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Photo of floppy disks and motherboards
Inside the Project Trying to Save Datasets from Extinction
Researchers race to find ecological data kept on outdated media or in dusty backroom boxes—before they’re lost forever.
Inside the Project Trying to Save Datasets from Extinction
Inside the Project Trying to Save Datasets from Extinction

Researchers race to find ecological data kept on outdated media or in dusty backroom boxes—before they’re lost forever.

Researchers race to find ecological data kept on outdated media or in dusty backroom boxes—before they’re lost forever.

Notebook
<em >Lymantria&nbsp;</em>species make ultrasonic, mechanical rasping noises when they hear bats nearby.&nbsp;
Many Moths Speak Up to Ward Off Bats
Connor Lynch | Dec 1, 2022 | 5 min read
A decade-long, multicontinent study suggests that acoustic defense strategies are more common among moths than previously imagined.
Three grasshoppers
How a Grasshopper Gave Up Sex, Took Up Cloning
Dan Robitzski | Nov 1, 2022 | 5 min read
Meet the grasshopper that has reproduced asexually for a quarter of a million years—without acquiring undue numbers of harmful mutations.
Fernanda, a Fernandina giant tortoise (<em>Chelonoidis phantasticus</em>), was identified in 2019, decades after her species supposedly went extinct.
When an Extinct Species Is Found Alive, What Happens Next?
Andy Carstens | Nov 1, 2022 | 6 min read
Finding a creature in the wild that had been considered long gone brings hope—and quite a bit of uncertainty.
Kentish plover standing by nest with eggs
Avian Deception More Widespread Than Previously Thought
Andy Carstens | Oct 3, 2022 | 5 min read
The broken-wing display, in which birds fake being wounded to protect their nests from predators, is found across the avian phylogenetic tree, a study finds.
Blue Whales - Sri Lanka April 2012
The Evolutionary Shaping of Modern Whales
Connor Lynch | Oct 3, 2022 | 4 min read
A survey of more than 200 whale skulls has unveiled bursts of evolution over the past 50 million years.
Oysters&rsquo; shells were made into concrete and other materials used in construction during the Industrial Revolution.
Scientists Use Sound to Attract Baby Oysters Back to the Reef
Ian Rose | Aug 15, 2022 | 5 min read
Meet the team trying to restore mollusk populations with the help of underwater speakers.
Ferns bounced back much faster than other plants after the meteor impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Why Did Ferns Persist When All Other Plants Perished?
Amanda Heidt | Aug 15, 2022 | 6 min read
A strange layer in the fossil record contains evidence that fern populations exploded following the mass extinction that ended the Cretaceous period. Scientists want to know why.
Magical fairytale forest. Coniferous forest covered of green moss. Mystic atmosphere.
The Unusual Functions of Geosmin
Connor Lynch | Aug 1, 2022 | 5 min read
The compounds responsible for the earthy smell of recent rain are produced by a wide variety of bacteria and fungi. Recent research sheds light on why microbes bother.
Male common fruit fly (Drosophila Melanogaster) - about 2 mm long - sitting on a blade of grass with green foliage background
The Sex Appeal of Symmetric Songs
Mary Bates | Aug 1, 2022 | 5 min read
Female fruit flies assess the physical symmetry of male suitors through the songs they sing, a study claims.
Vicu&ntilde;as <em>(Lama vicugna)</em> run across the plains in San Guillermo National Park, Argentina.
How Mange Remade an Ecosystem
Shawna Williams | Jul 5, 2022 | 5 min read
A study traces the effects of a mite outbreak from the earth to the heavens.
Pufferfish underwater in ocean
Pufferfish Don’t Need Functional Stomach, Inflate Instead
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 5 min read
The fish use their stomach to swell up to three times their size. Is this why they can’t use the organ to digest proteins?
Archerfish in the deep transparent water.
Archerfish Defy Notion that Complex Vision Requires a Cortex
Amanda Heidt | Jun 1, 2022 | 5 min read
The fish species is separated from mammals by hundreds of millions of years of evolution, yet its seemingly primitive brain can handle many of the same elaborate visual tasks.
Photo of fish in the Haemulidae family
Fish Are Chattier Than Previously Thought
Connor Lynch | May 2, 2022 | 5 min read
Once thought to be silent, fish turn out to produce a range of vocalizations—so polluting the oceans with noise could pose a danger to them.
Image of sperm hooks (<em>Peromyscus maniculatus</em>)
The Mystery of the Mouse Sperm Hook
Natalia Mesa, PhD | May 2, 2022 | 5 min read
Nearly all mouse sperm have hooks on their heads. But new research suggests the structures slow them down—so what exactly is their purpose?
Close up photo of a wing
Unearthing the Evolutionary Origins of Insect Wings
Jef Akst | Apr 4, 2022 | 6 min read
A handful of new studies moves the needle toward a consensus on the long-disputed question of whether insect wings evolved from legs or from the body wall, but the devil is in the details.
Photo of a Dwarf mongoose
Dwarf Mongooses Shun Bullies to Manage Conflict: Study
Mary Bates | Apr 4, 2022 | 5 min read
These social animals keep tabs on aggressive members of the group and groom them less after fights to punish them.
Photo of a Jewel beetle <em>(Sternocera aequisignata)</em>.
Why Are Some Beetles Shiny? It’s Not What Researchers Thought
Connor Lynch | Mar 1, 2022 | 4 min read
The glossy shell of some beetles, it has long been speculated, helps hide the insects from predators. A recent paper put the hypothesis to the test—and found it wanting.
Photo of Romaine River in Quebec
Microbial Analysis of River Reveals Considerable Diversity
Annie Melchor | Mar 1, 2022 | 4 min read
Scientists in Canada trace how aquatic communities change as Quebec’s Romaine River flows into the sea.
Fish in a big blue aquarium
Microbes Responsible for Stealing Aquarium Medicine
Amanda Heidt | Feb 1, 2022 | 6 min read
Researchers discover that bacteria break down medicinal compounds for their nitrogen, solving a mystery that has vexed aquatic veterinarians for years.
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