Moderna vs. Pfizer: Both Knockouts, but One Seems to Have the Edge

nytimes.com – A series of studies found that the Moderna vaccine seemed to be more protective over the long term than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Here’s why.

Source: Angela Choi, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variant mRNA vaccine boosters in healthy adults: an interim analysis. Nature Medicine, 2021.

The ocean has lost half its coral reef coverage, study finds

cbc.ca – A Canadian-led team of scientists has concluded that tropical coral reefs that feed millions around the world have lost about half their ability to support human communities since 1950.

Source: Tyler D. Eddy, et al. Global decline in capacity of coral reefs to provide ecosystem services. One Earth, 2021.

Low oxygen is pushing fish into shallower water

futurity.org – As the ocean warms, oxygen concentrations go down. Fish are already moving into shallower waters, new research indicates.

Source: Erin Meyer‐Gutbrod, et al. Moving on up: Vertical distribution shifts in rocky reef fish species during climate‐driven decline in dissolved oxygen from 1995 to 2009. Global Change Biology, 2021.

Most CO2 from Australia’s megafires has been offset by algal blooms

newscientist.com – About 80 per cent of the carbon dioxide released by Australia’s huge wildfires of 2019-2020 was captured by ocean algal blooms that grew due to the iron-rich ash

Source: Weiyi Tang, et al. Widespread phytoplankton blooms triggered by 2019–2020 Australian wildfires. Nature, 2021.

Serious Infections Linked to Autism: Study

the-scientist.com – In both a mouse model and the hospital records of more than 3 million children, researchers found a connection between strong immune activation in males and later symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Source: Manuel F. López-Aranda, et al. Postnatal immune activation causes social deficits in a mouse model of tuberous sclerosis: Role of microglia and clinical implications. Science Advances, 2021.

Confirmed: A duck named Ripper learned how to say “You bloody fool!”

arstechnica.com – "At first I thought, 'It's a hoax, it can't be true.' But it turned out to be true."

Source: Carel ten Cate, Peter J. Fullagar. Vocal imitations and production learning by Australian musk ducks ( Biziura lobata ). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2021.

The gene that gives tabby cats their adorable stripes

zmescience.com – Cheetahs and tigers too, most likely.

Source: Christopher B. Kaelin, Kelly A. McGowan, Gregory S. Barsh. Developmental genetics of color pattern establishment in cats. Nature Communications, 2021.

A Football-Shaped Animal Species Is Discovered In A 500-Million-Year-Old Shale

npr.org – The Titanokorys gainesi, which is now extinct, was a 1 1/2-foot-long sea animal — gigantic for its time — with a large protective shell over its head, a toothed mouth and a pair of spiny claws.

Source: J.-B. Caron, J. Moysiuk. A giant nektobenthic radiodont from the Burgess Shale and the significance of hurdiid carapace diversity. Royal Society Open Science, 2021.

Humans were using to tools to make clothes more than 100,000 thousands years ago

upi.com – Humans living on the Atlantic coast of what's now Morocco were making clothes from animal hides between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago, according to a new study.

Source: Emily Y. Hallett, et al. A worked bone assemblage from 120,000–90,000 year old deposits at Contrebandiers Cave, Atlantic Coast, Morocco. iScience, 2021.

To Booster or Not: Scientists and Regulators Debate

the-scientist.com – President Biden's planned rollout of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses is set to begin next week, but questions remain about who should get them.

Source: Stephen J. Thomas, et al. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021.