Profile: Mary Bates

Freelance Science Writer

PLOS Ecology Contributing Editor Mary Bates is a freelance science writer based in Boston. She has written for such publications as National Geographic News, New Scientist, and IEEE Pulse magazine. Mary received her PhD in psychology studying bat echolocation at Brown University.

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NoteStreams By Mary Bates

What Does a Dewlap Do?

Dewlaps are loose flaps of skin that hang from the necks of some animals, notably certain lizards, birds, and hoofed mammals. These enigmatic ornaments are usually more pronounced in males than in females, suggesting a role in sexual selection.
This seems to be the case in lizards and birds, which use their dewlaps in sexual displays. But the role of dewlaps in hoofed mammals is not so well understood.
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Category: Nature

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Cooperative Fish Take Turns With Gender Roles

Chalk bass (Serranus tortugarum) are small sea bass in the grouper family. What makes these fish interesting is that they are simultaneous hermaphrodites: they have both male and female reproductive tissue at the same time.
While other animals in the same situation might compete over who gets to fertilize whose eggs, chalk bass seem to have solved the issue through cooperation.
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Category: Science

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The Language of Odors: Different Odor Dialects in Wild Otter Populations

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales have shown for the first time that genetically distinct populations of wild mammals have different “odor dialects.” In a study published in Scientific Reports, they describe how populations of otters from across the UK possess sex- and biogeography-specific odors and speculate on how these odor dialects may affect individual behavior and conservation efforts.
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Category: Nature

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Destructive Invasive Wild Pigs: They Keep Spreading

They go by many names: wild boar, wild hog, razorback, Eurasian boar, feral swine. But whatever you call them, invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are wreaking environmental havoc and spreading rapidly.

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Category: Nature

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Why Sloths Live Life in the Slow Lane

Explore why animals that live in trees and eat leaves tend to live life at a slower pace.
PLOS
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Category: Nature

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Critically Endangered Hawaiian Crow Joins the Tool-Users Club

The highly endangered Hawaiian Crow - otherwise know as the‘Alalā, is one very clever bird: it seems they've figured out a way to skillfully use sticks to help them find food. Very smart!
PLoS Ecology Community
(CC BY 4.0)

Category: Nature

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