It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it
Human disturbance may often be criticized for harming the environment, but new research suggests a persistent lack of human attention in the central African forest could actually cause some tree species to disappear.
In a new study, published in Nature this week, an international research group led from Uppsala University in Sweden presents the discovery of a group of microbes that provide new insights as to how complex cellular life emerged. The study provides new details of how, billions of years ago, complex cell types that comprise plants, fungi, but also animals and humans, gradually evolved from simpler microbial ancestors.
28-year-old photographer Craig Burrows photographs plants and flowers using a type a photography called UVIVF or "ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence." If you haven't heard of it, that's not a surprise, as it is a relatively unknown process which brings out the glowing fluoresce in plant matter
Detailed information on 958 distinct morphological types of jellyfish that inhabit the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America has been compiled in a census published in Zootaxa, the leading zoological taxonomy journal. Coordinated by Brazilian scientists, the study involved scientists from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay.
Through his stunning visual project known as No Signal, photographer Brice Portolano shares the remarkable stories of people who have chosen to escape from a highly urbanized lifestyle and reconnect with nature. Arctic Love is the first of four striking photoessays in the series, which follows a young woman named Tinja who lives 180 miles from …
A new study using a NASA satellite instrument orbiting Earth has found that small, environmental changes in polar food webs significantly influence the boom-and-bust, or peak and decline, cycles of phytoplankton.
A chemical that is thought to be safe and is, therefore, widely used on crops -- such as almonds, wine grapes and tree fruits -- to boost the performance of pesticides, makes honey bee larvae significantly more susceptible to a deadly virus, according to researchers at Penn State and the US Department of Agriculture.
Caspian tigers, some of the largest cats that ever lived -- up to 10 feet long and weighing more than 300 pounds -- roamed through much of Central Asia before they were designated as extinct in the middle of the 20th century. But there is a chance that a subspecies of tiger that is nearly identical, genetically, to the Caspian could be restored to Central Asia.
A new study has found that trees worldwide develop thicker bark when they live in fire-prone areas. The findings suggest that bark thickness could help predict which forests and savannas will survive a warmer climate in which wildfires are expected to increase in frequency.
University of Guelph researchers have pinpointed the North American birthplaces of migratory monarch butterflies that overwinter in Mexico, vital information that will help conserve the dwindling species.
The researchers analyzed 'chemical fingerprints' in the wings of butterflies collected as far back as the mid-1970s to learn where monarchs migrate within North America each autumn.
A huge invertebrate diversity is hidden on the forest floor in the Araucaria moist forest. Land flatworms constitute a numerous group among these invertebrates occurring in the Neotropical region. Three new species of land flatworms were described from areas covered by the Araucaria moist forest in South Brazil. The new species were named after their characteristic color pattern. The study was published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
Thirty years ago a mysterious disease wiped out long-spined black sea urchins across the Caribbean, leading to massive algal overgrowth that smothered already overfished coral reefs. Now, marine biologists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) report that smaller sea urchins and parrotfish may be taking the place of the large sea urchins, restoring the balance on degraded reefs.
As a STRI short-term fellow, Catie Kuempel joined staff scientist Andrew Altieri to explore a large area of the sea floor in Bocas del Toro, Panama, where corals had died but, surprisingly, algae had not taken over. The most common algal grazers they found were a small sea urchin about the size of a ping pong ball, Echinometra viridis, and a tiny finger-sized striped parrot fish, Scarus iseri, which would be of no interest to fishermen. They propose that these tiny organisms may be able to preempt shifts from coral to algae on degraded coral reefs. They may be small, but there are a lot of them: small grazers comprise up to 95 percent of the biomass of all grazing organisms on the reefs in the study. Their combined weight is roughly equal to that of a smaller number of bigger herbivores on healthier reefs.
Chickens are not as clueless or 'bird-brained' as people believe them to be. They have distinct personalities and can outmaneuver one another. They know their place in the pecking order, and can reason by deduction, which is an ability that humans develop by the age of seven. Chicken intelligence is therefore unnecessarily underestimated and overshadowed by other avian groups. So says a new study published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.
Toxic algae blooms in lakes and reservoirs are highly destructive, resulting in fish kills and toxicity risks to wildlife, livestock -- and even humans. But their development is difficult to predict. Resource managers would like to stop such events in their tracks, before blooms cross a threshold and grow to the point of damaging a body of water. A new study, published December 26 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that automated monitoring systems that identify "regime shifts" -- such as rapid growth of algae and then depletion of oxygen in the water -- can successfully predict full-scale algae blooms in advance, and help resource managers avert their development. Prior studies indicated that this might be possible, but the researchers have now proven this is so during experiments in an isolated lake in Michigan. The researchers caused an algae bloom in the experimental lake by gradually enriching it with nutrients, similar to the flow of nutrients that might occur in a lake downstream of an agricultural area or city. As they did this, they also closely monitored a nearby un-enriched lake, and a third continuously enriched "reference" lake.
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