Coral reefs won’t be out of hot water for quite a while. These normally colorful undersea ecosystems are under increasing stress, mostly because of warming oceans. Now, researchers report that a global coral bleaching event began in June 2014. The longest on record, it has sapped the color out of vast areas of coral — and now threatens their health. The reefs affected cover a larger area than...Readability Score: 7.1
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Sometimes a tap water ban can prove a scientific wakeup call.
When Toledo, Ohio told its residents not to drink tap water in 2014, Julia Hunckler, 17, took notice. This Marian High School junior lived across the state line in Mishawaka, Ind. The Ohio ban was due to toxins in Lake Erie. A summer bloom of algae had tainted the lake, which was used as a source of drinking...Readability Score: 6.2
Anna Savage hikes through a Florida swamp looking for frogs. She spots a shiny black critter hopping in the swamp grass. It’s a tiny cricket frog, no bigger than a bug. She’s hunting a killer infection — and the few frogs able to survive it.
Learning what makes these frogs special could hold a key to managing the fungal scourge.
Savage is a frog biologist at the University of...Readability Score: 7.1
A meal of toxic algae puts a spring into a tiny ocean-dwelling plankton’s trek. The bad news: That just might send it straight into the jaws of a hungry fish.
Copepods (KO-puh-podz) are relatives of shrimp and lobsters. But very tiny cousins. They grow to be only about 1.5 millimeters (less than 0.06 inch) long. Still, size isn’t everything. Each one can suck in 100 liters (26.4 gallons...Readability Score: 7.3
Many people frown at the thought of fattening up. But fats can be useful because they store energy. And new research finds that having extra fat might be good — for yeast, at least. Their “fat” cells can outlive lean ones.
For now, it’s unclear what these results mean for people — or even simpler organisms such as worms and flies.
Yeast consist of only a single cell. Still, the...Readability Score: 7.0
In the fall of 2010, Gena Bentall looked to sea through a telescope that was on the edge of a cliff along the California coast. It was not far from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she worked on sea otter research and conservation. The aquarium aims to protect otters, a species threatened with extinction. On this fall day, she and her colleagues made an unusual observation. A large male otter...Readability Score: 7.0
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — There is no locally caught crab on the menu here. The state of California warned earlier this year that these crustaceans should not be eaten. The reason? They may have high levels of a powerful chemical that poisons the nervous system. It can lead to death, even in people. Certain algae make this toxin. And there’s been a huge bloom of them off of the state’s coast...Readability Score: 6.8
The fight to save the banana just got more challenging. A fungus that threatens the world’s most popular fruit is spreading, according to a new study. And it’s doing so despite massive efforts to stop it.
At risk is the sweet “Cavendish” banana sold in North America and Europe. But that's not all. There are 400 edible varieties of banana, and many of them also are susceptible to killing...Readability Score: 7.2
Plankton — tiny organisms drifting in the sea — often are too small to see without a microscope. But with the help of some math and a very powerful imaging device, scientists for the first time have identified a species of plankton from space. Finding out which plankton are proliferating can help researchers learn more about toxic threats in the ocean. For instance, it might help determine if...Readability Score: 7.0
Meet dulse, a seaweed with a secret.
This translucent red alga grows along northern, rocky coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. And its colorful, leathery fronds hide a remarkable flavor. When tossed with oil and fried in a pan, they taste like bacon.
“I think it is a food of the future,” says Chris Langdon. This marine scientist has been studying dulse for more than a...Readability Score: 6.5