Menace to monarchs

Menace to monarchs
20 years ago, up to 1 billion monarch butterflies wintered in Mexico’s mountains. This January, a few tens of millions are roosting there after their long migration across North America. What menaces the marvelous monarch migration? More »

Ancient water = ancient habitat?

Ancient water = ancient habitat?

Geologic dating shows that water has been trapped more than 2 kilometers underground since before the Cambrian explosion. This water contains chemicals that support bacteria in other places. Could the deep biosphere contain relics of the most primitive life? Could such life exist on Mars? More »

Wolf mystery solved at last!

Wolf mystery solved at last!

And how did it traverse 460 kilometers of ocean? Apparently by crossing a narrow band of ice during the last Ice Age. A new study echoes evolutionary giants Darwin and Wallace and highlights the role of sea level in animal migration. More »

Warming: A bad climate for endangered species?

newborn sea turtle on sand

How will rising temperatures affect endangered species? Are there ways to abate the consequences, and are they being tested? Can we even be certain that climate change is the cause of specific declines? More »

Odder than odd!

Odder than odd!

Dig the dung beetle. Sample the belly button. Tilt your brain — and see what happens. Watch bees cook their enemies. Drive through the cabbie’s brain. Check out pretty pix of pretty chicks. All weird. All here! More »

Light at night: Mixed blessing!

Light at night: Mixed blessing!

Researchers are finding more links to obesity, cancer, and sleep disturbances. Light blocks the release of melatonin, a hormone involved in the body clock. Wildlife scientists are finding effects on competition, predation and reproduction. Could light pollution from streets, cars and buildings drive animal evolution? More »

Freaky fish flirting

Freaky fish flirting

A chemical from plastics “looks” like estrogen to the body. If it makes female fish more likely to flirt with males of a different species, could endocrine disruptors cause cross-breeding, and a decline in native fish after invaders enter their rivers? More »

Honeybees getting lost?

Honeybees getting lost?

As colony collapse disorder continues to attack honeybee hives, a new study shows that a common insecticide interferes with their return flights. Although the disorder probably has many causes, agricultural chemicals have long been key suspects, and this study adds to the suspicion! More »

Putting the brakes on fish invasions

Putting the brakes on fish invasions

Ecologists are desperate to forestall a devastating invasion of the Lakes. Should canal be closed to cut off the damaging fish, or is it already too late? More »

Flying robots

small robotic, red and white plane on surface of water

Compared to regular airplanes, radio-controlled craft are safer, cheaper, and easier to use for observing wildlife and environmental conditions. Where are these robots being used? What are they finding? And as prices continue to fall, what stands in the way of much broader use? More »

Ocean fish in hot water

Ocean fish in hot water

The ocean’s most valuable fish are caught in a vise. Areas known as dead zones are encroaching on their living zones and pinning them closer to the surface, where they are more vulnerable to becoming the day’s catch. The predicament is yet another side effect of climate change. More »

Amphibian anxiety

Amphibian anxiety

Amphibians are disappearing faster than any other animals. A new study looks at the effects of changes in climate, land use and disease. The picture isn’t pretty, but looking at three threats at once shows the true danger facing frogs, toads, salamanders and their relatives. More »

The secret life of cats

The secret life of cats

Humans and cats have enjoyed each other’s company for millennia, but scientists have discovered some troubling secrets of free-roaming felines that have wildlife and health experts worried. A new study reveals what free-roaming cats do all day, and The Why Files investigates some implications of their outdoor habits. More »

Bats under attack

Bats under attack

White nose syndrome has killed a million bats in the eastern U.S., and spread to Nova Scotia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Why is the fungus deadly here, but not in Europe? Can quarantines, anti-fungals or heated bat houses help our bats survive the onslaught? More »

Gray wolf: How many is enough?

Gray wolf: How many is enough?

The gray wolf has made a dramatic recovery in the northern Rockies and upper Midwest. Is the wolf still endangered, or has it recovered? Should we start hunting and killing the dog wild relatives? More »