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Female Fish judge Males based on their ability to Design Nests: Study

Female choices flipped from preferring tighter nests under high oxygen conditions, to preferring looser nests when conditions deteriorated

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Representational image. Flickr

London, November 6, 2016: Female fish judge males based on their ability to design nests best suited for the conditions of their environment, suggests a study.

According to the study, male fish build nests to suit local environments — and females judge males on their ability to respond to changing conditions.

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In the study, which is published in the journal Evolution, the researchers showed that low oxygen can change the way in which fish build nests and also change the nesting preferences of female fish.

Male three-spined stickleback fish are unusual in that they build nests and provide all the parental care for the eggs, which are spawned by females, and for the developing baby fish.

The research team found that males change the design of their nests depending on the oxygen content of the water — making looser nests under low-oxygen conditions and more compact nests when oxygen increases.

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“Male sticklebacks have to work really hard as dads, using their fins to fan water through the nest to supply the eggs with the oxygen they need to develop,” said Iain Barber, Researcher at the University of Leicester.

“If the water is low in oxygen, then having a looser, more open nest allows more oxygen to reach the eggs, but it probably comes at the expense of increasing the risk of them being discovered by predators,” Barber added.

Low oxygen can also critically affect important reproductive behaviours, with associated effects on the viability of fish populations and even implications for natural selection and evolution.

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The research has shown that it was not just male construction that was affected when water oxygen levels changed. The most interesting finding was that female fish also changed their preferences for the design of nest they went for.

Female choices flipped from preferring tighter nests under high oxygen conditions, to preferring looser nests when conditions deteriorated. (IANS)

  • Ruchika Kumari

    Such an interesting research

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France Takes Steps to Shift to More Renewables For Energy

France Takes First Steps to Reduce Nuclear Energy Dependence

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France Nuclear Plant
In this picture the nuclear plant in Fessenheim, eastern France. VOA

By Lisa Bryant

France, the world’s most nuclear energy-dependent nation, is taking its first steps to shift to more renewables to power up. This is the latest news.

On Saturday, the country begins a gradual shutdown of its aging Fessenheim plant. The move fits into the government’s broader energy strategy to reduce French dependence on nuclear energy from supplying three-quarters of its electricity to about half by 2035.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says the plant’s first reactor will be closed Saturday, and the second in June.

Another dozen reactors must close by 2035 to meet the phase-down target. The plan also sees France closing its remaining coal plants, and moving to renewables like solar and wind to close the energy gap and help fight climate change. For Charlotte Mijeon, spokesperson for anti-nuclear group Sortir du nucléaire, the Fessenheim shutdown is welcome news — but not enough.

France Nuclear Plant
A sticker is photographed on a helmet of an employee of Fessenheim’s nuclear power plant opposing the closure, during a protest outside the EDF headquarters in Paris, France. VOA

“It’s great that it’s eventually closed; however, we fear that Fessenheim is something like the tree hiding the forest,” she said. “The government is closing one nuclear power plant, but it should not make us forget that the rest of the nuclear fleet is aging.”

France has 58 nuclear power plants, thanks to an energy strategy dating back to the 1970s oil crisis. Supporters say nuclear energy is a clean way to fight climate change while also meeting national energy needs.

But critics say the plants have received billions in subsidies and nuclear lobbies are powerful, making it harder for renewables to compete. And they say the remaining plants pose mounting safety concerns as they age.

“Regarding the climate emergency, we have no time left,” Mijeon said. “So we have to invest in green climate solutions, not in nuclear power, which is not only dirty, but also very expensive and slow.”

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While the reactor shutdown is a first for France, other countries, including Switzerland, Sweden and the United States, have also shut plants for a mix of budgetary, safety and environmental reasons. Neighboring Germany aims to phase out of nuclear power completely by 2022. It has been pushing for years for the shutdown of Fessenheim, which is located near its border. (VOA)