Plants may stop growing not because of weakness, but because their own chemical signals tell them to. (Unsplash/Silvestri Matteo)
Plants may stop growing not because of weakness, but because their own chemical signals tell them to. (Unsplash/Silvestri Matteo)An international team of researchers discovered a plant signal that causes roots to stop growing in hard soils but can be disabled to allow them to break through, potentially enabling new crop growth in damaged and compacted soils that can reduce agricultural output by half and cause significant losses each year.

In the near future, forests may not be able to sequester as much carbon as previously. (Unsplash/Sebastian Unrau)
In the near future, forests may not be able to sequester as much carbon as previously. (Unsplash/Sebastian Unrau)Plants’ ability to keep absorbing close to one-third of human-caused carbon emissions could be slashed in half by 2040, as forests and other land ecosystems start releasing more carbon than they store, according to the first study to identify a photosynthesis “temperature tipping point” based on on-site data from around the world.

Using viruses to eat bacteria? It could save lives. (Dennis Korneev)
Using viruses to eat bacteria? It could save lives. (Dennis Korneev)Scientists in Australia have figured out how to cripple an antibiotic-resistant superbug that's responsible for up to one in five bacterial infections in intensive care units by using bacteriophage viruses. 

Lakes will get and stay hotter for longer, leading to ecosystem troubles. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Lakes will get and stay hotter for longer, leading to ecosystem troubles. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)As the climate changes, lakes are on track to experience lengthier and more severe periods of extreme warm surface temperatures by the end of the century, novel research published Wednesday shows, with some even projected to reach a “permanent heatwave state” that could alter entire ecosystems and imperil the economic benefits they provide.

It's OK to vape and drive, a new study finds. (Unsplash/Clear Cannabis)
It's OK to vape and drive, a new study finds. (Unsplash/Clear Cannabis)Participants who vaped a standard dose of CBD-dominant cannabis did not exhibit impaired driving in a recent study measuring the effects of the less-examined cannabidiol compound found in marijuana.

Beavers might be helping out other creatures with their dams. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Beavers might be helping out other creatures with their dams. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)The gradual recovery of once-abundant Pacific Northwest beavers may be crucial not just to the state animal of Oregon but also to certain types of slow-developing amphibians that require the unique habitats created by beaver dams, according to new research.

Seagrass might be helping to clean the ocean. (Unsplash/John Mark Arnold)
Seagrass might be helping to clean the ocean. (Unsplash/John Mark Arnold)Plastic debris that mysteriously returns from the shallow ocean floor to the coastal shoreline may be hitching a ride on uniquely capable but long-deteriorating Mediterranean seagrass meadows, according to a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports.

Is it safe for colleges to reopen? Time will tell. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Is it safe for colleges to reopen? Time will tell. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)As higher education institutions continue to weigh welcoming students back to campus next term, a study published Wednesday in Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering suggests colleges that take the right precautions can reopen safely amid the pandemic despite experiencing “an extreme incidence” of COVID-19 in the initial weeks of fall classes that also impacted surrounding communities.

Your evening snack may help your brain. (Unsplash/Iryna Mykhaylova)
Your evening snack may help your brain. (Unsplash/Iryna Mykhaylova)In the first large-scale analysis connecting specific long-term eating habits to cognitive activity in people’s later years, U.S. researchers tied daily consumption of cheese and red wine to higher levels of fluid intelligence.

Bonefish gather in huge schools near the surface before diving to spawn. (FAU/Tom Henshilwood)
Bonefish gather in huge schools near the surface before diving to spawn. (FAU/Tom Henshilwood)U.S. scientists for the first time documented how bonefish, an economically important fish that lives in waters no deeper than six feet, spawn at remarkable depths as low as 450 feet, revealing important information for conserving the near-threatened species.

A study of Italian data shows some surprises when it comes to who suffers the most from extreme heat. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A study of Italian data shows some surprises when it comes to who suffers the most from extreme heat. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)Unmarried people who live alone, women with little education and — in a unique finding — men at opposite ends of the education spectrum were at higher risk of death due to increasingly severe high temperatures in northern Italy, according to the first comprehensive assessment of social inequalities in the relationship between urban heat and health outcomes.

Short telomeres contribute to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. (AP Photo/National Cancer Institute)
Short telomeres contribute to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. (AP Photo/National Cancer Institute)Researchers in the United Kingdom say they’ve found the strongest evidence yet that short telomeres contribute to the cause of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly and incurable lung disease of mysterious origins that affects millions worldwide.

The tree canopy isn't what it should be, according to researchers. (Unsplash/Dan Meyers)
The tree canopy isn't what it should be, according to researchers. (Unsplash/Dan Meyers)North American trees and shrubs are only filling out about half the suitable land that would be expected under current climate conditions, challenging the accuracy of a popular method for predicting species distribution as the planet warms and revealing a possible need for contentious conservation methods like managed relocation, researchers say.

Rice terraces around the Gunung Agung Volcano in the vicinity of Tampaksiring, Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Rice terraces around the Gunung Agung Volcano in the vicinity of Tampaksiring, Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)Sparing the planet the most catastrophic effects of climate change will require a new focus on curbing the negative impact of the global food system, which accounts for nearly one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and could doom the international Paris accord even if all other major emissions sources are eliminated, according to research published in Science.

A woman cradles her pregnant belly. (Cassidy Rowell, Unsplash)
A woman cradles her pregnant belly. (Cassidy Rowell, Unsplash) When gestating mothers experience anxiety, it may affect brain development in their fetuses, scientists at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., have found.

A wastewater treatment plant. (Marcin Jozwiak, AP)
A wastewater treatment plant. (Marcin Jozwiak, AP)Tracking the spread of coronavirus through sewage could be improved by examining solid rather than liquid human waste, researchers found, enhancing a rapidly developing technique for containing the deadly disease through public health measures.

Three orcas glide side by side in the ocean near Norway. (Bart van meele, Unsplash)
Three orcas glide side by side in the ocean near Norway. (Bart van meele, Unsplash)Killer whales are continuing to die as a result of human interaction, including fishing-related injuries and vessel strikes, despite extensive global conservation efforts, scientists found in a new study examining more than 50 stranded whales.

An open tanning bed in Sacramento, California. (Rich Pedroncelli, AP)
An open tanning bed in Sacramento, California. (Rich Pedroncelli, AP)Use of tanning beds and sunbathing may increase women’s risk of developing endometriosis, researchers found in a first-of-its kind study uncovering a possible cause for the poorly understood and often painful gynecologic disease.

A giant panda, one of many types of vulnerable animal species, at a research center in China. (Alexander Schimmeck, Unsplash)
A giant panda, one of many types of vulnerable animal species, at a research center in China. (Alexander Schimmeck, Unsplash)Efforts to save threatened ecosystems and animals in the coming decades will continue to falter unless targets better account for climate change, which has likely already worsened habitat loss and is expected to put many species at risk of extinction this century, according to a new study by researchers from eight countries.

Raw elephant tusks from the 16th century Bom Jesus shipwreck. (National Museum of Namibia)
Raw elephant tusks from the 16th century Bom Jesus shipwreck. (National Museum of Namibia)Researchers learned important new information about the historical behavior of African forest elephants in a first-of-its-kind study of a trove of ivory discovered in a 16th-century Portuguese shipwreck, expanding data available about the species in ways that could aid conservation efforts.