Skip to content

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.

The Hubble Space Telescope as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Atlantis, flying STS-125, HST Servicing Mission 4.

Happy Birthday, Hubble Telescope!

This year, the Hubble Telescope celebrates its 26th year in space. 
Hannibal's Famous Crossing of the Alps

Tracing General Hannibal’s Path Across The Alps. In Poop.

A new study traces Hannibal's path across the Alps by examining preserved horse poop.
“It could be so light that you don’t even know it’s there, on your shirt or on your notebook,” Vladimir Bulović says. “These cells could simply be an add-on to existing structures.” Photo: Joel Jean and Anna Osherov

Solar Panels Get Small. Real Small.

Solar panels keep getting lighter and thinner. MIT researchers have created a solar panel so light and thin that it can rest on a soap bubble.
Methane Gas Exhaust Pipe

The Not-So-Clean Side of Natural Gas

Methane leaks are a serious but oft-overlooked cause of pollution.
Artificial intelligence robot.

When the AI Promotes Genocide

It seemed like a good idea; Microsoft introduced an Artificial Intelligence (AI), Tay, to comment on social media ...
Fossil of Tullymonstrum gregarium, an extinct animal

The Tully Monster, Monstrous No More

The identity of the Tully monster, a 50-year-old paleontological mystery, has been solved.
Secretarybird with a snake, Masai Mara, Kenya

Meet the Secretary Bird, Snake Nemesis

If snakes have nightmares, they most likely include secretary birds (or secretarybirds)—so-called because the birds’ crests, when flattened against the head, ...
A young Carcinus maenas showing the common green colour

Invasive Species: Pro And Con

Are invasive species always bad? Maybe they aren’t, according to an increasingly common point of view among ecologists.
Uraba lugens Walker, 1863, larva on juvenile Eucalyptus melliodora foliage, Black Mountain, Canberra, ACT, 8 February 2010 Note head capsules from previous instars stacked on head.

The Gothic World of Insect Defense

From an Australian caterpillar that carries around its old heads to exploding ants, insect defense isn't all that different from Game of Thrones.
Astronaut in space

What Happens To The Body in Orbit?

Scott Kelly has returned from a year in orbit. How has he fared? Turns out space flight really does do a number on the body.
Chimpanzee working with a tool.

The Incredible Range of Chimpanzee Behavior

So why are chimpanzee throwing rocks at trees? And then collecting the rocks in piles to use again?
Plimpton 322, Babylonian tablet listing pythagorean triples

The Advanced Mathematics of the Babylonians

The Babylonians knew their mathematics thousands of years before the Europeans.
School of sardines

Peace and Quiet? Not Underwater

Fish, it turns out, are loud.
Alfalfa hops

Cover Crops Are Making a Comeback

Farmers looking increase yields and maintain healthy soil are trying the old technique of planting cover crops again. 
Demodex canis

Where Are You From? Check Your Parasites

People and birds carry their specific parasites around the world. 
Rafflesia consueloae. Image credit: Edwino S. Fernando.

The Smallest Corpse Flower

A relatively tiny member of the Rafflesia genus of giant corpse flowers has just been discovered. 
Aggressive male lion

Animal Attack? Odds Are, It’s Your Fault

Wild animal attacks on people are rare, but when they happen, human actions are frequently responsible.
A captive naked mole-rat eating By Ltshears - Trisha M Shears (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Remarkable Immunities of the Naked Mole-Rat

Research explains why naked mole rats, unlike most mammals, are resistant to cancer and the pain induced by acid. 
PASO ROBLES, CA - DECEMBER 22: Rescue workers survey damage while searching for survivors December 22, 2003 in Paso Robles, California. The 6.5 richter scale earthquake hit the central coast of California earlier today killing at least two people. (Photo by Rod Rolle)

Before the Quake

The West Coast may be implementing an earthquake warning system. This new technology may help ensure accuracy, minimize false positives, & save lives. 
Falcon

Raptors Are Avian Arsonists

Raptors are proving to be great problem-solvers. Falcons, for instance, start their own fires to flush out prey. 
Baths of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in Rome, 295 A.D.

The Health Risks of Living in Ancient Rome

From parasites to malaria, the health risks facing ancient Rome were numerous. 
Gravitational waves

What Are Gravitational Waves?

Einstein predicted over a hundred years ago the existence of gravitational waves. Now a team of over 1,000 scientists have confirmed their existence. 

Where Do Dogs Come From?

Scientists are determined to uncover the mystery behind man's best friend. 
Aedes aegypti feeding.

Controlling the Spread of the Zika Virus Through Genetic Modification

How genetic modification may be the key to halting the spread of the Zika virus.
Wasted rotten apples.

We’re Wasting As Much As Half the Food We Produce

Research suggests that at least half of the food produced is lost before and after it reaches the consumer.