Summary As seen from its buried soil, the Earth's oldest forest was diverse and grew on a periodically dry substrate, a new study shows. The sophisticated roots in this forest are reminiscent of modern seed plants, but come from Archaeopteris and, thus, predate the impact of seed-plant rooting on global forestation.
Summary Most bacteria divide by corralling the tubulin-like FtsZ protein to mid-cell, where it assembles into a ring of treadmilling membrane-tethered oligomers. A study in this issue reveals new details about how FtsZ finds its way to the ring.
Summary A new study compares two sister species of fission yeast that use very different fatty acids to make membrane lipids and reveals an adaptation in transmembrane helix lengths that maintains membrane protein functions.
Summary Teleost fishes have a biphasic life cycle, with pelagic larvae dispersing in the open ocean and juveniles or adults living in reef or coastal environments. A recent study reveals that fish larvae concentrate in a specific oceanic compartment, the surface slicks, which are polluted by microplastics that can be ingested by most larvae.
Summary Mechanosensory bundles on auditory sensory cells are composed of stereocilia that grow in rows of decreasing height. This pattern depends on the specification of the eventual tallest row, then the assignment of distinct molecular identities to the shorter rows. Mechanotransduction refines and maintains row identity, thus instructing the form of the bundle.
Summary Prehistoric artworks have been discovered on numerous cave walls around the world. They tell us about the minds and lives of ancient humans as well as about their relationship with the now extinct megafauna that surrounded them. Michael Gross reports.
Summary A new study examined how flowering phenology has changed over the past three decades along an elevational gradient. These findings indicate that climate change is shifting flowering time in complex ways, even across local spatial gradients.
Summary A new study finds that most marine protected areas around coral reefs are too small to protect reef-associated sharks.