School of
Integrative Biology

SIB News

Fire-spawned forest fungi hide out in other organisms, study finds

Fire-loving fungi are among the first organisms to appear on the forest floor after a fire, followed closely by mosses and lichens.

Study provides framework for one billion years of green plant evolution

Gene sequences for more than 1100 plant species have been released by an international consortium of nearly 200 plant scientists, the culmination of a nine-year research project.

New faculty embark on bright futures at Illinois

Every solution is created to solve a problem, whether it’s a quick fix or a life-altering change. For professor of entomology Esther Ngumbi, going to school was her solution to feeding her family.

Study finds rising ozone a hidden threat to corn

A new study reveals genetic differences that influence how corn responds to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone.

Researchers turn to bees to guide better decision-making

Making important commercial or financial decisions can be a very difficult task, especially with a variety of perspectives and stakeholders to consider. Dr. Marianne Alleyne, assistant professor in entomology, and Molly Sturgis, graduate student researcher in industrial and enterprise systems engineering, have turned to bees to see what kinds of insights could be translated to human decision-making.

Bateman’s Cowbirds – A closer look at monogamy and polygamy in brood parasitic birds

Researchers at the University of Illinois have shown through a multi-year study that cowbirds (Molothrus ater) conform to Bateman’s Principle, which holds that reproductive success is greater in males than in females when they have more mates. Cowbirds are distinct from 99% of other bird species in that they are brood parasites and lay their eggs in nests of birds of other species for them to raise. The researchers confirm a 70-year old theory that males in this species are more likely than females to have greater variation in the number of offspring they produce.

Fish fathers exhibit signatures of “baby brain” that may aid parental behavior

Many new parents are familiar with terms like “baby brain” or “mommy brain” that hint at an unavoidable decline in cognitive function associated with the hormonal changes of pregnancy, childbirth, and maternal caregiving. A new study of parental care in stickleback fish is a reminder that such parenting-induced changes in the brain and associated shifts in cognition and behavior are not just for females—and they’re not just for mammals either.

Pineapple genome sequences hint at plant domestication in single step

As their Latin name indicates, pineapples are truly “excellent fruits”—and thanks to a freshly completed genome sequencing project, researchers have gained a new understanding of how human agriculture has shaped the evolution of this and other crops.

Andrew Leakey discusses climate change with CNN

Climate change is already having a negative impact on our food supply.

Gene found that could play role in improving photosynthesis

A single protein has been identified to play a role in improving photosynthesis under high concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a study published in in silico Plants. The protein, known as Gm-GATA2, is predicted to overcome limitations imposed by photosynthetic acclimation under elevated CO2 levels—and is a promising candidate for research into how we can better prepare for a future impacted by climate change.