• Non-detection of key signal allows astronomers to determine what the first galaxies were -- and weren't -- like
    on November 28, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    Researchers have been able to make some key determinations about the first galaxies to exist, in one of the first astrophysical studies of the period in the early Universe when the first stars and galaxies formed, known as the cosmic dawn.

  • Adventurous bird personalities can help population cope with climate change
    on November 28, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    The areas in the Wadden Sea where red knots, plump migratory birds, spend the winter are under pressure. The Wadden Sea is changing due to human influences such as mining for gas, tourism and due to sea level rise. Ecologists have studied how 'personalities' of individual red knots differ and affect the way they search for food. Individuals that are fast explorers and take the risk to forage in different areas, also eat different food. This could make the total population of red knots a lot more resilient while their environment is changing.

  • Green means GO! Ultra-violet means STOP!
    on November 28, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    A research group has revealed a new system that allows them to control the behavior of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, using two different animal opsins, a type of light-sensitive protein. The first opsin was expressed in the worms' sensory cells responsible for triggering avoidance behavior, making the worms move. This opsin was found to be approximately 7,000 times more sensitive to white light than the commonly used optogenetic protein channelrhodopsin-2. Likewise, a UV-sensitive opsin was expressed in the worms' motor neurons, causing the worms to stop when exposed to UV light and start moving again when exposed to green light. Both opsins tested can be switched on and off repeatedly without breaking down, making them robust tools for future research, including the field of drug discovery.

  • Ancient superpredator got big by front-loading its growth in its youth
    on November 28, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    Whatcheeria, a six-foot-long salamander-like creature that lived 340 million years ago, was the T. rex of its time: the biggest, baddest predator in its habitat. A new study reveals how they grew to their 'giant' size: instead of growing slow and steady throughout their lives like many modern reptiles and amphibians, they did most of their growing when they were young.

  • Astrophysicists hunt for second-closest supermassive black hole
    on November 28, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    As massive as the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, the behemoth is hosted by a dwarf galaxy less than 1 million light-years away. Invisible so far -- maybe not for long.