Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 615 Issue 7951, 9 March 2023

Murky waters

The cover image shows an algal bloom off the coast of Alaska in 2017. Phytoplankton blooms are accumulations of microscopic algae in the surface layer of water systems. Although they can provide food and nutrients for other organisms, they can also cause serious environmental problems. In this week’s issue, Lian Feng and colleagues present a comprehensive map of bloom distribution and trends in coastal waters. The researchers assessed 760,000 images captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite between 2003 and 2020, and identified blooms on the coast of 126 of the 153 ocean-bordering countries they examined. They found that the area of water affected by blooms expanded by 13.6% between 2003 and 2020, and that this increased bloom frequency correlated with changing ocean circulations and rising sea-surface temperatures.

Cover image: Lian Feng

This Week

Top of page ⤴

News in Focus

Top of page ⤴

Books & Arts

Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


  • News & Views

    • During periods of anxiety, the brain affects the heart, but does a racing heart also talk to the brain to cause anxiety-related behaviour? Use of a light-stimulated pacemaker in mice shows that it does, and pinpoints a brain region involved.

      • Yoni Couderc
      • Anna Beyeler
      News & Views
    • The enzyme Dicer cleaves a type of RNA called a pre-microRNA to make the mature functional RNA. Structural evidence now sheds light on the catalytic mechanism involved and the role of a newly found RNA sequence termed GYM.

      • Gunter Meister
      News & Views
    • Unexpected smoke-particle chemistry is shown to be the link between intense wildfires and stratospheric ozone loss. As the climate changes, more-frequent and more-intense fires might delay the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer.

      • V. Faye McNeill
      • Joel A. Thornton
      News & Views
    • A hydrogen-rich compound has taken the lead in the race for a material that can conduct electricity with zero resistance at room temperature and ambient pressure — the conditions required for many technological applications.

      • ChangQing Jin
      • David Ceperley
      News & Views
    • Structures of the machinery for importing proteins into chloroplast organelles of algae, determined using cryo-electron microscopy, have opened a new chapter in efforts to understand how chloroplasts are built.

      • Takashi Hirashima
      • Toshiya Endo
      News & Views
    • The mechanisms that enable the deadly spread of cancer are not fully understood. It emerges that tumours can signal to the lung to manipulate lipids and so prime the organ to support tumour cells that subsequently spread there.

      • Laura V. Pinheiro
      • Kathryn E. Wellen
      News & Views
  • Articles

    • Quantum simulation of superfluid to Mott insulator transition in twisted-bilayer square lattices based on atomic Bose–Einstein condensates loaded into spin-dependent optical lattices provides a new direction for exploring moiré physics in ultracold atoms.

      • Zengming Meng
      • Liangwei Wang
      • Jing Zhang
    • A nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride was synthesized under high-pressure high-temperature conditions and, following full recoverability, examination along compression pathways showed evidence of superconductivity at room temperature and near-ambient pressures.

      • Nathan Dasenbrock-Gammon
      • Elliot Snider
      • Ranga P. Dias
    • Information from natural protein libraries was extracted and used to design heteropolymer ensembles as mixtures of disordered, partially folded and folded proteins, providing valuable guiding principles to synthetically realize protein properties.

      • Zhiyuan Ruan
      • Shuni Li
      • Ting Xu
    • Comparison of model simulations with atmospheric observations from the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes following the 2020 Australian wildfires shows that the wildfire aerosol composition promotes stratospheric chlorine and ozone depletion chemistry.

      • Susan Solomon
      • Kane Stone
      • Peidong Wang
    • Geochemical insights from a dataset of carbonate stable strontium isotopes suggest that porewater production of authigenic carbonates may have been an overlooked carbonate sink for much of Earth’s history.

      • Jiuyuan Wang
      • Lidya G. Tarhan
      • Noah J. Planavsky
    • Numerical model experiments show that deep valleys cutting across the East African Rift System dry out East Africa by channelling water vapour towards Central Africa, leading to elevated rainfall in the Congo Basin rainforest.

      • Callum Munday
      • Nicholas Savage
      • Richard Washington
    • Satellite observations reveal global increases in the extent and frequency of phytoplankton blooms between 2003 and 2020 and provide insights into the relationship between blooms, ocean circulation and sea surface temperature.

      • Yanhui Dai
      • Shangbo Yang
      • Lian Feng
      Article Open Access
    • Direct elevation of heart rate using noninvasive optogenetics in mice influences anxiety-like behaviours in specific environmental contexts, and the posterior insular cortex is implicated in this integration of signals from the heart with environmental risk information.

      • Brian Hsueh
      • Ritchie Chen
      • Karl Deisseroth
      Article Open Access
    • A study demonstrates that specific interactions between the two committed enzymes for the synthesis of lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan enable coordinated assembly of the outer membrane and cell wall in the Gram-negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      • Katherine R. Hummels
      • Samuel P. Berry
      • Thomas G. Bernhardt
      Article Open Access
    • Massively parallel assays reveal a highly conserved sequence motif termed the GYM motif, which potentiates RNA interference by directing Dicer-mediated small RNA processing.

      • Young-Yoon Lee
      • Haedong Kim
      • V. Narry Kim
    • The active-state structure of human DICER bound to pre-miRNA reveals the structural basis for the specificity of DICER in how it selects substrates in a sequence dependent manner, and sheds light on DICER-related diseases.

      • Young-Yoon Lee
      • Hansol Lee
      • Soung-Hun Roh
    • Acute loss of H3K4me3 does not have detectable effects on transcriptional initiation, but leads to a widespread decrease in transcriptional output, an increase in RNA polymerase II pausing and slower elongation

      • Hua Wang
      • Zheng Fan
      • Kristian Helin
      Article Open Access
    • A cryo-electron microscopy analysis of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii TOC–TIC supercomplex reveals that Tic214 traverses the chloroplast inner membrane, the intermembrane space and the outer membrane, connecting the TOC complex with the TIC proteins.

      • Hao Liu
      • Anjie Li
      • Zhenfeng Liu
  • Matters Arising

Top of page ⤴


  • Every 30 minutes, our kidneys filter all the blood in the body.

    Nature Outlook
  • Japan is the world’s third largest economy, but for years now it has lagged in science and research compared to smaller economies such as Germany and the United Kingdom.

    Nature Index
Top of page ⤴
Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links