Science online, disappearing sea lions edition

Gone for good, or just for lunch? Photo by Leo Reynolds.

Happy New Year! In case it wasn’t previously obvious that I write these posts in advance, here’s the proof.

  • In ant-plant relationships, plants seem to be in charge: they cheat! (Thomas’s Plant-Related Blog)
  • Bats eat mosquitoes – but do they control mosquito populations? (Cheshire)
  • The sea lions of San Francisco’s Pier 39 have abandoned their post, for no readily apparent reason. No word on whether anyone has found a note reading “So long, and thanks for all the fish,” but plans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sea lions’ arrival this January are in question (Wired Science and NY Times)
  • Good news: a new long-term study confirms that creating marine protected areas allows overfished ecosystems to recover. Bad news: marine protected areas are more likely to be set up in areas that aren’t very economically important. (Conservation Maven)
  • After colonizing a region with brilliant white, gypsum sands, three different desert lizard species evolved white skin – but each species evolved a different genetic mechanism to do so. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)
  • A bat was found in France carrying the same fungus that seems to be killing bat colonies across eastern North America – but only one bat, and it seems to be healthy. (Effect Measure)