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 626 Issue 7998, 8 February 2024

Dead reckoning

The cover shows a mass die-off of fish in Lake Corpus Christi, Texas. Such events are becoming more common, but the full effects of predator deaths on food webs has been unclear. In this week’s issue, Simon Tye and colleagues reveal that, somewhat counterintuitively, mass mortality of predators in a lake ecosystem can actually stabilize the food web, masking the effects of predator removal. The researchers created an artificial lake environment featuring phytoplankton, zooplankton (which fed on the phytoplankton) and fish (which fed on the zooplankton). When the fish died off, instead of the zooplankton proliferating wildly owing to reduced predation, decomposition of the deceased fish helped fertilize the phytoplankton, thereby boosting their numbers and helping to stabilize the food web.

Cover image: Rolf Nussbaumer Photography/Alamy

This Week

Top of page ⤴

News in Focus

Top of page ⤴

Books & Arts

Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


  • News & Views

    • The shifting orbit of one of Saturn’s moons indicates that the satellite has a subsurface ocean, contradicting theories that its interior is entirely solid. The finding calls for a fresh take on what constitutes an ocean moon.

      • Matija Ćuk
      • Alyssa Rose Rhoden
      News & Views
    • In lithium-metal batteries, grains of lithium can become electrically isolated from the anode, lowering battery performance. Experiments reveal that rest periods after battery discharge might help to solve this problem.

      • Laura C. Merrill
      News & Views
    • The analysis of DNA sequences sheds light on microbial biology, but it is difficult to assess the function of genes that have little or no similarity to characterized genes. Here, scientists discuss this challenge from genomic and microbial perspectives.

      • Jakob Wirbel
      • Ami S. Bhatt
      • Alexander J. Probst
      News & Views Forum
    • The discovery that an evolutionarily conserved molecule used to make cholesterol also acts as a defence against a cell-death mechanism called ferroptosis might lead to new ways to treat cancer and other clinical conditions.

      • Donna D. Zhang
      News & Views
  • Reviews

    • We suggest that as mitochondrial signals probably contribute to the homeostatic role of inflammation, dysregulation of these processes may lead to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, with increasing evidence pointing to the recent failure of endosymbiosis being crucial.

      • Michael P. Murphy
      • Luke A. J. O’Neill
      Review Article
  • Articles

    • An analysis of the orbital motion of Saturn’s moon Mimas shows that a recently formed global subsurface ocean lies beneath its cratered icy shell and that this ocean is probably still evolving.

      • V. Lainey
      • N. Rambaux
      • K. Baillié
    • Ultracold polyatomic molecules can be created by electroassociation in a degenerate Fermi gas of microwave-dressed polar molecules through a field-linked resonance.

      • Xing-Yan Chen
      • Shrestha Biswas
      • Xin-Yu Luo
      Article Open Access
    • We provide evidence for superconducting topological Fermi arcs in PbBi2—a Weyl semimetal previously studied mostly for its bulk properties—from which Marjorama fermions could be derived for research in quantum computers.

      • Andrii Kuibarov
      • Oleksandr Suvorov
      • Sergey Borisenko
      Article Open Access
    • Calendar ageing of lithium metal batteries in the discharged state improves capacity retention through isolated lithium recovery, which is in contrast with the capacity degradation observed during charged state calendar ageing.

      • Wenbo Zhang
      • Philaphon Sayavong
      • Yi Cui
    • Contrary to expectations from pollen and dust records, Southern Hemisphere subtropical regions experienced the greatest climatic moisture during glacial periods of the Late Pleistocene, which may not have been an obstacle to movement and expansion of animals and plants.

      • Rieneke Weij
      • J. M. Kale Sniderman
      • Jay Gordon
    • Through archaeological excavation, morphological and proteomic taxonomic identification, mitochondrial DNA analysis and direct radiocarbon dating of human remains, a study reports the presence of Homo sapiens in Germany north of the Alps more than 45,000 years ago.

      • Dorothea Mylopotamitaki
      • Marcel Weiss
      • Jean-Jacques Hublin
      Article Open Access
    • Authentic hypoblast cells created from naive human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) spontaneously assemble with naive hPSCs to form a three-dimensional bilaminar structure (bilaminoids) with a pro-amniotic-like cavity.

      • Takumi Okubo
      • Nicolas Rivron
      • Yasuhiro Takashima
      Article Open Access
    • A genetically inducible stem cell-derived embryoid model of early post-implantation human embryogenesis captures the codevelopment of embryonic tissue and extra-embryonic endoderm and mesoderm niche with early haematopoiesis, with potential for drug testing and disease modelling.

      • Joshua Hislop
      • Qi Song
      • Mo R. Ebrahimkhani
      Article Open Access
    • We analysed 149,842 environmental genomes from multiple habitats and compiled a curated catalogue of 404,085 functionally and evolutionarily significant novel gene families exclusive to uncultivated prokaryotic taxa spanning multiple species.

      • Álvaro Rodríguez del Río
      • Joaquín Giner-Lamia
      • Jaime Huerta-Cepas
      Article Open Access
    • Experiments in a mouse model of natural parainfluenza virus transmission show that tissue-resident memory T cells in the respiratory tract have important interferon-γ-dependent roles in protection against and limiting the transmission of viral disease.

      • Ida Uddbäck
      • Sarah E. Michalets
      • Jacob E. Kohlmeier
    • Proferroptotic activity of 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase is shown along with an unexpected prosurvival function of its substrate, 7-dehydrocholesterol, indicating a cell-intrinsic mechanism that could be used by cancer cells to protect phospholipids from oxidative damage and escape ferroptosis.

      • Florencio Porto Freitas
      • Hamed Alborzinia
      • José Pedro Friedmann Angeli
    • 7-Dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) is a natural anti-ferroptotic metabolite and pharmacological manipulation of 7-DHC levels shows promise as a therapeutic strategy for cancer and ischaemia–reperfusion injury.

      • Yaxu Li
      • Qiao Ran
      • Ping Wang
    • A new discovery strategy, ‘reverse metabolomics’, facilitates high-throughput matching of mass spectrometry spectra in public untargeted metabolomics datasets, and a proof-of-concept experiment identified an association between microbial bile amidates and inflammatory bowel disease.

      • Emily C. Gentry
      • Stephanie L. Collins
      • Pieter C. Dorrestein
      Article Open Access
    • Structures of human vesicular monoamine transporter 2 in complexes with serotonin and three clinical drugs provide insights into the structural basis for serotonin transport and inhibition of transporter activity by the drugs.

      • Di Wu
      • Qihao Chen
      • Daohua Jiang
Top of page ⤴

Amendments & Corrections

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