The world’s largest amphibian should be easy to find. The Chinese giant salamander can be as big as your entire body, and on average resemble a labrador. And while they used to be abundant, after months of searching, scientist are struggling to find even a few. 24 individuals, across 50 sites where the salamanders once thrived. Moreover, the few found all have genetic markers indicating they had escaped or been released from farms. There may not be any wild individuals left.
But this tragedy is getting worse. Based on analyses of the salamander, it’s becoming clear that it’s not one species but five. And they are all facing imminent extinction in the wild.
Read more about it here.
Tiny crustaceans complete a massive daily vertical migration in the world’s oceans. New research suggests their commute may play an important role in the health of the planet.
Dr. Dabiri, an engineering professor at Stanford University, suspected there was more than could be seen by the naked eye in the movements of these small marine creatures. And in a paper published in Nature, he offered evidence that they are capable of playing a vital role in mixing up the many layers of the oceans and the minerals they contain.
Want to know more about this vital dance? Read about it here.
And I for one am wondering how the hell they do it! I just moved to a bigger city and I love it, but I’m finding my time a little stretched thin.
And I have opposable thumbs, and grocery stores. I can’t imagine how wildlife are doing it. Are they better at adulting than I am?
Read about how mountain lions are handling it here.
You’ll never go to dinner in the deep sea. It’s dark, vast and weird down there. If the pressure alone didn’t destroy your land-bound body, some hungry sea creature would probably try to eat you.
Fortunately for you, something else has spent a lot of time down there, helping to prepare this guide to deep sea dining.
For nearly three decades, robots with cameras deployed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have glided through the ocean off the coast of central California at depths as deep as two and half miles below.
Want to know who eats who, before you ask them to dinner? Read about it here!
Biologist who study experimental evolution will tell you that they get to see species evolve all the time. However, for the first time, scientists have been able to see the evolution of a completely new species, in the wild, in real-time. And it’s not something rapidly evolving like bacteria.
It’s a new species of Darwin’s finch, endemic to a small island in the Galápagos, Daphne Major. And it evolved in just two generations.
Read about this awesome study, and gather fodder for that argument that “evolution isn’t true” that you might be having over your Thanksgiving weekend, here!
It’s no secret that I love octopuses, and other cephalopods. I have also not made it a secret that I think they are going to take over the world (I’m only half kidding here)(seriously, they may be our overlords some day… soon). Which is why the discovery of not one but two octopus cities is both exciting and frightening. The two locations have been given names (and Buzzfeed, if you want me to write a listicle about the 10 greatest things about living in an octopus city I will) and are being studied for their anomalous appearance/existence.
“Like any urban environment, Otocopolis and Octlantis can be tough places to live. Citizens must be scrappy. The company and food are abundant but all the activity in the cities also attracts predators, including sharks.”
Want to know more? Read about it here.
The two fields’ intertwined histories show that most theoretical breakthroughs are preceded by the kind of deep observational work that has fallen out of vogue in the past half century.
Want to know more about collaboration and a call for research associated with this partnership? Read about it here.