Mackenzie Myers Fowler

Mackenzie Myers

Mackenzie Myers Fowler is a science writer, avid knitter, and former field station ragamuffin. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing but would be a soil scientist if she could do it all over again. She lives in Michigan with her husband, her cat and a plethora of houseplants.

Pollinators Attracted by Hidden Patterns in Petals

To better attract pollinators, plants change the chemical and physical properties of their petals to produce alluring colors. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Whether it’s the scarlet warning to would-be consumers of a poisonous mushroom, or the alluring blush of cherry blossoms in spring, nature’s colors aren’t just for show—they’re crucial ...
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Bees on partially filled honeycomb. Antioxidant Boost Found in Citrus Honey.

Antioxidant Boost Found in Citrus Honey

Antioxidant levels were tested in different types of honey to pinpoint natural health-boosting compounds that help counteract free radicals. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler A central ingredient of soothing elixirs like homemade cough syrup and hot toddies, honey has been used to heal illness and injury for centuries. Even outside the ...
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Aedes aegyptii mosquito biting a person. Researchers studies the scents these mosquitoes are attracted to. Credit: CDC

Human Scent May Help Manage Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are drawn to a chemical mixture found on the skin, but what these specific compounds are had not been pinpointed until a recent study. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Chances are, you’ve been bugged by a mosquito at some point in your life. But between malaria, the Zika virus, and ...
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Image showing wheat sprouts, the green one on the right pretreated with ethanol to help survive droughts and the withered one on the left untreated.

Ethanol May Help Crops Survive Droughts

Droughts can wreak havoc on food supply and crop production, but a new study shows that ethanol can help crops survive. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Ethanol, a simple alcohol made from grain, is known as a tool for combating climate change. While it is generally thought of as a renewable ...
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Man running up a steep hill with a bridge in the background.

New Wearable Technology Reveals Secrets in Sweat

Technology may be able to sense health information like blood sugar levels anytime a user breaks a sweat, thanks to innovative engineering. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Like something out of a sci-fi movie, researchers have developed a new piece of wearable biotechnology that could help users get a leg up ...
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Smoke plume from the Riverside Fire on Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, in September 2020

Severe Wildfires Rare, but Normal, for Cascades

Although the Labor Day wildfires of the Cascade Mountains in 2020 were devastating, they actually fit into the ecosystem's long-term patterns. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Forests of the westside—the western face of the Cascade Mountains, stretching from Washington’s Olympic Peninsula south through Oregon—are temperate rainforests, wet much of the year ...
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pink sea fan coral

A Rosy Future for Pink Sea Fan Coral?

Coral reefs are in trouble around the world with one possible exception. One coral species appears to be making the best of a bad situation. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler In many respects, coral reefs and climate change do not go together. The news – both scientific and journalistic – abounds ...
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Genetics Behind Lavender’s Popular Scent

The scent of lavender is loved by humans and insects alike, but what makes lavender scent so attractive? A group of scientists decided to find out. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler The relaxing scent of lavender graces all sorts of candles, tea, lotions and potions worldwide. Its ties to stress relief, ...
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Battling Invasive Species with Virtual Ecology

New research from Tokyo Metropolitan University provides a sliver of hope when it comes to keeping invasive species at bay with simulations. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Imagine how different the world might be if humans had a crystal ball that could detect invasive species’ eventual habitats. How much healthier might ...
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Bee Friendly Garden

Urban Gardens a Haven for Pollinators

Insect-friendly urban gardens show great promise to be havens for bees and other pollinators, securing their future and allowing them to thrive. By Mackenzie Myers A pollinator-friendly habitat may conjure up images of wide-open meadows bursting with wildflowers, far from the hustle and bustle of cities. But a new study ...
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Oreo Cookie

How Oreos Could Impact 3D Printing

Have you ever wondered why, when you separate an Oreo, the filling usually sticks to one side? The reason might be the future of 3D printing. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler If you’re the type of person who splits an Oreo cookie in half before eating it, have you ever wondered ...
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Stalks of wheat silhouetted against blue sky, July 1978.

Wild Relative of Wheat Could Help Curb Disease

Stem rust might be the bane of a wheat crop, but researchers may have found a solution that could protect the popular grain. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler If the wheat used in breads across the world had an archnemesis, it could very well be stem rust. Farmers have battled with ...
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Mountains form between earthquakes, not during them

Mountains Form Between, Not During, Earthquakes

Turning conventional wisdom on its head, geologists at Stanford find mountains aren't formed during earthquakes but between them. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Anyone who’s witnessed a major earthquake—or even has seen photos of one—can tell you that the landscape doesn’t look quite the same afterward. In mere seconds, roads are ...
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ancient diets

Nok Culture Pottery Adds Clues to Ancient Diets

Have you ever thought about the ancestry of your food? New research has traced the origins of leafy greens and other plants in some ancient diets back more than 3,500 years. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler When you sit down to eat a meal, do you ever consider how long the ...
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Revegetation in the Oregon Cascades after the 90,000-acre B&B Complex Fires that burned in August and September of 2003 around Three-Fingered Jack peak. (Photo courtesy of University of Nevada, Reno)

Snowpack Critical to Helping Forests Heal

A substantial snowpack helps forests heal after fire season, but what can be done when each year brings higher temperatures, more wildfires, and less snow? By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Each fall, fire season in the western U.S. dominates headlines. It’s no secret that fires are becoming more frequent and more ...
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Researchers Create Flexible, Printable LED

Futuristic LED tech powered by crystalline structures may soon be at our fingertips, on our wrists and in our pockets. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Mysterious crystals that can do unbelievable things are a common trope in many sci-fi or fantasy stories. Think the Tesseract of the Marvel universe, or the ...
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Working dogs of the Iamal-Nenets reindeer herding peoples from where the Samoyed dog breed originated. Photo courtesy of Robert Losey (LMU).

Working Dogs Traded by Ancient Cultures?

Dog people love their dogs, but did you know that working canines were traded in the Arctic as valuable commodities at least 2,000 years ago? By Mackenzie Myers Fowler During the Covid-19 pandemic, many dog owners have become closer than ever to their canine companions. But dogs have been a ...
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Many fishes swimming above corals. Photo credit: NOAA's Coral Kingdom Collection, Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies.; NOAA/OAR/OER

Zooplankton Make Mini-Migrations All Day Long

Every night, tiny animals called zooplankton migrate from the deep sea to the surface. Just before sunrise, they return to the ocean depths, just beyond the reach of the sun. Let’s find out why. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler It’s almost the time of year where migratory creatures like Canada geese ...
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Touchscreen Tech Can Sense Tainted Water

Touchscreen Tech Can Sense Tainted Water

The touchscreen on your smartphone now has a new use that can save lives: It can detect toxic elements in a water supply. Find out how it works. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Have you ever marveled at just how much a smartphone can do? Smaller than a paperback novel, these ...
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Hiddlen value of fool's gold: Macro photo of three Iron pyrite cubes by Stuart Rankin

Scientists Discover Hidden Value of Fool’s Gold

Iron pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, has been fooling people for years, but it might have more value than previously thought. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Pyrite, a shiny, brassy mineral also known as fool’s gold, thwarted miners time and time again during the Gold Rush of the mid-19th century ...
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Lasers Shed Light on Photosynthesis

Lasers Shed Light on Photosynthesis

Plants turn sunlight into fuel in a process called photosynthesis, but how exactly does it work? Find out from U. of Michigan physicists. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler The phrase “in the blink of an eye” is used to describe something that happens so quickly we can barely register it. But ...
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Featured image: A laser treats the surface of copper, giving it a texture that would allow the metal to instantly kill bacteria. (Purdue University/Erin Easterling)

Pathogens Perish on Laser-Treated Metal

Pathogens perish on contact with etched copper, according to a new study using the antimicrobial properties of copper and laser technology. By Mackenzie Myers In a world where every doorknob, handle, and gas pump seems suspicious, there’s good news out of Purdue University: a team of engineers has figured out ...
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My Super Science Heroes: Marie Curie and Alan Turing

My Super Science Heroes: Marie Curie and Alan Turing

My Super Science Heroes, a new series authored by Karla Valenti, introduces children to the world’s most impactful scientists, starting with Marie Curie and Alan Turing. Reviewed by Mackenzie Myers Fowler Reading age: 4-8 years Published by Sourcebooks Hunting for answers to humanity’s most important questions, scientists have the fascinating ...
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ocean garbage patch

Tracing the Origins of Ocean Garbage Patches

Where do garbage patches come from, what garbage is in them, how do they form, and how can we clean them up once and for all? By Mackenzie Myers Fowler There’s an infamous presence looming far out in the Pacific Ocean. But rather than some deep-sea kraken or other mysterious ...
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Lake Erie Dead Zone: A lighthouse on frozen Lake Erie, photo by George Bannister

Study Sheds Light on Lake Erie’s Dead Zone

A dead zone in Lake Erie gives clues to how phosphorus levels change in the water and what this means for future environmental conditions. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Every year, like clockwork, a “dead zone” crops up in the central basin of Lake Erie. Devoid of fish and other organisms ...
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Science Nonfiction Book Top Picks

Are you looking for a good read? Perhaps a book about science that you can both learn from and enjoy reading? Well, the staff at Science Connected spend a lot of time writing about science, but we spend even more time reading books about it! At the moment, we're really ...
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coal vs clean and renewable energy

Covid-19 Pandemic Could End Coal For Good

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a horrific toll on human lives, there is at least one bright spot: a global drop in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels like coal and oil. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Though the Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges, strained world economies, and taken a ...
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emissions from land use changes

Agricultural Emissions Could Upset Climate Goals

Changes in land use have driven an increase in carbon emissions, which in turn have contributed to climate change. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler Over the centuries, human-driven land use has impacted more than land itself. By transforming natural landscapes, we’ve inadvertently changed biodiversity, nutrient cycles and, of course, our atmosphere ...
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cocoa flavanols are good for you

Cocoa Flavanols Could Boost Your Brainpower

Chocolate really is good for you! The flavanols found in cocoa can improve brain oxygenation and performance on complex tasks even in healthy adults. By Mackenzie Myers Chocolate lovers, rejoice! That cup of cocoa or delicious bar could do more than satisfy a craving. Certain chemicals in chocolate may also ...
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deep sea life

Abundant Life Found on Deep Sea Mountains

Researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa show us what ocean life is like atop a deep sea mountain. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler For all of humanity’s technology and scientific accomplishments, the deep sea still remains one of the most mysterious, unexplored regions on Earth. But a team of ...
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Migratory birds like this Common Redpoll consume both plants and seeds.

Some Migratory Birds Move as Vegetation Changes

How is climate change affecting migratory birds? A team of researchers offers an explanation. By Mackenzie Myers Fowler In a study of more than 200 migratory bird species, scientists at the University of Cornell have made a yearlong tie between green vegetation and movements of certain migratory birds. The study ...
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Vaping Injury Caused By Heating Element

While some thought lung damage from vaping was caused by THC, nicotine, or vitamin E oil, the real culprit might be the heating element. By Mackenzie Myers When e-cigarette users began reporting shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, and other symptoms of vaping-related lung injury, some thought liquid additives were ...
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Can Coronavirus Infect Non-Human Animals?

A new study suggests that many endangered and threatened species, particularly primates, could be susceptible to the novel coronavirus. By Mackenzie Myers Though the vast majority of discussion around COVID-19 focuses on how it impacts humans, new evidence suggests that many other animal species—some of which are critically endangered—may also ...
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Oil Field Water OK for Some CA Irrigation

Irrigation with water from oil fields may be safe for a California water district's crops if the water is diluted and boron-tolerant crops are grown. By Mackenzie Myers When it comes to water, California is often between a rock and a hard place. Regular droughts coupled with diminishing natural supply ...
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video games

Video Games Hone Visual Attention Skills

Video games may increase the amount of visual information your brain can process at once, according to a new study. By Mackenzie Myers For millions of people, video games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft are sources of engaging competition and enjoyment. But according to a new study, ...
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Springtime Plants and Sheltering in Place

As most of the world continues to shelter in place this spring, plants are proving their worth more than ever. In the northern hemisphere, spring has sprung and Mother Nature is doing her thing, but we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day this year in virtual space while practicing ...
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Sea turtle photographed by Lorianne DiSabato at the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To Sea Turtles, Ocean Plastic Smells Like Food

By Mackenzie Myers For humans, there’s nothing quite like the aroma of our favorite foods, whether it’s fresh-baked brownies, pizza in the oven, or a pot of curry. But imagine if your sense of smell, a key helper in finding food when you’re hungry, was the very thing that led ...
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Megabiota, Largest Life, Vital to Biosphere

By Mackenzie Myers @kenzwrites Large organisms such as whales, elephants, and redwoods are often featured in awe-inspiring nature documentaries, but they’re more than just oohs and ahs. Their existence or extinction could make or break the planet as we know it. Megabiota—the largest plants and animals—are more likely than smaller ...
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Toxoplasma Infection Makes Mice More Brave

By Mackenzie Myers, @kenzwrites Quiet as a mouse. Timid as a mouse. When’s the last time you heard a mouse described as brave?  The scientific community has already established that a parasite carried by cats and their feces, Toxoplasma gondii, causes infected mice to lose their fear of feline predators ...
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CO2 capture and storage

CO2 underground could combat climate change

By Mackenzie Myers, @kenzwrites Despite the scariness of already-manifesting climate change, lawmakers and researchers worldwide have identified strategies to help us fight it. Expanding renewable energy, replacing coal with natural gas, and making machines more energy-efficient are just a few tricks humankind has up its sleeves. At the center of ...
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Fossil pollen holds clues to past

By Mackenzie Myers What if, instead of ancient treasure and tombs, Indiana Jones researched ancient pollen and soil? Beyond just a seasonal nuisance or a crucial component of agriculture, pollen can be a key to understanding the past. It clues researchers in to how land was used thousands of years ...
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Could Agriculture Save US Water Supply?

Population growth and climate change are making water an even more scarce resource. Does agriculture have the power to reduce water shortages? By Mackenzie Myers This article is part of a series about key science policy issues. Please use these articles to become an informed voter, ask political candidates about ...
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An Evolutionary Approach to Conserving Plant Habitats

By Mackenzie Myers (@thetiniestnail) To conserve plant habitats, a traditional approach to biodiversity—species richness, or saving as many species as possible—might not be the most effective route. Instead, vulnerable landscapes might be better served by a quality-over-quantity mindset, a recent paper from a team of UC Berkeley scientists suggests. Think ...
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