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Three ways climate change is pushing butterflies and moths to their limits
In any competition, there are winners and losers. In the race to adjust to a changing climate, some butterflies seem to be doing well. But others, less so. ⌘ Read more

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A strategy to further boost the efficiency of copper indium gallium selenide solar cells
Until recently, chalcopyrite-based solar cells have achieved a maximum energy conversion efficiency of 23.35%, as reported in 2019 by Solar Frontier, a former Solar Energy company based in Japan. Further boosting this efficiency, however, has so far proved challenging. ⌘ Read more

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Orcas demonstrate they no longer need to hunt in packs to take down the great white shark
An orca (killer whale) has been observed, for the first-ever time, individually consuming a great white shark—and within just two minutes. ⌘ Read more

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African savanna antelopes need space to survive climate changes
Human-caused environmental changes threaten natural ecosystems. These ecosystems are essential to creating and maintaining a rich, resilient, and adaptable biosphere. In East Africa’s savanna, antelope populations are vital for a healthy and functioning ecosystem. ⌘ Read more

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The role of history in how efficient color names evolve
Suppose two speakers of the same language are playing a guessing game where each has the same color swatches, and Player 1 tries to get Player 2 to guess a hue by naming the color. If the second player consistently guesses correctly as often as possible, that indicates their language has an efficient color naming system. ⌘ Read more

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Brown bears digging up artificial forests, study shows
Brown bears foraging for food in the Shiretoko Peninsula of Hokkaido, Japan, have been disrupting tree growth in artificial conifer forests, according to a new study published in Ecology. Researchers compared soil and tree samples from human-forested plots with samples from natural forests. They found that the bears’ digging for cicada nymphs damaged tree roots and altered the nitrogen content of the soil, which in turn limited the diameter growth of tre … ⌘ Read more

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The secret lives of roots: Tropical forest root systems are central to improving climate change predictions
International research co-authored by Joshua Fisher, associate professor in Chapman University’s Schmid College of Science and Technology, suggests that studying root function in tropical forests could help vegetation models improve predictions of climate change. The study was published on Feb. 28 in New Phytologist. ⌘ Read more

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Shining a light on the effects of habituation and neural adaptation on the evolution of animal signals
A new paper published in The Quarterly Review of Biology examines the possible effects of two properties of receiver playing fields documented in studies of animal psychology—habituation and neural adaptation—on the efficacy of mate choice signals. ⌘ Read more

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A lightweight fish pen to move farms to deeper seas
The University of Queensland has co-led a project to design a cost effective yet robust pen to expand fish farming into deeper ocean areas to help feed the growing global population. The research is published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. ⌘ Read more

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Findings in Australia unveil fossil trove of Cambrian mollusks
A team of researchers led by Alexander Pohle has unveiled a treasure trove of ancient fossils from Queensland, Australia’s Black Mountain. The findings, published in PeerJ, shed new light on the complex three-dimensional siphuncle morphology of Plectronoceratids, a pivotal group of mollusks from the latest Cambrian period. ⌘ Read more

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Seeing the wood for the trees: How archaeologists use hazelnuts to reconstruct ancient woodlands
If we could stand in a landscape that our Mesolithic ancestors called home, what would we see around us? Scientists have devised a method of analyzing preserved hazelnut shells to tell us whether the microhabitats around archaeological sites were heavily forested or open and pasture-like. This could help us understand not only what a local environment looked like thousands of years ago, but … ⌘ Read more

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Avian influenza virus is adapting to spread to marine mammals
The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 has adapted to spread between birds and marine mammals, posing an immediate threat to wildlife conservation, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) in Argentina. ⌘ Read more

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Study investigates sustainable urban mobility in Berlin and 18 other European cities
In the quest for sustainable urban living, understanding the complex relationships between urban form and mobility behavior is crucial. A recent study published in Transportation Research Part D by Dr. Peter Berrill and colleagues sheds light on this issue by examining the intricate associations between urban form, car ownership, and travel behavior across Berlin and 18 further European cities. ⌘ Read more

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Discovery of primitive mitochondrial DNA replication enzymes
Researchers led by University of Tsukuba have discovered rdxPolA, a putative DNA polymerase involved in replicating ancestral mitochondrial genomes, in diverse eukaryotic lineages. Based on the phylogenetic distribution of rdxPolA among eukaryotes, they proposed an evolutionary scenario of DNA polymerases for mitochondrial genome maintenance in the early evolution of eukaryotes. ⌘ Read more

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US nuclear weapons plant says open as normal after wildfires closure
A nuclear weapons plant in the US state of Texas said it would be open as usual on Wednesday after raging wildfires caused it to pause operations and led to evacuations in the area. ⌘ Read more

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A liking for licking—sex and social status influence social grooming among free-ranging feral cattle in Hong Kong
Unique insights into the social lives of cattle revealed in a new study by scientists at City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) can enhance our understanding of animal behavior and welfare. The study suggests that sex and social status influence social grooming (where one animal licks another, also known as allogrooming) among free-ranging feral cattle in Hong Kong. ⌘ Read more

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Researchers leverage machine learning to improve space weather predictions
There are three levels of severity for space storms: geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms and radio blackouts. These storms produce different effects on Earth, including satellite, GPS, communications and electrical grid issues, as well as health dangers for astronauts and people on high-altitude flights. Geomagnetic storms also produce the beautiful auroras that are commonly observed in polar regions. ⌘ Read more

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Highlights of results from space station science in 2023
The International Space Station is a microgravity research lab hosting groundbreaking technology demonstrations and scientific investigations. More than 3,700 investigations conducted to date have generated roughly 500 research articles published in scientific journals. In 2023, the orbiting lab hosted more than 500 investigations. ⌘ Read more

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A novel catalyst for efficient oxidation of inactive alkanes
A discovery in the field of catalysis has emerged from the laboratories of Professor Jaeheung Cho and his team in the Department of Chemistry at UNIST. Their pioneering work has led to the development of a copper(II)–alkylperoxo complex that could revolutionize the realms of synthetic chemistry and industrial applications. The study is published in ACS Catalysis. ⌘ Read more

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Researchers observe the structural heterogeneity of a lipid scramblase
Researchers from Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI), Kanazawa University report in Nature Communications that TMEM16F, a transmembrane protein that facilitates the passive movement of phospholipids and ions across membranes, explores a larger conformational landscape than previously thought in order to perform its unique functions. ⌘ Read more

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Nanotweezers manipulate bacteriophages with minimal optical power, a breakthrough for phage therapy
Scientists at EPFL have developed a game-changing technique that uses light to manipulate and identify individual bacteriophages without the need for chemical labels or bioreceptors, potentially accelerating and revolutionizing phage-based therapies that can treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. ⌘ Read more

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Variable star V708 Car has an unusual chemical composition, study finds
An international team of astronomers has performed spectroscopic observations of a variable star known as V708 Car. Results of the observational campaign, reported in a paper published February 20 on the pre-print server arXiv, indicate that this star has an unusual chemical composition. ⌘ Read more

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Sustainable solutions to overconsumption challenges in modern marketing
Professor of Marketing at the Anderson School of Management, Catherine Roster, provides insight into the marketing world of overconsumption and a shift in mindset to sustainability long-term. ⌘ Read more

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Resurrecting niobium for quantum science
For years, niobium was considered an underperformer when it came to superconducting qubits. Now, scientists supported by Q-NEXT have found a way to engineer a high-performing niobium-based qubit and take advantage of niobium’s superior qualities. ⌘ Read more

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Northwest Indiana residents, upset over refinery pollution, take complaints to public meeting
Bearing signs with slogans like “East Chicago demands clear air” and “IDEM, let us breathe,” nearly 100 Northwest Indiana residents and environmental advocates gathered to voice anger and frustration at BP Whiting refinery at a public meeting held by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. ⌘ Read more

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How one of Northern California’s most polluted properties may finally be cleaned up
The legacies of California’s 1849 Gold Rush and the relentless search for gold that continued decades later are well known: the rise of San Francisco; statehood; Wells Fargo; Levi’s jeans; a Bay Area football team named after the fortune-seeking miners. ⌘ Read more

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How did a tiny bee get to French Polynesia? Eight new species help solve a scientific mystery
In 1934, American entomologist Elwood Zimmerman, then an undergraduate student at Berkeley, participated in the “Mangarevan expedition” to Polynesia. Among the samples he collected were three tiny (4 mm long), orange-brown solitary bees found on tahetahe flowers in the Tuamotu Archipelago. ⌘ Read more

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Earth’s early evolution: Fresh insights from rocks formed 3.5 billion years ago
Our Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. Way back in its earliest years, vast oceans dominated. There were frequent volcanic eruptions and, because there was no free oxygen in the atmosphere, there was no ozone layer. It was a dynamic and evolving planet. ⌘ Read more

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The psychology of great artists: Beyond the myth of the lone, tortured genius
In our constant quest to understand artists and their genius, we often put them on a pedestal, or we assume that they are otherworldly beings with incomprehensible thoughts. This myth, though common, distances us from everything they share with us. It makes us feel that their feats and successes are far beyond our reach. ⌘ Read more

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Saturday Citations: The neurology of pair bonding and one small step for robots
From enraptured voles and space robots on the moon to brain gears and dense objects, it was a heck of a week in science. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting developments over the past seven days. ⌘ Read more

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US warns of environmental disaster from cargo ship hit by Huthi rebels
A cargo ship abandoned in the Gulf of Aden after an attack by Yemeni rebels is taking on water and has left a huge oil slick, in an environmental disaster that US Central Command said Friday could get worse. ⌘ Read more

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Strange seismic wave arrivals lead to discovery of overturned slab in the Mediterranean
Strange seismic wave arrivals from a 2010 earthquake under Spain were the clues that led to an unexpected discovery beneath the western Mediterranean: a subducted oceanic slab that has completely overturned. ⌘ Read more

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Researchers identify a key player in chromatin regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana
Chromatin is a unique DNA and protein complex that makes up the chromosomes. Specific proteins (histones) wind up the DNA like small cable drums to package the long DNA. A cable drum (consisting of four pairs of histones) with coiled DNA is called a nucleosome and is the smallest unit of chromatin. ⌘ Read more

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California faces an uphill battle against plastic
Given its green bona fides, it’s no surprise that California was the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags 10 years ago. Many were hopeful that would make a dent in the plastic pollution crisis, one canvas tote bag at a time. But if you’ve been to a California supermarket recently, you may have noticed that plastic bags aren’t gone—they’re just thicker. ⌘ Read more

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Mass shooting lockdown drills help schoolchildren feel safer, US study suggests
Lockdown drills, practiced to help prepare children for shooting incidents at school, make those who have been exposed to violence feel safer, a new study of thousands of students in the US indicates. ⌘ Read more

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New study shows similarities and differences in human and insect vision formation
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have discovered profound similarities and surprising differences between humans and insects in the production of the critical light-absorbing molecule of the retina, 11-cis-retinal, also known as the “visual chromophore.” The findings deepen understanding of how mutations in the RPE65 enzyme cause retinal diseases, especially Leber congenital amaurosis, a d … ⌘ Read more

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Polymer science team develops additive that can ‘upcycle’ a wide range of plastics
One doesn’t need to be reminded that plastic production, and plastic pollution, have steadily increased over the years—the evidence is all around us. What if we were able to recycle plastic in a way that is truly sustainable? ⌘ Read more

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Hiroshima fallout debris linked to first solar system condensates
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, by the United States in August 1945 was not only devastating at the time, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, but it has had long-standing impacts to the present day, particularly the elevated incidence of cancer from radiation. ⌘ Read more

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Carbon emissions from the destruction of mangrove forests predicted to increase by 50,000% by the end of the century
The annual rate of carbon emissions due to the degradation of carbon stocks in mangrove forests is predicted to rise by nearly 50,000% by the end of the century, according to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters. Mangroves in regions such as southern India, southeastern China, Singapore and eastern Australia are particularly affected. ⌘ Read more

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Seaports found to be hotspots of contagious cancer in mussels
Seaports act as hubs for the global spread of MtrBTN2, a rare contagious cancer affecting mussels. In this disease, cancer cells can be transmitted, like parasites, from one mussel to another nearby. ⌘ Read more

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Half-price fares benefit people experiencing transport poverty, shows study
New research from the University of Otago, Christchurch, has found reduced cost public transport can play an important role in affordability and accessibility, specifically for those on lower incomes who face transport difficulty. ⌘ Read more

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Contamination around Fort Story base is under control, Navy’s five-year review says
The Navy released recently a five-year review of an environmental restoration program at Virginia’s Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story, finding that environmental contamination of industrial solvents and arsenic at two sites is under control. ⌘ Read more

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Chicago sues oil and gas companies for their role in contributing to climate change
The city of Chicago is suing five oil and gas companies and a trade group that represents them over their role in contributing to climate change and its effects, arguing that the companies have misled the public about how the use of fossil fuels affects city residents’ well-being. ⌘ Read more

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Mercury levels in tuna remain nearly unchanged since 1971, study says
Tuna is one of the most popular seafoods worldwide. But this protein-rich fish can build up high levels of methylmercury from feeding on contaminated prey, like smaller fish or crustaceans. Despite efforts to reduce mercury emissions into the environment, researchers report in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology Letters that levels in tuna appear to be unchanged since 1971. They warn that more aggressive emission reduction targets are ne … ⌘ Read more

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Scientists track world’s largest turtles to previously unknown foraging locations
Leatherback sea turtles, the largest of all living turtles, undertake extensive migrations that can span multiple years. They travel from subtropical and tropical nesting locations to temperate foraging areas. Despite decade-long tracking efforts, there are still regions—including the northwest Atlantic Ocean—about which little is known in terms of turtle migration routes and foraging areas. ⌘ Read more

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Science in times of crisis: Lessons from Fukushima and WWII
Collective memory is one way to ensure that past mistakes in the evolution of science systems are not repeated after a crisis, disaster or conflict according to a University of Tokyo historian who has contributed to the International Science Council’s latest report: “Protecting Science in Times of Crisis.” ⌘ Read more

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First known photos of ‘lost bird’ captured by scientists
For the first time, scientists have captured photos of a bird long thought lost. Known as the Yellow-crested Helmetshrike, or Prionops alberti, the species is listed as a ‘lost bird’ by the American Bird Conservancy because it had not seen in nearly two decades. ⌘ Read more

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The cultural evolution of collective property rights for sustainable resource governance
Community-based natural resource management has been dominated for several decades by the design principles of Nobel Prize laureate Elinor Ostrom. These principles provide guidelines for improving the governance of resource systems, from small-scale forest management groups to global commons like the high seas. Four of these principles (boundaries that control access, rules that fit the local contex … ⌘ Read more

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