Category Archives: Latest Articles

“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 Ecology and the Environment here (fifth item).


“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 female reproductive organs. The animal is one of only a handful of such sharks ever documented, and the first of its species.

Read the rest of my story for Hakai magazine here.


“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 coming from the Moon.

The findings should interest more than just lovers and poets. For Earth-observing satellites, which use the Moon as a calibration tool, better moonlight measurements could mean more accurate observations of climate, land, and weather phenomena.

Read the rest of my story for Eos here.


“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 secret, undiscovered humpback whale mating ground somewhere in the North Pacific.

Read the rest of my story for Hakai Magazine here.

Also posted in Oceans, Science

“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 enjoy some of the highlights Maui has to offer.

Read the rest of my story for here.

Also posted in Hawaii, Travel

“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 long-lasting activity recently reported that the quakes may actually be aftershocks of a larger earthquake, one that occurred 145 years ago.

Read the rest of my story for Eos here.

Also posted in Earth Science, Science

“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.

Also posted in Biology, For Kids, Science

“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 the rest of my story for Science here.


“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 had theorized for a long time, says Michael Keller, a forest ecologist and research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service based in Pasadena, California, who was not involved with the work. The evidence the team provides, he says, is “the smoking gun.”

Read the rest of my story for Science here.


“House of the Sun”

How did the world’s largest solar telescope rise on the summit of Maui’s Haleakala volcano, while another major telescope was derailed by protests an island away? I explored the politics and culture behind Hawaii’s telescope debate in this feature story for Science magazine.

Read the full story here.


“Satellite Observations Could Help Forecast an Eruption’s End”

Developing a method to predict when a volcano will erupt has long remained out of reach. Less studied, but also important for public safety, is forecasting when eruptions will end, a feat that has proven equally elusive.

Now researchers are using satellite data to test a 1981 theory that lava flow–forming eruptions follow a predictable pattern, and they have confirmed the pattern in many cases. What’s more, they find that using the theoretical model and observations from space as their guides, they can predict with considerable accuracy when those pattern-fitting eruptions will stop.

Read more of my story for Eos here.


Update on TMT

After months of testimony, a former state judge has recommended that Hawaii officials provide a key permit needed to start construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea. It’s a step back on track for the project, which has drawn fierce opposition from Native Hawaiians and was placed in limbo in late 2015 as a result of a decision by the Hawaiian Supreme Court.

Read the rest of my story for Science here.


Science-based first aid for jellyfish stings

Pack tweezers and vinegar in your beach bag — and, no, don’t pee on it, say scientists.

Read my story for Hakai magazine here.