Study puts spin into quantum technologies

A team of international scientists investigating how to control the spin of atom-like impurities in 2D materials have observed the dependence of the atom’s energy on an external magnetic field for the first time. The results of the study, published in Nature Materials, will be of interest to both academic and industry research groups working on … Read more Study puts spin into quantum technologies

Watching magnetic nano ‘tornadoes’ in 3D

The team, from the Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow in the UK and ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, used their technique to observe how the magnetisation behaves, the first time this has been done in three dimensions. The technique, called time-resolved magnetic laminography, could be used to understand and control the … Read more Watching magnetic nano ‘tornadoes’ in 3D

We must prioritise the protection of ecosystems

Prioritising and tracking the protection of countries’ ecosystems – from wetlands to reefs, forests and more – is critical to protecting Earth’s biodiversity. That’s the plea from The University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Professor James Watson, as policy makers from 190 nations prepare to meet in Rome next week to develop the … Read more We must prioritise the protection of ecosystems

Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

Australia’s first plant foods – eaten by early populations 65,000 years ago – have been discovered in Arnhem Land. Preserved as pieces of charcoal, the morsels were recovered from the debris of ancient cooking hearths at the Madjedbebe archaeological site, on Mirarr country in northern Australia. University of Queensland archaeobotanist Anna Florin said a team … Read more Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Catfish and tilapia make up many of the animal remains uncovered in the Saharan environment of the Takarkori rock shelter in southwestern Libya, according to a study published February 19, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wim Van Neer from the the Natural History Museum in Belgium, Belgium and Savino di Lernia, Sapienza University of … Read more Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Improving assessments of an endangered lion population in India

An alternative method for monitoring endangered lions in India could improve estimates of their abundance and help inform conservation policy and management decisions. Keshab Gogoi and colleagues at the Wildlife Institute of India present their findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on February 19, 2020. Conservation practices have enabled Asiatic lions to recover from a population … Read more Improving assessments of an endangered lion population in India

Global relationships that determine bird diversity on islands uncovered

The study, a collection of molecular data from bird species found across 41 oceanic archipelagos, reveals how the area and isolation of islands are key to determining the diversity of species they contain. It is known that biodiversity is unevenly distributed across the planet. But why do some islands such as the Galápagos and Hawaii … Read more Global relationships that determine bird diversity on islands uncovered

Sweet beaks: What Galapagos finches and marine bacteria have in common

The variety of finch species on the remote Galapagos Islands is the most prominent example for Charles Darwin’s and Alfred R. Wallace’s theory of evolution through natural selection. Galapagos finch species have developed distinct beak sizes and shapes and thereby have adapted to different food sources. This exemplifies how even closely related species can effectively … Read more Sweet beaks: What Galapagos finches and marine bacteria have in common

What birdsong tells us about brain cells and learning

Most scientists who study the brain believe that memories are stored through networks of synapses, or connections that form between neurons. Learning takes place as neurons form new connections and strengthen or weaken existing ones, giving the brain its so-called synaptic plasticity. There is growing evidence, however, that the intrinsic, built-in properties of the cells … Read more What birdsong tells us about brain cells and learning

Ancient gut microbiomes shed light on human evolution

The microbiome of our ancestors might have been more important for human evolution than previously thought, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. An adaptive gut microbiome could have been critical for human dispersal, allowing our ancestors to survive in new geographic areas. “In this paper, we begin to consider what … Read more Ancient gut microbiomes shed light on human evolution