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Songbird crosses the Atlantic in a nonstop flight

Blackpoll warbler

Blackpoll warblers travel over 2,000 kilometers from North America to South America every year, one of the longest transoceanic flights recorded in a songbird.

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Every autumn, the blackpoll warbler (Setophaga striata) flies nonstop from Canada or New England south across the Atlantic Ocean and lands on the northern coast of South America three days later. In that time, the 12-gram birds travel 2,270 to 2,770 kilometers, and theirs is one of the longest transoceanic flights recorded in a songbird,  researchers report April 1 in Biology Letters.

Plenty of circumstantial evidence had pointed to an impressive migration in blackpolls. In 2013, researchers equipped the birds with tiny geolocation devices that use sunrise and sunset times, which vary with latitude, and modeled the birds' calorie intake and energy expenditure to confirm that the birds’ bodies could physically make the journey. Why exactly the blackpoll travels such a dangerous route remains a mystery.

Microbes,, Health

Some superbugs lurk in Britain’s surf

By Helen Thompson 7:30am, March 31, 2015
In Great Britain’s coastal waters, surfers and swimmers are exposed to low levels of drug-resistant E. coli, a new study finds.
Health

Performance gains from Tommy John surgery still up for debate

By Nathan Seppa 9:00am, March 30, 2015
Major league baseball pitchers who undergo two Tommy John surgeries have shorter careers than peers who don’t have the surgery, a new study finds.
Science & Society,, Microbes,, Health

White House unveils strategy against antibiotic resistance

By Nathan Seppa 5:09pm, March 27, 2015
The Obama Administration has launched a long-term plan to curb antibiotic resistance, unveiling incentives and requirements designed to boost surveillance and diagnosis of resistant microbes.
Animals,, Conservation

Panda stalking reveals panda hangouts

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, March 27, 2015
Scientists used GPS trackers to learn about the giant panda lifestyle.
Evolution,, Animals

Bright bird plumage resulted from natural, sexual selection

By Bethany Brookshire 2:00pm, March 27, 2015
Darwin hypothesized that bird color differences resulted from sexual selection. Wallace disagreed. A study shows that both were right after all.
Animals

For bats, simple traffic patterns limit collisions

By Kate Baggaley 6:34pm, March 26, 2015
Humans aren’t the only ones who follow traffic rules. Bats do it too, researchers report.
Planetary Science,, Astronomy

NASA has a plan for putting rock from asteroid in moon’s orbit

By Christopher Crockett 5:46pm, March 25, 2015
NASA selects concept for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will let astronauts train for future missions to Mars.
Science & Society,, Numbers

John Nash, Louis Nirenberg share math’s Abel Prize

By Lila Guterman 4:53pm, March 25, 2015
John Nash and Louis Nirenberg will receive the 2015 ‘Nobel of mathematics’ for their work on partial differential equations.
Quantum Physics

One photon wrangles 3,000 atoms into quantum entanglement

By Andrew Grant 2:00pm, March 25, 2015
A single photon can trigger the creation of quantum entanglement between thousands of atoms.
Microbiology,, Agriculture

A vineyard's soil influences the microbiome of a grapevine

By Helen Thompson 7:00am, March 25, 2015
Vineyard soil microbes end up on grapes, leaves and flowers, study finds.
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