Category Archives: Science in News

How does wild fire save birds?

Wild fire is known as a disaster that will ruin people’s life. The wild fire in U.S. burns more than 20,000 acres. However, according to  University of Queensland’s  research, proper fire regimes is very important for the survival of certain bird in Austrilia.

An emu runs to escape an approaching wildfire as it burns near Potrero, California, U.S. June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Eastern bristlebird, a bird is native to Australia, and it is known as melodic songbirds. However, these cute birds are about to extinct. The smallest population had declined to fewer than 40 birds. Like other species, changes of habits are the most important reasons for the rapid decline. What kind of habits do they need?

Source: Google Images

For terrestrial birds like eastern bristlebird, shelter and food are two very crucial things for survival and any changes of habits affecting their shelter and food will cause considerable decline of their populations. For eastern bristlebird, grassy wet forest gives they a perfect place for shelter and food. However, the overgrows of weeds destroys the perfect habit for eastern bristlebird. Then, the fire is what we consider.

I have attached a video of the same topic and the bird keeper in this video introduce the eastern bristlebird and gave the thought that wild fire is a reason of decline of birds’ populations. However, the researcher from the University of Queensland, Zoe Stone,  said “For a largely ground-dwelling species, the presence of tall, thick grasses provides important shelter for foraging and nesting activities. Use of appropriate fire regimens is absolutely critical for the continued persistence and successful reintroduction of this extremely rare bird.” I think most of us have the same thought with the bird keeper, but what Zoe Stone talking about is managed fire.

YouTube Preview ImageSource: Youtube

It is well known that it is very hard to pull weeds, because it is so many of them. Wild fire could destroy weeds easily and rapidly, and managed fires could stay away from good patches within grassy wet forest. To ease some of the misgivings, there are some successful examples of using managed fire. For example, managed fire promote the rare savanna species. ” According to the article of University of New York:” Varied fire types in wet savannas create a wider range of conditions within the savanna habitat – altering the availability of nutrients, terrain, shelter and predators – allowing a greater number of species to find a “niche” in which to survive and reproduce.”

Credit: Dr. Colin Beale, University of York

Sometimes, we have no way to deal with natural hazard, but cleverly using natural power might works wonders. We are unwilling to see any harmless species going extinct. Hopefully, scientists could save eastern bristlebirds, and all the wild fire could be well-managed.

– Zhihao Kang

Jogging Your Memory: Aerobic Exercise and Its Positive Implications on Memory Retention (REVISED)

Own an old pair of runners that sit around and collect dust? Science suggests – you may want to put them to use again.

Emerging studies shown that aerobic exercise can slow down the aging of the brain. It was also found that aerobic exercise can have positive effects on cognitive abilities such as memory retention. Several studies shown that individuals who regularly exercise occupy larger volumes of the brain involved in memory compared to individuals that do not exercise.

What exactly is it about physical exercise that has such an impact you might ask?
Upon light to intense levels of aerobic exercise, the body produces a spectrum of signalling chemicals. One of the chemicals that gets released yields the production of a very important protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which gets secreted in the brain and muscles. When produced in the body, BDNF maintains existing brain cells, promotes the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and encourages growth of the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is associated with memory.

Figure 1. Anatomy of brain. Source: Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site

Why this should concern you.

The size of the hippocampus decreases with age which often leads to memory decline and decrease in mental efficiency. In many older adults, cognitive deficits are commonly associated with old age. Researchers estimate that by 2050, there will be more than 115 million people that will suffer dementia globally. However, evidence shows that with regular exercise, memory decline and aging of the hippocampus can be reduced and ultimately lower the chances of dementia.

Source: Harvard Health Publications/YouTube

Is one form of exercise more beneficial than the other?

As of now, researchers have not yet found an answer. The reason being is that most of the studies conducted only experimented with walking and/or running. However, it is suggested from the studies available that any type of exercise that would be able to elevate the heart rate to a certain level would produce these cognitive benefits.

As someone who enjoys being physically active and mainly weight trains, I was astonished about the benefits of aerobic exercise – all of this was new information to me. Ever since I learned further about these benefits of aerobic exercise, I have incorporated running to achieve a healthier, more cognitively efficient brain.

Figure 2. Man running. Source: Kyle Cassidy

If you are physically able to exercise and do not currently do so, I hope this post encourages you to reach for your pair of runners, go out, and “jog your memory”.


It is never too late to start exercising.

– Aron Ha