Ferocious sharks, mining in a war zone and caustic light tricks are some of the most memorable images we found in the world of science over the past month.
Brain waves of light
Flea (Pulex irritans).
Bedbug (Cimex lectularius).
Deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).
Body louse (Pediculus humanus).
Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides).
Most of us have to deal with some of these monsters at some point in our lives, but photographer Marcus DeSieno’s unique combination of old and modern techniques shows common parasites in an entirely new light. DeSieno starts with alcohol-preserved animals, which he dries out and then images with a scanning electron microscope, with the help of technicians at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He then prints the shots and transfers them to a type of photographic plate known as ferrotype, popular in the late 1800s, resulting in these otherwordly beasts.
Less snow on thin ice
Chris Linder / UW
Global warming has resulted in the Arctic's sea ice covering a smaller surface area and lasting a shorter time. This also means that snow has less time to accumulate on top of the ice before winter sets in. Melinda Webster of the University of Washington in Seattle and her colleagues found that, compared to older surveys between 1954 and 1991, snow thickness had decreased between 2009 and 2013 by 37% to 56%. Here Webster samples snow depth in Barrow, Alaska. (See 'Arctic snowpack thins'.)
A child worker at a mine in Watsa, Democratic Republic of Congo, run by a militia. This 2004 image was part of a photographic gallery for National Geographic that earned Marcus Bleasdale the 2014 Outstanding Environmental Photojournalism award.
Palaeontologists have found that two genera of mammals from the early Jurassic, Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium, already had highly specialized diets, favouring harder prey such as beetles and softer foods such as scorpion flies, respectively1.
Rosetta's big stone
ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft snapped this picture of the comet it is chasing on 3 August, from a distance of 285 kilometres (see 'Rosetta craft makes historic comet rendezvous'). The mission team is now selecting a site on the comet for a landing probe.
Shark snaps at snapper
Oceanographic Systems Lab., WHOI
The REMUS SharkCam, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, is the first underwater robot to track and film sharks and other marine animals up close in the wild. Using its six cameras, the autonomous underwater vehicle recorded dramatic panoramic footage of great white sharks on the attack — with the hunter becoming the hunted. See video here.