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E.g., 10/19/2017
E.g., 10/19/2017
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  • News in Brief

    How volcanoes may have ended the dynasty of Ptolemy and Cleopatra

    A series of volcanic eruptions may have helped bring about the downfall of the last Egyptian dynasty 2,000 years ago.

    By suppressing the monsoons that swelled the Nile River each summer, triggering flooding that supported the region’s agriculture, the eruptions probably helped usher in an era of periodic revolts, researchers report online October 17 in Nature Communications. That...

    10/17/2017 - 15:54 Earth
  • Science Visualized

    Here’s a breakdown of the animals that crossed the Pacific on 2011 tsunami debris

    Life’s great diversity has revealed itself in more than 600 pieces of floating tsunami debris that have landed on the western coast of North America. Of nearly 300 living animal and protist species documented on the debris, which crossed the Pacific Ocean following Japan’s destructive 2011 tsunami, researchers analyzed in detail 237 species, which include larger invertebrates and two fish. The...

    10/17/2017 - 11:00 Oceans, Animals
  • News

    When the Larsen C ice shelf broke, it exposed a hidden world

    Teams of scientists are gearing up to race to the Antarctic Peninsula to find out what happens in the immediate aftermath of a massive ice calving event. In July, a Delaware-sized iceberg broke off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf (SN: 8/5/17, p. 6). Now, several research groups aim to assess the stability of the remaining ice shelf, map the region’s seafloor and study a newly exposed...

    10/13/2017 - 13:33 Earth, Climate
  • News in Brief

    During El Niño, the tropics emit more carbon dioxide

    The tropics of Asia, Africa and South America all puffed out more carbon dioxide during the strong 2015–2016 El Niño than during the 2011 La Niña, new satellite data show. Because El Niño’s warmer, drier conditions in tropical regions mimic the effects of climate change expected by the end of the century, those observations may be a sobering harbinger of the tropics’ diminishing role as a...

    10/12/2017 - 14:09 Climate, Earth, Plants
  • 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

    Much of the world’s honey now contains bee-harming pesticides

    Neonicotinoid pesticides are turning up in honey on every continent with honeybees.

    The first global honey survey testing for these controversial nicotine-derived pesticides shows just how widely honeybees are exposed to the chemicals, which have been shown to affect the health of bees and other insects. Three out of four honey samples tested contained measurable levels of at least one...

    10/05/2017 - 14:06 Agriculture, Animals
  • Feature

    José Dinneny rethinks how plants hunt for water

    José Dinneny, 39Plant stress biologistCarnegie Institution for Science 

    José Dinneny wants us to see plants as stranger things.

    “They’re able to integrate information and make coherent decisions without a nervous system, without a brain,” he points out. Plus, plants find water without sight or touch. For too many of us, however, lawns, salads and pots on a sunny windowsill make plants so...

    10/04/2017 - 13:52 Plants, Genetics, Agriculture
  • Feature

    Chong Liu one-ups plant photosynthesis

    Chong Liu, 30Inorganic chemistUCLA

    For Chong Liu, asking a scientific question is something like placing a bet: You throw all your energy into tackling a big and challenging problem with no guarantee of a reward. As a student, he bet that he could create a contraption that photosynthesizes like a leaf on a tree — but better. For the now 30-year-old chemist, the gamble is paying off.

    “He...

    10/04/2017 - 13:48 Chemistry, Sustainability, Materials
  • News in Brief

    Radioactive material from Fukushima disaster turns up in a surprising place

    Six years after the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan, radioactive material is leaching into the Pacific Ocean from an unexpected place. Some of the highest levels of radioactive cesium-137, a major by-product of nuclear power generation, are now found in the somewhat salty groundwater beneath sand beaches tens of kilometers away, a new study shows.

    Scientists tested for...

    10/02/2017 - 15:30 Pollution, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    Castaway critters rafted to U.S. shores aboard Japan tsunami debris

    The 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan’s coast cast an enormous amount of debris out to sea — way out. Japanese marine life took advantage of the new floating real estate and booked a one-way trip to America. From 2012 to 2017, at least 289 living Japanese marine species washed up on the shores of North America and Hawaii, hitching rides on fishing boats, docks, buoys, crates and other...

    09/28/2017 - 15:19 Oceans, Animals, Climate