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Researchers find the further they go, the stronger mountain pine beetles’ signal gets – Globalnews.ca

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Over the last 30 years, mountain pine beetles have chewed through 18-million hectares of forest in Western Canada, and University of Alberta biologists now have a better sense of how they do it.

Researchers have determined that the female mountain pine beetles’ pheromones — called trans-verbenol — can draw other beetles to a tree from tens of kilometres away.

Faculty of Science graduate student Kelsey Jones says the most intriguing part is the fact that the further these beetles go, the more trans-verbenol they produce.

“It’s kind of an evolutionary stable strategy, because they have these beetles that are playing it safe and these beetles are the ones that are going to keep the population steady and growing,” Jones said.

“Then you have the beetles that are taking risks and those beetles are going to be the ones that are spreading the population.”

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READ MORE: Alberta budget adds $5M to fight mountain pine beetle; Edmonton on alert

The U of A team collected pine beetles from trees harvested in Hinton, Alta., tracked the beetles’ flight distances using a flight mill and then measured their trans-verbenol production in a lab.

“It was expected that if they fly further, their energy source will be diminished, so they won’t be able to produce as much of this pheromone,” Jones said. “But in actuality, you have the opposite.”

Jones said the U of A team’s research suggests beetles could colonize trees as they move further east, where they have more “search potential” and less competition between their offspring.

The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about mountain pine beetles.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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WATCH: Fireball lights up sky over southern Ontario – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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A meteor travelling an estimated 100,000 kilometers an hour is believed to have fallen into the earth’s atmosphere on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in multiple reports of a bright flash of light above Toronto and some streaks of fire in the sky across southern Ontario.

Around noon, a number of GTA residents reported seeing a fireball trail across the sky while others said they saw a large flash of nearly blinding light.

A camera on the CN Tower captured a split-second view of the flash of light across the Toronto skyline.

According to Dr. Denis Vida, a postdoctoral associate with the University of Western Ontario in their physics and astronomy department, a basket-ball sized meteor is believed to have entered the earth’s atmosphere at a 45-degree angle about 50 kilometers north of Syracuse, New York.

“We’re still waiting for the data to come in, but we think that the rough size of the object was probably in the order of 10 centimeters. And there’s still a lot of uncertainty.”

Vida said that it’s still too early to know if some pieces of the meteor made it to the ground or if the rock completely disintegrated upon entry. He said the large flash of light seen primarily over Syracuse would have been the result of the meteor being fragmented by the earth’s atmosphere.

“The flash was probably about 10 times brighter than the moon, the full moon,” he said. “At that moment the body either completely disintegrated or lost a lot of mass.”

As of 5 p.m., more than 80 reports were made to the American Meteor Society regarding a fireball seen on Dec. 2.

Those in the United States appeared to hear an audible boom following the event, Vida said.

“Someone called me and said that their house shook so much that they thought a tree fell on the house.”

Vida said that it’s not uncommon for meteors to enter the earth’s atmosphere and that people witness the event generally about once a month on a global scale.

“But locally. It’s much rarer.”

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Chinese probe completes moon sampling – FRANCE 24

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Issued on: 03/12/2020 – 08:44Modified: 03/12/2020 – 08:43

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Beijing (AFP)

A Chinese space probe sent to gather material from a previously unexplored part of the moon has completed its mission and is preparing to send back the world’s first lunar samples in four decades, Beijing said Thursday.

China has poured billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon.

The Chang’e-5 spacecraft, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, landed on the moon Tuesday and has now completed its gathering of lunar rocks and soil, the China National Space Administration said.

The spacecraft had been due to collect two kilograms (4.5 pounds) of material from an area known as Oceanus Procellarum — or “Ocean of Storms” — a vast lava plain, according to the science journal Nature.

Scientists hope the samples will help them learn about the Moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.

State media said this week that the craft was preparing for “around 48 hours” of tasks on the lunar surface.

If successful, China will be only the third country to have retrieved samples from the Moon, following the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

This is the first such attempt since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976.

The CNSA on Thursday said the Chang’e-5 had completed the sampling and successfully packed the collected materials in a special container by Wednesday night.

“Scientific detection was carried out as planned,” the space agency said, without providing details.

The samples will be returned to Earth in a capsule programmed to land in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region in early December, according to US space agency NASA.

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Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope, already damaged, collapses – Vancouver Is Awesome

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ARECIBO, Puerto Rico — A huge, already damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century has now completely collapsed. The telescope’s 900-ton receiver platform fell onto the reflector dish more than 400 feet below on Tuesday. The U.S. National Science Foundation had earlier announced that the Arecibo Observatory would be closed. An auxiliary cable snapped in August, causing a 100-foot gash on the 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) reflector dish and damaged the receiver platform that hung above it. Then a main cable broke in early November.

DáNica Coto, The Associated Press


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