Some bacteria are suffocating sea stars, turning the animals to goo

Dermasterias imbricata

The mysterious culprit behind a deadly sea star disease is not an infection, as scientists once thought. Instead, multiple types of bacteria living within millimeters of sea stars’ skin deplete oxygen from the water and effectively suffocate the animals, researchers report January 6 in Frontiers in Microbiology. Such microbes thrive when there are high levels […]

These snakes wiggle up smooth poles by turning their bodies into “lassoes”

Biologists discovered a previously unknown form of movement that the brown tree snakes use to climb wide objects, like poles. (Bruce Jayne/) When the brown tree snake is determined to climb something, it’s pretty hard to stop it. For decades, the invasive reptiles have slithered up trees to feast upon the forest birds of Guam. […]

Turning the heat down: Catalyzing ammonia formation at lower temperatures with ruthenium

IMAGE: The metal ruthenium, supported with lanthanide oxyhydrides, can efficiently catalyze the synthesis of ammonia at a much lower temperature than the traditional approach. view more  Credit: Tokyo Tech Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth. While about 80% of earth is nitrogen, it is mostly contained in the atmosphere as gas, and hence, inaccessible […]

Turning a coronavirus protein into a nanoparticle could be key for COVID-19 vaccine

IMAGE: A close-up view of the RBD particle vaccine (green). view more  Credit: Facility for Electron Microscopy Research (FEMR) at McGill University. BUFFALO, N.Y. – A University at Buffalo-led research team has discovered a technique that could help increase the effectiveness of vaccines against the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD, […]

Turning space images into music makes astronomy more accessible

Put into music, telescope observations of the center of the Milky Way create a tranquil tune, glittering with xylophone and piano notes. The iconic Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, meanwhile, sound like an eerie sci-fi score. And the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A is a sweeping symphony. These musical renditions, or sonifications, were released […]

Black hole caught turning a poor star into spaghetti

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 4:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 13 to reflect that the black hole is 214 million light years from Earth, not 214 light years. A black hole in a galaxy not far from Earth gobbled up a star like it was a big, exploding noodle, and astronomers got a front-row […]