Matchmaking corals from different colonies could reduce bleaching events

Planting baby corals that are bred to be resistant to heat stress can boost a reef's tolerance to warmer waters. Image credit - James Guest

Breeding together corals that have naturally high heat tolerance and planting them on coral reefs could increase the reefs’ resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of bleaching events, according to Dr James Guest, a coral reef ecologist from Newcastle University, UK. He is studying this ‘assisted evolution’ approach to coral conservation and examining … Read more

The ‘slow earthquakes’ that we cannot feel may help protect against the devastating ones

Unlike regular earthquakes, which can cause visible damage, slow earthquakes cannot be felt at the Earth's surface. Image credit - Pixabay/ marcellomigliosi1956, licensed under pixabay license

Earthquakes are sudden and their shaking can be devastating. But about 20 years ago, a new type of earthquake was discovered. We cannot feel them, and geologists still know very little about them, such as how often they occur. Regular earthquakes occur when rock underground breaks along a fault – a crack in the Earth’s … Read more

Why bogs may be key to fighting climate change

Peatlands occupy roughly 2% or 3% of the land’s surface but we don’t know how deep they go. Image credit - Marisa04/ Pixabay

by Caleb Davies There are, arguably, only two interesting facts about bogs. The first is that some people have a jolly good time swimming through them, notably at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships held each year in central Wales, UK. The second is that they could help save the world. Bogs, more properly known as … Read more

Transparent wood: the building material of the future?

Transparent wood is created by stripping out lignin from wood and replacing it with a polymer.

by Sarah Wild  When Timothée Boitouzet studied architecture in Japan, where buildings need to survive earthquakes, he realised the next smart material might be one that humans have used for thousands of years – wood. ‘In France, we build more with concrete and stone than wood,’ he said. ‘When I was exposed to Japanese building … Read more

Changing climate is narrowing options for migrating birds

The volatility of seasons is affecting the breeding patterns of Brent geese, a migratory bird species. Image credit - Flickr/milo bostock, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Across an entire desert or ocean, migratory birds make some of the most extreme journeys found in nature, but there are still huge gaps in our understanding of how they manage to travel these vast distances and what a changing climate means for their migration patterns. ‘Some species of migrants might be affected by a … Read more

Sewage, rivers and soils provide missing link in antibiotic resistance story

In poorer countries, using raw wastewater to irrigate urban farms could be an underlying cause of antibiotic resistance.

If you think that the key to beating antibiotic resistance is only for doctors to prescribe less and scientists to find new drug candidates, you are probably wrong. The fundamental solutions may lie far from medicine – in managing our rivers and soils. That is the view of scientists who have uncovered disturbing amounts of … Read more