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Ancient Mayan deforestation had long-term effects on watershed carbon cycles

Researchers: Mark Brenner, brenner@ufl.edu, 352-392-7226, Jason Curtis, curtisj@ufl.edu PIO: Rachel Wayne, 352-872-2620 The lowlands of Mexico and Guatemala experienced widespread deforestation by the Maya beginning about 4,000 years ago. The region has never fully recovered. Ancient Maya environmental impact provides a case study for the long-term effects of deforestation, and according to a new Nature […]

birds sitting in trees

The Starving Snakes of Seahorse Key

Mysteriously vanished waterbirds. Cannibalistic snakes. An island with no freshwater except for rainfall. It may sound like a Crichton novel or SyFy original movie, but it’s the reality of Seahorse Key, part of the Gulf Coast Cedar Keys that University of Florida biologists have been researching since the 1930s, when the renowned late zoologist Archie Carr first began studying the unusually large cottonmouth population there.

The artist's rendering (left) of GRB 050709 depicts a gamma-ray burst that was discovered on 9 July, 2005 by NASA's High-Energy Transient Explorer. The burst radiated an enormous amount of energy in gamma-rays for half a second, then faded away. Three days later, Chandra's detection of the X-ray afterglow (inset) established its position with high accuracy. A Hubble Space Telescope image showed that the burst occurred in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy. This location is outside the star-forming regions of the galaxy and evidence that the burst was not produced by the explosion of an extremely massive star. The most likely explanation for the burst is that it was produced by a collision of two neutron stars, or a neutron star and a black hole.

Solving Cosmic Puzzles

Neutron stars are dead stars collapsed into the densest form of matter known to humans, with a teaspoon of neutron star matter weighing a billion tons, and their collision creates a swath of galactic debris. Decades ago, stargazing scientists formed plans to detect signals from this debris. Now, in the new era of aptly named “multi-messenger astronomy,” two international projects have achieved this goal: On August 17 of this year, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)’s two U.S.-based interferometers and the Virgo Collaboration’s Italy-based interferometer detected for the first time gravitational waves — ripples in space-time traveling at the speed of light — from the collision and subsequent merger of two neutron stars. The detection occurred just three days after yet another “chirp” from colliding black holes.

side by side image of human skeleton and shark skeleton

Bones Got Bite

Anthropological analysis of shark bites provides a new standard for forensic science.

illustration of neurons interacting

A Route to Recovery

UF psychologist Lori Knackstedt studies an antibiotic that may cure cocaine addiction. Lori Knackstedt, professor of psychology, is seven years deep into research that’s yielded some surprising results: in cocaine-addicted rats, an antibiotic reduces their drug-seeking behavior and may prevent relapse. The drug Ceftriaxone appears to increase reuptake of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that regulates dopamine, […]

red eyed frog sitting on flower

From K–T to Kermit

Among UF’s renowned team of extinction experts is David Blackburn, whose appreciation for frogs has led to his work on a groundbreaking new study. A paper published in July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that although frogs have been around for longer than dinosaurs, most of the world’s 6,700-plus living species of frogs evolved after a mass extinction 66 million years ago made way for new biodiversity.

pair of two black holes

Third Time’s a Charm

LIGO detects third set of gravitational waves from colliding black holes. UF physicists have played a key role in these detections.

fish swim over coral reef

Makin’ Waves

Marine biologist and UF Biology alumnus Mike Gil PhD’15 has been named a TED Fellow and is one of 21 international experts who will attend and speak at this year’s TEDGlobal, TED’s annual conference, which will take place in Arusha, Tanzania in August. “I'm truly honored by the distinction,” says Gil.

boat departs on river past other boats docked

Professor of Anthropology Receives ACLS Fellowship

Professor of Anthropology Richard Kernaghan receives an ACLS fellowship for new book project.

blue and green Rorschach image

You May Recycle, But You’re Still Not Cool

UF researchers conduct first implicit bias research on environmentalist attitudes and behaviors.

ferrofluid with nanomagnets

Professor of Chemistry Wins SEC Faculty Achievement Award

The Iron Man of UF has won again. Professor of Chemistry George Christou, known for his research in nano-magnets, has received the SEC Faculty Achievement Award for his accomplishments. The Southeastern Conference, an athletic association comprising 14 academic institutions, has honored one faculty member from each institution for the past six years. This year, they […]

illustration of dengue virus

Most dengue infections transmitted in or near home

Study findings could aid in interrupting transmission chains and reducing severe illness The majority of dengue virus infections appear to happen very close to home and are transmitted from the same family of mosquitoes, suggests new research led by the University of Florida and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings, published […]

illustration of double helix with genetic sequence in background

Three Biology Faculty Named AAAS Fellows

Every year since 1874, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science names its fellows for significant contributions to society and technology. In 2016, its 391 fellows included five UF faculty, three of whom are from the Department of Biology: Prof. John “Jack” Ewel, Prof. Alice Harmon, and Prof. Robert D. Holt.   Holt, Eminent […]