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Your search has returned 163 articles:
  • Introducing

    The Lord Howe stick insect is officially back from the dead

    It’s a rare triumph when a species comes back from the dead. A new genetic analysis has officially established what many entomologists and conservation biologists hoped was true: The Lord Howe stick insect (Dryococelus australis) lives.

    Nicknamed “tree lobsters,” the dark-brown crawlers are nocturnal, flightless creatures that can grow up to 15 centimeters long. They feed on tea trees,...

    11/13/2017 - 12:30 Animals, Conservation, Evolution
  • Essay

    Defining ‘species’ is a fuzzy art

    The funniest thing I’ve ever said to any botanist was, “What is a species?” Well, it certainly got the most spontaneous laugh. I don’t think Barbara Ertter, who doesn’t remember the long-ago moment, was being mean. Her laugh was more of a “where do I even start” response to an almost impossible question.

    At first glance, “species” is a basic vocabulary word schoolchildren can ace on a...

    11/01/2017 - 09:00 Evolution, Conservation
  • Science Ticker

    New deep-sea sponge could play a starring role in monitoring ocean health

    The deep waters of the East Pacific hold an unprepossessing treasure trove: potato-sized lumps of rock that contain valuable metals such as manganese, cobalt and copper. Turns out, such “manganese nodules” are home to another kind of goody: a species of sponge never before seen, researchers report online September 24 in Systematics and Biodiversity. These newly discovered nodule-dwellers may...

    10/10/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Oceans, Conservation
  • News

    Tropical forests have flipped from sponges to sources of carbon dioxide

    The world’s tropical forests are exhaling — and it’s not a sigh of relief. Instead of soaking up climate-warming gases on balance, these so-called “lungs of the planet” are beginning to release them.

    A new study based on analyses of satellite imagery of tropical Asia, Africa and the Americas suggests that tropical forests contribute more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than they remove...

    09/28/2017 - 14:00 Climate, Conservation
  • News

    Light pollution can foil plant-insect hookups, and not just at night

    For flowers, too much light at night could lead to a pollination hangover by day.

    Far from any urban street, researchers erected street lights in remote Swiss meadows to mimic the effects of artificial light pollution. In fields lit during the night, flowers had 62 percent fewer nocturnal visitors than flowers in dark meadows, researchers report August 2 in Nature.

    For one of the...

    08/02/2017 - 16:45 Conservation, Plants, Animals
  • News

    Peace and quiet is becoming more elusive in U.S. wild areas

    Even in the wilderness, humans are making a ruckus.

    In 63 percent of America’s protected places — including parks, monuments and designated wilderness areas — sounds made by human activity are doubling the volume of background noise. And in 21 percent of protected places, this racket can make things 10 times noisier.  

    Enough clatter from cars, planes and suburban sprawl is seeping...

    05/04/2017 - 14:00 Pollution, Conservation
  • Wild Things

    Improbable ‘black swan’ events can devastate animal populations

    Sometimes, the improbable happens. The stock market crashes. A big earthquake shakes a city. A nuclear power plant has a meltdown. These seemingly unpredictable, rare incidents — dubbed black swan events — may be unlikely to happen on any specific day, but they do occur. And even though they may be rare, we take precautions. A smart investor balances their portfolio. A California homeowner...

    04/17/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Conservation
  • Wild Things

    De-extinction probably isn’t worth it

    The prospect of resurrecting mammoths is back in the news after Harvard geneticist George Church announced last month that he may be only two years away from creating a mammoth-elephant hybrid fetus. That’s still a long way from a living mammoth — let alone herds of the animals — and scientists are skeptical that Church will be successful with even a hybrid fetus. The scientific hurdles that...

    03/09/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation
  • Science Ticker

    Desert songbirds increasingly at risk of dehydration

    Desert songbirds, especially the little fit-in-your-hand ones, could soon face widening danger zones for lethal thirst in the southwestern United States, a new study predicts.

    Coping with heat waves can demand so much water evaporation to prevent heat stroke — from panting, for instance — that birds can die from dehydration, says Blair Wolf of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque...

    02/13/2017 - 17:11 Climate, Animals, Conservation
  • News

    Hot nests, not vanishing males, are bigger sea turtle threat

    Worries about climate change threatening sea turtles may have been misdirected.

    Warming that could lead to far more female hatchlings than males isn’t the most immediate danger from climate shifts. Lethally overheated beach nests are more important, researchers argue February 8 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    Climate change can meddle with sex ratios of the seven species of...

    02/07/2017 - 19:05 Climate, Animals, Conservation