Science

Elevation Zero
6:46 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Wild Money: Crocs, Cash And Sea-Level Rise

Credit Brian Jeffery / University of Florida IFAS

As water levels rise in the Everglades, are prolific pythons and their iguana cousins going to come slithering out, seeking higher ground and pushing out our local crocs? The very idea makes most of us want to relocate.

It turns out wildlife biologists and other scientists have been studying for the past few years what might happen to more than 20 Everglades species. One conclusion: Soon, we all may be scrambling for a higher perch.

Read more
Elevation Zero
4:18 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Modern Human Beings Aren't Built To Grasp Climate Change

In 2007, artist Eve Mosher drew a chalk line at the 10-foot above sea level line around 70 miles of coastline in New York City.
Credit highwaterline.org

A decade ago, sea-level rise from climate change was a political argument with very little external reality in the minds of most people.

But University of Miami professor Kenny Broad might have said then what he says right now.

"This isn't some future generation problem," Broad said. "It’s in our lap right now and we don’t have a lot of time to make some clear decisions."

Read more
Environment
11:29 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Birdwatchers In The Keys On Alert For Nature's Speed Demon

Credit Kerry Ross

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. 
Throw a brick off the top of the Empire State Building and the Peregrine will fall out of the sky faster.

The secret is the falcon’s ability to shape its body into an almost perfect teardrop, fine tuning its muscles and feathers according to the feel of the rushing wind. Navy scientists using radar have clocked them doing 240 miles per hour. Peregrine Falcons don’t do this for fun. They do it to survive.

Read more
Community Contributor
6:00 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Become An Online Citizen Scientist Through UM Plankton Project

An example of the computer screen interface volunteers see when reviewing images.
Credit Zooniverse.org

Planktonportal is a new online citizen science project to engage the public’s help in identifying planktonic creature images collected by an underwater robotic camera.

Plankton is the basis of our ocean ecosystem. No plankton, no life in the ocean. By understanding the mechanisms underlying plankton distribution both locally and globally, we can better assess the health of the ocean and better manage this precious environment. And now we can all do it together!

Read more
Health
3:29 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Why Can't Fish Oil Supplements Keep Our Brains Sharp?

If you eat fish, rather than take a fish-oil supplement, is there more likely to be a benefit? There's more than a suggestion that this is indeed the case.
Verena J Matthew iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:22 pm

Lots of people think of fish as brain food. And there's good reason.

Many kinds of fish — think salmon, sardines, tuna — contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of polyunsaturated fat, which have been shown to fight inflammation and improve the function of our neurons.

Read more
Climate Change
6:00 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Why There's A Boom In Noah's Ark Construction In Miami And Around The World

A puppy (born on the ark site) runs to Carolina Peralta, Hidden Ark spokesperson. (Taken 3/12/13)

With almost exactly forty days and forty nights left in South Florida’s rainy season, now might be a good moment to consider the options.

Globally, four Noah’s Arks have been either completed or started in the last few years.

As of last March, one-tenth of a life-sized ark -- 150-feet worth -- sat just outside Hialeah, part of the $1.5 million Hidden Ark project. (An update on that later.)

Read more
Synesthesia
6:00 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Better Than Tinted Shades: Why Some People See Time And Taste Music

For Fort Lauderdale high schooler Laura Herman, A is red. Q is purple. G is brown. Two is pink. Rap is salty. And techno is like sweet and sour sauce.

That’s because she has synesthesia, a perceptual condition where she combines two senses in four different ways (letter-color; sound-taste; time-space; and shape-color), which apparently is common among synesthetes.

Read more
Americas
6:18 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

World's Biggest Virus May Have Ancient Roots

Pandoraviruses were discovered lurking in the mud of Chile and Australia, half a world apart.
courtesy of Chantal Abergel and Jean-Michel Claverie

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:14 am

Researchers have discovered the largest virus ever, and they've given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

In mythology, opening Pandora's Box released evil into the world. But there's no need to panic. This new family of virus lives underwater and doesn't pose a major threat to human health.

"This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything," says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary biologist at the National Institutes of Health who specializes in viruses.

Read more
Food
4:11 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Meet Hunters Who Discover New Fruit For South Florida

Noris Ledesma poses with mangos at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.
Credit Kaylois Henry

If you've ever found yourself biting into a tangy sapote, or a lush mango, give a small thanks to fruit hunters.

Fruit hunters are an intrepid band of explorers, growers and researchers. For decades, they have introduced most of the fruit that we enjoy in South Florida. The area's climate is conducive to growing most of the tropical fruit from nearly all the world's continents. Fruit hunters will travel the lengths of the earth, as well as mining their own back yards, in search of the newest, rarest and tastiest plants.

Read more
Environment
9:39 am
Fri June 28, 2013

South Florida Wildlife Center: Cute Baby Animals And Lessons On Respecting Nature

A gray fox kit at the South Florida Wildlife Center
SFWC Courtesy Photo

Imagine this scene: You're preparing to go for a morning jog in your Fort Lauderdale neighborhood when you spy an opossum sifting through a pile of overripe mangoes beneath a tree in the backyard. Or perhaps on the course of that morning jog, you spot a brown baby bird hopping on the ground beneath a cocoplum. It's pumping its wings but not gaining much altitude.

Read more
Environment
6:00 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

What To Expect During This Weekend's Supermoon, King Tide

SUPERMOON Photographer John Spade got this shot of the last supermoon on May 5, 2012. It shines on an Atlantic Ocean pier north of Fort Lauderdale.
Credit John Spade/Flickr

The sun, the Earth and the moon will align this weekend to leave a supermoon shining on a king tide.

But it’s all a little less spectacular than it sounds. At least, now it is. A few years down the road -- if the climate change people are right -- the king tide may be something to dread. But, right now, it’s just an incremental enhancement of an ordinary event.

Read more
Climate Change
10:31 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Watch South Beach Disappear Under Sea Level Rise In Hypnotic New GIFs

Ocean Drive on Miami Beach would be submerged under five feet of water.
Credit Nickolay Lamm / StorageFront.com

Current climate change and sea level rise models indicate a very grim -- and water-logged -- future for South Florida and Miami in particular. But new imagery from researcher/artist Nickolay Lamm paints an almost hypnotic picture of these proposed realties for American cities like Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., and New York.

Read more
Environment
7:38 am
Thu June 20, 2013

How Igor The Amazonian Pacu Fish Found A Place Called Home

Igor the Pacu fish has two sets of pectoral fins and a deformed face but he is still a favorite for many visitors at the Loxahatchee River Center in Jupiter.
Credit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

In the piranha- infested waters of the Amazon, a baby Black Pacu, the vegetarian cousin of the flesh-eating fish survives capture.  If it had nine lives, its next one was in a tropical aquarium in a Boca Raton seafood restaurant.

Weighing nearly one pound, the non-native Pacu was growing too big, too fast. Once again, the fish needed another home. The restaurant, The Ports of Call, was dismantling their aquariums so the Pacu was returned to its original owner.

Read more
Forensics
8:54 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Animal CSI: Inside The Smithsonian's Feather Forensics Lab

The ornithologist works through the feathers of the stuffed birds to find one that matches her sample.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:40 am

Carla Dove smiles as she tears open a small, flat cardboard box. She is sitting at a lab bench in her office at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

"It's kind of like Christmas for me because I never know what's going to be in the packages," she says.

Inside the box are a bunch of sealed sandwich-size bags. Dove counts the bags.

"Eight samples today," she notes. Each sample consists of grayish pieces of feathers, and sometimes bones, all from inside the stomachs and intestines of Burmese pythons.

Read more
Environment
6:31 am
Mon June 10, 2013

A Florida Scrub Jay 'Rebound' In Palm Beach County? Don't Get Your Hopes Up

An unbanded Florida scrub jay recently spotted in Jupiter Ridge Natural Area.
Credit Sabrina Olson Carle / WLRN

The future remains uncertain for the struggling Florida scrub jay, an endemic state species that is increasingly difficult -- but not impossible -- to find in Palm Beach County. Statewide efforts to study and document the birds' population and habitat use may help to turn the tide for this gregarious bird.

Read more

Pages