In this week’s PLoS ONE media digest: U.S. energy policy and land use, the terrible tail of Ankylosaurus and decoding bat songs.
Climate change, energy policy and land use are topics that are rarely far from the news headlines. In their recent PLoS ONE article, Robert McDonald and colleagues at the Nature Conservancy estimate the effects of different U.S. energy policies on land use and habitat and predict that the land area taken up by energy production will dramatically increase by 2030. The authors state that this energy sprawl (the area footprint of new energy supply) “increases the need for energy conservation, appropriate siting, sustainable production practices, and compensatory mitigation offsets.” The study has been highlighted by the New York Times, Nature News and Journal Watch.
Dinosaurs of the ankylosaurid family are large and heavily armoured and are often portrayed with an enlarged mass of bone, forming a “club” at the end of their tail, which was used as a defensive weapon. In a new study published in PLoS ONE, Victoria Arbour of the University of Alberta, used computed tomography (CT) scans to analyse the tail clubs of fossil ankylosaurids and discuss how these dinosaurs swung their terrifying tails. Some of the online coverage of the study includes: Wired News, NeuroDojo and the Open Source Paleontologist.
Complex songs are rare among mammals but in their recent PLoS ONE article, Kirsten Bohn and colleagues report that males of the species Tadarida brasiliensis (the Brazilian free-tailed bat) produce songs to attract females and to ward off other males and while there is some variation, these songs are highly organised, governed by a complex set of syntactical rules and following a set syllabic order. The BBC News, the Associated Press and the 80beats blog have all discussed the paper and you can listen to samples of the bats’ ballads by visiting the supporting information section of the published paper.
And finally, some of the recent coverage of papers published in PLoS ONE includes: