Tree Diversity and Climate Change

By Raymond Cheung ‘22 Since trees can absorb greenhouse gases through photosynthesis, reforestation efforts are becoming a more crucial way to combat climate change. However, new research suggests that the number of tree species planted is as essential as the quantity. A recent study conducted by Yuanyuan Huang and more than sixty scientists from China, Switzerland, and Germany analyzed over 150,000 trees planted in the … Continue reading Tree Diversity and Climate Change

Invasive Hogweed Spreads Throughout North East

Rachel Kogan ‘19 Many plant species that are accidentally transported from one continent to the other by humans become invasive species. The Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum,is one such species. The plant, originally found in the Caucasus Mountains in central Asia, has recently spread throughout Canada and the United States’ Northeastern region. Recently, scientists discovered the hogweed in Virginia, following reports of unusual burns associated with … Continue reading Invasive Hogweed Spreads Throughout North East

Investigating Genetic Variation and Selection in Starfish Species Piaster ochraceus

Stephanie Budhan ’21 Extreme environmental disturbances, such as a natural disaster or epidemics, dramatically impact animal population survival. These events have the potential to eliminate entire species, and affect the gene pool or the frequency of certain genes within the population. However, scientists observing these natural disasters and their subsequent effects can be difficult due to their sporadic occurrence. A study conducted by Dr. Lauren … Continue reading Investigating Genetic Variation and Selection in Starfish Species Piaster ochraceus

Electric Fields Can Recover Fresh Water from Fog

By Caleb Sooknanan ‘20 Over 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide, and for many coastal regions with little or no rain and expensive water transportation measures, water only appears in dense fog layers. Fog collection or fog harvesting techniques have become useful for extracting water from these regions, with some systems mimicking natural collection mechanisms within animals and plants. Most fog … Continue reading Electric Fields Can Recover Fresh Water from Fog

Habitat Creation and Woodland Bird Populations

By Fatin Chowdhury ‘19 Many are aware of the need for conservation in ecologically vulnerable locations, but scientists continue to seek to clarify the details surrounding conservation logistics. A study led by Dr. Robin Whytock at the University of Sterling examined differences in local and landscape habitat creation for bird communities within the woodland forests in central England and Scotland. Whytock’s team considered biodiversity and … Continue reading Habitat Creation and Woodland Bird Populations

Figure 1. Researchers found that it is possible for speciation to occur in finches in the Galapagos Islands within a couple of generations.

New Species of Finch Developed After Three Generations

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ‘19 Darwin’s finches from the Galapagos Islands are one of the hallmarks of the scientific field of evolution studies. Species classification between two organisms is determined by the ability to successfully reproduce a nonsterile progeny. Several factors such as physical, behavioral, and biological differences can cause reproductive isolation, or prevention of two organisms from reproducing. Reproductive isolation can cause speciation, or the … Continue reading New Species of Finch Developed After Three Generations

Figure 1. Biologists find visual impairments in a kiwi population that lead them to believe that vision is unrelated to kiwi survival.

Free-Living Blind Bird Population Observed for the First Time

Gene Yang ‘19 Researchers of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with New Zealand ornithologists, have observed multiple blind, healthy birds existing in a free-living avian population. These organisms from the genus Apteryx, commonly known as kiwis, are flightless birds native to New Zealand. Although kiwis are predominantly nocturnal, unlike most nocturnal bird species, they do not possess the notable characteristics in their … Continue reading Free-Living Blind Bird Population Observed for the First Time

Figure 1. A honeybee larva can either become a queen or a worker bee depending on the food and nutrients it consumes.

The Role of Plant RNA in Honeybee Caste Development and Evolution

By Maryna Mullerman ’20 Doctor Kegan Zhu and researchers from Nanjing University in China investigated the effects of plant microRNAs (miRNAs) on larval development and differentiation in honeybees. The study’s results provide another approach to the understanding of co-evolution of different species and cross-kingdom interactions. The researchers hypothesized that miRNAs from different sources affected larval development. They recognized that plant miRNAs could be ingested by … Continue reading The Role of Plant RNA in Honeybee Caste Development and Evolution

Figure 1. The benthic zone, which includes the sea floor, sediment, and surrounding waters, is the lowest ecological level in a body of water.

Warming Waters Unexpectedly Alters Growth of Antarctica’s Sea Life

By Gene Yang ’19 In shallow Antarctic waters, a nine-month long study was the first of its kind to artificially warm conditions in the sea floor to predicted climate change levels, and in doing so, the researchers saw an increase in the growth rates of select species. Scientists placed artificial “settlement panels” on the sea floor of shallow Antarctic waters. The composition of these panels … Continue reading Warming Waters Unexpectedly Alters Growth of Antarctica’s Sea Life

Figure 1. Ghost crabs are Crustaceans of the subfamily Ocypodinae, found in intertidal zones in America’s Pacific Coast and elsewhere around the world.

Crustacean Body Size Changes with Climate

By Gene Yang ’19 Crustaceans play an important role in coastal ecosystems, an area of research that can provide new insight into climate change. A recent study found a correlation between body sizes of intertidal crustaceans, latitude, and sea-surface temperature. A collaboration of researchers from six universities sampled the body sizes of four keystone crustacean species from 44 sandy beaches in California and Chile: high-shore … Continue reading Crustacean Body Size Changes with Climate