Recent Posts by Pangaea Biosciences

Water seems to flow freely on Mars

Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars1. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized — a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for…
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Deep-Sea Corals Record Dramatic Long-Term Shift in Pacific Ocean Ecosystem

Long-lived deep-sea corals preserve evidence of a major shift in the open Pacific Ocean ecosystem since around 1850, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The findings, published December 15 inNature, indicate that changes at the base of the marine food web observed in recent decades in the North…
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Rapid Evolution of Novel Forms: Environmental Change Triggers Inborn Capacity for Adaptation

In the classical view of evolution, species experience spontaneous genetic mutations that produce various novel traits -- some helpful, some detrimental. Nature then selects for those most beneficial, passing them along to subsequent generations. It's an elegant model. It's also an extremely time-consuming process likely to fail organisms needing to cope with sudden, potentially life-threatening…
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‘It’s Alive! It’s Alive!’ Maybe Right Here on Earth

Here in a laboratory perched on the edge of the continent, researchers are trying to construct Life As We Don’t Know It in a thimbleful of liquid. Generations of scientists, children and science fiction fans have grown up presuming that humanity’s first encounter with alien life will happen in a red sand dune on Mars,…
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Ask a science teacher: What makes ice float?

The simple answer is that ice is less dense than water. The question then becomes: Why is ice, which is water in solid form, lighter than water in its liquid form? Something must be happening to water when it freezes. One molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, or H2O. The…
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Mutation & Inheritance: The Long Term Effects of Naturally Occurring Radiation on Living Systems

Research Proposal Prepared by: Tommy Rodriguez, M.S. for Pangaea Biosciences Premise: This research proposal seeks to investigate the possibility that naturally occurring radiation (background radiation) could alter species composition (genotype → phenotype) over extended timeframes. We look to establish a parallel between changed levels of natural radiation and significant evolutionary events. In particular, we will…
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Shrinking Arctic Sea Ice Means Scorching US Summers

Thirty years of shrinking Arctic sea ice has boosted extreme summer weather, including heat waves and drought, in the United States and elsewhere, according to a study published today (Dec. 8) in the journal Nature Climate Change. The new study — based on satellite tracking of sea ice, snow cover and weather trends since 1979…
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Endangered Florida Panther Found Shot Dead in Nature Reserve

An endangered Florida panther was found shot dead over the weekend, in the Big Cypress National Preserve, a (supposedly) protected area for wildlife. The death is significant as there are only 100 to 160 Florida panthers remaining, scientists estimate. The National Park Service is asking anybody with information to come forward. It's a crime to…
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New Results Send Mars Rover on a Quest for Ancient Life

When the Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater 16 months ago, its goal was to find a place on Mars that was habitable 4 billion years ago. It has done that, and now a spate of new findings is driving the mission in a new direction: searching for traces of ancient life. Leaders of the 400-strong Curiosity…
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