School of
Integrative Biology

SIB News

Some birds steal hair from living mammals

Dozens of online videos document an unusual behavior among tufted titmice and their closest bird kin. A bird will land on an unsuspecting mammal and, cautiously and stealthily, pluck out some of its hair.

Intact wilderness - Exploring the cloudiest forest in Central America

The Fortuna Hydrological Reserve hosts one third of Panama’s tree species, a variety of fungi waiting to be discovered and a great potential to offset global warming

Avian Brood Parasites Are About to Have Their Adaptability Tested

The future of parasitic birds, which lay their eggs in other nests, is totally dependent on their hosts' ability to adjust to climate change.

Imagine it’s spring in the year 2048. A Common Cuckoo returns from Africa to her breeding grounds in Europe, just as her ancestors have for thousands of years—except that lately the species has arrived earlier.

Early acoustic experiences alter methylation in songbird embryo's forebrain

Researchers at University of Illinois and City University of New York have recently carried out a study investigating the effects of early acoustic experiences on gene activation in songbirds. Their paper, published in Elsevier's journal Neuroscience Letters, shows that the early exposure to salient acoustic cues can significantly influence the development of social behaviors in songbirds.

Introducing the 11 Illinois students selected as Mayo Clinic's 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

Each year, Mayo Clinic invites around 180 undergraduates from across the nation to participate in their Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, this 10-week program gives undergraduates a chance to work at the forefront of biomedical research at one of the world’s leading medical centers.

Solar farms could double as pollinator food supplies

Pollinator habitats and solar farms may seem like ecologically great neighbors, but we still don't understand very much about that relationship. A team of researchers recently published a paper surveying the ins and outs of keeping solar production alongside the kinds of plants that pollinators like bees and butterflies love. The paper notes that there's a good amount of potential here, but more work needs to be done to fully understand the potential partnership.

Field Borders Provide Winter Refuge for Beneficial Predators and Parasitoids

Scott Clem, Ph.D., recently completed his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois. Part of his research focused on evaluating the value of semi-natural field borders as winter refuge for beneficial arthropods that like to eat or parasitize crop pests.

SIB Undergraduate Wins 2021 Beckman Institute Research Image Contest

Research images from a recent contest are the latest to be framed and displayed in the Beckman Institute Director’s conference room. The images showcase the range of research conducted at the institute. Among the winners -- undergraduate student Shreyas Rajagopalan, a member of the Alleyne Bioinspiration Col-LAB-orative.

Cicadas Are Waking Up In Eastern Illinois But Many More Arrive In 2024

After lying dormant for 17 years, billions of Cicadas – big insects with big wings are awakening in far eastern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and other states.

Illinois Newsroom’s Reginald Hardwick talked with Katie Dana (Entomology graduate student), the scientific specialist in entomology at the Illinois Natural Science Survey. She says this year’s insect invasion is just a warmup for 2024.

Graduate Student Elizabeth Bello Awarded 2021 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship

The program offers University of Illinois graduate students at the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. level the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the institute. Elizabeth (Department of Entomology) is pursuing an M.S. in entomology and will work with Marianne Alleyne of entomology and Charles Schroeder of materials science and engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering. She will collect and identify Illinois species of leafhoppers, then learn about the structures and size of brochosomes across different species. A brochosome is intricately structured microscopic granule secreted by leafhoppers.