Bird song could hold clues for human disorders

By Caroline Catherman Medill Reports Very few animals learn speech in a way that comes close to the human method. The repertoire of grunts, barks, and howls of most animals is innate—genetically predetermined at birth. Humans, in contrast, adopt whatever language exists in their earliest environments. But songbirds learn to sing in a way similar […]

A day in the life of a coral breeder

By Caroline Catherman Medill Reports Florida Keys – When I walked into the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration, I never thought I’d end up siphoning snail poop.  The private nonprofit breeds coral species in indoor and outdoor tanks for research and out-planting on Florida’s reef, which has […]

We’ve found Atlantis, and it’s dying: Coral bleaching, explained

By Caroline Catherman Medill Reports For years, Atlantis fanatics have zealously searched for a city on the ocean floor. But there’s been a thriving metropolis hiding under the ocean’s currents for millions of years. These constantly expanding reefs have the most biodiversity — the number of living species in one place — of any ecosystem […]

Entering Chicago’s homeless “underworld” with photographer Lloyd DeGrane

By Caroline Catherman Medill Reports Photographer Lloyd DeGrane’s homeless friends Greg and Stacey know how to create a welcoming living space. One of the newest additions to their home is a Black Lives Matter sign that Greg hung on a water pipe. Beside the sign, a half-finished Tom Clancy thriller sits next to a sleeping […]

Chilean desert communities fight corporations for water mined for lithium

By Caroline Catherman Medill Reports Chile’s seemingly barren Salar de Atacama hides a thriving ecosystem in shallow salt lakes that teem with microorganisms, green grasses, and flamingos, among the diverse lifeforms.  The Lickan Antay and other indigenous communities who live along the desert cannot and will not separate their identity from the land they live […]

Even most scientists don’t know that this famous climate theory is flawed, researchers say

By Caroline Catherman Medill Reports New research has found a big flaw in one of the most widely accepted theories about earth’s climate, Milutin Milankovitch’s century-old theory of ice ages. This evidence, which echoes past findings, means that some long-term climate predictions could be more inaccurate than scientists realize, the researchers said. But they worry […]