Methane is a strong greenhouse gas that plays a key role in Earth’s climate. Anytime we use natural gas, whether we light up our kitchen stove or barbeque, we are using methane.
Only three sources on Earth produce methane naturally: volcanoes, subsurface water-rock interactions, and microbes. Between these three sources, most is generated by microbes, which have deposited hundreds of gigatons of methane into the deep seafloor. At seafloor methane seeps, it percolates upwards toward the open ocean, and microbial communities consume the majority of this...
Water availability is essential to terrestrial plants, especially tall canopy trees. Satellite observations at microwave frequencies make it possible to assess total canopy water content and plant stress. However, leaf surface water -- water coming from dew, fog and rainfall -- is often overlooked when interpreting changes in canopy water content. An increasing body of evidence, though, indicates that plants might rely more than originally thought on these nonconventional water sources.
Army ants form some of the largest insect societies on the planet. They are quite famous in popular culture, most notably from a terrifying scene in Indiana Jones. But they are also ecologically important. They live in very large colonies and consume large amounts of arthropods. And because they eat so much of the other animals around them, they are nomadic and must keep moving in order to not run out of food. Due to their nomadic nature and mass consumption of food, they have a huge impact on arthropod populations throughout tropical rainforests floors.
L. Mahadevan teamed with MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to develop a hair-brushing robot. The robotic arm has a sensorized soft brush, camera with force feedback, and closed-loop control.
The robot, which can identify different hair types and groom accordingly, could be an assest in assistive-care settings. MIT News shares a video of the robot in action.
Congratulations to graduating senior Ella Frigyik, Gonzalo Giribet Lab, awarded the Hoopes Prizefor her senior thesis, “Phylogeographic investigation into the New Zealand harvestman genus Algidia (Arachnida: Opiliones: Triaenonychidae)”.
The cognitive processes underlying the foraging decisions of large mammals in nature are not well understood, in part because it has been difficult to disentangle the effects of sensory perception and memory on the animals’ movements. Nathan Ranc (Ph'D '...
Professors Naomi Pierce and Benton Taylor along with seven other Harvard research teams will share $1 million in the seventh round of the Climate Change Solutions Fund (CCSF). The award was established by President Emerita Drew Gilpin Faust in 2014 to support research and policy initiatives intended to reduce the risks of climate change.
Naomi Pierce won for her proposal, "Prospecting for Functional Materials in the Entomology...