Nature

It is an awkward idea, but a couple’s ability to have kids may partly depend on who else is present. The reproductive tracts of males and females contain whole communities of micro-organisms. These microbes can have considerable impact on (animal) fertility and reproduction, as shown by Melissah Rowe, from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW),
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With the deadly 2017-2018 flu season still fresh in public health officials’ minds, this year’s outbreak is shaping up to be just as severe. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), says this flu season could be one of the worst in decades. “The initial indicators indicate this is
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Imagine taking a hike through a forest or a stroll through a zoo and not a sound fills the air, other than the occasional chirp from a cricket. No birds singing, no tigers roaring, no monkeys chattering, and no human voices, either. Acoustic communication among vertebrate animals is such a familiar experience that it seems
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Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are among the most common organisms on Earth. A research team led by the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Heidelberg University has now shown for the first time that Cyanobacteria produce relevant amounts of methane in oceans, inland waters and on land. Due to climate
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Half a billion years ago, the continents were quiet. Earth’s animals—represented largely by shelled mollusks, armored arthropods, and a smattering of wriggly, jawless fish—breathed with gills, not lungs, and hunted their prey at sea. But sometime, possibly during the Silurian (the geologic period spanning 443 million to 416 million years ago) an intrepid creature, likely
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Fossils have fascinated and puzzled humans since prehistoric times. They frequently have strange shapes unlike anything we know in the world around us today. And their mystery has confounded naturalists and scholars for centuries. Take for example, a strange skeleton that was uncovered near a small town in southern Germany in the early 18th century
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Archaeological evidence has upended our image of Neanderthals in the last couple of decades. We’ve learned that these extinct human relatives may have decorated their bodies, buried their dead and even created art. These behaviors make them seem much more like our own species, Homo sapiens, than previously believed. And according to a new study
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It’s hard to protect something you can’t find. A new Stanford study reveals sampling soil for animals’ left-behind DNA can provide valuable information for conservation efforts — with significantly less cost and time — than currently used methods, such as camera traps. The process, outlined Jan. 14 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also
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Characterized by alligators, airboats and catfish, the Everglades is a region of swampy wetlands in southern Florida. In addition to the area’s role in Florida’s tourism industry, the Everglades play a significant part in protecting our environment — through carbon sequestration. Over a quarter of the Everglades are encompassed in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The
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The essential roles that microbes play in deep-sea ecosystems are at risk from the potential environmental impacts of mining, a new paper in Limnology and Oceanography reports. The study reviews what is known about microbes in these environments and assesses how mining could impact their important environmental roles. “The push for deep-sea mining has really
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A research group from the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku studies the diversity of parasitoid insects around the world. Parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera) are one of the most species rich animal taxa on Earth, but their tropical diversity is still poorly known. In the latest study, the group discovered 15 new, sizeable species that
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Rare metallic elements found in clumps on the deep-ocean floor mysteriously remain uncovered despite the shifting sands and sediment many leagues under the sea. Scientists now think they know why, and it could have important implications for mining these metals while preserving the strange fauna at the bottom of the ocean. The growth of these
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