Weekly PLoS ONE News and Blog Round-Up

Bloggers and the press have both been discussing a variety of PLoS ONE papers this week, ranging from antibiotic resistance in seagulls, to the music of the brain. As always, all of the articles we publish are freely available online; you can use our search functionality to find any PLoS ONE papers you have read about in the media.

Harvard researcher Konika Banerjee and colleagues recently published an article in which they report the first finding that cognitive abilities vary among individual monkeys within a species (the cotton-top tamarin, in this case). The scientists tested the broad cognitive ability of the monkeys and were able to identify high-, medium- and low-performing monkeys based on a general intelligence score (“g”). The study has been featured in New Scientist, as well as a number of online news sites.

Mirva Drobni and an international team of researchers studied Mediterranean gulls in the South of France and reported that almost half of these gulls have developed some form of resistance to antibiotics, which the authors state in their PLoS ONE paper is “a result of long-time direct or indirect exposure to human activities in an area with relatively high antibiotic pressure.” Online coverage of the study has included a LiveScience article.

Another article published this week in PLoS ONE concerning human impacts on local animal populations was written by Craig Packer and colleagues, who evaluated the effects of sport hunting on large carnivores in the US and Africa over the past 25 years. The researchers found that sport hunting has depleted populations of lions and cougars, although the effect on leopards and black bears was less drastic, and leads the authors to call for better management of sport hunting. The study has been picked up on the wires and has also been blogged at Mother Jones and Eco Understanding.

We’ve already posted a lot of the coverage of the PLoS ONE paper in which the authors reported the association between the AVPR1a gene (and other genes) with musical ability and now another music-related article has been published in the journal, this one by Dan Wu and colleagues, who analysed the relation between music and the brain by converting brainwaves into music by processing EEGs taken during REM sleep. If you want to know what your brain “sounds like,” you can listen to a number of these audio files via the paper’s supporting information. SciCurious at Neurotopia and the Thinking Meat Project have both discussed the paper.

Finally, in an article published yesterday, Liz Allen (not to be confused with PLoS’s Director of Marketing!) and a research team from the Wellcome Trust, compare two ways of evaluating the quality and importance of scientific research articles: expert peer review and bibliometric indicators (such as the number of citations and Faculty of 1000 rating).As well as an active FriendFeed discussion of the study, you can also read F1000’s response, which has been posted as a comment on the paper. ¿Hablas español? If so, you may also want to check out Francis (th)E mule’s blog post.

From the Other PLoS Journals

In a recent PLoS Biology paper, Sievert Rohwer and colleagues ask why birds aren’t larger. They found that it is the time taken to replace flight feathers during molt that limits the size of our feathered friends. This study has been covered by ScienceNOW, LiveScience and SciAm’s 60-Second Science.

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