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Latest Smithsonian Stories

Image 1 - Air Pollution Fertilizes Tropical Forests
2011-11-04 03:15:28

Scientists braved ticks and a tiger to discover how human activities have perturbed the nitrogen cycle in tropical forests. Studies at two remote Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory sites in Panama and Thailand show the first evidence of long-term effects of nitrogen pollution in tropical trees. "Air pollution is fertilizing tropical forests with one of the most important nutrients for growth," said S. Joseph Wright, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...

Image 1 - Coral Reefs May Support More Biodiversity Than Thought
2011-11-03 04:00:52

Smithsonian scientists and colleagues conducted the first DNA barcoding survey of crustaceans living on samples of dead coral taken from the Indian, Pacific and Caribbean oceans. The results suggest that the diversity of organisms living on the world's coral reefs is seriously underestimated. The team's research "The Diversity of Coral Reefs: What Are We Missing?" was published in October in the journal PLoS ONE. At depths of 26 to 39 feet, the scientists collected dead coral from five...

Scientists Determine Family Tree For Most-endangered Bird Family In The World
2011-10-21 03:44:28

Using one of the largest DNA data sets for a group of birds and employing next-generation sequencing methods, Smithsonian scientists and collaborators have determined the evolutionary family tree for one of the most strikingly diverse and endangered bird families in the world, the Hawaiian honeycreepers. Not only have the researchers determined the types of finches that the honeycreeper family originally evolved from, but they have also linked the timing of that rapid evolution to the...


Word of the Day
cacodemon
  • An evil spirit; a devil.
  • A nightmare.
  • In astrology, the twelfth house of a scheme or figure of the heavens: so called from its signifying dreadful things, such as secret enemies, great losses, imprisonment, etc.
'Cacodemon' comes from a Greek term meaning 'evil genius.'
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