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Salmon forced to ‘sprint’ less likely to survive migration

August 21, 2014

Sockeye salmon that sprint to spawning grounds through fast-moving waters may be at risk, suggests new research by University of British Columbia scientists. When salmon encounter turbulent, fast-moving water–such as rapids or areas downstream of dams—they must move upstream using a behaviour known as “burst swimming” that is similar to sprinting for humans.

Paul G Allen Family Foundation grants $2.6 million to improve data on world fisheries

August 20, 2014

The University of British Columbia has received $2.6 million (U.S.) from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to provide African and Asian countries with more accurate and comprehensive fisheries data to help them better analyze and support their ocean resources and local economies.

Fish study links brain size to parental duties

August 19, 2014

Male stickleback fish that protect their young have bigger brains than counterparts that don’t care for offspring, finds a new University of British Columbia study. Stickleback fish are well known in the animal kingdom for the fact that the male of the species, rather than the female, cares for offspring. Male sticklebacks typically have bigger brains than females and researchers wanted to find out if the difference in size might relate to their role as caregivers.

Antibiotics in early life may alter immunity long-term

August 18, 2014

Receiving antibiotic treatments early in life can increase susceptibility to specific diseases later on, according to new research from the University of British Columbia. Most bacteria living in the gut play a positive role in promoting a healthy immune system, but antibiotic treatments often do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria. The study published today in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology helps scientists understand how different antibiotics affect good bacteria.

New software algorithm mimics human perception to turn sketches into 3D

August 13, 2014

A novel graphics system that can infer complex 3D shapes from single professional sketches will be unveiled by UBC computer scientists at SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver this week. The solution has the potential to dramatically simplify how designers and artists develop new product ideas. Converting an idea into a 3D model using current commercial tools is a complicated and painstaking process. So UBC researchers developed True2Form, a software algorithm inspired by the work of professional designers, who effectively communicate ideas through simple drawings.

Astronomers measure weight of galaxies, expansion of universe

July 30, 2014

Astronomers at the University of British Columbia have collaborated with international researchers to calculate the precise mass of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, dispelling the notion that the two galaxies have similar masses. While it was previously thought that the two galaxies weighed the same because of their similar size and structure, researchers found that neighbouring Andromeda is about twice as heavy as our own Milky Way.

UBC-based math research and training network awarded $6.25 million

July 23, 2014

The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) has received $6.25 million in renewed funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The investment will help PIMS fund its scientific, training and industrial activities throughout Western Canada, which include the support of conferences, workshops and lecture series, collaborative research groups, and host postdoctoral fellows and distinguished visitors.

Researchers chart the ecological impacts of microbial respiration in the oxygen-starved ocean

July 23, 2014

A sulfur-oxidizing bacterial group called SUP05 will play an increasingly important role in carbon and nutrient cycling in the world’s oceans as oxygen minimum zones expand, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. University of British Columbia researchers plumbed the depth of a seasonally anoxic fjord, Canada’s Saanich Inlet, to chart how microbial community metabolism changes as oxygen minimum zones form.

Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds

July 22, 2014

Mixed genes appear to drive hybrid birds to select more difficult routes than their parent species, according to new research from University of British Columbia zoologists. "Instead of taking well-trodden paths through fertile areas, these birds choose to scale mountains and cross deserts," says UBC researcher Kira Delmore. Delmore harnessed a flock of B.C. Swainson's thrushes with tiny geolocating backpacks to map their routes as they migrated south through the U.S. to Central and South America.

Atlantic salmon show capacity to adapt to warmer waters

July 17, 2014

Populations of Atlantic salmon have a surprisingly good capacity to adjust to warmer temperatures resulting from climate change, according to scientists at UBC and the University of Oslo. The finding adds to recent UBC-supported research on heat tolerance of Pacific salmon. The new study, a collaboration between Norwegian and Canadian researchers, was recently published in Nature Communications. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council, it addressed questions around how climate change might affect salmon species distribution and abundance.

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