Profile: Rachel Nuwer
Freelance Science Journalist
Rachel Nuwer is freelance science journalist who contributes to outlets such as the New York Times, the BBC and Smithsonian. She lives in Brooklyn.
NoteStreams By Rachel Nuwer
A survey of 50 North Carolina homes turned up just five rooms that were completely free of arthropods.
Microplastics from beauty products and other sources affected oysters’ ability to reproduce in laboratory experiments.
The behavioral findings hint that dogs, like humans, might be capable of their own form of empathy.
Like sommeliers of poop, the pint-sized marsupials can smell what species left it behind and what that creature last had for dinner.
Marijuana plots hidden in California’s forests are inadvertently poisoning protected mammals called fishers.
Thanks to their relationship with us, dogs are less adept at solving tricky puzzles than their wolf relatives.
Dogs are considered some of the most intelligent animals on the planet. Thanks to a relationship with humans that dates back tens of thousands of years, dogs can respond to emotions, recognize numerous words and be trained to follow commands.
Notably, these seemingly smart accomplishments all hinge on the partnership between our two species. Now, however, tests of canine problem-solving skills indicate that dogs rely on humans so much that we actually seem to be dumbing them down.
For animals, island life isn’t always a breeze. Survival on remote, ocean-bound outposts like the Galapagos Islands often depends on diversification, with one species breaking into two or more new ones to take advantage of finite resources and reduce competition with neighbors.
Climate change is already wreaking havoc on wildlife in a number of ways, from destroying habitats to throwing off circadian schedules. Mutualism—win-win ecological partnerships honed over evolutionary timescales—is a lesser-known ecological relationship that is also vulnerable to the effects of a rapidly changing planet.
African landscapes may become very different places if rhinos aren't there to diversify plant life and create prime grazing spots for other animals. Elephants are known as ecosystem engineers for their tendency to push over trees and stomp shrubby areas in the savannah into submission. Wolves, on the other hand, are apex predators. They keep other species like deer in check, preventing herbivore populations from getting out of hand and eating all the plants into oblivion. Both elephants and wolves are keystone species, or ones that have a relatively large impact on their environment in relation to their actual population numbers.