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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. Until his death in the fall of 2019, James worked in fisheries management and outreach in New York.

Singing’s Not Just for the Birds Anymore

The common perception of bat calls consists of squeaks and chirps. But many bats, including Mexican free-tailed bats of Austin, TX, sing to one another.

Signs of Recovery in Earth’s Ozone Layer, but Danger Remains

For the first time in 35 years, atmospheric ozone actually increased, according to NASA measurements.

Anthrax: The Bacteria that Lays Diabolical Traps

Anthrax sets self-perpetuating booby traps in order to spread itself, researchers have found.

How Smart are Dolphins, Really?

Dolphins may not be as smart as previously believed.

The Cassini Saturn Mission and the Allure of the Unknown

What the Cassini Saturn Mission teaches us about scientific discovery

For the Next Generation in Solar Power, Talk to the Clam

The next generation of solar power might be waiting beneath the Pacific waves, in the form of an armchair-sized clam.

Man with Turtles in his Pants is the Tip of the Iceberg

Xu Gai was caught trying to enter Canada with 51 turtles crammed into his pants.

Sea Monkeys Make the Ocean Go ‘Round

Turns out ocean currents might be created by…sea monkeys? Seriously.

Indian Leopards Living High on the Dog

Unbeknownst to unsuspecting residents, a large number of leopards are prowling the fields and backyards of populated agricultural lands in India. 

Recession Lessons from an Ancient Fossil Bed

In a 120-million-year-old rock in Northeast China, paleontologists made a remarkable find.

Infection Control 600 Years Before the CDC

Modern health authorities combating the Ebola virus in West Africa might look to medieval infection control for inspiration.

Happy 100th Birthday to the Journal of Parasitology!

This year, the Journal of Parasitology celebrates its 100th anniversary

Why We Really, Really Hate Being Alone

Why do we hate to be alone? It may have to do with saber toothed tigers.

New Organism Might Represent One of Life’s Earliest Forms

Dendrogramma enigmatica, an organism discovered in the 1980s, may be one of the earliest lifeforms.

Train Your Brain to Prefer Healthy Food?

Researchers in Boston found that it may be possible to train the brain to unconsciously prefer healthier, more nutritious foods. 

Good News for California Blue Whales

Researchers writing in Marine Mammal Science report that California blue whale populations have rebounded from losses inflicted by whaling.

Is Beef Really Worse for the Environment Than Driving?

What’s the single biggest action a person can take to reduce their personal impact on climate change? It would seem that the answer is to eat less beef.

Salmon and Agriculture Compete in the California Drought

California’s prolonged drought is leading to bitter competition for water supplies between fish and agriculture.
Trail of camels led by two drivers travels along in front of Pyramids of Giza.

Scientists Have an Answer to How the Egyptian Pyramids Were Built

Using sand, water, and a scale model of an ancient Egyptian transport sled, a team of international scientists ...

“Plastic Rock” Marks the Presence of Humans in the Fossil Record

Plastic in the ocean has created an entirely new kind of rock: plastiglomerate.

A Tobacco Plant that Could Cure Cancer?

Australian researchers have discovered a potentially potent new cancer-fighting agent in a most unlikely source: a tobacco plant. ...

Sixteen-Million-Year-Old Fossilized Sperm Discovered in Australia

Digging in Queensland, Australia, scientists recently discovered the fossilized remains of a small crustacean known as a seed ...