Research Roundup: Open Science advocate urges universities to support open research; Oysters close their shells when exposed to low-frequency sounds

Research Roundup: Open Science advocate urges universities to support open research; Oysters close their shells when exposed to low-frequency sounds

Open Science advocate urges universities to support open research

A new Perspective recently published in PLOS Biology argues that universities should actively support the sharing of educational resources.

Erin McKiernan from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México outlines why researchers may feel intense pressure to lock up their work. When scientists are evaluated for hiring, promotion and tenure, open scholarship practices — like sharing articles, computer code, data and educational resources — are often at best overlooked, and at worse actively discouraged.

McKiernan proposes several ways institutions could counter practices that inhibit the free flow of information and educational resources. These include redirecting funds to support the creation of openly licensed textbooks and open publishing, rewriting promotion and tenure guidelines to recognize shared code and data as equal to publications, and supporting outreach by awarding faculty prizes for community engagement.

Perspective Article:  McKiernan EC (2017) Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education. PLoS Biol 15(10): e1002614. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002614

Image Credit:  John R. McKiernan and the ‘Why Open Research?’ project (http://whyopenresearch.org)

 

Oysters close their shells when exposed to low-frequency sounds

oyster photo

Noise pollution is a major problem in the marine environment, yet little is known about its impact on invertebrates.

In a new study, Jean-Charles Massabuau from University of Bordeaux and his colleagues investigated the impact of noise on 32 oysters in the laboratory, using a loudspeaker to play sounds underwater in a range of frequencies. The researchers found that oysters rapidly closed their shells at sound frequencies between 10 and 1000 hertz. Their maximum sensitivity was at low frequencies (between 10 and to 200 hertz).

The sounds and vibrations from breaking waves and currents are in the oysters’ sensitivity range, and the researchers propose that oysters may “hear” tidal cues that trigger appropriate behavior as the tide rises. In addition, most marine noise pollution is due to cargo boats, and most of the noise from shipping is at low frequencies that oysters “hear” best. Other sources of marine noise pollution also generatelow-frequency sounds, including explosions, seismic research, pile driving and wind turbines. All of these noises can thus muddle the normal oyster soundscape, and cause them to close their shells in response.

Research Article: Charifi M, Sow M, Ciret P, Benomar S, Massabuau J-C (2017) The sense of hearing in the Pacific oyster, Magallana gigasPLoS ONE 12(10): e0185353. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185353

Image Credit: Jean-Charles Massabuau

Author

Tessa is the Journal Media Manager at PLOS. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Rhetoric and Music. She can be reached by email at tgregory@plos.org and on Twitter at @tessagregs.

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