DOE News
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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2019-07-08 16:05:40
    • Article ID: 713940

    Augustana University Professor’s Research Leads to Surprising Mating Decision in Butterfly Species

    The males of one species of butterfly are more attracted to females that are active, not necessarily what they look like, according to a recent research conducted at Augustana University.

    The paper, “Behaviour before beauty: Signal weighting during mate selection in the butterfly Papilio polytes,” found that males of the species noticed the activity levels of potential female mates, not their markings.

    The research was published in Ethology, an animal behavior journal.

    The females of the Papilio polytes, known as the common mormon butterfly, are unusual because they include two variations, or phenotypes, said co-author Dr. Carrie Olson-Manning, Ph.D. and assistant professor of biology at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Some females resemble the males of the species with black and white wing patterns. Other females also feature orange markings as part of their wing patterns.

    “That was unexpected,” Olson-Manning said. “The results for male choice were different from previous studies where they found that males chose the the mimetic females (the one with orange) over the females that looked like males.”

    Olson-Manning was part of a research team that included Dr. Erica Westerman, Ph.D. and assistant professor of Integrative Animal Behavior and Invertebrate Biology at the University of Arkansas.

    The research began in October 2016, and was conducted over the next six to eight months. Augustana University students watched groups of Papilio polytes that were introduced to the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls.

    Papilio polytes is native to Southeast Asia.

    Both phenotypes of females were introduced into the butterfly house. Student researchers followed the butterflies to see what they were doing, what they interacted with, when they ate and when they flew, Olson-Manning said.

    Prior studies had been conducted with the butterflies in cages, not in a butterfly house, where they had room to be active, she said.

    “In these previous studies, the females were always stationary,” Olson-Manning said. “We found that the males courted active male-like females more often than expected given their abundance in the butterfly house.”

    The outcome gave researchers more input into animal behavior, she said.

    “This lets us know a little more about the butterfly, that when any animal is trying to decide which individual to mate with, they have to take in a lot of signals,” Olson-Manning said. “And what we found is that it’s really complicated. They’re not just looking at, ‘Oh, what does it look like? What is it doing?’ They’re kind of weighing those signals. It speaks to to the larger field of mating choice or animal behavior.”

    The study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Institutes of Health.

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    Measuring the Charge of Electrons in a High-Temp Superconductor

    Measuring the Charge of Electrons in a High-Temp Superconductor

    The measurements could inform the search for new materials that perfectly conduct electricity at relatively higher temperatures.

    A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

    A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

    At the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, researchers are exploring affordable materials that could absorb the sunlight necessary to evaporate water and recapture it, leaving contaminants behind.

    Amazon Rainforest Absorbing Less Carbon Than Expected

    Amazon Rainforest Absorbing Less Carbon Than Expected

    An international team of scientists, including climate scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found that accounting for phosphorus-deficient soils reduced projected carbon dioxide uptake by an average of 50% in the Amazon, compared to current estimates based on previous climate models that did not take into account phosphorus deficiency.

    Fermilab's newest accelerator delivers first results

    Fermilab's newest accelerator delivers first results

    IOTA is designed to develop technologies to increase the number of particles in a beam without increasing the beam's size and thus the size and cost of the accelerator. IOTA researchers are investigating a novel technique called nonlinear integrable optics. The technique was a winner: Scientists observed that these specialized magnets significantly decreased the instability.

    Brookhaven Completes LSST's Digital Sensor Array

    Brookhaven Completes LSST's Digital Sensor Array

    After 16 years of dedicated planning and engineering, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have completed a 3.2 gigapixel sensor array for the camera that will be used in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a massive telescope that will observe the universe like never before.

    Scientists Report Two Advances in Understanding the Role of 'Charge Stripes' in Superconducting Materials

    Scientists Report Two Advances in Understanding the Role of 'Charge Stripes' in Superconducting Materials

    In independent studies, two research teams report important advances in understanding how charge stripes might interact with superconductivity. Both studies were carried out with X-rays at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

    For Superconductors, Discovery Comes From Disorder

    For Superconductors, Discovery Comes From Disorder

    In a new study, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have explained the ways in which two electronic arrangements compete with each other and ultimately affect the temperature at which a material becomes superconducting.

    Cool Roofs Can Help Shield California's Cities Against Heat Waves

    Cool Roofs Can Help Shield California's Cities Against Heat Waves

    A new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that if every building in California sported "cool" roofs by 2050, these roofs would help contribute to protecting urbanites from the consequences of dangerous heatwaves.

    Scientists discover potential path to improving samarium-cobalt magnets

    Scientists discover potential path to improving samarium-cobalt magnets

    Scientists have discovered a potential tool to enhance magnetization and magnetic anisotropy, making it possible to improve the performance of samarium-cobalt magnets.

    Atomic 'Trojan Horse' Could Inspire New Generation of X-Ray Lasers and Particle Colliders

    Atomic 'Trojan Horse' Could Inspire New Generation of X-Ray Lasers and Particle Colliders

    An international team of researchers, including scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has demonstrated a potentially much brighter electron source based on plasma that could be used in more compact, more powerful particle accelerators.


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    DOE Issues Small Business Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement

    The Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs issued its first Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Fiscal Year 2020.

    Bioenergy startup licenses ORNL food-waste-to-fuel system

    Bioenergy startup licenses ORNL food-waste-to-fuel system

    Electro-Active Technologies, Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., has exclusively licensed two biorefinery technologies invented and patented by the startup's co-founders while working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The technologies work as a system that converts organic waste into renewable hydrogen gas for use as a biofuel.

    DOE to Provide $27.6 Million for Data Science Research in Chemical and Materials Sciences

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $27.6 million in funding over the next three years for targeted research in data science to accelerate discovery in chemistry and material sciences.

    Explore the Site of a New Telescope Survey That Will Map the Universe in 3-D

    Explore the Site of a New Telescope Survey That Will Map the Universe in 3-D

    For a special sneak preview before the official start of observations in early 2020, join scientists, engineers, and others who are working on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) for an exclusive day of access. DESI, under installation at Kitt Peak National Observatory, will capture the light from tens of millions of distant galaxies to better understand the accelerating expansion of the universe.

    A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

    A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

    The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC), a new initiative aimed at empowering microbiome research, is gearing up its pilot phase after receiving $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

    Brookhaven Lab and University of Delaware Begin Joint Initiative

    Brookhaven Lab and University of Delaware Begin Joint Initiative

    The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Delaware (UD) have begun a two-year joint initiative to promote collaborative research in new areas of complementary strength and strategic importance.

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA licenses ORNL advanced optical array

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA licenses ORNL advanced optical array

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA has licensed an advanced optical array developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The portable technology can be used to help identify individuals in challenging outdoor conditions.

    Jefferson Lab Welcomes New Director of Accelerator Operations

    Jefferson Lab Welcomes New Director of Accelerator Operations

    After an extensive search, Camille Ginsburg has been selected as the director of accelerator operations at DOE's Jefferson Lab.

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Fellowship Awards

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Fellowship Awards

    One graduate student and three postdoctoral research scientists are awarded fellowships to advance the science of an electron-ion collider.


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    Nuclear Physics Detector Tech Used in Cancer Treatment Monitoring System

    Nuclear Physics Detector Tech Used in Cancer Treatment Monitoring System

    The OARtrac(r) system includes technologies that are based on a novel application of scintillating material in fiber form. Doctors can insert these scintillating fibers into the human body via a catheter to monitor the radiation that cancer patients receive in a range of hard-to-reach areas.

    Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water

    Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water

    A team devised a way to better model water's properties. They developed a machine-learning workflow that offers accurate and computationally efficient models.

    Cultivating the Assembly Landscape

    Cultivating the Assembly Landscape

    For the first time, a team determined and predictably manipulated the energy landscape of a material assembled from proteins. Designing materials that easily and reliably morph on command could benefit water filtration, sensing applications, and adaptive devices.

    A Change in Structure for a Superheavy Magnesium Isotope

    A Change in Structure for a Superheavy Magnesium Isotope

    A recent measurement exploring the structure of magnesium-40 has shown a surprising change in the structure relative to expectations. This unanticipated change could be pointing to physics missing from our theories, such as the effects of weak binding between particles.

    Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge

    Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge

    To better store data, scientists need ways to change a material's properties suddenly. For example, they want a material that can go from insulator to conductor and back again. Now, they devised a surprisingly simple way of flipping a material from one state into another, and back again, with flashes of light. A single light pulse turns thin sheets of tantalum disulfide from its original (alpha) state into a mixture of alpha and beta states. Domain walls separate the two states. A second pulse of light dissolves the walls, and the material returns to its original state.

    New Geometric Model Improves Predictions of Fluid Flow in Rock

    New Geometric Model Improves Predictions of Fluid Flow in Rock

    Supercomputer validates mathematical approach for describing geological features.

    Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

    Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

    How do you determine the measurable "things" that describe the nature of our universe? To answer that question, researchers used CosmoFlow, a deep learning technique, running on a National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center supercomputer. They analyzed large, complex data sets from 3-D simulations of the distribution of matter to answer that question. The team showed that CosmoFlow offers a new platform to gain a deeper understanding of the universe.

    At DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, science drives next-gen creations

    At DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, science drives next-gen creations

    American ingenuity is providing radical productivity improvements from advanced materials and robotic systems developed at the Department of Energy's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    High-Fidelity Multiphysics Simulations to Improve Nuclear Reactor Safety and Economics

    High-Fidelity Multiphysics Simulations to Improve Nuclear Reactor Safety and Economics

    Engineers can model heat distribution in reactor designs with fewer or no approximations.

    Tiny Vortices Could One Day Haul Microscopic Cargo

    Tiny Vortices Could One Day Haul Microscopic Cargo

    The behavior of active magnetic liquids suggests new pathways to transport particles across surfaces and build materials that self-heal.


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