What One New England Tree Can Tell Us About the Earth’s Future

By Studying a Single Massachusetts Oak, I Recorded How Climate Change Is Confusing Nature

Trees are up to more than we think. Belying their image as mute, unmoving, and solitary, trees are not just standing there. They move. Breathe. Communicate. Politically astute and nimbly networked, trees command a sophisticated array of processes and living beings, above ground and below.

Every schoolchild learns that trees use their leaves to feed themselves through an alchemy of sunlight, water, and air. While they are at it, they help make the oxygen that sustains much of life on Earth, including us.

But below ground they are also hard at …

Why Fruit Flies Are the New Lab Rats

These Quick-Breeding Insects Have Similar Genetic Cellular Functions as Humans

Set out a bowl of fruit, and they will arrive: small, buff-colored flies with garnet eyes and an attraction to fermenting bananas. Annoying but not harmful, they are easy to …

Why Scurvy Is Still a Snake in Our Nutritional Lost Paradise

To Absolve Mankind’s Genetic Original Sin, Drink Your Orange Juice

At some time in the evolution of the human organism, the gene that had allowed the body to synthesize vitamin C mutated, and the liver enzyme responsible for the synthesis …

Why Groundhog Day Now Elevates Science Over Superstition

For a UCLA Biologist, Celebrating the Lowly Marmot Could Shed Light on Global Warming

I am a scientist who loves Groundhog Day, that least scientific of holidays. Every February, as Punxsutawney Phil shakes the dust off his coat, emerges from his burrow, glances …

Technology Doesn’t Ruin Health, People Do

If We Want to Think Clearly and Stay Fit, We Are the Ones Who Have to Unplug, Say UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Other Researchers

As we hurtle with delight into a future where a wristwatch can tell us how many steps we’ve taken each day and a few taps on a screen can bring …

Could Nanotechnology Spark Another ‘Silent Spring’?

A Biologist Investigates How the Booming Demand for Microscopic Materials Could Threaten Fragile Ecosystems

Nothing can compare to the first night in a rainforest. In Honduras, in 2007, I hung my hammock beneath a lavish tree canopy, closed my eyes, and let insect chirps, …