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  • News

    Fish as Farmers: Reef residents tend an algal crop

    A damselfish cultivates underwater gardens of an algal species that researchers haven't found growing on its own.

    The special alga could be the fishy version of people's domesticated crops, says Hiroki Hata of Kyoto University in Japan. Growth tests of the alga, surveys of its distribution, and genetic analyses support that idea, he and Makoto Kato say in an upcoming Biology...

    08/09/2006 - 12:05 Ecology
  • Feature

    That's the Way the Spaghetti Crumbles

    Great scientists sometimes do silly experiments. The renowned physicist and Nobel prize winner Richard P. Feynman, for instance, once got it into his head to figure out why uncooked spaghetti doesn't snap neatly in two when you bend it far enough to break. Pay attention next time, and you'll notice that the pasta tends to shatter into three or more fragments of unequal lengths.

    ...
    11/08/2005 - 11:51 Physics
  • News

    Champion of strength is forged in mighty anvil

    A newly created form of carbon has captured the crown of world's strongest known material. A team of researchers in Germany and France made the new material using a specialized, multijawed anvil that simultaneously squeezed and heated a powder of all-carbon molecules known as buckyballs.

    At 200,000 times atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 2,500 kelvins, the powder...

    09/13/2005 - 12:18 Physics
  • News

    Farmer ant species may have lost all its males

    From Oaxaca, Mexico, at a meeting of the Animal Behavior Society

    Minuscule gardeners that grow fungus for food may be the first ant species that scientists have discovered to have no power of sexual reproduction. Several lines of evidence suggest that the species Mycocepurus smithii consists only of females that produce daughters from unfertilized eggs, says Anna Himler of the...

    06/29/2004 - 10:14 Animals
  • News

    New Farmers: Salt marsh snails plow leaves, fertilize fungus

    People and insects aren't the only creatures on the planet that can grow a fungus for dinner. A salt marsh snail works the leaves of a plant in what researchers say looks like a simple form of farming.

    The snail Littoraria irrorata saws long gashes down the narrow leaves of the dominant plants in East Coast salt marshes. It doesn't eat the fresh tissue but instead waits...

    12/03/2003 - 11:00 Ecology
  • Feature

    Microbial Materials

    Bone. Nerve. Muscle. Horn. Hide. Silk. With ingenious assemblages of atoms and molecules, biology produces fantastic substances that have long inspired scientists to develop the synthetic materials of the modern landscape. Lately, materials scientists have turned to biology's smallest individuals–viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Not only can these microbes be coaxed to produce high-tech...

    06/30/2003 - 13:08 Materials