mass extinction events Environment Oceanography Paleontology 

The Forgotten Mass Extinction

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Yes, we are in a mass extinction event Recent research has spotted a new major mass extinction, termed the “end-Guadalupian (259.8 Ma),” according to a scientific paper in the journal Historical Biology. Previously, scientists knew of only five mass extinctions in the history of Earth: the end-Ordovician (443.8 Ma), the Late Devonian (372.2 Ma), the end-Permian (251.9 Ma), the end-Triassic (201.4 Ma), and the end-Cretaceous (66 Ma). Our current biodiversity crisis has been called the sixth mass extinction, but with these new findings it will probably…

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Biology Botany Physics 

How Do Plants Know Which Way to Grow?

By Shayna Keyles (@shaynakeyles) How do plants know which way is up and which way is down? No matter which way you put a seed in the soil, it will always send its roots down and its shoots up. (Unless you’re in space–we’ll get back to that later.) [tweetthis]Plants can sense light, gravity, and water. So no matter where they are, they can figure out up and down.[/tweetthis] The answer lies in tropism: motion in response to external stimulus. This is pretty amazing, considering that in the traditional sense, plants can’t…

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Animals Biology Health Science Videos 

Will You Still Eat Raw Fish After Watching This Video?

Sushi, sashimi, and poke are delicious. Why? It’s because they’re all made of raw fish! But, have you ever noticed that warning about raw or undercooked seafood at the bottom of restaurant menus? Have you ever wondered why it’s there? It’s there because fish carry a ton of parasites. And if the fish aren’t prepared correctly, then those parasites can make it into your body. This fishy intersection with the wild world of parasites can teach us a lot about how these moochers help keep ecosystems healthy, and why we…

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Biology Health Science Videos 

How Habits Are Formed

Got a bad habit you just can’t seem to break? That’s because a habit is literally wired into your brain. Every single thought, action, and feeling changes your brain. When repeated enough times, a habit is formed. Some are good, some are bad, but you’re not likely to forget any of them without serious effort. [tweetthis]Your best #habit and your worst habit both have something in common: They’re stuck in your brain! Learn why with @DrJoeHanson.[/tweetthis] Millions of people, every day, wake up and brush their teeth. Why do we…

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Biology Education Opinion 

A Day in the Life of a Vascular Biologist

By Noeline Subramaniam (@spicy_scientist) A vascular biologist studies blood vessels. Blood vessels connect all of our organs and tissues in our body to each other; as such, they play a crucial role in helping to maintain homeostasis—in other words, keeping the balance within our body. They have several important functions including transporting nutrients and removing waste, sensing blood flow, playing a role in the immune system, and much more. [tweetthis]Meet a #vascularbiologist! For this #scientist, studying #bloodvessels includes both caffeine and #cells. [/tweetthis] The two major types of blood vessels are…

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Science with Sophie: Scabs, scab Biology Education Health Science Videos 

Science with Sophie: Scab Science

Scab Science It’s happened to all of us. You’re running or riding your bike, you slip, you fall, and you skin your knee. After a few days, you notice that the cut where you skinned your knee has formed a scab. What happens to our bodies when we get hurt? Why do we get cuts, and why do we get scabs afterward? Learn how white blood cells, proteins, and skin cells work together to help you get better after you get hurt in this episode of Science with Sophie! Do…

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Environment 

When Aquatic Invasive Species Take Over

By Natasha Parkinson @schrodicatsci The weather is hot, and everyone is trying to cool off any way they can. Everyone with a boat is out on the water, tubing, waterskiing, fishing, or cruising around. Anyone that has been around boats knows about boat safety: wear a life jacket, and don’t operate watercraft under the influence. But one aspect that is less discussed is preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species while you are on the water. Aquatic invasive species So what is an aquatic invasive species? Well, it is either a…

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Fire Management in California's Chaparal: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District conducted a controlled burn of central marine chaparral at Fort Ord, Calif., Oct. 15, to expose unexploded ordnance at the formerly utilized defense site. The burn, carefully coordinated with local agencies, lasted less than two hours and was timed so that prevailing winds would help blow the smoke away from population centers. The controlled burns are part of a comprehensive ordnance removal program at Fort Ord, which closed in 1994 under recommendation from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. (U.S. Army photo/Released) Animals Biology Environment 

Fire Management in California’s Chaparral Harms Birds

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore California suffered its largest and most destructive wildfires in 2017. Victims included hundreds of wild animals. When the blazing fires were finally extinguished, the surviving animals—including birds—were forced to find new homes. Now, for the first time, researchers investigating the effect of fire management practices on birds in California’s chaparral have found that one practice known as mastication, which consists of mechanically crushing vegetation to remove fuel, threatens bird communities. “The best available science tells us that managing chaparral imperils wildlife and increases fire risk,” says…

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language detectives Science Videos 

Language Detectives

Where did the Uto-Aztecan language originate? An interdisciplinary research project looked at a set of 100 words to understand the sound sequences of this language. Watch this video to see how an anthropologist and a computational biologist carried out this research. This is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History. Museum curators Peter Whiteley, an anthropologist, and Ward Wheeler, a computational biologist, joined forces to trace the evolution of Native American languages by applying gene-sequencing methods to historical linguistics. I became fascinated by the idea…

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