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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Australia

Wildfire changes songbird plumage

Red backed fairywren.Fire can put a tropical songbird’s sex life on ice.

Following habitat-destroying wildfires in Australia, a team of researchers led by WSU biology doctoral student Jordan Boersma found that many male red-backed fairywrens failed to molt into their red-and-black ornamental plumage, making them less attractive to potential mates. They also had lowered circulating testosterone, which has been associated with their showy feathers. » More …

Tasmanian devils may survive their own pandemic

Tasmanian devilAmid the global COVID-19 crisis, there is some good news about a wildlife pandemic—which may also help scientists better understand how other emerging diseases evolve.

WSU researchers have found strong evidence that a transmissible cancer that has decimated Tasmanian devil populations likely won’t spell their doom. » More …