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Earth and Environment

Peering Into the Earth’s Violent Past : New techniques see origin of ancient volcanic eruptions

Peering Into the Earth’s Violent Past : New techniques see origin of ancient volcanic eruptions

Tracing a 65 million year history of the Earth is no easy task, but researchers at the University of Quebec have found a new method. By taking a tango through time, they created a new tool for modeling our past Earth, and have used it to discover a second hotspot origin for the Deccan traps.

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Sugar’s Saving Graces: Reducing the strain of an active lifestyle

Sugar’s Saving Graces: Reducing the strain of an active lifestyle

Researchers studying hawk moths discover the solution to a long-standing paradox in our understanding of metabolism. An ancient biological remnant of a different time may be responsible for protecting us against the more dangerous side-effects of the oxygen we need to survive.

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Plants Protecting Against Pathogens: Seagrass Meadows Clean the Waters Near Coral Reefs

Plants Protecting Against Pathogens: Seagrass Meadows Clean the Waters Near Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are an economically and ecologically important ecosystem, supporting a vast array of life and providing tourism opportunities. Reefs face numerous threats, including coral disease, but another ecosystem may already be alleviating that problem. Recent research shows that seagrass meadows reduce levels of pathogenic bacteria, improving the health of nearby coral reefs.

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Study of the Center of the Earth

Study of the Center of the Earth

Scientists may finally be able to model magnetic fields more efficiently in the lab, thanks to the development of eGaIn, a magnetic liquid metal with unprecedentedly high magnetic and conductive properties.

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Yale Graduate Challenges Existing Ideas About Ecosystem Models

Yale Graduate Challenges Existing Ideas About Ecosystem Models

Plant functional traits are viewed as key to predicting important ecosystem and community properties among biogeographic regions. However, a recent study led by Elisabeth Forrestel GRD ’15 challenges the trait-based approach to predicting ecosystem function by demonstrating that different combinations of functional traits can act to maximize net primary productivity, a community property, in a given environmental setting.

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Nature’s GPS:  It’s Not As Batty As You Think!

Nature’s GPS: It’s Not As Batty As You Think!

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science used an Epyptian-fruit-bat model to study the brain’s representation of navigation from Point A to Point B. Their work on how the bat brain handles goal-focused navigation could affect how we will one day treat Alzheimer’s.

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Q&A: Why Do Killer Whales Go Through Menopause?

Q&A: Why Do Killer Whales Go Through Menopause?

Why do some species, including humans and killer whales, stop reproducing long before the end of their lives? A new study from Exeter University suggests that older females may gain adaptive advantages by helping to raise their daughters’ calves instead of raising their own.

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Q&A: What’s killing our honeybees?

Q&A: What’s killing our honeybees?

Researchers from Penn State have found that a class of chemicals formerly thought to be inert may actually be accelerating honeybee mortality.

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The Powerpuff Sponges: Sea sponges solve problems in structural engineering

The Powerpuff Sponges: Sea sponges solve problems in structural engineering

Deceptively flimsy, sea sponges may just be the key to stronger and more effective material design. Michael Monn and Haneesh Kesari investigated the structure properties of the rod-like spicules that give the sponges their shape and found that their tapered shape makes them 33% less likely to buckle under pressure.

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Modern Animals with Ancient Genes: Testing the causes of evolution

Modern Animals with Ancient Genes: Testing the causes of evolution

It was once thought fruit flies can process more alcohol than their sister species because of a difference in their genome. Now, a collaboration between evolutionary and molecular biologists is challenging this hypothesis by putting ancient genes in modern fruit flies

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