Culturing Science

Culturing Science

Biology as relevant to us earthly beings

  • So Long, Culturing Science

    By Hannah Waters | December 15, 2014 |

    This is my last post on Culturing Science. I'm leaving the network as Scientific American is taking it in a new direction . Thank you for reading my writing on ecology, conservation and whatever else over the past four years. This blog has been more than a fun endeavor; it changed my life and allowed me to make a career of writing. […]

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  • The Global Perspective of Space and Deep-sea Explorer Kathryn Sullivan

    The Global Perspective of Space and Deep-sea Explorer Kathryn Sullivan

    By Hannah Waters | October 16, 2014 |

    Kathryn Sullivan in her official astronaut photo in the early 1980s. Credit: NASA There is currently a person on this planet who has traveled to outer space and to the deep sea. Many of us dream of one or the other; to dream of both at once seems overly ambitious or even greedy. […]

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  • Weather Radar Captures Flocks of Birds Taking Off

    Weather Radar Captures Flocks of Birds Taking Off

    By Hannah Waters | September 24, 2014 |

    Several times a week, if not every day, I look at Doppler radar maps so I know whether to take an umbrella when I leave the house. These maps, shown on TV weather reports or websites, are commonplace enough that they don't feel like impressive technology: mere green blobs slowly shifting across the screen at worse resolution than most animated gifs. […]

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  • #IAmANaturalist: A Tribute

    By Hannah Waters | September 15, 2014 |

    In the past few weeks, naturalists of all stripes have taken to Twitter to share why they study nature, as professionals or amateurs, along with photos of themselves. To learn more about the campaign and why naturalist Kirsten Rowell* launched this grassroots effort to reclaim the title of "naturalist," read posts from Kirsten at the Ecological Society of America's blog from naturalist Nash Turley , and naturalist Chris Buddle . […]

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  • Our Biases in the Gulf’s Recovery from the Oil Spill

    By Hannah Waters | April 22, 2014 |

    Last month, I set out to write a fairly basic story about the Gulf oil spill and whether the oil really caused deformities in fish. I first called an oil chemist to get some background on how oil could cause those problems in the first place. From that conversation, I learned a huge amount—in particular, that everything I thought I knew about oil in the environment was pretty much wrong. […]

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  • Glacial Poetry: Photos Don’t Do Them Justice

    Glacial Poetry: Photos Don’t Do Them Justice

    By Hannah Waters | April 10, 2014 |

    A photo doesn't really do a glacier justice. Photo by Tolka Rover CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 I have never seen a glacier (or any sea ice for that matter) in real life, though I've seen them in countless photos. I'm spellbound by James Balog's Extreme Ice Survey , at the shapes and scale of ice in the Arctic. […]

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  • Warming Gives Us One More Month of Flowers in the Rockies

    Warming Gives Us One More Month of Flowers in the Rockies

    By Hannah Waters | March 18, 2014 |

    No matter the temperature, I don't consider it to be really spring until I spot the first spring beauties of the year. These sweet whitish/pinkish mid-Atlantic florets ( Claytonia virginica ) are among the first to stretch out of the mud and leaf litter to add a spritely touch to an otherwise brown woodscape. […]

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  • The Epic Battle of Crab vs. Crab

    By Hannah Waters | September 6, 2013 | Fiddler crabs are strange little beasties. Males have what amounts to one giant claw, which can be as long as his body is wide, and one tiny T. rex arm that looks quite out of place on a crab. Recently, a researcher wrote a blog post about why fiddler crabs have such an enormous claw on the ocean site I run for the Smithsonian. […]

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  • How One Little Molecule Influences Earth’s Climate

    How One Little Molecule Influences Earth’s Climate

    By Hannah Waters | August 30, 2013 |

    This post is reworked from one I wrote on a previous iteration of Culturing Science with updates from recent research. A phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic sea near the island of Gotland turns the water green and releases DMS. Credit: USGS Dimethylsulfide. […]

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  • What The Ruling on Gene Patenting Means

    By Hannah Waters | June 17, 2013 |

    Although I mostly think about conservation, ecology and nature, I have a soft spot for medicine and, in particular, genetics. It's partly due to my own family history and experience, partly my interest in how people think about medicine and death, and partly my 6-month internship at Nature Medicine , which began more than two years ago this month. […]

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