Science

Why some clownfish are growing up too quickly

This article was originally featured on Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at hakaimagazine.com. For clownfish, life begins with an adventure. In 2003’s Finding Nemo, young Nemo takes a dizzying journey from coral reef to captivity and back again. In real life, it’s a different kind of quest: soon after hatching, tiny translucent clownfish larvae swim for 10 to 15 days, traveling up to 35 kilometers through open ocean. It’s the biggest trip…

Science

Sea the beauty of the world’s oceans with these 12 award-worthy photos

The oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, but humans have only visited and mapped 5 percent of them. They remain one of the greatest, deepest mysteries close to home. With the help of scientists and photographers, however, we’re uncovering more wildlife and more about the flows and balances in oceans day by day. While we might never know everything that unfolds beneath the great blue waves, we can always keep our curiosities and appetites alive. The…

Science

Sadly, these live-streamed bald eagle eggs likely won’t hatch

Though they’ve captivated the internet since late February, three eagle eggs in a nest in Southern California are unlikely to hatch. Parents Jakie and Shadow continue to take turns keeping the eggs warm, as snow dots their nest overlooking Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains.  “At this point, from the date that the eggs were laid, it’s past the time that Jackie’s eggs have hatched in the past,” biologist and nonprofit Friends of Big Bear Valley executive director…

Science

Ireland was once home to deer with massive 12-foot antlers

Ireland may not be home to any snakes, but the island’s actual natural past and present is still bustling with other wildlife. It’s currently home to 40 species of land and marine mammals, 12,000 species of insects, and more than 400 bird species. Fearsome wolves used to roam the forests of Ireland, before being hunted into extinction by 1786 These wolves were likely a primary predator of one of the larger players of Irish natural history–the extinct giant deer (Megaloceros…

Science

Healthy reef soundscapes can help degraded coral reefs grow

Healthy reefs are known as  vibrant homes for colorful corals and fish.. As with any bustling ecosystem, they have their own sounds and can be quite noisy. The purrs, croaks, and grunts of fish and crustaceans that live there and the sounds of healthy coral growing can echo through the water. Larval animals may use some of this sound to help them determine where to put down roots or when it’s time to grow. Broadcasting these healthy coral reef sounds…

Science

How citizen scientists are protecting ‘glass eels’

The Hudson River used to be among some of the most contaminated rivers in the United States. Following decades of environmental legislation and activism, wildlife including bald eagles, bears, and whales are being spotted in New York in larger numbers. The Hudson is also an important habitat for migratory American eels, who are now getting some help from citizen scientists.  For the first time, this citizen science data will be treated as official data entered in the Atlantic States Marine…

Science

When steering balls of poop, dung beetles use the stars to navigate

What’s the weirdest thing you learned this week? Well, whatever it is, we promise you’ll have an even weirder answer if you listen to PopSci’s hit podcast. The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week hits Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts every-other Wednesday morning. It’s your new favorite source for the strangest science-adjacent facts, figures, and Wikipedia spirals the editors of Popular Science can muster. If you like the stories in this post, we guarantee you’ll…

Science

Sorry, Darwin: Most male mammals aren’t bigger than females

The idea that most biologically male members of a species are physically larger than the females goes back to Charles Darwin’s 1871 book The Descent of Man. While this is typically true for some species including gorillas, buffalo, and elephants, it is not necessarily a one size fits all fact.  A study published March 12 in the journal Nature Communications found that the males in most mammalian species are not bigger than the females. Monomorphism–or both sexes being roughly the…

Science

Cicadas pee in jet streams like bigger animals

Cicadas are known for emerging in the billions. These groups chatter so loudly that fiber optic cables can pick up the noise. However, the way that they pee is also making waves this year. Instead of urinating in tiny droplets that they flick from their butts like other insects and small organisms, cicadas pee in high speed jets more similar to large mammals. This unique urinary habit is detailed in a study published March 11 in the journal Proceedings of…

AITechnology

Hat-wearing cyborg jellyfish could one day explore the ocean depths

To better understand the ocean’s overall health, researchers hope to harness some of evolution’s simplest creatures as tools to assess aquatic ecosystems. All they need is $20 worth of materials, a 3D-printer, and some jellyfish hats.  Jellyfish first began bobbing through Earth’s ancient oceans at least half a billion years ago, making them some of the planet’s oldest creatures. In all that time, however, their biology has remained pretty consistent—a bell-shaped, brainless head attached to a mass of tentacles, all…

Science

New squid alert! 100+ species discovered off the coast of New Zealand

The Pacific is the largest and deepest ocean basin on the planet. Scientists barely know just how many different organisms call these deep waters home. Many of these areas are remote and difficult to explore, but that hasn’t stopped efforts to find out what’s really lurking under the sea. In February, a team of researchers exploring the Bounty Trough off the coast of New Zealand discovered roughly 100 new and potentially new marine species.  Team members from the nonprofit organization…

AITechnology

How social media helps wildlife trafficking thrive in plain sight

This article was originally featured on Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at hakaimagazine.com. In the summer of 2020, Jennifer Pytka spent three and a half hours a day sleuthing the internet for evidence of wildlife trafficking. She’d type กระเบนท้องน้ำ, a Thai word that loosely translates to stingray, into Google, and her search would immediately yield images of rings, each studded with an ornate white thorn about the size of a thumbnail.…