The Galapagos Islands are world-famous as a laboratory of biological evolution. Some 30 percent of the plants, 80 percent of the land birds and 97 percent of the reptiles on this remote archipelago are found nowhere else on Earth. Perhaps the most striking example is the islands’ iconic giant tortoises, which often live to ages over 100 years in the wild. Multiple species of these mega-herbivores have evolved in response to conditions on the island or volcano where each lives, generating wide variation in shell shape and size.
On Feb. 8 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reversed course and issued an easement allowing the installation of the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. That decision followed a presidential memorandum indicating that construction and operation of the pipeline would be in the “national interest,” and set the stage for a final showdown over the pipeline’s fate.
President Trump has made it clear he intends to dismantle the Obama administration’s policies for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But California Governor Jerry Brown has declared that his state – which would be the sixth-largest economy in the world if it was an independent nation – will not waver from its decade-long push to fight climate change.
To study the long-term effects of invasive species, researchers put aquatic bacteria in glass jars. For two years they tracked how native species fared after an invasion.
One of the most unexpected political developments in recent months has been the political awakening of scientists in the United States.