Archive for the 'science news' Category

Published by Rosalind on 05 Oct 2010

At last, a census for the ocean

An amazing sea creature! (photo from

After ten years of research and more than 540 ocean expeditions, more than 2700 scientists presented the world with the first-ever census of marine life on Monday. The census made direct observation of 120,000 marine species, including some 6,000 newly discovered species. Marine Census.

“There are no ocean deserts,” Jesse Ausubel, a co-founder of the census, says. “Everywhere we looked we found life.” Check out the amazing photos: Marine Species.

Published by Rosalind on 07 Jun 2010

Birds and the Gulf Oil Spill

As the Gulf Oil Spill from the BP well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon continues, things are getting worse and worse for local wildlife. Here are a few places where you can find out more about what’s happening and how to help!

How Bad is the Gulf Oil Spill? Ask the Pelicans.

Bird Rescue
US Fish and Wildlife Service’s info on what you can do
Cornell Ornithology Lab oil spill bird tracker

(photo by IBBRC)

Published by Rosalind on 29 Apr 2010

Oil from Gulf Oil Spill hits the coastline

As oil continues to flow from the leaking oil well located a mile underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, some of the oil is washing up on beaches. Unfortunately, this looks like the early stages of a massive, tragic ecological disaster. Fishermen, wildlife, tourism, and the environmental health and  beauty of the Gulf Coast will all be affected by the magnitude of this spill. For more on the spill and the US government response: Oil Spill.

Published by Rosalind on 22 Apr 2010

Happy Earth Day!

The most detailed image of our earth to date (credit: NASA)

There’s still (always) a lot of work to be done, but the fortieth celebration of Earth Day is definitely a big moment! Visit Earth Day to find celebrations near you, or just make up your own! For possible actions you can take, try Actions.

Published by Rosalind on 06 Apr 2010

New Money for NASA Studies of Our Earth

As the space shuttle Discovery circles the earth this week , the Obama administration is proposing a 60% rise in funding for NASA to study the earth. One particular focus of study will be carbon dioxide and its effects on the atmosphere — part of the money would pay for a new Orbiting Carbon Observatory. The GRACE satellites, which study gravity, will also be replaced. You can listen to the NPR story here: NASA Slated to Receive Billions of Dollars to Study Earth.

For updates on the Discovery mission, the astronauts, and to find out when Discovery is passing overhead, visit NASA Shuttle and Space Station.

Published by Rosalind on 12 Feb 2010

New Look at Ancient Human (and his earwax)

Researchers led by Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen this week announced the first completed sequencing of the genome of an ancient human. The genetic material came from an ancient clump of hair, collected in Greenland by Danish archeologists in the 1980’s. “From the DNA, we can tell a lot about the individual,” says Willerslev. “He had brown eyes, brown skin, a tendency to baldness, dry earwax, and shovel-shaped front teeth.” The researchers have named him “Inuk,” which means “man” or “human” in Greenlandic. To see a drawing of Inuk and read more about the research, check out this article: Ancient Human Sequenced for First Time.

Published by Diana on 20 Jan 2010


A Tale of Two Flagella is written by Olivia Judson, one of the best science writers there is.

Dinoflagellates are single-celled organisms that make coral reefs possible; they have a symbiotic–mutually beneficial–relationship with corals that make corals grow faster. Corals with certain kinds of dinoflagellates can cope with warmer water better than corals without them.

But other dinoflagellates are bad news. Ciguatera, a nasty form of poison found in some fish, and parlytic shellfish poisoning, a nasty form of poison found in some shellfish, both are caused by dinoflagellates. Red tides (in which massive numbers of dinoflagellates accumulate rapidly in one area) kill many animals, including dolphins, turtles, and other endangered species.

Dinoflagellates are weird; they can photosynthesize, despite being mobile cells; they have taken over the chloroplasts (the sun-utilizing bodies within the cell) of other organisms. And their DNA is unusual too.

Read the article for more details!

Published by Rosalind on 15 Jan 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

The destructive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 measured 7.0 on the Richter scale. The earthquake destroyed many buildings in the big city of Port-au-Prince. There have been lots of smaller earthquakes, called aftershocks. The earthquakes are happening on the boundary between the Caribbean plate and the North American plate.

Below you’ll see a map from the United States Geological Survey. Visit Earthquakes for more information on the Haitian earthquake and worldwide earthquakes.

USGS Map of Earthquakes in Haiti over the last week (1/15/2010)

USGS Map of Earthquakes in Haiti over the last week (1/15/2010)

Published by Rosalind on 27 Dec 2009

Satellite, satellite…

NASA’s Terra satellite has been orbiting for ten years, taking measurements of the earth with many sensors. People say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and these satellite images definitely fit the description. Right now, my house is in the snowy region of the Northeastern US. Looking at this image gives me a sense of sympathy for all the other folks in the wintry, snowy parts of the northern hemisphere — and it shows me where they are!

NASA satellite image of global snow cover, posted December 18, 2009

NASA satellite image of global snow cover, posted December 18, 2009

Check this link for more Terra images: Terra Turns Ten: snow, clouds and sunlight.

Published by Rosalind on 08 Dec 2009

Breathing may not be good for you – but the Climate Summit may lead to new approaches to the problem

The United States has declared that greenhouse gases may be threatening to human health — as well as to planetary health.

The announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency has been welcome for many climate activists, and also for world leaders gathered at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. 192 countries including the US are represented in Copenhagen.

The Summit will continue until December 18, and hopefully will result in a strong world agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.  For more on the Climate Summit, you can check out BBC coverage:Copenhagen.

You can also read Tweets from Copenhagen by New York Times environmental reporter Andy Revkin here:Revkin Tweets.

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