Human Excrement to Blame for Coral Decline – ScienceNOW

“Coral reef ecologists have laid a persistent and troubling puzzle to rest. The elkhorn coral, named for its resemblance to elk antlers and known for providing valuable marine habitat, was once the Caribbean’s most abundant reef builder. But the “redwood of the coral forest” has declined 90% over the past decade, in part due to […]

Science Friday Video: An Outhouse For The Sea

“This toilet floats. It’s an outhouse and sewage-treatment plant in one, processing human waste through a “constructed wetlands.” Adam Katzman, the inventor and builder of the toilet-boat, says it’s meant to be more inspirational than practical. “Poop and Paddle” demonstrates how sewage and rainwater can be converted to cattails and clean water.” This is so […]

Science Friday Video: Growing A Wastewater Treatment Plant

“New York is testing out a new water scrubber at one of its wastewater treatment plants in Queens. Meet the algal turf scrubber–two 350-foot slides covered in green algae. Water flows down the slides, algae grows naturally, and then helps clean water that is sent over it. John McLaughlin, Director of Ecological Services for the […]

Don’t Call It Viral Marketing: The Story Behind Contagion’s Microbial Billboard – ScienceInsider

‘The jury is still out on whether the star-studded viral outbreak movie Contagion will be a Hollywood blockbuster, but don’t blame Patrick Hickey if it isn’t. The Scottish mycologist recently led a team that used living bacteria and fungi to create two sinister-looking billboards meant to lure, or scare, people into seeing the movie. The […]

Superbugs Predate Wonder Drugs – ScienceNOW

“It’s a “carefully done study,” adds George Church, a geneticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Non-scientists (and even scientists) forget how important it is to confirm ideas that are widely accepted,” he writes in an e-mail. Church’s only gripe is that the samples were 30,000 years old, even though antibiotic resistance genes […]

Mind-Altering Bugs – ScienceNOW

“Hundreds of species of bacteria call the human gut their home. This gut “microbiome” influences our physiology and health in ways that scientists are only beginning to understand. Now, a new study suggests that gut bacteria can even mess with the mind, altering brain chemistry and changing mood and behavior.” The indications are mounting that, […]

Your Gut Bacteria Are What You Eat – ScienceNOW

“A large European-Asian consortium brought some order to the chaos when it reported in a Nature paper in April that humanity can be roughly divided into three “enterotypes” depending on which genus of bacteria dominates in people’s gut: Bacteroides, Ruminococcus, or Prevotella. People’s enterotype appeared to be stable over time, but it remains unclear why […]

World’s Oldest Fossils Found in Ancient Australian Beach – ScienceNOW

“Brasier and David Wacey, a geologist at the University of Western Australia in Crawley, say they have discovered 3.4-billion-year-old cells, possibly the oldest fossils ever found.” And they seem to think the microbes used sulfur for energy. Read this article…

Lager Beer’s Mystery Yeast – ScienceNOW

“Lager may have its roots in Bavaria, but a key ingredient arrived from halfway around the world. Scientists have discovered that the yeast used to brew this light-colored beer may hail from Argentina. Apparently, yeast cells growing in Patagonian trees made their way to Europe and into the barrels of brewers.” Great story about genomics […]

Power Walk, Gain a Watt – ScienceNOW

“If scaled up to the size that would fit in a typical shoe, this would enable the Wisconsin researchers to harvest 2 watts of power, they report today in Nature Communications. At that rate, a person could completely recharge a standard cell phone battery by going for a 2-hour stroll, Krupenkin says. Krupenkin and Taylor […]