Behold, close-ups of the sand from around the cosmos

Think you've seen sand? You haven't seen sand.

Image source: Evil Minion on Shutterstock
  • Microscopic photography exposes the beauty and strangeness of sand.
  • Water wave action produces a startling variety of sand grains.
  • That stuff between your toes is a lot more interesting than you might think.
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We can assess the health of coral reefs by the sounds algae make

Tiny bubbles talk photosynthesis.

(Freeman, et al)
  • During photosynthesis, algae produces a symphony of little "pings."
  • The sounds are produced by oxygen bubbles breaking away from the plants.
  • Monitoring reef health through its sound is a new avenue for acoustic ecology.
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Scientist's accidental discovery makes coral grow 40x faster

There might be hope for our oceans, thanks to one clumsy moment in a coral tank.

Photo by Preet Gor on Unsplash.
  • David Vaughan at the Mote Laboratory is growing coral 40 times faster than in the wild.
  • It typically takes coral 25 to 75 years to reach sexual maturity. With a new coral fragmentation method, it takes just 3.
  • Scientists and conservationists plan to plant 100,000 pieces of coral around the Florida Reef Tract by 2019 and millions more around the world in the years to come.
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Whale earwax reveals 146 years of humanity’s impact

Thanks to museum curators, there's no shortage of the stuff.

Photo credit: Miguel Medina
  • It's just been discovered that whale earwax contains a record of a whale's sub-lethal stressors.
  • It's generally agreed that cortisol is a reliable indicator of a mammal's response to stress.
  • We now have a detailed 146-year impact study of human activity on whales.
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Whales are perpetually stressed. Here's how 9/11 showed us this.

The modern ocean can be a dangerous place for whales.

Photo credit: Flavio Gasperini on Unsplash
  • September 11th, 2001, offered researchers a unique opportunity to study whales' behavior in the absence of commercial shipping.
  • Their findings contribute to a growing understanding of how hostile an ocean filled with ships can be for whales.
  • As humanity continues to expand in the ocean, it seems unlikely that conditions will ever improve for whales.
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