Profile: Samantha Wallace
Senior Publications Assistant
Public Library of Science
NoteStreams By Samantha Wallace
Given how involuntarily we adults use our primary language, it’s shocking how difficult learning new languages as an adult can be.
Although fully developed prefrontal and parietal cortices endow adults with many advantages, according to the authors, these same adult brains may hinder us from learning some aspects of language. We might, in fact, be “trying” too hard.
To uncover differences in the health of medieval Londoners, Dr. Sharon DeWitte of the University of South Carolina examinedpre-Black Death individuals and post-Black Death individuals.
To make long and complicated methodology short, these analyses indicate that post-Black Death Londoners appear to have lived longer than pre-Black Death Londoners. The virulent killer, the Black Death, may have helped select for a healthier London by influencing genetic variation, at least in the short term.
Humpback whale song is identifiable because of its intricate pattern of structure. These whales compose their songs for the purposes of breeding, learning new songs as they come in contact with fellow crooners.
Exactly how and when humpback whales learn these songs, however, remains a larger mystery. Recordings reveal a possible link between three distinct breeding populations off the shores of eastern Australia and the island to the east of New Caledonia with a shared feeding ground in Antarctica.
Large, canopy-forming macroalgae provide structural complexity, food and habitat for coastal marine ecosystems and other marine organisms. When these habitat-formers decline or disappear, the ecosystem loses its complexity, biodiversity decreases and many ecosystem services are also lost. Losing large seaweeds from temperate reefs has analogous ecosystem-level implications to losing corals from tropical reefs. Dr. Alexandra Campbell from the University of New South Wales elaborates on her research and the impact of these ‘missing underwater forests’.
Home to possibly more than three quarters of a million people, several different urban plans and reservoir systems, and impressive monuments like the temple of Angkor Wat, Angkor was the core of the Khmer Empire, which dominated Southeast Asia by the 11th century CE. Like many modern, booming cities, Angkor was fed by water sourced from another city: Mahendraparvata. Here, we'll explore what the history of water usage tells about the evolution of a kingdom.