Whales and butterflies: The migration effect
What do a 40-ton whale and near-weightless butterfly have in common? They both migrate every year, along with billions of other animals like ducks, turtles and moths. Now, a new study in the April 4 issue of the journal Science explains how important migration is to shaping ecosystems on Earth.
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The angular control of light
Scientists trying to control light have made progress, a new study in the March 28 issue of the journal Science reports.
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Crows and cuckoos: A unique relationship
The great spotted cuckoo is known to be a nuisance. This parasitic bird sneaks its eggs into other birds' nests and tricks the other birds into caring for their young. However, a new study of these cuckoos and of carrion crows shows that the cuckoos aren't all bad: In addition to crowding the crows' nests, they seem to protect the birds from predators.
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Despite few food options, abundant assortment of species
A close look at tropical flies and the parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside them reveals an incredibly complex web of interactions, including some that would have remained hidden without new and advanced molecular techniques.
A model for the world's rivers?
A new model can predict how river networks evolve over time, and it might help researchers understand what some landscapes looked like in the past -- or how they will look in the future. And since rivers act as both pathways and barriers for many creatures, this new model might tell researchers more about the ways that rivers affect natural ecosystems.
Black holes give off stronger winds than we thought
Black holes release more energy into the galaxies they live in than previously thought, a new study in the Feb. 28 issue of the journal Science suggests.
With a twist, researchers turn fishing line into muscles
What if the clothing you wore responded to temperature, becoming thicker on cold days and thinner on hot days? Or if the window shutters in your house opened and closed automatically to keep the temperature inside just right? That's the kind of technology that Carter Haines and colleagues show off in a new Science report.
Crazy ants cover themselves in chemicals
The United States Gulf Coast is being overrun by tawny crazy ants. The invasive ant species arrived from South America in the early 2000s and immediately began replacing colonies of fire ants, which had dominated the region since the 1930s. Now, researchers show that these tawny crazy ants have a unique chemical defense that allows them to best the fire ants in battle.
2013 Visualization Challenge winners announced
Art and science have always gone hand-in-hand. So, for the past 11 years, the journal Science and the US National Science Foundation have sponsored the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, which honors 18 groups or individuals who use visual media -- photography, video, illustration, posters, games, etc. -- to promote science.
Chemical tricks in new hosts expand pathogen variety
A pathogen that has spent generations living comfortably in one host can leap to and successfully inhabit an entirely different one, and now a new report suggests the chemical changes it makes in the new host allow it to make this jump.
Nothing sees color like the mantis shrimp
Most mammals have two types of photoreceptors -- cells that convert light into electrical signals -- in their eyes. Humans and many other primates have three. Some birds and reptiles have four. Certain butterflies can even have six. But a crustacean, known as the mantis shrimp, which lives among colorful coral reefs, has 12 different types of photoreceptors in their eyes -- and researchers haven't understood why until now.
No speed limit for soil in New Zealand's mountains
Scientists working in the mountains of New Zealand report very fast rates of soil weathering, a new study in the Jan. 17 issue of the journal Science reports, contradicting previous studies that suggest mountainous soil weathering has a speed limit -- a rate at which it cannot go any faster.
The importance of large carnivores
In the classic film, "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy and her frightened companions begin chanting, "Lions and tigers and bears -- oh my!" And, to be sure, carnivores like those have scared people (and other animals) for centuries. But, in a review article in Science this week, William Ripple and colleagues highlight some of the benefits that these top carnivores bestow on ecosystems around the world -- and they say that the time to conserve these meat-eating species is now.
Working up the nerve to mate
A new study in fish reports that a female's more likely to mate with a male she's seen than one she's not because certain nerve cells fire when she sees him again. The finding is reported in the Jan. 3 issue of the journal Science.
Where did cooperation come from?
Why do people (and animals) help each other? What's in it for them? It's a fundamental question that scientists have been asking for years -- and a new study in birds is helping to explain how the idea of cooperation first evolved in the animal kingdom.
Animal family tree trunk made of jelly
Just which critters sit at the base of the animal family tree has been unclear, but now a new study providing the first-ever genome sequence of an ancient jelly-like creature suggests that it represents the tree's first branch.
Deep-sea sampling explains large slip-up off Japan
It was the fault zone's fault that the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake in Japan was so big; the fault zone was too thin and too weak, reports a series of extraordinary ocean drilling studies.
Aging happens faster when more females are near
Historically, scientists haven't looked too closely at how a male's health or lifespan changes if he senses the presence of a female, or vice versa. But now a study by University of Michigan's Christi M. Gendron and colleagues published in the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Science does just that.
Icy detective discovers extraterrestrial particles
Sensors buried below the ice may help scientists figure out where the high-energy rays that speed through space are born, a new study reports. And this is exciting as the origin of these rays, known as cosmic rays, has long been mysterious -- because cosmic rays are hard to track.
Dogs went to finishing school -- in Europe
How were dangerous, man-eating wolves tamed to become the friendly, playful dogs we know and love today?
The largest asteroid impact on Earth in a century
Earlier this year, on Feb. 15, an asteroid violently exploded above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia. It caused the largest airburst, or explosion, on the planet since a similar event occurred back in 1908 (also in Russia). And since it happened in a heavily populated area, where cell phones, video cameras and other recording devices are common, researchers have been able to gather a tremendous amount of information about it.
Beyond rats: Bats reveal neurons' role in 3-D navigation
When Princeton University's Michael M. Yartsev chose to study how bats build mental maps of their whereabouts, he chose an animal model that would greatly expand neuroscientists' insights into the way the brain encodes space.
Grasshopper mice resist pain, thanks to evolution
Bark scorpions have one of the most painful stings in the animal kingdom -- but the grasshopper mouse doesn't know that. In fact, these rodents can get stung multiple times while they're eating bark scorpions, and they hardly even seem to notice! That's because grasshopper mice have evolved a unique kind of resistance to the scorpion's venom over the years, researchers say in Science.
The sly maneuvers of the fungus fatal to frogs
Like subsurface ninjas, the cells of a newly discovered fungus are slipping into the skins of frogs worldwide, killing them, and now a new study in the journal Science study hints at how.
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The building blocks of a water-rich world?
One day in the very distant future, our sun will burn out and collapse. And whenever that happens, there's a fair chance that it will evolve into a white dwarf star -- a small but incredibly dense burned-out star. As a white dwarf star with tremendous gravity, our sun would begin stripping all of the elements away from the solar system's inner planets, sucking their mass onto itself like a stellar vacuum cleaner. That's how white dwarfs grow.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.