In this model, based on an inkjet printer and enlarged models of spores, a high-speed camera shows how spores use the physics of merging droplets to uniformly launch themselves out into the world
(Image by Chuan-Hua Chen, Duke University)

How fungal spores harness water droplets to travel

Fungal spores spread by hitching a ride on other animals or travelling on their own. In one of the methods, the spore is picked up by a water droplet, which is then propelled upwards. Exactly how this is done has been a mystery to scientists – until now. A new paper describes how two different-sized water droplets […]

8 ways to safeguard scientific integrity in policy-making

In order for government bodies to make informed, science-based decisions, open and honest communication has to exist – both among the scientists consulting key decision-makers, and in the government scientists’ communication to the public and media. A new paper outlines how such scientific integrity is currently under threat in Canada, Australia and the US, and how these […]

Biobanks are going to great lengths to gather human tissues, but there are still questions over whether the consent process is adequate.
(Sean Caulfield *Virus #2*, silkscreen and digital on drafting film and paper, 24)

Health law experts call for better policy around biobanks

The international health community has seen a lot of progress in the collection and storage of health data and tissue samples, but there is still work to be done regarding consent and ownership rights. Health law researchers say that current biorepository structures such as UK Biobank and the US Precision Medicine Initiative, which have been proliferating over […]

the arctic tundra ecosystem at Toolik Field Station with the Brooks Range in the background.
(Image by Daniel Obrist)

The cycle of mercury pollution in the Arctic tundra

Human activity has been a major source of mercury pollution in the Arctic, and a new study has identified the form most often taken by the pollutant: gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). The News & Views article discusses how the Arctic tundra acts as a major sink for mercury, as the local plants uptake GEM from the […]

Image by NPS Photo/ Alex Vanderstuyf via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Porcupine study reveals how populations change with predation and foraging

Investigation of predator-prey relationships in a changing environment is an important way to track changes to local ecosystems. A new investigation takes a look at the effects of both top-down (predation-driven) and bottom-up (food and foraging-dependent) systems in predator-prey dynamics. The research team tracked a population of porcupines in Wisconsin, US, over a period of 14-year […]

A Hadza man sleeps on the ground on an impala skin in northern Tanzania.
(Image by David Samson)

Asynchronized sleep schedules and earlier bedtimes among the elderly could be an ancient survival mechanism

An anthropological study of modern hunter-gatherers in Tanzania suggests that the difference in sleep schedules may be an age-old survival mechanism. The team observed daily lives of a modern hunter-gatherer community of the Hadza people in Northern Tanzania. After a day of procuring food, the Hadza, the young and old alike, gather to sleep in […]

A brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater). Image by Jim, The Photographer via Flickr

Oil and gas infrastructures increase the number of brood parasitism among grassland songbirds

We’re only beginning to find out all the ways in which industrial activity disrupts the ecosystem, and a new bird study gives yet another example of the unexpected ways in which human activity affects the local fauna. Researchers found that the presence of oil and natural gas infrastructure—such as fences, power lines, and transmitters around […]

High-dimensional color-entangled photon states from a photonic chip, manipulated and transmitted via telecommunications systems.  (Image by Michael Kues)

Multicoloured photons springboard information storage into a quantum leap

Researchers demonstrate how light particles—photons—can become a powerful quantum resource when generated on a photonic chip in the form of colour-entangled quDits. Unlike a qubit, which is a mechanical system with only two states (the classic example being 0 and 1), quDits can have multiple quantum states: for example, a high-dimensional photon can be red and yellow and green and blue […]

Adélie penguin at Lovill Bluff Colony, Mt Siple, West Antarctica. (Image by Jasmine Lee/Australian Antarctic Division)

A rare look at the potential effects of climate change on terrestrial species in Antarctica

Much research has been dedicated to studying the effects of climate change and global warming on the Antarctic ice sheet and sea levels; but the same can’t be said about the ice-free parts of the region, which cover less than 1% of the continent. Researchers modelled the potential effect of climate change under two Intergovernmental […]

Each set of fringe corresponds to a ground movement of ~3 cm.
(Image via the Institut des Sciences de la Terre (ISTerre)

GPS-like data can be used to help predict volcanic eruptions

Scientists are learning to use satellite imaging and mathematical calculations to better predict volcanic activity. Modern satellite technologies, similar to GPS, can now track the ground movements that happen as magma shifts beneath the Earth’s surface. A team of geoscientists are pioneering the use of a process called data assimilation, which incorporates new measurements with […]

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