Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke is a freelance science journalist and former staff writer at Science News for Students. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Northwestern University, where she studied how light plays into the chemistry and toxicity of different types of nanoparticles under environmental conditions. Her experience as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at The Sacramento Bee convinced her to leave the lab to write about science instead. Carolyn is a former Science News intern and has also reported on the life sciences for The Scientist. She enjoys writing about materials science, chemistry, microbiology and all things related to the environment.

All Stories by Carolyn Wilke

  1. a photo of a crocodile with its mouth open

    Some ancient crocodiles may have chomped on plants instead of meat

    Fossil teeth of extinct crocodyliforms suggest that some ate plants and that herbivory evolved at least three times in crocs of the Mesozoic Era.

  2. distance runner

    Gut microbes might help elite athletes boost their physical performance

    Veillonella bacteria increased in some runners’ guts after a marathon, and may make a compound that might boost endurance, a mouse study suggests.

  3. tree finch

    Parasites ruin some finches’ songs by chewing through the birds’ beaks

    Parasitic fly larvae damage the beaks of Galápagos finches, changing their mating songs and possibly causing females to pick males of a different species.

  4. Europa

    Table salt may be hiding in Europa’s underground sea

    Observations of Europa by the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the moon’s ice-covered ocean may hold sodium chloride, or common table salt.

  5. Odaw River

    Many of the world’s rivers are flush with dangerous levels of antibiotics

    Antibiotic pollution can fuel drug resistance in microbes. A global survey of rivers finds unsafe levels of antibiotics in 16 percent of sites.

  6. bat

    Bats are the main cause of rare rabies deaths in the U.S.

    In the United States, bats are mostly to blame for rabies deaths, while rabies transmitted by overseas dogs comes in second.

  7. dragonfish teeth

    Tiny structures in dragonfish teeth turn them into invisible daggers

    The teeth of deep-sea dragonfish are transparent because of nanoscale crystals and rods that let light pass through without being scattered.

  8. compostable food containers

    Chemicals in biodegradable food containers can leach into compost

    PFAS compounds from compostable food containers could end being absorbed by plants and later eaten by people, though the health effects are unclear.

  9. Pteris vittata ferns

    How one fern hoards toxic arsenic in its fronds and doesn’t die

    To survive high levels of arsenic, a fern sequesters the heavy metal in its shoots with the help of three proteins.

  10. vaping liquid

    Vaping the sweetener sucralose may produce toxic chemicals

    Sucralose in e-liquids can break down, increasing toxic aldehydes in vapors and producing harmful organochlorines, including a potential carcinogen.

  11. fish fossil

    A 50-million-year-old fossil captures a swimming school of fish

    Analysis of a fossilized fish shoal suggests that animals may have evolved coordinated group movement around 50 million years ago.

  12. chocolate

    Sweaty, vinegary and sweet odors mingle to make dark chocolate’s smell

    Scientists have worked out the chemistry of dark chocolate’s smell and reconstructed the aroma.