A damming trend

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences -- affecting everything from food security to the environment -- greatly outweigh the…

Origins of Pain

A toddler puts her hand on a hot stove and swiftly withdraws it. Alas, it's too late -- the child's finger has sustained a minor burn. To soothe the pain, she puts the burned finger in her mouth. Withdrawing one's hand…

Moun­tain birds de­clin­ing in Europe

Population data for European mountain birds have been for the first time combined in a recent study, with worrying results: the abundances of mountain-specialist birds has declined by as much as 10% in the 2000s.…

Organic food worse for the climate?

Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of…

Rice plants that grow as clones from seed

Plant biologists at the University of California, Davis have discovered a way to make crop plants replicate through seeds as clones. The discovery, long sought by plant breeders and geneticists, could make it easier to…

Secrets of iron storage in algae

New research shows that phytoplankton iron storage strategies may determine which species thrive in changing oceans and impact marine food webs, according to a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of…

Fire’s effects on soil moisture, runoff

Fire and water. Timeless, opposing forces, they are actually linked in powerful ways that can have major impacts on communities and ecosystems. The 2011 Las Conchas mega-fire in New Mexico burned more than 150,000 acres…

Stop sterilizing your dust

Most people have heard about antibiotic-resistant germs. But how about antibiotic-resistant dust? A new Northwestern University study has found that an antimicrobial chemical called triclosan is abundant in dust -- and…

Custom-made artificial mother-of-pearl

Natural mother-of-pearl, such as mussels, is one of the hardest, most stable and stiff natural materials. Researchers have always been fascinated by it. The structure of mother-of-pearl is exquisite under the electron…

Plants as antifungal factories

Researchers from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) and the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMCP), in collaboration with the IATA, have…

Molecular insights into spider silk

They are lightweight, almost invisible, highly extensible and strong, and of course biodegradable: the threads spiders use to build their webs. In fact, spider silk belongs to the toughest fibres in nature. Based on its…

News about a plant hormone

Jasmonic acid is not just the aromatic odor of the plant Jasminum grandiflorum used in cosmetics and perfume industries. Plants wounded by e.g. chewing herbivores produce jasmonic acid as a defense signal, as a…

3D-printed glucose biosensors

A 3D-printed glucose biosensor for use in wearable monitors has been created by Washington State University researchers. The work could lead to improved glucose monitors for millions of people who suffer from diabetes.…

Enhancing our vision of the past

An international group of scientists led by researchers from the University of Bristol have advanced our understanding of how ancient animals saw the world by combining the study of fossils and genetics. Ancestors of…

How the brain hears and fears

How is it that a sound can send a chill down your spine? By observing individual brain cells of mice, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) are understanding how a sound can incite fear. Investigator Bo Li…