Scientists have found that New Caledonian crows, like humans, can reason about hidden mechanisms, or “causal agents”. Published this week in PNAS, this study represents the first time that this cognitive ability has been experimentally demonstrated in a species other than humans, and the method may help scientists understand how this type of reasoning evolved, the researchers say. SEFS‘ John Marzluff is quoted; read more in this Wired.com story here!
During this year’s melt season, the sea ice in the Arctic reached the lowest extent on record, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported this week. What does this mean for the future of the Polar sea, and how quickly is that future coming? Check out Andy Revkin’s DotEarth post today, for great visuals and a broad view of the topic (and more to come, he states). Revkin quotes ATMO‘s Cecilia Bitz and OCEAN‘s Jamie Morison in his coverage of sea ice.
And take a look at this visualization by “amateur Arctic watcher, Andy Lee Robinson”, using data from the PIOMAS model from APL — very interesting!
A new study led by a biologist at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews used UW-designed electronic tags to see whether crows might learn to use tools from one another. The findings supported the theory by showing an unexpected amount of social mobility: during one week, the technology recorded more than 28,000 interactions among 34 crows! Read more about this study here.
What happens to your data, research, and online identity after you die? ScienceOnlineSeattle will explore this topic at their fall kickoff event. Digging into the intricacies of data and social media archiving, intellectual property vs. the Cloud, and other issues at the nexus of science, online, and human mortality, #sosea will host three experts in diverse perspectives on this complex topic. Join us, in person or online! Register here!
Talk about an extreme web-cam. Tune in every day through September 25 to share the view of a robot exploring volcanoes at 4,000 feet underwater! JISAO‘s Joe Resing is leading a team of scientists to explore submarine volcanoes in the Western Pacific’s Lau Basin, centered between Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. Read more about this project here, or in this UW News digest; and check out the video that’s being transmitted right now!
A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Washington Department of Ecology concludes that existing studies fail to show conclusively that nitrogen from septic systems, fertilizers and other human sources have caused Hood Canal’s oxygen levels to drop by 0.2 milligrams per liter — the threshold for legal enforcement. OCEAN‘s Jan Newton is quoted; read more here.
As sea ice in the Arctic continues to shrink during this century, more than two thirds of the area with sufficient snow cover for ringed seals to reproduce also will disappear, challenging their survival, scientists report in a new study. Read about this study here; ATMOS‘ Cecilia Bitz and Paul Hezel, co-authors, are quoted.