Posts by Ilima Loomis

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“Mixed score on tuna fisheries report card”

The world’s tuna fisheries have made strides toward sustainably harvesting target species like skipjack and yellowfin but still have some distance to go in meeting other standards for ecosystem‐based management (EBM) practices. That’s the conclusion of a new “report card” by an independent team of fisheries scientists. Read the rest of my story for Frontiers in…

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“Rare Intersex Shark the First of Its Kind”

Many fish are switch-hitters: they have the ability to change from male to female, or vice versa, when it’s convenient for reproduction. Not so for sharks and rays, which develop either male or female organs before birth. But off the coast of Taiwan, fishers discovered a shark with a fully developed set of male and…

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“Exact Moonlight Measurements Could Aid Earth-Observing Missions”

As our nearest neighbor in space, the Moon is one of the most familiar objects in our sky. Yet there are still things we don’t know about it—like exactly how bright it is. In a new project, scientists will seek to make the most accurate measurements to date of lunar irradiance, the amount of light…

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“Humpback Whales May Have a Secret Hideout”

The humpback whales that summer in Russia’s Far East are among the least studied of their species. Now, new research that uses photo ID to track the locations of individual whales has added significantly to what’s known about this remote population. The research has also led to renewed interest in the curious hypothesis that there is a…

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NASA sensor to study space junk too small to be seen from Earth

The film Gravity dramatized the risks of space junk. But although flyaway wrenches and broken-off rocket parts may pose the deadliest threat to spacecraft, most orbital debris is actually much smaller—think flecks of paint and the splinters of shattered satellites. Now, NASA hopes to learn more about the dust-size microdebris orbiting Earth with the Space Debris Sensor…

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“Rating smallholder shrimp farmers’ sustainability challenging, controversial”

For more than a quarter century, Sri Lanka was devastated by civil war. As fighting raged in the east of the island nation of some 21 million people, life and economic development continued in the relatively peaceful northwest. After the conflict ended in 2009, and the country began to rebuild, Canadian researchers examined an important…

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“A Perfect Maui Getaway”

Just a short hop from Honolulu, the island of Maui is the perfect place to get away from the traffic and bustle of the city. Hawaii’s second largest island offers spectacular natural beauty, a taste of local culture, and a variety of accessible outdoor activities. Take a long weekend to reconnect, share an adventure, and…

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“Mystery Quakes May Be Among World’s Longest-Lived Aftershocks”

Central Washington State isn’t known for being very seismically active, especially compared with the western part of the state, where earthquakes are fairly common. But the town of Entiat, about 3 hours east of Seattle, is an exception: The area recorded hundreds of earthquakes over the past century. A group of scientists investigating this unusual and…

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“Under Antarctic ice, microbes gobble up greenhouse gas”

Trapped beneath blankets of ice in Antarctica are huge amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Scientists have long feared that climate change will melt these ice sheets and release the climate-altering gas. But a new study suggests the threat might not be as bad as it seemed. That’s thanks to some microscopic helpers: bacteria. Read…

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“Giant Antarctic sea spiders breathe really strangely”

Sea spiders just got weirder. The ocean arthropods pump blood with their guts, new research shows. It’s the first time this kind of circulatory system has been seen in nature. Read more of my story for Science News for Students here.

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“Mirror delivered to giant solar telescope despite Native Hawaiian protest”

Trucks carrying the primary mirror for the world’s largest solar telescope advanced past a line of protesters in the early morning hours on Wednesday, delivering it to the top of Haleakalā, the 3055-meter summit of Maui. Just after 4 a.m. Hawaii time, several people were arrested in a peaceful demonstration that suddenly turned confrontational. Read…

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“Trees in the Amazon make their own rain”

The Amazon rainforest is home to strange weather. One peculiarity is that rains begin 2 to 3 months before seasonal winds start to bring in moist air from the ocean. Now, researchers say they have finally figured out where this early moisture comes from: the trees themselves. The study provides concrete data for something scientists…