By Martin Enserink May. 6, 2021 , 2:00 PM When Philip Munday discussed his research on ocean acidification with more than 70 colleagues and students in a December 2020 Zoom meeting, he wasn’t just giving a confident overview of a decade’s worth of science. Munday, a marine ecologist at James Cook University (JCU), Townsville, was speaking to defend his scientific legacy. Munday has co-authored more than 250 papers and drawn scores of aspiring scientists to Townsville, a mecca of marine biology on Australia’s northeastern coast. He is best known for pioneering work on the effects of the oceans’ changing chemistry on fish, part of it carried out with Danielle Dixson, a U.S. biologist who obtained her Ph.D. under Munday’s supervision in 2012 and has since become a successful lab head at the University of Delaware (UD), Lewes. In 2009, Munday and Dixson began to publish evidence that ocean acidification—a knock-on effect of the rising carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) level in … [Read more...] about Does ocean acidification alter fish behavior? Fraud allegations create a sea of doubt
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By Elizabeth Pennisi May. 4, 2021 , 5:40 PM Each summer, on bridges across the world, mayfly massacres occur. First, warm weather prompts the transformation of the insects’ aquatic larvae. Within hours, the short-lived, flying adults pop out of streams, rivers, and lakes, eager to mate and lay eggs by the millions. But bridges illuminated with artificial light can lure the newly emerged adults away from the water to a futile death before breeding. Others, fooled by the sheen of reflective pavement, drop their eggs on the bridge road instead of the water. Because mayflies control the growth of algae and are food for fish, the fate of these humble insects may reverberate through ecosystems, says Ádám Egri, a biological physicist at the Centre for Ecological Research in Budapest, Hungary, who is working to save endangered mayflies there. Mayflies aren’t alone in their fatal attraction to what researchers refer to as ALAN: artificial light at night. Studies from around the globe … [Read more...] about Can scientists help insects survive their fatal attraction to light at night?
Are movies distracting us from an incoming alien invasion? Oxford scientists have been researching to see just exactly what aliens look like and they have discovered that they could look just like us. This could explain why some of us think that our families are from other planets. The truth is, they just might actually be an alien sent to Earth to learn more about the human race as well as annoying us and asking us to fix electronic devices. One of the keys to unlocking the universe and the possibilities of aliens is an understanding of biological evolution and natural selection. As it turns out, biological evolution should be the same across the entire universe, according to Sam Levin, a researcher in Oxford's Department of Zoology. This means that natural selection on any planet could have led aliens to look exactly like the human race. The scientists at Oxford are the first to apply the evolutionary theory to predict what aliens could actually look like. One of the hurdles … [Read more...] about Scientists Claim Human-Like Aliens Are Already Hiding Amongst US
I’ve lamented in the past that our psychiatric diagnostic categories are so messy, so poor, as to render them essentially meaningless. In a scientific sense, I still think that’s true. They reflect no objective truth. They do not “carve nature at the joints.” For example, there is no such thing as “autism” lurking in some individuals’ bloodstreams (and not in others’). No one “discovered” autism; they just categorized certain patterns of responding to social and emotional environments and tried to find similarities across very, very different individuals’ behavior. No two autistic (or “neurotypical,” AKA “NT”) people are the same. There are “a thousand and one ways,” as one of my earliest clinical supervisors liked to say, that autistic symptoms can show up in a person. This is true for all psychiatric diagnostic categories, which all include multiple criteria, subcriteria, and imperfect algorithms for deciding whether someone crosses the threshold necessary for applying a … [Read more...] about What Good Is an Autism Diagnosis?
As COVID-19 deaths in India surge past 200,000, experts said the deaths are undercounted due to the overreliance on official data that does not reflect the true extent of the infections, the Associated Press reported. "People who could have been saved are dying now," said Gautam Menon, a professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University. Menon said there has been "serious undercounting" of deaths in many states. For example, in the southern Telangana state, doctors and activists are contesting the official death count. On April 23, the state said 33 people died of COVID-19. But between 80 to 100 people died in just two hospitals in the state's capital, Hyderabad, the day before. Experts said many deaths are not being listed as COVID-19, but are being attributed to underlying conditions, despite national guidelines asking states to record all suspected COVID-19 deaths, even if the patient wasn't tested for the virus. This has been a concern for doctors for months. The … [Read more...] about Indian Doctor Accuses Government of Lying About Country’s Number of COVID Deaths