Researchers “counted” Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus) in Maizuru Bay, Japan, through quantitative measurements of environmental DNA concentration. Credit: Reiji Masuda, Kyoto University River water, lake water, and seawater contain DNA belonging to organisms such as animals and plants. Ecologists have begun to actively analyze such DNA molecules, called environmental DNA, to […]

Animation In a study published recently in Ecology and Evolution, an international team of researchers focused on what can happen to ocean ecosystems when fishing pressure increases or decreases, and how this differs between tropical to temperate marine ecosystems. The team, led by Elizabeth Madin, researcher at the Hawai’i Institute of […]

In 2011, Chilean scientists discovered a mysterious fossil in Antarctica that looked like a deflated football. For nearly a decade, the specimen sat unlabeled and unstudied in the collections of Chile’s National Museum of Natural History, with scientists identifying it only by its sci-fi movie-inspired nickname — “The Thing.” An […]

Animation When cells don’t divide into proper copies of themselves, living things fail to grow as they should. For the first time, scientists now understand how a protein called TANGLED1 can lead to accurate cell division in plants. Inside cells are structures called microtubules, which act like highways for moving […]

Gardenia’s newly sequenced genome highlights how evolutionary tinkering transforms plants into some of nature’s great chemical-makers. Plants are some of nature’s most extraordinary chemists. Unlike animals, they can’t run from predators or pathogens. They can’t uproot themselves to seek out a mate or spread their seeds. So instead, they manufacture […]

Animation Rife with obstacles and occlusions, terrestrial environments potentially helped give rise to planning circuits in the brain. New simulations show that living among land’s rich topography forced animals to plan rather than act based on habits Planning abilities increased survival rates, so evolution might have selected for brain circuitry […]

Animation Princeton-led team trains wild hummingbirds to discriminate UV color combinations. To find food, dazzle mates, escape predators and navigate diverse terrain, birds rely on their excellent color vision. “Humans are color-blind compared to birds and many other animals,” said Mary Caswell Stoddard, an assistant professor in the Princeton University Department of Ecology […]

A colony of Leptoseris hawaiiensis at 315 feet in the Au’au Channel Hawaii. Credit: Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, University of Hawaii New research published in the journal Coral Reefs revealed unexpectedly high growth rates for deep water photosynthetic corals. The study, led by Samuel Kahng, affiliate graduate faculty in the University of Hawai’i at […]

In 2017, Stanford University researchers presented a new device that mimics the brain’s efficient and low-energy neural learning process. It was an artificial version of a synapse — the gap across which neurotransmitters travel to communicate between neurons — made from organic materials. In 2019, the researchers assembled nine of […]