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The Network of Clusters. Credit: Knoll et al

A New Way to Measure Five Mass Extinctions on Earth

May 24, 2018

Andrew Knoll and a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Carnegie Institution for Science, used a metric they termed "swing factor" to determine the ecological impact from the change in the number of animals within each palaeo-community in a given time-frame. The study, published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showed that of the five...

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New Spider Family Tree Tries to Untangle the Evolution of Webs

New Spider Family Tree Tries to Untangle the Evolution of Webs

April 27, 2018

A long-running and fiercely debated question among scientists "Did spiders evolve to spin the orb web only once? Or multiple times?" may have an answer in a new study in Current Biology, led by a team of researchers including Gonzalo Giribet and postdoctoral fellow, Rosa Fernández. The research team compared approximately 2,500 genes from 159...

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Martin Nowak

Partners and Rivals in Direct Reciprocity

April 27, 2018

A new study by Martin Nowak examines how strategies can foster or destroy cooperation.  “If you consider all strategies of direct reciprocity, a very small subset of them are either partners or rivals, but evolution always leads to one or the other,” says Nowak. The study in Nature Human Behavior  finds that across repeated interactions, the environment that individuals find themselves in...

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Water from the sea floor "migrates" into Earth's crust and flows through the horizontal aquifer. Credit: Girguis Lab, Harvard University

Microbes in Aquifers Beneath Mid-Atlantic Ridge 'Chow Down' on Carbon

April 23, 2018

Peter Girguis and Sunita Shah Walter, University of Delaware (former Postdoc in Girguis lab), led a research team that has shown underground aquifers near the undersea Mid-Atlantic Ridge act like natural biological reactors, pulling in cold, oxygenated seawater, and allowing microbes to consume more refractory carbon than scientists believed. The study's results published in...

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