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E.g., 04/26/2018
E.g., 04/26/2018
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  • News

    Heat waves are roasting reefs, but some corals may be resilient

    It’s no secret that warming ocean waters have devastated many of the world’s coral reefs. For instance, a 2016 marine heat wave killed 30 percent of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, a study published online April 18 in Nature reports. But some coral species may be able to adapt and survive in warmer waters for another century, or even two, a second team reports April 19 in PLOS Genetics. And...

    04/20/2018 - 11:07 Climate, Evolution, Ecosystems
  • 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
  • Science Ticker

    This plastic-gobbling enzyme just got an upgrade

    Just a few tweaks to a bacterial enzyme make it a lean, mean plastic-destroying machine.

    One type of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, is widely used in polyester clothing and disposable bottles and is notoriously persistent in landfills. In 2016, Japanese scientists identified a new species of bacteria, Ideonella sakaiensis, which has a specialized enzyme that can naturally...

    04/19/2018 - 07:00 Microbes, Pollution
  • 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

    Cargo ships must cut their emissions in half by 2050

    A new, hard-fought international deal will set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping for the first time.

    Delegates to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, or IMO, met for a week in London to hash out the details of the plan. On April 13, more than 170 states agreed to the new road map, which aims to reduce shipping emissions at least 50...

    04/13/2018 - 17:47 Climate, Oceans
  • News

    Sweet potatoes might have arrived in Polynesia long before humans

    Sweet potatoes were domesticated thousands of years ago in the Americas. So 18th century European explorers were surprised to find Polynesians had been growing the crop for centuries. Anthropologists have since hypothesized that Polynesian seafarers had brought the tuber back from expeditions to South America — a journey of over 7,500 kilometers.

    New genetic evidence instead suggests...

    04/12/2018 - 18:14 Genetics, Agriculture, Anthropology
  • Science Stats

    Ocean heat waves are becoming more common and lasting longer

    The world’s oceans are sweltering. Over the last century, marine heat waves have become more common and are lasting longer. New research suggests the annual number of days that some part of the ocean is experiencing a heat wave has increased 54 percent from 1925 to 2016, researchers report April 10 in Nature Communications.

    Typically, scientists define a marine heat wave as at least five...

    04/10/2018 - 11:00 Oceans, Climate
  • 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
  • News in Brief

    This ancient lizard may have watched the world through four eyes

    About 50 million years ago, a monitor lizard in what is now Wyoming perceived the world through four eyes. Saniwa ensidens is the only known jawed vertebrate to have had two eyelike photosensory structures at the top of the head, in addition to the organs we commonly think of as eyes, researchers report April 2 in Current Biology.

    The structures are called the pineal and parapineal...

    04/05/2018 - 12:19 Paleontology, Earth, Neuroscience
  • News

    Efforts to contain Mississippi floods may have made them worse

    The world’s longest system of levees and floodways, meant to rein in the mighty Mississippi River, may actually make flooding worse.

    Using tree rings and lake sediments, researchers re-created a history of flooding along the lower Mississippi River extending back to the 1500s. This paleoflood record suggests that the past century of river engineering — intended to minimize flood damage...

    04/04/2018 - 14:21 Earth, Climate