Resolving the COVID-19 pandemic quickly hinges on a crucial factor: how well a person’s immune system remembers SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the disease, after an infection has resolved and the patient is back in good health. This phenomenon, called immune memory, helps our bodies avoid reinfection by a bug we’ve had before and influences the
The search for signs of Earth’s earliest forms of life isn’t quite like looking for dinosaur bones protruding out from desert outcrops. The oldest species on our planet were microscopic, nothing more than itty-bitty specks. Detecting them, and verifying their identity, is a complicated task that often relies not only hunting town tiny remains but
The mass extinction at the end of the Permian Peri od 252 million years ago — one of the great turnovers of life on Earth — appears to have played out differently and at different times on land and in the sea, according to newly redated fossils beds from South Africa and Australia. New ages
A variety of sea animals can take up virus particles while filtering seawater for oxygen and food. Sponges are particularly efficient. That was written by marine ecologist Jennifer Welsh from NIOZ this week, in a publication in Nature Scientific Reports. This Monday, Welsh will defend her thesis at the Free University of Amsterdam, through an
We’ve all seen the documentaries that feature scenes of mass migrations on land. Those videos are pretty impressive showing all sorts of animals — birds, mammals and other creatures — on the move. What wasn’t known was to what extent this was taking place in the deepest parts of our oceans. That was until now.
Research published in the journal Microbiology has found that a unique type of algae, usually only seen on the shells of turtles, affects the surrounding microbial communities. It is hoped that these findings can be applied to support the conservation of turtles. Previous research has shown that a diverse microbiome can protect animals against infections.
The increase in the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere does not compensate the negative effect of greenhouse gas-induced climate change on trees: The more extreme drought and heat become, the less do trees profit from the increased supply with carbon dioxide in terms of carbon metabolism and water use efficiency. This finding was obtained by
Local community involvement is vital in efforts to raise water levels to help restore Indonesia’s tropical peatlands, a new study has found. Unspoilt peatlands act as a carbon sink and play an important role in reducing global carbon emissions. They are also a crucial habitat for many birds and animals, including endangered species such as
A new carnivorous feathered dinosaur, coyote-sized with razor-sharp teeth and claws, has been discovered in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. The small but formidable predator called Dineobellator would have stalked these open floodplains 70 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, a paleontologist at the State Museum of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study in Scientific
Since pre-industrial times, the world’s oceans have warmed by an average of one degree Celsius (1°C). Now researchers report in Current Biology on March 26th that those rising temperatures have led to widespread changes in the population sizes of marine species. The researchers found a general pattern of species having increasing numbers on their poleward
It’s important to talk with children about the pandemic, but knowing how to go about it can be tricky. In this post, the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center shares its approach to talking to young children about difficult and complex topics. State Age-Appropriate Facts Regardless of age, you should share the facts about COVID-19. Children naturally
The early-1900s exploits of intrepid explorers like Robert Scott and Edward Shackleton captured the public imagination. With the benefit of cameras and deft handling of newspaper media, the Edwardian British explorers, alongside their Norwegian rival Roald Amundsen, established themselves as heroic polar pioneers. In the process, however, the south polar exploits of their American forerunner,
A slender little fish called the sand lance plays a big role as “a quintessential forage fish” for puffins, terns and other seabirds, humpback whales and other marine mammals, and even bigger fish such as Atlantic sturgeon, cod and bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine and northwest Atlantic Ocean. But scientists say right now
Common noctules — one of the largest bat species native to Germany — are searching for their fellows during their hunt for insects above farmland. Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) show in a paper published in the journal Oikos that bats forage on their own in insect-rich forests, but
It is estimated that every year, over 100,000 human deaths can be attributed to snakebite from the world’s 700 venomous snake species — all inflicted in self-defence when the snakes feel threatened by encroaching humans. However, a new piece of research concludes that snake venom did not evolve as a defence mechanism. Senior Lecturer Dr
Esther Pohl was a familiar sight around Portland, Oregon, by the summer of 1907. Thirty-five years old, with wavy hair piled atop her head, she was known for bicycling from house to house visiting the patients of her private obstetrics practice. One of the first women in Oregon to practice medicine, she had also served
On Friday, as the U.S. stock market closed out its worst week since 2008 amid coronavirus-related turmoil (before recovering somewhat early this week), investors were left with a glaring question: Is it all downhill from here? Amid such economic turbulence, some market researchers look to a familiar, powerful set of numbers to predict the future.
Despite fundamental differences in their biology, plants and animals are surprisingly similar in how they have evolved in response to climate around the world, according to a new study published this week in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Plants and animals are fundamentally different in many ways, but one of the most obvious is in how