mothernaturenetwork:

Lunar eclipse is the highlight of April’s stargazing sightsA solar eclipse and the Lyrid meteor shower are also on the calendar.

mothernaturenetwork:

Lunar eclipse is the highlight of April’s stargazing sights
A solar eclipse and the Lyrid meteor shower are also on the calendar.

Study Indicates Royal Ferns are “Living Fossils”

Researchers have discovered a 180-million-year-old fossil fern with pristinely preserved subcellular structures, including its nuclei and chromosomes, which closely resemble those of today’s cinnamon fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum. The ancient fossil, which was found at Korsaröd in southern Sweden, suggests that the size of the ferns’ genome has not changed for hundreds of millions of years, and it strengthens the reputation of royal ferns (those belonging to the Osmundaceae family) as “living fossils.” 

Read more about this research from the 21 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Benjamin Bomfleur. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Study Indicates Royal Ferns are “Living Fossils”

Researchers have discovered a 180-million-year-old fossil fern with pristinely preserved subcellular structures, including its nuclei and chromosomes, which closely resemble those of today’s cinnamon fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum. The ancient fossil, which was found at Korsaröd in southern Sweden, suggests that the size of the ferns’ genome has not changed for hundreds of millions of years, and it strengthens the reputation of royal ferns (those belonging to the Osmundaceae family) as “living fossils.”

Read more about this research from the 21 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Benjamin Bomfleur. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Crows, Cuckoos and the Occasional Benefits of Parasitism

A 16-year study of great spotted cuckoos and the carrion crows on which they act as nest parasites (by sneaking their own eggs into the crows’ nests), reveals that these parasitic cuckoos can also help their hosts by repelling predators. Such findings suggest that the lines between parasitism, commensalism and mutualism — terms defining how organisms interact with one another — are not as black-and-white as researchers have thought, and they highlight how dependent species’ interactions can be upon environmental factors. 

Read more about this research from the 21 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Vittorio Baglione. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Crows, Cuckoos and the Occasional Benefits of Parasitism

A 16-year study of great spotted cuckoos and the carrion crows on which they act as nest parasites (by sneaking their own eggs into the crows’ nests), reveals that these parasitic cuckoos can also help their hosts by repelling predators. Such findings suggest that the lines between parasitism, commensalism and mutualism — terms defining how organisms interact with one another — are not as black-and-white as researchers have thought, and they highlight how dependent species’ interactions can be upon environmental factors.

Read more about this research from the 21 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Vittorio Baglione. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Sarah Crespi & David Lazer - Pitfalls of the “Big Data Revolution”
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Pitfalls of the “Big Data Revolution”

Big data is providing new opportunities to study human behavior and interactions at the broadest levels. However, analyses of such data sets have been complicated by the fact that so much big data has not been collected with quite the same care as “small data,” according to the authors of this Policy Forum. David Lazer and colleagues use Google Flu Trends (GFT) as an example of big data analysis missing the mark — and they offer suggestions for moving forward in this new age of research and analysis.

In this podcast (© Science), Sarah Crespi interviews David Lazer about the good and bad of big data.

Read more about this Policy Forum from the 14 March issue of Science here.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Making New Blood Vessels Stick

Vein grafts have not had a track record for lasting success, but now a new study reveals a signaling pathway that could be targeted to prevent them from narrowing. Vein grafting is often used to restore blood flow to the heart, flow that has been obstructed by hardened fatty plaques (a condition called atherosclerosis). 

Read more about this research from the 12 March issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[mage courtesy of M. Boehm, NHLBI, NIH. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Making New Blood Vessels Stick

Vein grafts have not had a track record for lasting success, but now a new study reveals a signaling pathway that could be targeted to prevent them from narrowing. Vein grafting is often used to restore blood flow to the heart, flow that has been obstructed by hardened fatty plaques (a condition called atherosclerosis).

Read more about this research from the 12 March issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[mage courtesy of M. Boehm, NHLBI, NIH. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

The Trigger for the Antibody Support System

A new study provides detailed insights into what kick-starts the body’s complement system, a system that gives antibodies a boost, helping them to clear pathogens. The complement system — made of proteins in the blood — has several triggers. These include antibodies bound to the pathogens they’re neutralizing. Scientists have not understood just how antibodies activate the complement system, however. This clearer understanding of how antibodies trigger complement activation could aid in the design of antibodies that activate the system even more efficiently than those in use today.

Read more about this research from the 14 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Joost Bakker, www.scicomvisuals.com. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

The Trigger for the Antibody Support System

A new study provides detailed insights into what kick-starts the body’s complement system, a system that gives antibodies a boost, helping them to clear pathogens. The complement system — made of proteins in the blood — has several triggers. These include antibodies bound to the pathogens they’re neutralizing. Scientists have not understood just how antibodies activate the complement system, however. This clearer understanding of how antibodies trigger complement activation could aid in the design of antibodies that activate the system even more efficiently than those in use today.

Read more about this research from the 14 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Joost Bakker, www.scicomvisuals.com. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Despite Few Food Options, Abundant Array of Species

A close look at tropical flies and the parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside them reveals an incredibly complex web of interactions, including some that would have remained hidden without advanced molecular techniques. The complex web raises questions about how species interact. 

Read more about this research from the 14 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Marty Condon. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Despite Few Food Options, Abundant Array of Species

A close look at tropical flies and the parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside them reveals an incredibly complex web of interactions, including some that would have remained hidden without advanced molecular techniques. The complex web raises questions about how species interact.

Read more about this research from the 14 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Marty Condon. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Two-Phased Clot Clearance Method May Hinder and Help 

Angiophagy, a recently discovered mechanism that tiny blood vessels use to get rid of blood clots, may actually hinder drugs’ ability to bust blood clots, new research suggests. At the same time, angiophagy acts as its own clearance method, physically pulling clots out of occluded vessels. The findings may help improve the development of clot-busting drugs known as blood thinners, many of which are used to prevent or stop stroke and heart attack. 

Read more about this research from the 5 March issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

In this image, courtesy of Science Translational Medicine/AAAS, a microsphere is cleared out from a pulmonary vessel into the surrounding space. 

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Two-Phased Clot Clearance Method May Hinder and Help

Angiophagy, a recently discovered mechanism that tiny blood vessels use to get rid of blood clots, may actually hinder drugs’ ability to bust blood clots, new research suggests. At the same time, angiophagy acts as its own clearance method, physically pulling clots out of occluded vessels. The findings may help improve the development of clot-busting drugs known as blood thinners, many of which are used to prevent or stop stroke and heart attack.

Read more about this research from the 5 March issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

In this image, courtesy of Science Translational Medicine/AAAS, a microsphere is cleared out from a pulmonary vessel into the surrounding space.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Temporary Waterways: Vital and Misunderstood

Intermittently flowing streams and rivers — those that cease to flow at certain points along their course — should be better protected, according to the authors of this Policy Forum. Vicenç Acuña and colleagues argue that such bodies of water, which make up the majority of river networks in many regions of the world, often provide important ecosystem goods and services year-round. Furthermore, the number of these intermittently flowing streams and rivers is expected to increase over the next several decades, they say.

Read more about this Policy Forum from the 7 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Bertrand Launay, Irstea. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Temporary Waterways: Vital and Misunderstood

Intermittently flowing streams and rivers — those that cease to flow at certain points along their course — should be better protected, according to the authors of this Policy Forum. Vicenç Acuña and colleagues argue that such bodies of water, which make up the majority of river networks in many regions of the world, often provide important ecosystem goods and services year-round. Furthermore, the number of these intermittently flowing streams and rivers is expected to increase over the next several decades, they say.

Read more about this Policy Forum from the 7 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Bertrand Launay, Irstea. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Martian Meteorites from Mojave Crater

There are about 150 known Martian meteorites, and now researchers have a good idea about where many of them came from on the Red Planet. Previous studies of shergottite meteorites suggested that they might be quite young, in some cases crystallizing less than 600 million years ago. But, Werner and colleagues believe that all shergottites originate from Mars’ Mojave Crater, about 34 miles (55 kilometers) wide and placed in the crust about 4.3 billion years ago.

This image, courtesy of Science/AAAS, is a THEMIS daytime image mosaic overlain by MOLA color-coded topography. Craters were counted for the plateau units (brown), channel units (blue-grey), and the continuous ejecta unit of Mojave crater (red line). 

Read more about this research from the 6 March issue of Science Express here.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Martian Meteorites from Mojave Crater

There are about 150 known Martian meteorites, and now researchers have a good idea about where many of them came from on the Red Planet. Previous studies of shergottite meteorites suggested that they might be quite young, in some cases crystallizing less than 600 million years ago. But, Werner and colleagues believe that all shergottites originate from Mars’ Mojave Crater, about 34 miles (55 kilometers) wide and placed in the crust about 4.3 billion years ago.

This image, courtesy of Science/AAAS, is a THEMIS daytime image mosaic overlain by MOLA color-coded topography. Craters were counted for the plateau units (brown), channel units (blue-grey), and the continuous ejecta unit of Mojave crater (red line).

Read more about this research from the 6 March issue of Science Express here.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.