A new study of tropical reef building corals shows these very long-lived animals are constantly changing and testing their genes – and some of these changes make it into the next generation. In this way a centuries-old coral might be a cauldron of genetic innovation, and it might help prepare them for climate change. (Source: Hopkins Marine Station)
The technique helps us understand ice sheets right here on Earth -- and whether there could be life far, far beyond. (Source: Stanford Engineering)
Across Antarctica, some parts of the base of the ice sheet are frozen, while others are thawed. Scientists show that if some currently frozen areas were also to thaw, it could increase ice loss from glaciers that are not currently major sea-level contributors.
New research reveals that, rather than being influenced only by environmental conditions, deep subsurface microbial communities can transform because of geological movements. The findings advance our understanding of subsurface microorganisms, which comprise up to half of all living material on the planet.
Researchers discover that a spot of molecular glue and a timely twist help a bacterial enzyme convert carbon dioxide into carbon compounds 20 times faster than plant enzymes do during photosynthesis. The results stand to accelerate progress toward converting carbon dioxide into a variety of products. (Source: SLAC)
Researchers mimicked these extreme impacts in the lab and discovered new details about how they transform minerals in Earth’s crust. (Source: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
Stanford whale biologist Jeremy Goldbogen discusses recent documentation of orcas teaming up to take down an adult blue whale – “arguably one of the most dramatic and intense predator-prey interactions on the planet.” (Source: Stanford News)
Geologists have long assumed that the evolution of land plants enabled rivers to form snakelike meanders, but a review of recent research overturns that classic theory – and it calls for a reinterpretation of the rock record.
Our list includes a mix of favorites, high-impact stories and some of our most read research coverage from a year of uncertainty, adaptation and discovery.
New research shows that physics measurements of just a small portion of reef can be used to assess the health of an entire reef system. The findings may help scientists grasp how these important ecosystems will respond to a changing climate.
New research reveals that after its initial formation 100 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada “died” during volcanic eruptions that blasted lava across much of the American West 40 million to 20 million years ago. Then, tens of millions of years later, the Sierra Nevada mountain range as we know it today was “reborn.”
Research on whale feeding highlights how the precipitous decline of large marine mammals has negatively impacted the health and productivity of ocean ecosystems.
A sweeping analysis of marine fossils from most of the past half-billion years shows the usual rules of body size evolution change during mass extinctions and their recoveries. The discovery is an early step toward predicting how evolution will play out on the other side of the current extinction crisis.
A new Stanford University study shows rising oxygen levels may explain why global extinction rates slowed down over the past 541 million years. Below 40 percent of present atmospheric oxygen, ocean dead zones rapidly expand, and extinctions ramp up.
A new method for quantifying plant evolution reveals that after the onset of early seed plants, complexity halted for 250 million years until the diversification of flowering plants about 100 million years ago.
Stanford-led expeditions to a remote area of Yukon, Canada, have uncovered a 120-million-year-long geological record of a time when land plants and complex animals first evolved and ocean oxygen levels began to approach those in the modern world.
Combining economics, psychology and studies of fertilizer application, researchers find that plants nearly follow an “equal pay for equal work” rule when giving resources to partner microbes – except when those microbes underperform.
A fossil study from Stanford University finds the diversity of life in the world’s oceans declined time and again over the past 145 million years during periods of extreme warming. Temperatures that make it hard for cold-blooded sea creatures to breathe have likely been among the biggest drivers for shifts in the distribution of marine biodiversity.
A new model of disease spread describes how competing economic and health incentives influence social contact – and vice versa. The result is a complex and dynamic epidemic trajectory.