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E.g., 04/24/2018
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  • News

    Rising CO2 levels might not be as good for plants as we thought

    Two major groups of plants have shown a surprising reversal of fortunes in the face of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    During a 20-year field experiment in Minnesota, a widespread group of plants that initially grew faster when fed more CO2  stopped doing so after 12 years, researchers report in the April 20 Science. Meanwhile, the extra CO2 began to stimulate the...

    04/19/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Plants, Ecosystems
  • News

    Masses of shrimp and krill may play a huge role in mixing oceans

    When it comes to tiny ocean swimmers, the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Ocean turbulence stirred up by multitudes of creatures such as krill can be powerful enough to extend hundreds of meters down into the deep, a new study suggests.

    Brine shrimp moving vertically in two different laboratory tanks created small eddies that aggregated into a jet roughly the size of the...

    04/18/2018 - 13:20 Oceans, Ecology
  • News

    These seals haven’t lost their land ancestors’ hunting ways

    Some seals still eat like landlubbers.

    Just like lions, tigers and bears, certain kinds of seals have claws that help the animals grasp prey and tear it apart. X-rays show that the bones in these seals’ forelimbs look like those found in the earliest seals, a new study finds.

    Ancestors of these ancient seals transitioned from land to sea at some point, preserving clawed limbs...

    04/17/2018 - 19:09 Animals, Paleontology
  • Teaser

    A new plastic film glows to flag food contaminated with dangerous microbes

    Pathogen detectors built into plastic patches could someday spare you food poisoning.

    Carlos Filipe, a chemical engineer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues have developed a new kind of flexible film that’s coated in molecules that glow when they touch E. coli cells. This type of sensor also glows in the presence of molecules secreted by E. coli, so the material...

    04/17/2018 - 07:00 Materials, Microbes, Health
  • News

    Microplastics may enter freshwater and soil via compost

    Composting waste is heralded as being good for the environment. But it turns out that compost collected from homes and grocery stores is a previously unknown source of microplastic pollution, a new study April 4 in Science Advances reports.

    This plastic gets spread over fields, where it may be eaten by worms and enter the food web, make its way into waterways or perhaps break down...

    04/05/2018 - 16:17 Pollution, Oceans
  • Feature

    Flying insects tell tales of long-distance migrations

    Every autumn, a quiet mountain pass in the Swiss Alps turns into an insect superhighway. For a couple of months, the air thickens as millions of migrating flies, moths and butterflies make their way through a narrow opening in the mountains. For Myles Menz, it’s a front-row seat to one of the greatest movements in the animal kingdom.

    Menz, an ecologist at the University of Bern in...

    04/05/2018 - 06:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    How honeybees’ royal jelly might be baby glue, too

    Honeybee royal jelly is food meant to be eaten on the ceiling. And it might also be glue that keeps a royal baby in an upside-down cradle.

    These bees raise their queens in cells that can stay open at the bottom for days. A big blob of royal jelly, abundantly resupplied by worker bees, surrounds the larva at the ceiling. Before the food is deposited in the cell, it receives a last-minute...

    04/02/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Chemistry
  • News

    The science behind cancer warnings on coffee is murky at best

    Californians will soon be taking their coffee with cream and a cancer warning, after a court ruled that the state’s retailers must label coffee as containing a carcinogen. The decision followed an eight-year legal battle, which boiled down to a question that has plagued coffee drinkers and scientists alike: Is drinking coffee healthy, or not?

    The judge’s ruling, issued Wednesday, says...

    03/30/2018 - 17:23 Cancer
  • News

    Footprints put people on Canada’s west coast 13,000 years ago

    People who reached what’s now Canada’s Pacific coast around 13,000 years ago made some lasting impressions — with their feet.

    Beach excavations on Calvert Island, off British Columbia’s coast, revealed 29 human footprints preserved in clay-based sediment, says a team led by archaeologist Duncan McLaren. About 60 centimeters below the sandy surface, the deposits contained the footprints...

    03/28/2018 - 14:00 Archaeology
  • News

    ‘Nanobot’ viruses tag and round up bacteria in food and water

    NEW ORLEANS — Viruses engineered into “nanobots” can find and separate bacteria from food or water.

    These viruses, called bacteriophages or just phages, naturally latch onto bacteria to infect them (SN: 7/12/03, p. 26). By tweaking the phages’ DNA and decking them out with magnetic nanoparticles, researchers created a tool that could both corral bacteria and force them to reveal...

    03/27/2018 - 11:36 Microbiology, Chemistry, Health