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Images created by NASA with satellite data helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture analyze outbreak patterns for southern pine beetles in Alabama, in spring 2016. NASA

Can scientists learn to make ‘nature forecasts’ just as we forecast the weather?

Big data open-access publishing and other advances offer ecologists the ability to forecast events like pest outbreaks over days and seasons rather than decades. But scholars need to seize this opportunity.
Shown as bright orange and pink highlights under X-ray fluorescent light, birds incorporate metals like zinc and bromine into feathers as they grow. Nature Scientific Reports

Hidden feather patterns tell the story of birds

Ordinary grey bird feathers placed under X-ray fluorescence reveal beautiful patterns of elements like zinc, telling a story of feather growth and the environments the birds have experienced.
The de-greening of America. Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

In a time of drought, a call to rethink lawns

Americans love their lawns but are lawns good for America, particularly in drought-stricken areas? A look at our grassy love affair and what might be better alternatives.
The Bellinger Snapping Turtle is under threat, and that bodes ill for the entire ecosystem. Copyright: Gary Bell/OceanwideImages.com

Turtle extinction event bodes ill for our waterways

The Bellinger River Snapping Turtle is under threat of extinction, and it suggests something very wrong with the whole ecosystem.
Publishing a peer-reviewed paper isn’t easy, but new research confirms it’s worth the fight. Cartoon by Nick Kim, Massey University, Wellington

Predicting who will publish or perish as career academics

It doesn’t matter whether or not you think it’s fair: if you’re an academic, your publishing record will have a crucial impact on your career. It can profoundly affect your prospects for employment, for…

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