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Birds’ dazzling iridescence tied to nanoscale tweak of feather structure

December 21, 2021 ・ Morgan Kelly

The iridescent shimmer that makes birds such as peacocks and hummingbirds so striking is rooted in a natural nanostructure so complex that people are only just beginning to replicate it technologically. The secret to how birds produce these brilliant colors…

With DNA toolkit, Rob Pringle is learning how to rebuild broken ecosystems

December 13, 2021 ・ Jeff Labrecque

In the beginning, Rob Pringle didn’t have a choice. His grandparents were passionate naturalists who loved exploring the outdoors with him and his younger sister, and his parents’ idea of vacations when he was growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan,…

Like a natural system, democracy faces collapse as polarization leads to loss of diversity

December 6, 2021 ・ Morgan Kelly

Much like an overexploited ecosystem, the increasingly polarized political landscape in the United States — and much of the world — is experiencing a catastrophic loss of diversity that threatens the resilience not only of democracy, but also of society, according…

Policy interventions could help farmers economically survive in vulnerable regions

December 1, 2021 ・ B. Rose Huber

In the grasslands of Nepal’s Chitwan Valley, local farmers rely on the production of rice and other grains to generate household income. But their livelihoods are under threat, as Nepal is experiencing the effects of climate change at a much…

Princeton, HMEI experts identify priorities for UN climate summit and global actions going forward

October 28, 2021 ・ Liz Fuller-Wright

Hundreds of leaders and thousands of climate scholars from around the globe will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12. Most experts believe this year’s meeting — the biggest…

Scientists identify genes behind tusklessness in African elephants facing poaching pressure

October 21, 2021 ・ Sharon Adarlo

In regions of Africa wracked by heavy poaching, people have observed an increased incidence of African elephants without their iconic white tusks, which are prized in the multibillion-dollar wildlife black market. But there has been no direct genetic evidence indicating…

Gone one, gone all: Without Africa’s large herbivores, a woody vine could threaten the biodiversity of savanna plant communities

September 27, 2021 ・ Liana Wait

The African savanna supports one of the world’s last intact large-mammal communities. Savannas also are home to a diverse array of plant species, but human-driven declines in animal populations could disrupt the balance of both plant and animal species in…

Frequent extreme events require new governance with the flexibility, resilience of natural systems

September 23, 2021

From the COVID-19 pandemic to devastating wildfires and deadly heatwaves, extreme events are becoming more frequent as a result of human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels and encroachment into natural habitats. An international team that included researchers…

NSF awards Princeton, University of Arizona researchers $5M to model US water resources using machine learning

September 16, 2021

As extreme weather events such as flooding and drought become more common in a climate impacted by humans, the ability to understand and predict water resources and systems is becoming more important than ever. To that end, a team of…