Earth

Scientists have discovered that beluga whales and narwhals go through the menopause - taking the total number of species known to experience this to five.

Aside from humans, the species now known to experience menopause are all toothed whales - belugas, narwhals, killer whales and short-finned pilot whales.

Almost all animals continue reproducing throughout their lives, and scientists have long been puzzled about why some have evolved to stop.

During IndyCar races, pit stop crews will often refuel a car, replace wheels and complete minor repairs on a race car within 10 seconds. In this short time, a dozen or so people work rapidly and in a highly coordinated manner to complete a number of tasks with extraordinary efficiency.

Throughout the alluvial plains of Amazonia, there are immense forests that are flooded for almost half the year. These Amazonian wetlands encompass a wide array of types of vegetation in or near stream gullies, including blackwater (igapó) and whitewater (várzea) inundation forest, swamp (pântano), white sand savanna (campina), and mangrove (mangue) types.

According to a new study, the region's wetlands are inhabited by 3,615 tree species--three times more than previously estimated, making these the world's most diverse wetland forests in terms of tree species richness.

A research group consisting of scientists from NUST MISIS, the Technical University of Munich, Helmholtz Zentrum München, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and the University of Oldenburg has developed a system that allows doctors to both improve the accuracy of diagnosing malignant cells and to provide additional opportunities for cancer treatment. The magnetoferritin compound is the main element of this new system. The research article has been published in Advanced Functional Materials.

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University researchers have developed a handheld probe that can image individual photoreceptors in the eyes of infants.

The technology, based on adaptive optics, will make it easier for physicians and scientists to observe these cells to diagnosis eye diseases and make early detection of brain-related diseases and trauma.

MADISON, Wis. -- After decades of trapping, the last known American marten was spotted on Isle Royale in 1917. Fifty years later, in 1966, the National Park Service planned to reintroduce martens to the national park situated in Lake Superior, but nobody knows if the agency ever followed through. Then, in 1993, martens were confirmed on the island for the first time in 76 years.

The world is on fire. Or so it appears in this image from NASA's Worldview. The red points overlaid on the image designate those areas that by using thermal bands detect actively burning fires. Africa seems to have the most concentrated fires. This could be due to the fact that these are most likely agricultural fires. The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants.

British Columbia is on fire. In this Canadian province 56 wildfires "of note" are active and continuing to blow smoke into the skies overhead.

Current statistics (from the BC Wildfire Service) show that 629,074 total hectares (1,554,475.71 acres) have burned this year in British Columbia. Specifically in each province, the Coastal province has had 86,116 hectares burn. Northwest has had 310,731 ha. burn. Prince George has had 118,233 ha. burn. Kamloops has had 38,019 ha. burn. The Southeast has had 35,639 ha. burn and Cariboo has had 40,336 ha. burn.

Every summer, cownose rays stream into Chesapeake Bay to mate and give birth to their pups. When autumn comes, they disappear--presumably to migrate south, but no one knew for certain where they spent the winter. Now, after a three-year tagging study published Aug. 23 and led by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), scientists have solved the mystery. Cownose rays all along the Atlantic winter near Cape Canaveral, Florida, and it is likely they return to the same spots each summer.

An international team of researchers has determined the function of a new family of proteins associated with cancer and autism. The results have been published in Molecular Cell. The study was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (RSF).