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Drought Research. Read where droughts are predicted, and what can be done about them.
Last updated on  April 27th, 2018
Whale shark logs longest-recorded trans-Pacific migration: Click here
A whale shark named Anne swam all the way across the Pacific from Coiba National Park in Panama to the Marianas Trench, setting a record as the longest-recorded migration.
Bleaching of coral reefs reduced where daily temperature changes are large: Click here
Coral reef bleaching is stark evidence of the damage being inflicted by global climate change on marine ecosystems, but a research team has found some cause for hope. While many corals are dying, others are showing resilience to increased sea surface temperatures, pointing to possible clues to the survival and recovery of these vitally important aquatic habitats.
Who am I? How cells find their identity: Click here
A research group has investigated more closely how a single embryonic cell develops into a heart, nerve or blood cell. For the first time, the researchers have been able to reconstruct the developmental trajectories of individual embryonic cells. Their results also suggest that cells can change their path during their maturation process.
Novel ecosystems provide use for some native birds: Click here
Ecosystems that have been altered by human activities can provide suitable habitat for native birds, according to scientists in the United States and Australia.
Why a robot can't yet outjump a flea: Click here
Smashing mantis shrimp. Snapping trap-jaw ants. Stinging jellyfish. Some of the fastest living things -- at least over short distances -- are also the smallest. A new mathematical model explores how the smallest and speediest things on Earth generate their powerful jumps, snaps, strikes and punches. The model could help explain why robots can't hold a candle to the fastest-moving insects and other tiny-but-powerful creatures, and how they could get closer.
Genetic roadmap to building an entire organism from a single cell: Click here
In three landmark studies,researchers report how they have systematically profiled every cell in developing zebrafish and frog embryos to establish a roadmap revealing how one cell builds an entire organism. The findings represent a catalog of genetic 'recipes' for generating different cell types and provide an unprecedented resource for the study of developmental biology and disease.
World's oldest insect inspires a new generation of aerogels: Click here
Experts have created a new form of highly-efficient, low-cost, sustainable insulation based on the wings of a dragonfly.
No chronic wasting disease transmissibility in macaques: Click here
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) did not cross the species barrier to infect cynomolgus macaque monkeys during a lengthy investigation exploring risks to humans.
A Yellowstone guide to life on Mars: Click here
A geology student is helping NASA determine whether life existed on other planets. He is helping find a marker for ancient bacterial life on Mars. The research could help scientists put to rest one of our most fundamental mysteries.
Massive study across western equatorial Africa finds more gorillas and chimpanzees than expected: Click here
A massive decade-long study of Western Equatorial Africa's gorillas and chimpanzees has uncovered both good news and bad about our nearest relatives. The good news: there are one third more western lowland gorillas and one tenth more central chimpanzees than previously thought. The bad news: the vast majority of these great apes (80 percent) exist outside of protected areas, and gorilla populations are declining by 2.7 percent annually.
Drinking kefir may prompt brain-gut communication to lower blood pressure: Click here
Drinking kefir may have a positive effect on blood pressure by promoting communication between the gut and brain. Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk beverage known to help maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
Redefining the origin of the cellular powerhouse: Click here
Researchers proposes a new evolutionary origin for mitochondria -- also known as the 'powerhouses of the cell.' Mitochondria are energy-converting organelles that have played key roles in the emergence of complex cellular life on Earth.
After a volcano erupts, bird colonies recover: Click here
Where do seabirds go when their nesting colony is buried by a volcano? In 2008, the eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutian archipelago provided a rare opportunity to track how the island's crested and least auklet populations responded when their nesting colony was abruptly destroyed. As a new study shows, the birds were surprisingly adaptable, establishing a new colony on freshly created habitat nearby in only four years.
Endangered petrels and trawl fishing clash in Tasman sea: Click here
Today's shifting environmental conditions are creating an uncertain future for many top predators in marine ecosystems, but to protect the key habitat of a species, you first have to know where that habitat is and what threats might be affecting it. A new study looks at where New Zealand's endangered Westland Petrel forages during its breeding season and shows that its range overlaps more with trawl fishing activity than conservationists realized.
Protect forest elephants to conserve ecosystems, not DNA: Click here
New research has found that forest elephant populations across Central Africa are genetically quite similar to one another. Conserving this critically endangered species across its range is crucial to preserving local plant diversity in Central and West African Afrotropical forests -- meaning conservationists could save many species by protecting one.
E. coli -- are we measuring the wrong thing?: Click here
Work to improve sepsis detection suggests that hospitals may be measuring the wrong metrics for success. A sepsis awareness and management program has demonstrated overall success in terms of improved sepsis detection, but has led to an increase in the number of E. coli blood stream infection cases presented.
Mediterranean diet boosts beneficial bacteria, study finds: Click here
Here's another reason to eat a Mediterranean-type diet: it's good for your gut. Scientists have found that eating a plant-based diet enhanced the good bacteria living in the gut by up to 7 percent as compared to only 0.5 percent from eating a more meat-centric, Western diet.
Human impact on sea urchin abundance: Click here
In a 50-year study, researchers record the dynamics of three common species of sea urchins in Hatakejima Island, Wakayama.
Archaeologists on ancient horse find in Nile River Valley: Click here
An ancient horse burial at Tombos along the Nile River Valley shows that a member of the horse family thousands of years ago was more important to the culture than previously thought, which provides a window into human-animal relationships more than 3,000 years ago.
How do marine mammals avoid the bends?: Click here
Deep-diving whales and other marine mammals can get the bends -- the same painful and potentially life-threatening decompression sickness that strikes scuba divers who surface too quickly. A new study offers a hypothesis of how marine mammals generally avoid getting the bends and how they can succumb under stressful conditions.
Corn with straw mulch builds yield, soil carbon: Click here
How do you boost soil water content and soil health without irrigating? Best cover it with a layer of straw, a new study concludes.
Skewed sex ratios causes single bird fathers to bring up the young: Click here
When the balance of the sexes is skewed towards one gender, parents are more likely to split up, leaving the father to care for the offspring, says a new study in bird populations.
We still don't know how strange celibate animals evolve: Click here
A new study has cast doubt on leading theory for how tiny creatures have evolved for 50 million years -- without ever having sex.
Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests: Click here
There are too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests, say scientists. That may come as a surprise to those who see dense, verdant forests as signs of a healthy environment. After all, green is good, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to the number of trees in California forests, bigger isn't always better.
Planet's smallest microbes examined at nation's largest aquarium: Click here
Biologists have advanced a new scientific frontier -- study of the aquarium microbiome -- to better understand the millions of marine microorganisms living in the water and what role they play in keeping the ecosystem healthy.
New app could make cannabis use safer: Click here
Researchers have developed a prototype app called 'Am I Stoned' that could help cannabis users understand how the drug is affecting them through a series of phone-based tasks.
3-D printed food could change how we eat: Click here
Researchers consider how 3-D printing technology could be used for food production.
Killer whale genetics raise inbreeding questions: Click here
A new genetic analysis of Southern Resident killer whales found that two male whales fathered more than half of the calves born since 1990 that scientists have samples from, a sign of inbreeding in the small killer whale population that frequents Washington's Salish Sea and Puget Sound.
Engineered Chinese shrub produces high levels of antimalarial compound: Click here
Artemisinin is a potent antimalarial compound produced naturally in low amounts by the Chinese shrub Artemisia annua, commonly known as sweet wormwood. Researchers in China now report a high-quality draft genome sequence of A. annua and their use of this information along with gene expression data to metabolically engineer plant lines that produce high levels of artemisinin.
Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: Click here
Findings from two new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood.
Deep water aquifer acts like natural bio-reactor, allowing microbes to consume carbon: Click here
Researchers have shown that underground aquifers along the mid-ocean ridge act like natural biological reactors, pulling in cold, oxygenated seawater, and allowing microbes to break down more -- perhaps much more -- refractory carbon than scientists ever believed.
High immune function tied to stunted growth: Click here
Elevated immune function during childhood results in as much as 49 percent growth reduction in Ecuador's indigenous Shuar population, researchers report.
Land use and pollution shift female-to-male ratios in snapping turtles: Click here
Current research shows that increasing global temperatures as a result of climate change are expected to produce more female turtles since their offspring are influenced by the nest's temperature. But now, a team of biologists has found that the nesting environment of turtles in agricultural habitats, which can ultimately lower nesting temperatures, can actually produce more males.
What can a tasty milkshake teach us about the genetics of heart disease?: Click here
Analysis of high-resolution genomic data in a large study population reveals novel low-frequency polymorphisms that drive response to dietary lipids and medication.
A non-coding RNA lasso catches proteins in breast cancer cells: Click here
A Danish-German research team has shown that not only the where and when of long non-coding RNA expression is important for their function but also the how. The results can have a big impact on our understanding of dynamic regulation of gene expression in biological processes.
Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket: Click here
Researchers show for the first time in detail how a flavin-containing enzyme interacts with oxygen.
Natural barcodes enable better cell tracking: Click here
Researchers have developed a new genetic analysis technique that harnesses the 10 million small nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) found in the human genome as 'barcodes' to create a faster, cheaper, and simpler way to keep track of pooled cells from multiple individuals during multiplexed experiments, enabling large samples of cells from multiple people to be quickly analyzed for personalized medicine. 
New take on early evolution of photosynthesis: Click here
Scientists have begun re-thinking the evolutionary history of photochemical reaction centers (RCs). Their analysis describes a new pathway that ancient organisms may have taken to evolve the great variety of photosynthetic RCs seen today across bacteria, algae, and plants.
Smart phone as a faster infection detector: Click here
Researchers have developed a low-cost, portable laboratory on a phone that works nearly as well as clinical laboratories to detect common viral and bacterial infections. The work could lead to faster and lower-cost lab results for fast-moving viral and bacterial epidemics, especially in rural or lower-resource regions where laboratory equipment and medical personnel are sometimes not readily available.
Wiping out the gut microbiome could help with heart failure: Click here
The bacteria that reside on and within our bodies are known to have a significant influence on our health. New research suggests wiping out the gut microbiota could improve heart functioning and potentially slow the cardiac damage that occurs with heart failure.
Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence genomes of 1.5 million species: Click here
Scientists is proposing a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all eukaryotic species on the planet, an undertaking the researchers say will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity. Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth.
Hemp shows potential for treating ovarian cancer: Click here
Results from some of the first studies to examine hemp's ability to fight cancer show that it might one day be useful as plant-based treatment for ovarian cancer. Hemp is part of the same cannabis family as marijuana but doesn't have any psychoactive properties or cause addiction.
Light at end of the tunnel for world's wildlife and wild places: Click here
A new article finds that the enormous trends toward population stabilization, poverty alleviation, and urbanization are rewriting the future of biodiversity conservation in the 21st century, offering new hope for the world's wildlife and wild places.
The role of 'extra' DNA in cancer evolution and therapy resistance: Click here
Researchers tracked genomic alterations detected in patient samples during tumor cell evolution in culture, in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models from the cultures, as well as before and after treatment in patients. The team reports that tumor progression was often driven by cancer-promoting genes, known as oncogenes, on extrachromosomal pieces of DNA.
Hungry birds as climate change drives food 'mismatch': Click here
Warmer springs create a 'mismatch' where hungry chicks hatch too late to feast on abundant caterpillars, new research shows.
Found: A new form of DNA in our cells: Click here
In a world first, researchers have identified a new DNA structure -- called the i-motif -- inside cells. A twisted 'knot' of DNA, the i-motif has never before been directly seen inside living cells.
'Environmental DNA' used to identify killer whales in Puget Sound: Click here
When endangered killer whales swim through the sheltered waters of Puget Sound, they leave behind traces of 'environmental DNA' that researchers can detect as much as two hours later has found.
A better fake leather, inspired by plants: Click here
Nature has inspired a coating for synthetic leather that repels oil and water -- and keeps the material from getting sticky in the heat.
Prenatal cannabis use associated with low birth weights: Click here
With marijuana use during pregnancy on the rise, a new study shows that prenatal cannabis use was associated with a 50 percent increased likelihood of low birth weight, setting the stage for serious future health problems including infection and time spent in neonatal intensive care units.
Just one more ash dieback spore could push European ash trees to the brink: Click here
Europe's ash dieback epidemic could well have been caused by just one or two mushroom-like fruiting bodies of a fungal pathogen from Asia, according to a comprehensive genome sequencing effort. This leaves even the most resistant ash trees at threat from the introduction of just one more spore from East Asia.
Five new blanket-hermit crab species described 130 years later from the Pacific: Click here
Unlike most hermit crabs, the blanket-hermit crab does not use empty shells for protection, and instead lives symbiotically with a sea anemone. The crab uses the anemone to cover its soft abdomen, and can pull the anemone's tissue over its head to protect itself whenever necessary. Since 1888, this crab had been considered a unique species until a research team recently described five new ones and a new genus.
Virulence switch in 'Iraqibacter': potential Achilles heel?: Click here
Microbiologists have identified a component of a genetic switch, which they call a potential 'Achilles' heel,' for a type of bacteria often associated with wounded warriors. The switch makes it possible for Acinetobacter baumannii to change between a virulent, hardy form and an avirulent form that is better at surviving at lower temperatures outside a host. Defining the switch could map out targets for new antibiotics.
Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled: Click here
Researchers have succeeded in observing the behavior of epidermal cells for the regeneration of smooth skin without remaining scar tissue using their model animal, the zebrafish.
Could eating moss be good for your gut?: Click here
An international team of scientists has discovered a new complex carbohydrate in moss that could possibly be exploited for health or other uses.
Why freeloader baby-eating ants are welcomed to the colony: Click here
It might seem surprising that a colony of ants would tolerate the type of guests that gobble both their grub and their babies. But new research shows there's likely a useful tradeoff to calmly accepting these parasite ants into the fold: They have weaponry that's effective against their host ants and a more menacing intruder ant.
Growing evidence that probiotics are good for your liver: Click here
Increased awareness of the importance of the microbes that live in our gut has spurred a great deal of research on the microbiome and fueled a booming probiotics industry. A new study suggests probiotics can improve not only the health of our gut but liver health, as well.
Human-like walking mechanics evolved before the genus Homo: Click here
A close examination of 3.6-million-year-old hominin footprints discovered in Laetoli, Tanzania, suggests our ancestors evolved the hallmark trait of extended leg, human-like bipedalism substantially earlier than previously thought.
Why zero-calorie sweeteners can still lead to diabetes, obesity: Click here
Increased awareness of the health consequences of eating too much sugar has fueled a dramatic uptick in the consumption of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners in recent decades. However, new research finds sugar replacements can also cause health changes that are linked with diabetes and obesity, suggesting that switching from regular to diet soda may be a case of 'out of the frying pan, into the fire.'
Endangered salamander offers clues on healing spinal cord injury: Click here
A new study takes a comparative approach to pinpoint what happens differently in humans versus other animals to explain why they can successfully regenerate neurons while we instead form scar tissue. By learning from the similarities and differences, researchers hope to find new leads in the treatment of spinal cord injury.
Trichomonosis discovered amongst myna birds in Pakistan: Click here
A strain of the disease responsible for killing nearly two thirds of the UK's greenfinch population has spread to myna birds in Pakistan. In 2011, the disease was discovered to have reached European finch populations. Now it has been found in an entirely separate songbird species -- the common myna, native to India and one of the world's most invasive species. Although it is not generally fatal to them, they may pass it on to other species.
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