Life in the sea isn’t easy. Talk to most people about the ocean and they are likely to imagine a tropical scene with a stretch of golden sand and warm, clear water. The reality is often quite different – the marine environment can be a surprisingly cold place.
When it comes to making decisions, most of us are influenced to some degree by other people, whether that’s choosing a restaurant or a political candidate. We want to know what others think before we make that choice.
You might have noticed how bright green your plants look after rain. Or you may have been watering your garden this summer, over many hot days and weeks. So, which water is best for your plants? The stuff that falls out of the sky or the water that comes out of the tap?
Scientists who work with live organisms often have to move them between locations. This requires knowing what conditions creatures can tolerate well, and also can involve some unusual packing challenges. Here three researchers explain how they transport butterflies, sea turtles and endangered frogs safely between labs and the outdoors.
Industrial engineers from ‘Technologiecampus Gent ‘(KU Leuven) have developed a module that allows them to map the health of trees online. Using this module trees in a city or park can be monitored online.
Scientists have found remnants of small creatures in Antarctica under a deep layer of ice. The remains were found in mud that was brought up through a borehole. The findings might tell us something about the possibility of life on icy planets or moons
Compared to gene-edited babies in China and ambitious projects to rescue woolly mammoths from extinction, biotech trees might sound pretty tame. But releasing genetically engineered trees into forests to counter threats to forest health represents a new frontier in biotechnology.
According to the Chinese space agency CNSA there are plants growing on the Moon for the first time ever. Seedlings of a cotton plant to be precise, the seeds where taking to the moon by the Chang’e-4 probe.
There is a growing global trend to consider pets as part of the family. In fact, millions of people around the world love their pets, enjoying their companionship, going for walks, playing and even talking to them. And there is evidence suggesting that attachment to pets is good for human health and even helps build community.
Fireworks are a brilliant way to celebrate special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Guy Fawkes Night, as well as big sporting events and independence days – right? Not if you happen to be an animal.
In the autumn, lots of plants (especially trees) throw away their leaves. These are great for jumping in, but why do some plants do this? It seems like a waste. But actually, by dropping their leaves they are saving their nutrients for the next summer.
It’s been a good year for apples. Across Europe the apple harvest is the biggest it has been for a decade. But the handful of apple types you see on supermarket shelves only tells part of the story. There are actually 7,500 varieties of eating apple grown all over the world, and growers and scientists are making efforts to conserve and extend this.
Stripes are common in our lives. It’s a pretty basic pattern, and easy to take for granted. As an applied mathematician who studies how patterns form in nature, though, I am wowed by the striped patterns the zebrafish wears across its body and fins.
As a graduate student in the 1970s, microbiologist Richard Blakemore probably wasn’t expecting to discover a new bacterial species with a never-before-seen ability. While studying bacteria that live in muddy swamps, he observed that some tended to swim reliably toward the same geographical direction. Even when he rotated the microscope, they persisted in wiggling toward one direction. After confirming that their swimming behaviors were unaffected by light, Blakemore suspected they might be responding to the weak magnetic fields naturally present on Earth.
Whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. So wrote Charles Darwin, in his On the Origin of Species. The origin and evolution of animals is one of the most fascinating questions in modern biology.
If you’ve ever seen a picture of a DNA molecule, you probably saw it in its famous B-form: two strands coiling around each other in a right-handed fashion to form a double helix. But did you know that DNA can change its shape?
When those first fat drops of summer rain fall to the hot, dry ground, have you ever noticed a distinctive odor? I have childhood memories of family members who were farmers describing how they could always “smell rain” right before a storm.
To make this familiar summer sound, the male cricket holds his nerve and “stridulates” – rubbing his back legs together in order to entice a female. He knows this makes him vulnerable. What a female cricket can find, so too can the predators and parasites that wish to consume or infect him.
Earth’s oceans are having a rough go of it these days. On top of being the repository for millions of tons of plastic waste, global warming is affecting the oceans and upsetting marine ecosystems in potentially irreversible ways.
“Just how old do you think my dog is in dog years?” is a question I hear on a regular basis. People love to anthropomorphize pets, attributing human characteristics to them. And most of us want to extend our animal friends’ healthy lives for as long as possible.
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, but much of its life cycle remains shrouded in mystery. These gentle giants gather in just a handful of places around the globe – something which has long baffled scientists – but our new research has started to explain why. Better understanding of whale shark movements could help prevent further population loss in a species that has already experienced a 63% population decline over the past 75 years.
There’s a tree that once covered the whole of Australia, then dwindled to a dozen examples, and is now spread around the world. We call it the Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis), but you could call it the dinosaur tree.
For their first 100 million years on planet Earth, our mammal ancestors relied on the cover of darkness to escape their dinosaur predators and competitors. Only after the meteor-induced mass extinction of dinosaurs66 million years ago could these nocturnal mammals explore the many wondrous opportunities available in the light of day.
This summer, the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise will be on the big screen, reinforcing a love of dinosaurs that has been with many of us since childhood. There is something awe inspiring about the biggest, fiercest, and “deadest” creatures that have ever walked the planet. But the films have had an additional benefit – they have sparked an interest in dinosaur DNA.
When it comes to bees, it seems that nothing really does matter. As shown in a paper published today, our research demonstrates that the honeybee can understand the quantitative value of nothing, and place zero in the correct position along a line of sequential numbers.
Marine zooplankton are tiny animals, roughly the size of insects you might see on a summer day, that drift with ocean currents. Many of them are lovely, but except for scientists who study them, few people are aware that they are among the most numerous – and important – animals on Earth.