Tag Archives: Bees

Science: 890 Million-Year-Old Sponge, Caffeinated Bees, Greenland Glaciers

Researchers debate whether an ancient fossil is the oldest animal yet discovered, and a new way to eavesdrop on glaciers.

In this episode:

01:04 Early sponge

This week in Nature, a researcher claims to have found a fossil sponge from 890-million-years-ago. If confirmed, this would be more than 300-million-years older than the earliest uncontested animal fossils but not all palaeontologists are convinced.

Research Article: Turner

10:13 Research Highlights

A caffeine buzz appears to improve bees’ memory, and reconstructing an Iron Age man’s final meal.

Research Highlight: A caffeine buzz gives bees flower power

Research Highlight: The guts of a ‘bog body’ reveal sacrificed man’s final meal

12:34 Eavesdropping on a glacier’s base

We hear about one researcher’s unorthodox attempt to listen in to the seismic-whisper at the foot of a Greenland glacier – a method that might reveal more about conditions under these enormous blocks of ice.

Research Article: Podolskiy et al.

Wildlife: Top ‘Hornet Moments’ (BBC Earth)

From overthrowing an empire to battling with bees, here are some of our most memorable hornet moments.

The Asian giant hornet, including the color form referred to as the Japanese giant hornet, is the world’s largest hornet. It is native to temperate and tropical East Asia, South Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia, and parts of the Russian Far East.

Foods: ‘Expert Beekeepers Harvesting Honey From Two Million Bees’ (Video)

Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm owners Kam and Summer Johnson started keeping bees after learning how raw and local honey could benefit their son, who suffered with asthma and seasonal allergies. After studying how to best keep bees, harvest honey, and keep up their own bee farm, they were able to sell their local honey to restaurants around NYC, and even have a shop in Chelsea Market. https://zachandzoe.co/

Nature & Science: Making Flowers Of Food Plants More Attractive To Insect Pollinators (Cambridge)

A rising world population means we’ll need more food in the coming years. But much of our food relies on insect pollination, and insects are in decline around the world. Can we make flowers better at being pollinated, to help solve this problem?

Improving flowers to help feed the world Cambridge University Video January 21 2020

Research from the Glover Lab (https://twitter.com/Beverley_CUBG) in the Department of Plant Sciences (https://twitter.com/PlantSci)

Engineering In Nature: “Honeybees Use Their Wings For Water Surface Locomotion” (Caltech)

From a Caltech online article:

Bees Surf Atop Water to escape CaltechWhen a bee lands on water, the water sticks to its wings, robbing it of the ability to fly. However, that stickiness allows the bee to drag water, creating waves that propel it forward. In the lab, Roh and Gharib noted that the generated wave pattern is symmetrical from left to right. A strong, large-amplitude wave with an interference pattern is generated in the water at the rear of the bee, while the surface in front of the bee lacks the large wave and interference. This asymmetry propels the bees forward with the slightest of force—about 20 millionths of a Newton.

Walking on Caltech’s campus, research engineer Chris Roh (MS ’13, PhD ’17) happened to see a bee stuck in the water of Millikan Pond. Although it was a common-enough sight, it led Roh and his advisor, Mory Gharib (PhD ’83), to a discovery about the potentially unique way that bees navigate the interface between water and air.

To read more: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/bees-surf-atop-water