittest

UANews | May 2003

Rock pocket mice are common denizens of the Sonoran desert regions around Tucson, but you’ll probably never see one in the wild. The small rodents are strictly nocturnal, finding refuge from the daytime desert heat in their underground burrows. By night, they gather seeds, their only source of food and water, and do their best to elude owls, their main predators. Now, these inconspicuous animals may have gained some celebrity as a textbook example of adaptation by natural selection, thanks to a team of University of Arizona evolutionary biologists.  read story

Molecular Biologists Discover Where Genetic Instructions Go To Die

UANews | May 2003

Living cells have “molecular paper shredders” that purge outdated genetic instructions. The subcellular structures were discovered by Ujwal Sheth, a University of Arizona Ph.D. candidate in molecular and cellular biology, and her advisor, Regents’ Professor Roy Parker. The pair reported their findings this week in the journal Science. read story

Ecologists Reveal War Triangle Among Aphids, Wasps and Bacteria

UANews | August 1992

If you were a modern day Gulliver exploring the natural world, you might very well encounter miniscule Lilliputians and giant Brobdingnagians like the ones of make-believe. It should be obvious which are which—gnats and mites, elephants and whales. But nature’s stories can be even more fantastic than those from literature, and with careful scrutiny, your point of view can turn inside-out, making it surprisingly difficult to discern just who is Lilliputian and who is Brobdingnagian. read story

UA Biologist Offers a Solution to the ‘Freeloaders Paradox’

UANews | October 2002

Freeloaders, it seems, show up everywhere in nature, not just at the company picnic. Pine bark beetles, upon discovering a suitable tree to lay their eggs, emit a pheromone to muster thousands more beetles to the find. Most of the beetles that arrive collaborate to infect the tree with fungi that will kill it. A few freeloaders, though, may accept the airborne invitation without participating in the attack, instead lingering to lay their eggs in the tree which the others have invested their energies to prepare. read story