Features

How Some Vaccines Protect Against More than Their Targets
How Some Vaccines Protect Against More than Their Targets
Shawna Williams | Nov 1, 2020
As researchers test existing vaccines for nonspecific protection against COVID-19, immunologists are working to understand how some inoculations protect against pathogens they weren’t designed to fend off.
Clues Point to Climate Change as a Culprit in Gray Whale Deaths
Clues Point to Climate Change as a Culprit in Gray Whale Deaths
Ashley Yeager | Nov 1, 2020
For the past two years, the charismatic marine mammals have washed up on Pacific shores in record numbers. Scientists investigating the strandings suspect warming waters and melting sea ice are partly to blame.
Can Rewilding Large Predators Regenerate Ecosystems?
Can Rewilding Large Predators Regenerate Ecosystems?
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2020
As some conservationists and researchers begin to return large carnivores to areas where they once roamed, scientists intensify efforts to study the ecological roles of predators.

Contributors

Contributors
Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the November 2020 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

Looming Change
Looming Change
Looming Change
While the world is still coming to grips with the new reality wrought by COVID-19, the risk of catastrophe from a warming planet persists.

Speaking of Science

Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.

Critic at Large

Notebook

Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Early investigations of the microbial communities in and around sunken boats reveal that there are patterns to where bacteria settle.
Slingshot Spiders Pull More Gs than Cheetahs Do
Slingshot Spiders Pull More Gs than Cheetahs Do
Slingshot Spiders Pull More Gs than Cheetahs Do
Using their silk threads as a catapult, members of a family of orb-weaving arachnids rocket themselves and their webs through the air to capture prey.

The Literature

Herbivore Body Size Influences Grazing Behavior, Poop Quality
Herbivore Body Size Influences Grazing Behavior, Poop Quality
Herbivore Body Size Influences Grazing Behavior, Poop Quality
Researchers disentangle complex connections among vegetation, herbivores, and dung in the South African savanna.
Tropical Birds Differ in Their Responses to Drought
Tropical Birds Differ in Their Responses to Drought
Tropical Birds Differ in Their Responses to Drought
Long-lived species decrease their reproduction more than short-lived species in response to lower-than-normal precipitation, and thereby gain a survival advantage, a study finds.
How a Centipede Survives its Own Species’ Venom
How a Centipede Survives its Own Species’ Venom
How a Centipede Survives its Own Species’ Venom
The same toxin targets different receptors in prey and conspecifics to deliver either a lethal or non-lethal blow.

Scientist to Watch

Chelsea Wood Tracks Parasites Around the World
Chelsea Wood Tracks Parasites Around the World
Chelsea Wood Tracks Parasites Around the World
The University of Washington parasite ecologist aims to understand how humans have changed the diversity and abundance of the enigmatic and misunderstood organisms.

Careers

Scientists, Publishers Debate Paychecks for Peer Reviewers
Scientists, Publishers Debate Paychecks for Peer Reviewers
Scientists, Publishers Debate Paychecks for Peer Reviewers
While some academics have called for compensation for assessing other scientists’ work, publishers haven’t warmed to the idea.

Reading Frames

Reconsidering Life’s Origin
Reconsidering Life’s Origin
Reconsidering Life’s Origin
Is the model of early life as a freak occurrence in a disordered, primordial soup of chemicals wrong?

Foundations

Octopod Sailors, 300 BC–present
Octopod Sailors, 300 BC–present
Octopod Sailors, 300 BC–present
Lore has always surrounded argonauts, pelagic octopuses that build shells and travel the seas.

Infographics

Infographic: How Vaccines Train Innate Immunity
Infographic: How Vaccines Train Innate Immunity
Infographic: How Vaccines Train Innate Immunity
A recent study elucidates some of the changes that occur in the body after inoculation with a tuberculosis vaccine.
Infographic: Investigating Whale Strandings Along the North American Coast
Infographic: Investigating Whale Strandings Along the North American Coast
Infographic: Investigating Whale Strandings Along the North American Coast
Knock-on effects of melting sea ice in the Arctic may be to blame for a spate of gray whale deaths along their migration route from Mexico to Alaska.
Infographic: How Large Carnivores Sculpt Ecosystems
Infographic: How Large Carnivores Sculpt Ecosystems
Infographic: How Large Carnivores Sculpt Ecosystems
The release of gray wolves in Yellowstone decades ago still stands as one of the few examples of a predator reintroduction, and the lessons learned continue to be debated. New projects aim to do it again.
Infographic: Herbivore Dung Nutrients Vary Across the Savanna
Infographic: Herbivore Dung Nutrients Vary Across the Savanna
Infographic: Herbivore Dung Nutrients Vary Across the Savanna
In South Africa, the composition of droppings varies by species’ body sizes, and which animals are found where depends on vegetation density.