Science Podcast: Snow-Covered ‘Zombie Fires’, Flashy Plant Research

Smouldering fires lay dormant before bursting back into flame in spring.

In this episode:



00:56 The mysterious overwintering forest fires

Researchers have shown that fires can smoulder under snow in frozen northern forests before flaring up the following spring. Understanding how these so-called ‘zombie’ fires start and spread is vital in the fight against climate change.

Research Article: Scholten et al.

07:39 Research Highlights

Aesthetic bias means pretty plants receive the most research attention, and ancient tooth gunk reveals the evolution of the mouth microbiome.

Research Highlight: Flashy plants draw outsize share of scientists’ attention

Research Highlight: Microbes in Neanderthals’ mouths reveal their carb-laden diet

10:04 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, Voyager 1 detects a faint interstellar ‘hum’, and a trove of Neanderthal bones found in an Italian cave.

Reuters: Faraway NASA probe detects the eerie hum of interstellar space

The Guardian: Remains of nine Neanderthals found in cave south of Rome

Video: Hawaii’s surprise volcanic eruption: Lessons from Kilauea 2018

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