Bats on the wing

Bats on the wing
Bat wings are built like a mammal’s arm—and so their flight is fiendishly complex. Scientists have decoded the fluid dynamics of the flight of a fruit bat—and this airborne mammal has some nifty tricks for staying aloft! More »

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 »

Winter woes? No problem! say plants

Winter woes? No problem! say plants
Plants have evolved numerous ways to endure cold, wind and ice formation. How do they do it? How is climate change affecting plants and plant communities? More »

As snow goes, where go the animals?

As snow goes, where go the animals?
Animals like the wolverine evolved to live in the snow, and they excel in conditions that defeat most animals. How will they fare if (when?) snow continues to decline in their homes? And whassup with the balmy but hidden ecosystem under the snow? More »

Phosphorus + nitrogen: Let no good deed go unpunished

Phosphorus + nitrogen: Let no good deed go unpunished
First we focused on cutting nitrogen pollution. Then we switched to phosphorus. Now we hear that cutting the second raises the first. What does the law of unintended consequences say about dealing with surface water pollution? More »

Stopping the slaughter of the bats

Stopping the slaughter of the bats
In 7 years, white-nose syndrome has spread to 24 states and 5 provinces. Why is the fungus so deadly? Why don’t bats die in Europe? And where are the chinks in its armor? More »

Got gears? Let’s leap, says the leafhopper!

Got gears? Let's leap, says the leafhopper!

25 Simple machines are rare in biology, but gears create microsecond timing in one high-jumping insect. Quiz question: What other natural structure pivots at the rate of 550 times a second? More »

Arctic warming: Greenhouse gas nightmare?

Arctic warming: Greenhouse gas nightmare?
Large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide could be produced as warming changes Arctic lands and ocean. Could this start a frightening feedback, where warming makes more gas that makes more warming? More »

Wildfire goes wild in Arizona

Wildfire goes wild in Arizona
As wildfires torch Western states, what is the role of global warming? Does hotter weather contribute to fires? Does the resulting carbon dioxide accelerate global warming? Could we see a vicious cycle of warming, fires and more warming? More »

Poaching problem

Poaching problem
As elephant poaching soars, carbon dating, a mainstay of archeology, could be used to date ivory, based on heavy isotopes left over from the atom-bomb era. 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 »

Moles smell in stereo!

Moles smell in stereo!

A common mole never sees the light of day, but it can pinpoint the source of food in just a few seconds — thanks to its newfound stereo smelling ability. If two ears help you hear in stereo, what good are two nostrils? 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 »

Energy report: Plentiful supplies, warning signs

Energy report: Plentiful supplies, warning signs

Conservation and fracking will help United States reach energy independence by 2030. How will cheap natural gas affect renewable energy? How will a one-third increase in fossil fuel use affect greenhouse warming? Are we about to be locked into a 3.6ºC of global warming? More »

Melting methane: New thermometer for ancient ocean?

Melting methane: New thermometer for ancient ocean?

Vast deposits of a strong greenhouse gas are frozen under the ocean. As the ocean warms, this methane is releasing. How much more methane is on the way, and how will it affect climate? More »