Arctic Expedition: Life on the Amundsen

When the CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research ice breaker, left its home port of Quebec City in July 2007, it embarked upon a historic 15-month expedition that would have it travel across the Arctic and overwinter in the Beaufort Sea. The scientists on board the  Amundsen might spend their days hunting for ice algae, fishing for zooplankton, or surveying the contours of the nearby ice floes.   But it’s not all work and no play for the researchers and graduate students … Read more…

Control Freaks

Tiny genetic snippets called microRNAs may promote metastasis Biologists know quite a bit about the steps that turn a normal cell into a cancerous one. Their understanding of metastasis, on the other hand, is somewhat more hazy. Now a short stretch of genetic material has been implicated in the spread of breast cancer, according to a study in the Oct. 11 Nature. Molecular biologist Li Ma of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, in Cambridge, Mass., has identified a type … Read more…

Permafrost that lives up to its name

Ancient Canadian ice survived previous warm periods. A 740,000-year-old wedge of ice discovered in central Yukon Territory, Canada, is the oldest known ice in North America. It suggests that permafrost has survived climates warmer than today’s, according to a new study. “Previously, it was thought that the permafrost had completely disappeared from the interior about 120,000 years ago,” says Duane Froese, an earth scientist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who is the author of the study published … Read more…

Arctic radio

Free Radicals When the CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research ice breaker, left its home port of Quebec City in July 2007, it embarked upon a historic 15-month expedition that would have it travel across the Arctic and overwinter in the Beaufort Sea. The scientists on board the  Amundsen might spend their days hunting for ice algae, fishing for zooplankton, or surveying the contours of the nearby ice floes. The sounds of them at work were featured on Free Radicals (science, … Read more…

The missing greenhouse gas

Growth of the electronics industry will boost emissions of a ‘hidden’ — but extremely potent — greenhouse gas. Our insatiable appetite for gadgets — mobile phones, MP3 players and flat-screen TVs — may be adding a hidden greenhouse gas to the Earth’s atmosphere. Countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol committed to reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases: methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. But these aren’t the only climate-altering chemicals being produced by … Read more…