Biology

An accurate wearable calorie burn counter

A system made with two inexpensive sensors proves to be more accurate than smartwatches for measuring calories burned during activity – and the instructions for making the system yourself are available for free online.

How plants compensate symbiotic microbes

Combining economics, psychology and studies of fertilizer application, researchers find that plants nearly follow an “equal pay for equal work” rule when giving resources to partner microbes – except when those microbes underperform.

Algorithm to compare cells across species

Researchers created an algorithm to identify similar cell types from species – including fish, mice, flatworms and sponges – that have diverged for hundreds of millions of years, which could help fill in gaps in our understanding of evolution.

Stanford study reveals new biomolecule

A newfound biomolecule, consisting of RNA modified by sugars, could be present in all forms of life and might contribute to autoimmune disease.

Biodiversity loss in warming oceans

A fossil study from Stanford University finds the diversity of life in the world’s oceans declined time and again over the past 145 million years during periods of extreme warming. Temperatures that make it hard for cold-blooded sea creatures to breathe have likely been among the biggest drivers for shifts in the distribution of marine biodiversity.

A new perspective on the genomes of archaic humans

Researchers examined 14,000 genetic differences between modern humans and our most recent ancestors at a new level of detail. They found that differences in gene activation – not just genetic code – could underlie evolution of the brain and vocal tract.

Guide for science outreach

Science outreach efforts can encourage trust and interest in science, benefiting everyone involved. A guide produced by plant biologists from several institutions aims to make science outreach better and more effective.

Illuminating a sea turtle mystery

North Pacific loggerhead turtles’ years-long oceanic journeys remain poorly understood. Using data from satellite tracking and other techniques, scientists reveal a unique phenomenon that may explain the endangered migrants’ pathway.