Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

How 1 gene in a tiny fish may alter an aquatic ecosystem

In a remote area of British Columbia's Vancouver Island, Kennedy Lake's deep blue waters stretch over 25 square miles. The lake is home to the threespine stickleback, a diminutive fish species that has provided rich fodder for evolutionary study. These sticklebacks thrive in both marine and freshwater habitats and exist in most of the inland waters that dot the northern coasts of North America, Europe and Asia. Significant to scientists, the species has a conspicuously variable trait governed by a single gene: the amount of bony plating, or "armoring," on their bodies. Variations in this gene in this tiny fish species have the potential to alter the broader aquatic ecosystem, according to new research. Fish with more armoring released more phosphorous into the water around them, the researchers found. Because phosphorous is such a key element in aquatic ecosystems, such a difference may have trickle-down effects on microbes, plants and algae in freshwater or marine areas. The team used novel methods to assess how evolution influences the elemental makeup of individual fish, essentially viewing the organisms as a sack of atoms -- carbon, calcium, strontium and the like.

Visit Website | Image credit: Seth Rudman