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James MacDonald

James MacDonald received a BS in Environmental Biology from Columbia and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, spending 4 years in Central America collecting data on fish in mangrove forests. His research has been published in scholarly journals such as Estuaries and Coasts and Biological Invasions. He currently works in fisheries management and outreach in New York.

Two IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

How to Clean Up After a Nuclear Disaster

Workers are still cleaning up after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant partial meltdown. There's a lot of contaminated material to contend with.
An illustration of an elephant between crosshairs

The Military Response to Poaching

Is militarizing rangers really the best way to cut down on poaching? It's more complicated than you might imagine.
Yttrium crystal

The Downside to Renewable Energy

Rare earth elements are used in virtually all electronics, and mining them is a messy business.
A flamingo feeding its young

How Non-Mammals “Nurse” Their Young

Some birds feed their young with "crop milk," while discus fish feed their fry with a special mucus. It may not seem as cute as nursing, but it works.
Illustration of a wild boar, between 1868 and 1874

Denmark Builds a Wild Boar Wall

Is constructing a fence along the Denmark/Germany border really the best way to keep wild pigs away from domestic pigs?
This infographic details the locations of the participating telescopes of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA).

Seeing Black Holes

Two of the scientists on the huge team that eventually captured the world's first image of a black hole discuss the particular challenges of the task.
Frozen lake Baikal near Olkhon island

Exploring Lake Baikal

The world's largest, deepest freshwater lake is home to hundreds of species that don't live anywhere else on Earth. But it's threatened by climate change.
The wreck of the H.M.S. Deal Castle off Puerto Rico, in the hurricane of 1780 with the crew escaping on a raft, by John Thomas Serres

The Dramatic Waves That Sink Ships

Rogue waves are becoming larger and more dangerous. But even long-term studies have not made these waves any easier to predict or avoid.
Los Angeles

Why Is It So Much Hotter in the City?

On a sunny day, a city can be several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. Could better building materials make cities absorb less heat?
A Wafer of the Latest D-Wave Quantum Computers

What Is a Quantum Computer?

Researchers claim to have turned back time inside a quantum computer. Meanwhile, most of us are still trying to wrap our minds around what that even means.
A thumbprint on a screen

How Scientific Is Forensic Science?

We like to think that physical evidence is a foolproof way to lock in a conviction. The problem is that forensic science isn't exactly a science.

Kuiper Belt Objects Are as Mysterious as They Are Distant

Recently the New Horizons spacecraft made the first flyby of a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) in the extreme outer solar system. What do we know about KBOs?
A meteor striking earth

How to Avoid a Meteor

It isn’t likely that Earth will be hit by a large meteor, but if it were, the results would be catastrophic.
Reflection of crocodile submerged in water, Australia

Coexisting With Crocodiles

Conservation efforts have led to increased crocodile populations in areas like the Philippines. It's great news for the crocs. Not so much for the people.
An opossum feigning death

The Biology of Death-Feigning

Some animals, when faced with predators, play dead instead of trying to escape. But for death-feigning to work, a lot of things have to go well.
Bilateral Gynandromorph Cardinal

The Mysterious Gynandromorph

Gynandromorphy is an extremely rare condition in which an animal is half male and half female. It's most visible in birds and butterflies.
Long-tailed pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla), Mangamba, Littoral Province, Cameroon

The Pangolin Extinction Vortex

This shy, strange-looking, nocturnal mammal has been poached nearly to extinction.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golfstream.jpg

Remembering Climate Pioneer Dr. Wallace Broecker

He brought us the term "global warming," furthering our understanding of the ways in which people affect the planet's climate.
Honeybee Apis mellifera

Are Honey Bees Bad for Wild Bees?

Recently, the health of the honey bees has been a topic of some concern. But many scientists think we should actually be worrying about wild bees instead.
A tractor spreads biosolids in a field

What To Do about Biosolids

People are understandably reluctant to make much use of sewer sludge. Can rebranding human waste as "biosolids" change the public's mind?
Two Sumatran tigers

Mating at the Zoo Can Be Dangerous

A Sumatran tiger killed the female he was meant to mate with. Mating endangered species in captivity has long been a problem, if not always to such dramatic effect.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Argonauta_argo_Merculiano.jpg

Paper Nautilus, Octopus of the Open Sea

Why the argonaut, or paper nautilus, may be your new favorite cephalopod.
Replica of a Denisovan molar, originally found in Denisova Cave in 2000

Denisovans and Neanderthals Interbred in a Giant Cave

New findings shed light on how humans' ancestors interbred, but the Denisovans remain quite mysterious.
A tarsier

Can Wildlife Adapt to Heat Waves?

Heatwaves have led to widespread deaths of animals like big-eyed tarsiers and flying foxes. Is there hope for species like this as temperatures rise?
Two wolves

The Totally Unromantic Origin of Monogamy

Evolutionary biology offers theories as to why some mammals engage in monogamy. And no, it's not because they're in love. (Sorry.)