On the Air: April 14, 2024

It snows in the oceans. Bacteria, the skin cells of fish, fish poop, and bits of sand and dirt all clump together. These “snowflakes” can be up to an inch or two across. Many of them are eaten as they sink toward the ocean floor. But others float all the way to the bottom—a trip that can take weeks.

The snow falls all the way down even in the deepest waters, where the pressure can be a thousand times the surface pressure or greater. In fact, a recent study suggests the pressure might actually help the snowflakes survive in the deep ocean.

In Print: April 1, 2024

Did you see the headlines earlier this year suggesting that a round stingray at a North Carolina aquarium may have become pregnant by one of the male sharks in her tank? As cool as the idea may sound, it is impossible. Sharks and stingrays are somewhat related (about as close as a human is to a mouse), but about 300 million years of evolution separate the species. Genetically, they’re too different to reproduce successfully. But the reality of what probably did happen is just as cool: it’s possible that Charlotte, the solo stingray, cloned herself.