life sciences

Palau coral reefs have a global impact

Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Through a process called ocean acidification, about a quarter to a third of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, causing a decrease in the pH of ocean water

Was this how dinosaurs began flying?

If a Pacific parrotlet needs to get to a nearby branch, it uses its legs to jump. If a target falls just outside of its jump range, however, it can add a "proto-wingbeat," a small flapping motion that allows it to travel farther without using as much energy as full flight.

SupraSensor: A super tool for precision agriculture

The SupraSensor device is designed to give farmers a highly accurate, virtually constant stream of data on nitrate levels. The device is an excellent example of highly applied science with roots in basic research -- in this case supramolecular chemistry at the University of Oregon.

Researchers assemble 5 new synthetic yeast chromosomes

A global research team has built five new synthetic yeast chromosomes, meaning that 30 percent of a key organism's genetic material has now been swapped out for engineered replacements. Jef Boeke discusses the importance of yeast as a research model and how new research may lead to synthetic genomes to address unmet needs in medicine and industry.

How do fish adapt to extreme environments?

Extreme environments allow for the investigation of life's capacity and limitations to cope with far-from-average environmental conditions. Springs rich in hydrogen sulfide (H2S) represent some of the most extreme freshwater environments because H2S halts energy production in animal cells.

Cell migration

Cells move and migrate to new locations in the bodies of developing animals, an important step for the correct formation and function of organs. The research featured in this video uses a simple genetic model, the fruit fly, to investigate how cells move as organized groups within the animal. This video is part of a series produced by students at Kansas State University.

A grassland bird’s changing world

Prairies are characterized by highly variable climate, yet we lack the theoretical knowledge to predict whether adaption to such conditions offers organisms greater resilience to additional change, or whether they already experience conditions near the limits of their physiological capabilities. This video describes a study that capitalizes on a 28-year dataset of avian abundances and the infrastructure and experimental manipulations made possible by the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at the Konza Prairie in NE Kansas.

Mismatched eyes help squid survive the ocean’s twilight zone

By watching cockeyed Histioteuthis heteropsis squids glide and pirouette through over 150 undersea videos, biologists at Duke University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have gathered the first behavioral evidence that the squids' lopsided eyes evolved to spot two very different sources of light available in the ocean's "twilight zone."

The Flint water crisis: Engineering researchers find answers for alarmed residents

In 2015, engineering researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) helped to uncover the dangerously high lead levels in Flint water, and listened to a community in distress. Through a NSF Rapid Response grant awarded to Virginia Tech civil engineering professor Marc Edwards, researchers received federal funding to collect data on the chemical content of residents' drinking water, providing vital insight into one of the worst human-made, engineering disasters in recent U.S. history.

Urban heat island: Improving data for sustainable cities

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

Groundwater and agriculture: tapping the hidden benefits

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

Water, food & energy

Scientists and engineers, including Greg Characklis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are studying the connections between water, food and energy in the human water cycle to develop new, sustainable ways of meeting our water needs.

Drinking water

Safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental human need. Orlando Coronell at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is developing improved membrane technology to purify drinking water more effectively and efficiently.