Studying Asian glaciers provides glimpse into future of extremes

The region of High Mountain Asia, which includes the Karakoram mountain range, is known as the third pole of the Earth because of the scale of its ice fields. Image credit - Tahakhan021, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientists may have solved a 25-year-old puzzle about the mysterious behaviour of certain glaciers in High Mountain Asia. In most of this region, they are shrinking; but in the northwest, they are growing. High Mountain Asia includes ranges that span the borders of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, India, China and Pakistan. The rate of glacier melting … Read more

Our top 12 science facts from 2019

Image credits - PlanetMallika/ Pixabay; Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0; Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0; Virpi Lummaa

by Josefine Kroll From bacterial invisibility cloaks to unexpected dinosaur colors, Horizon uncovered some fascinating facts in 2019. Here are our 12 favourites. 1. Meerkats live in cooperative societies where only one female is allowed to breed  2. There may be no free-flowing rivers left in Europe 3. Our idea of dinosaur colours may be completely wrong 4. Elephants … Read more

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

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

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

Dried-out tardigrades could point way to drug preservation, resilient crops

Scientists are trying to work out how tardigrades survive extreme environments such as heat and drought. Image credit - Frank Fox, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

by Gareth Willmer New insights into how tardigrades survive extremely dry environments could reveal new ways of preserving drugs, boosting crops’ tolerance to drought or fighting disease, but so far there is no simple answer to how these tiny creatures endure desiccation. Despite being nicknamed moss piglets, tardigrades do an awful lot more than just … Read more