When Jennifer Johnson and her team embarked on their annual quest to survey the sturgeon population in the Detroit River in mid-April 2021, they had fully expected to find some super-sized specimens. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists had never anticipated luring in the granddaddy of all sturgeons — a massive, 240-pound, 6-foot, 10-inch long fish that they estimate is at least a century old!
The annual 3-to 4-millimeter rise in sea levels is expected to impact many coastal communities in the coming decades. However, few are as vulnerable as the Republic of the Maldives, a collection of more than a thousand picturesque islands in the Indian Ocean. NASA researchers believe that parts of what is "arguably the lowest-lying country in the world" will become uninhabitable by 2050, due to wave-driven flooding and limited freshwater. To combat the inevitable, the government recently unveiled plans for the world's first "true" floating island city.
British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has made it his mission to use his talent to conserve our ecosystems by creating underwater museums. Over the years, the environmentalist has submerged over 850 massive artworks in numerous site-specific "sculpture parks" worldwide. On February 1, 2021, Taylor unveiled his latest endeavor — The Underwater Museum of Cannes.
Regeneration, or the ability to regrow body parts, is a fairly widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom. However, the skill is usually restricted to growing a new tail or a new limb. Now, researchers have found two species of sacoglossan sea slugs — Elysia atroviridis and Elysia marginata — that deliberately detach their heads from their original bodies and grow brand new ones!
Fifteen US states, including New York, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, as well as Washington D.C., will soon be buzzing with billions, and perhaps even trillions, of cicadas. The noisy, red-eyed members of Brood X, which have been hibernating underground for the past 17 years, will emerge unannounced as soon as the conditions are right: the soil is 64 degrees, and on a night that's humid enough but free of wind and rain.
Though it is not unusual to find marine animals thriving under the Antarctica seafloor, researchers had always assumed that all life would become less abundant farther away from open water and sunlight. However, the discovery of filter-feeding organisms — 160 miles (260 km) away from the open ocean, with temperatures of −2.2°C and under complete darkness — suggests that life in the world's harshest environment may be more adaptable and diverse than previously thought.
King penguins, the second-largest penguin species, typically sport a distinct black-and-white coat with a yellowish-gold dash of color on their collar. However, one young penguin in the South Atlantic appears to have missed the memo on the dress code. It decided to forgo the black feathers and retain just the bright yellow plumage.
In 2011, conservationists moved eight Rothschild's giraffes to Longicharo Island, a rocky peninsula on Lake Baringo in Western Kenya. The scientists hoped the isolated area would save the endangered animals from poachers and allow their numbers to multiply. However, intense rainfall in August 2020 caused the lake water levels to rise substantially, cutting the area off from the mainland and reducing the once lush, 100-acre habitat to about eight acres.