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Bear Attack!
April 15, 2014 |

If you spend time in bear country knowing how to react to a bear encounter and what to do if you are attacked could save your life.

If you don’t know where bears live here is a map of the geographic ranges for black, grizzly and polar bears in North America.

Image by Sir Charles Lyell
Military Armor Inspired by Twinning in Mollusk Shells?
April 10, 2014 | MIT News

“The shells of a sea creature, the mollusk Placuna placenta, are not only exceptionally tough, but also clear enough to read through. Now, researchers at MIT have analyzed these shells to determine exactly why they are so resistant to penetration and damage — even though they are 99 percent calcite, a weak, brittle mineral.”

Whale Dives 3km Deep and Stays Down for Over 2 Hours
April 6, 2014 | BBC

BBC has a story about beaked whales that reports on one that dove nearly 3 kilometers deep and remained submerged for over two hours.

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Why Zebras Have Stripes
April 3, 2014 | UC Davis News

“Why zebras have black and white stripes is a question that has intrigued scientists and spectators for centuries. [...] The scientists found that biting flies, including horseflies and tsetse flies, are the evolutionary driver for zebra stripes.” Quoted from the UC Davis press release.

Insect Camouflage
April 3, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article titled: “Masters of Disguise—Amazing Insect Camouflage“. It is a photo gallery of insects that are so well camouflaged in their surroundings that you might have trouble finding them in the photos.

Hunting Honey in Nepal
March 25, 2014 | Weather Channel

The Weather Channel has a photo gallery that shows Nepalese people harvesting honey made by the Himalayan honey bee – the largest bee in the world. They do this using rope ladders dangling from 200-foot high cliffs. You will be amazed!

Snake Eats a Crocodile?
March 11, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has a short article with photos that shows that a python can kill and eat a crocodile. The snake will digest the bones and only excrete the teeth and some of the scales.

White-Nose Along Tour Routes in Mammoth Cave
March 6, 2014 |

White-nose syndrome is a disease that has killed millions of bats in the past few years. Now the disease has been spotted in bats along the tour routes of Mammoth Cave

Waterfall-Climbing Fish
February 18, 2014 | National Science Foundation

“The species of goby fish, Sicyopterus stimpsoni, also known as the “inching climber,” thrives in the waters off Hawaii, and the amazing physical feat it must perform to survive is no fish tale! To reach the safe haven of its freshwater spawning area, this goby must scale a waterfall, or at least the rock behind it, using suction cups on its body.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Salmon Sense Magnetic Field When Migrating?
February 18, 2014 | Oregon State University

“A team of scientists last year presented evidence of a correlation between the migration patterns of ocean salmon and the Earth’s magnetic field, suggesting it may help explain how the fish can navigate across thousands of miles of water to find their river of origin.” Quoted from the Oregon State University press release.

The War on Lionfish as an Invasive Species
February 16, 2014 | Oregon State University

“With venomous spines, no natural predators in the Atlantic Ocean, and aggressive behavior, the lionfish have been shown to eat almost anything smaller than they are – fish, shrimp, crabs and octopus.” Quoted from the Oregon State University press release.

Climate Change Hitting Penguins in Argentina
February 9, 2014 | Plosone

Researchers monitored over thousands of penguins over nearly three decades to determine their mortality factors. One conclusion is that climate change is causing more frequent and more intense storms that kill many penguins.

Frog-Hunting Bats?
January 28, 2014 | National Geographic

A species of bat that lives in parts of Central and South America has an echolocation sense that gives it the ability to detect water ripples from a croaking frog and swoop in for a kill.

Fluorescent Sharks?
January 23, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an interesting video about how divers have discovered biofluorescent fish in many parts of the World’s oceans.

Resistance of Coral to Acidification at Palau
January 21, 2014 | National Science Foundation

Marine scientists working on the coral reefs of Palau have made two unexpected discoveries: 1) at each location they found that the seawater became increasingly more acidic as they moved toward land; and, 2) the corals living in those more acidic waters were unexpectedly diverse and healthy.

Fluorescent Fish?
January 12, 2014 | PLOS ONE

“Fish biofluorescence is especially common and morphologically variable in cryptically patterned coral-reef lineages. We identified 16 orders, 50 families, 105 genera, and more than 180 species of biofluorescent fishes.” Quoted from the PLOS ONE abstract.

Related: Fluorescent Minerals

A Loss of Large Carnivores?
January 12, 2014 | Oregon State University

“In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, dingoes, wolves, otters, and bears is [occurring in response to] habitat loss, persecution by humans and loss of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline.” Quoted from the Oregon State press release.

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The Largest Elephant Shrew
December 26, 2013 | National Geographic

Elephant shrew? Yes, there is such an animal and National Geographic has an article about tracking them in the jungles of Tanzania.

Climate Change and Echolocation in Bats
December 17, 2013 | National Geographic

Researchers suspect that climate change might cause problems for bats that navigate in the dark of night using echolocation.

Climate Change at Point Barrow Alaska
December 4, 2013 | PBS NewsHour

This PBS Newshour video explores the impact of climate change on the landscape, people and wildlife of Point Barrow Alaska.

Rare New Microbe Found in Two Distant Clean Rooms
November 9, 2013 | NASA

“A rare, recently discovered microbe that survives on very little to eat has been found in two places on Earth: spacecraft clean rooms in Florida and South America. Microbiologists often do thorough surveys of bacteria and other microbes in spacecraft clean rooms. Fewer microbes live there than in almost any other environment on Earth, but the surveys are important for knowing what might hitch a ride into space. If extraterrestrial life is ever found, it would be readily checked against the census of a few hundred types of microbes detected in spacecraft clean rooms.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Studying Diatoms in the Lakes of Southwestern Greenland
November 6, 2013 | National Science Foundation

Diatom populations in the lakes of southwestern Greenland are different from those in other parts of the Arctic in that they were rich in ‘warmer’ water diatoms throughout the Holocene.

The Frightening Threats to Bats
October 31, 2013 | USGS

“Each year on Halloween, as children dress up and go door to door looking for treats and excitement, bats—the very animal we associate with the celebration—are in serious trouble and we need to “treat” them with the respect they deserve.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Related: Troglobites: Animals that Live in a Cave

Giant Oarfish
October 17, 2013 |

“A marine science instructor snorkeling off the Southern California coast spotted something out of a fantasy novel: the silvery carcass of an 18-foot-long, serpent-like oarfish.” Quoted from the

Turning an Invasive Species into a Source of Income
October 6, 2013 | National Geographic

The lionfish is an extremely aggressive predator that has been changing marine life populations since it was accidentally introduced to the western Atlantic and Caribbean in the 1980s. Now, the fish is being targeted by the fishing industry, turning the predator into a source of income.

Cave Biology Webinar
October 3, 2013 | Caving News

The National Speleological Society has announced a webinar on the biology of submerged caves. It will be held on Thursday, October 17th at 7:00 to 8:00 PM eastern time.

Related: Troglobites: Animals that Live in a Cave

The Impact of Fragmenting a Forest Environment
October 2, 2013 | New York Times

In 1987, Thailand built a dam on the Khlong Saeng river. As the reservoir filled it transformed over 100 forested hilltops into islands. Now each island, along with its plant and animal inhabitants, is an experiment to test what happens with a forest environment is fragmented.

Migration of Marine Life in Response to Climate Change?
September 23, 2013 | Princeton University

Climate change and warmer oceans are pushing marine species into new territory. Researchers are working on methods to predict their direction and rate of migration.

Natural Gas and the Endangered Species List?
September 15, 2013 | National Public Radio

Natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania are supporting proposed legislation that would revise how the state’s endangered species list is managed.

Secrets of Spider Venom
September 12, 2013 | University of Arizona

“A University of Arizona-led research team has found that venom of spiders of the genus Loxosceles, which includes the brown recluse, produces a different chemical product than scientists believed. The discovery could lead to better understanding of how these spider bites can cause necrotic lesions or systemic reactions in humans and to new treatments for spider bites.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

Frogs vs Marijuana Farmers in California
September 12, 2013 | BPS

Illegal marijuana plots hidden in the Santa Monica Mountains outside of Los Angeles are limiting the ability of the National Park Service to relocate endangered frog species to more sustainable habitats.

Coral Dispersion Simulation
September 11, 2013 | University of Miami

“A new computer simulation has revealed the epic, ocean-spanning journeys traveled by millimeter-sized coral larvae through the world’s seas. It is the first to recreate the oceanic paths along which corals disperse globally, and will eventually aid predictions of how coral reef distributions may shift with climate change.” Quoted from the University of Miami press release.

Life Found in an Antarctic Subglacial Lake
September 11, 2013 | British Antarctic Survey

“What was surprising was the high biomass and diversity we found. This is the first time microbes have been identified living in the sediments of a subglacial Antarctic lake and indicates that life can exist and potentially thrive in environments we would consider too extreme.” Quoted from the British Antarctic Survey press release.

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Climate Change and Crop Disease
September 9, 2013 | BBC

A BBC article explores how climate change could drive the spread of insects and diseases that ruin crops.

Two Huge Alligators Killed in Mississippi
September 5, 2013 | National Geographic

National Geographic has a report on the two massive American alligators that were killed last weekend in Mississippi. They were 727 and 723 pounds – both were over 13 feet long.

A Tight Cave with a Few Ducks
August 29, 2013 |

A video on takes you on a visit to Shakespeare’s Cave in the UK. It is very narrow and exploring it requires you to “duck” underwater a few times.

Related: Troglobites

Secrets of Whale Shark Migration
August 27, 2013 | National Geographic

National Geographic has a story that explores the migration habits of the world’s largest fish – the whale shark – that can grow to lengths of up to 40 feet and weigh up to 5 tons.

Krill as a Barometer of Climate Change?
August 23, 2013 | National Geographic

Krill are small crustaceans that occupy a low position on the food chain in all of Earth’s oceans. National Geographic has an article that describes some of the research being done to learn about the krill in the Antarctic.

Cases of Lyme Disease 10x Greater than Reported
August 23, 2013 | Center for Disease Control

Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. The new estimate suggests that the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number.

Related: What is Lyme Disease?

Mixing Thousands of People with Millions of Bats
August 18, 2013 |

Bracken Cave is home to the world’s largest population of bats. A housing development planned for an adjacent property could put thousands of people into close proximity to millions of Mexican free-tailed bats.

White-Nose in the UK
August 18, 2013 |

The fungus responsible for the white-nose syndrome has been discovered on live bats at five sites in the UK.

New Portuguese Troglobite
August 15, 2013 | Caving News

A new cave-dwelling millipede has been discovered in a cave in southern Portugal.

Related: What is a Troglobite?

Climate Change and the Spread of Infectious Diseases
August 8, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Climate change is already affecting the spread of infectious diseases — and human health and biodiversity worldwide.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Warming Ocean Moves Marine Life Poleward
August 8, 2013 | CSIRO

“The leading edge or ‘front line’ of a marine species’ distribution is moving towards the poles at the average rate of 72 kilometres per decade, which is considerably faster than terrestrial species.” Quoted from the CSIRO press release.

Atlantic White Shark Study
August 4, 2013 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“This particular project will be the most in-depth study of Atlantic white sharks conducted to date,” President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Susan Avery says.

NPS image
What is Killing the Bees?
July 30, 2013 | Quartz

An article on Quartz summarizes some of the recent research on Colony Collapse Disorder, the problem that is seriously reducing the number of bees to pollinate cultivated plants.

The Largest Virus
July 22, 2013 |

An organism found in the waters off the coast of Chile and another found in a pond in Australia are thought to be the largest viruses ever discovered.

One to Five Snakes Per Square Meter?
July 18, 2013 |

An island off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil is said to have at least one venomous snake per square meter. The Brazilian Navy forbids visitors to the uninhabited (by humans) island.

Glass Sponge Opportunity in the Weddell Sea
July 16, 2013 | Alfred Wegener Institute

“The breakup and collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in the western Weddell Sea in 1995 has resulted in fundamental changes to life on the sea bed in less than two decades. {…] Antarctic glass sponges have been the prime beneficiaries of the disappearance of the ice shelf.” Quoted from the Alfred Wegener Institute press release.

DNA Supports Pre-Columbian Dogs
July 15, 2013 | Royal Society Publishing

“Dogs were present in pre-Columbian America, presumably brought by early human migrants from Asia. [...] No European influence was indicated for the Arctic breeds Inuit, Eskimo and Greenland dog [...] the Carolina dog, a free-ranging population in the USA, may have an ancient Asian origin.” Quotes from the research abstract.

A “popular” presentation of this story (vs “scientific”) can be found on The New York Times.

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.

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