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Cracking the Olfactory Code

PLoS Biology
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030122
  • Synopsis
  • Animal Behavior
  • Neuroscience
  • Zoology
  • Insects
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science


PLBI0304_545-570.indd PLoS Biology | 0546 Synopses of Research Articles Average earth temperatures rose 0.6 ºC over the last century, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But that increase pales in comparison to the 1.4–5.8 ºC expected increase over this century. As temperatures climb, climate models predict that high-latitude, high-altitude regions like Yellowstone National Park will experience shorter winters and earlier snow melts. How these environmental shifts will impact species and ecosystems remains to be seen. The effects of climate change are already evident at the species level, with disruptions in range, reproductive success, and seasonal phenomena like migration, and the decoupling of evolutionarily paired events like new births and food availability. Both experimental and data-driven modeling studies predict that climate change may well precipitate shifts in the structure of ecosystems as well. In a new study, Christopher Wilmers and Wayne Getz investigated the effects of climate change on ecosystem dynamics by studying a keystone species in Yellowstone, the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Gray wolves inhabited most of North America until US extirpation campaigns nearly eradicated them by the 1930s. In 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced the persecuted predator into Yellowstone. Wilmers and Getz used data from the past 50 years at two weather stations in the park’s northern range (where elk over winter and four to six wolf packs now Gray Wolves Help Scavengers Ride Out Climate Change DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030132 A standard evolutionary assumption is that the DNA of closely related species should be more similar in both structure and function than that of more distantly related ones. This parsimonious rule of thumb holds true across wide expanses of time and among widely divergent species, but it has exceptions. In this issue, Michael Ludwig and collea

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