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species

Abstractions blog

Can New Species Evolve From Cancers? Maybe. Here’s How.

Researchers agree it’s a long shot, but transmissible cancers could theoretically evolve into independent species. Certain weird parasites might be living proof.

Art for "What’s in a Name? Taxonomy Problems Vex Biologists"
taxonomy

What’s in a Name? Taxonomy Problems Vex Biologists

Researchers struggle to incorporate ongoing evolutionary discoveries into an animal classification scheme older than Darwin.

Art for "Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses"
Abstractions blog

Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses

New work raises the estimated diversity of viruses in the seas more than twelvefold and lays the groundwork for a better understanding of their impact on global nutrient cycles.

Q&A

She Finds Clues to Future Sustainability in Old Food Webs

By reconstructing prehistoric food webs and analyzing the diverse interactions of humans with other species, the ecologist Jennifer Dunne is developing a new understanding of sustainability through network science.

Photo of Trichoplax adhaerens
genomics

World’s Simplest Animal Reveals Hidden Diversity

The first animal genus defined purely by genetic characters represents a new era for the sorting and naming of animals.

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf
botany

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

520px photo of phytoplankton
Abstractions blog

Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters

Modelers find evidence that a combination of competition, predation and evolution will push ecosystems toward species diversity anywhere in the universe.

New finch species "Big Bird "(offspring)
Abstractions blog

New Bird Species Arises From Hybrids, as Scientists Watch

The rapid, unorthodox emergence of a new finch in the Galápagos hints that speciation isn’t rare. New hybrid species may quietly appear and disappear without anyone noticing.

Birds and mitonuclear conflict
evolution

Genetic Struggles Within Cells May Create New Species

Mitonuclear conflict — a struggle between the genes in a cell’s nucleus and its mitochondria — might sometimes split species in two.