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Songbirds may have “borrowed” DNA to fuel migration

September 19, 2013

A common songbird may have acquired genes from fellow migrating birds in order to travel greater distances, according to a University of British Columbia study published this week in the journal Evolution. While most birds either migrate or remain resident in one region, the Audubon’s warbler, with habitat ranging from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, exhibits different behaviours in different locations. The northern populations breed and migrate south for the winter, while southern populations have a tendency to stay put all year long.

EOAS, Chemistry researchers recognized by Canadian royal society

September 12, 2013

Douglas Oldenburg, a world-renowned geophysicist, and Mark MacLachlan, a leading Canadian supramolecular materials chemist, have been recognized with honours from the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).

Sparking a Passion for Chemistry in Rural BC

September 11, 2013

Children in remote areas are exposed to less hands-on science than their urban peers. One UBC Science program is working to change that. It’s a typical vacation-gone-wrong story: You arrive at your destination only to to find the chemistry supplies you meticulously packed and shipped haven’t arrived with you. “I arrived and my boxes weren’t there,” recalls graduate student Angela Crane of her arrival for a month-long stay in Fort Nelson as part of UBC’s Scientist in Residence Program. “I had to rush to the supermarket, think on my feet, and come up with a demonstration!”

UBC researcher donates MacArthur ‘genius’ grant to biodiversity training program

September 9, 2013

UBC zoologist Sarah Otto is using the second installment of a MacArthur 'genius grant' to help connect young research talent with agencies tackling conservation and biodiversity-related issues. Otto’s gift of $100,000 will launch an endowment to provide on-going support for the university’s Biodiversity Research: Integrative Training and Education (BRITE) internship program. "The world’s biodiversity is in crisis, making it urgent that we connect our students with the pressing problems being tackled outside of academia," says Otto. 

‘Trojan’ asteroids in far reaches of Solar System more common than previously thought: UBC research

August 29, 2013

UBC astronomers have discovered the first Trojan asteroid sharing the orbit of Uranus, and believe 2011 QF99 is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of the Solar System’s giant planets. Trojans are asteroids that share the orbit of a planet, occupying stable positions known as Lagrangian points. Astronomers considered their presence at Uranus unlikely because the gravitational pull of larger neighbouring planets would destabilize and expel any Uranian Trojans over the age of the Solar System.

Marine life migrating to cooler habitats 12 times faster than land animals

August 6, 2013

Marine species are migrating toward the poles as much as 12 times faster than land-based species as a result of the warming climate, according to a new study by an international team of scientists. The study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows marine species distribution moving toward the poles at an average of 72 kilometres per decade, compared to terrestrial species, which are moving poleward at an average of six kilometres per decade.

Captured: Mysterious oyster killers

July 25, 2013

University of British Columbia researchers have apprehended tiny, elusive parasites that have plagued oysters from British Columbia to California. First reported in 1960, Denman Island disease is caused by Mikrocytos mackini, a parasite that infects mainly Pacific oysters, and leads to unsightly green lesions and death. “M. mackini has eluded capture for more than 50 years because it lives inside the oyster’s cells and has proved impossible to grow and study in a lab,” says Patrick Keeling a professor in UBC’s Department of Botany who led the microbial investigative team.

UBC Physicists Catch Neutrinos “In the Act”

July 18, 2013

Today at the prestigious European Physical Society meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, a new breakthrough in our understanding of neutrinos, nature’s most elusive particle, was announced. The T2K collaboration, which consists of scientists from Canada, Japan, and nine other nations, confirmed definitive observation of a new type of neutrino oscillation, in which muon neutrinos transform to electron neutrinos.

Stars’ orbital dance reveals a generation gap: UBC, NASA research

July 18, 2013

UBC astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to track the orbital motion of 33,000 stars in one of the Galaxy’s oldest globular clusters, offering new insights into the formation of the Milky Way. The careful examination of ‘cosmic choreography’ enabled researchers, for the first time, to link the movement of stars within the cluster to the stars’ ages. The study reveals two distinct generations of stars within globular cluster 47 Tucanae, 16,700 light-years from Earth.

Genomic survey of microbial ‘dark matter’ sheds light on BC’s unseen biodiversity

July 14, 2013

A landmark single-cell genomic study of microorgansims from sites across the globe is underscoring British Columbia's role as an 'oasis' of biodiversity. The findings, to be published Sunday in Nature, could also prompt scientists to redefine how the tree of life represents relationships among and between life’s three domains.

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