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Current Issue of Nature

Volume 599 Issue 7883, 4 November 2021
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Volume 599 Issue 7883, 4 November 2021

In for the krill

The cover shows a humpback whale lunge-feeding off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Baleen whales such as this consume vast quantities of prey, but finding out exactly how much has proved to be difficult. In this week’s issue, Matthew Savoca and his colleagues use a combination of tracking whale locations and acoustic measurements of prey density to show that consumption of prey is several times larger than previous estimates have suggested. The researchers also calculate that pre-whaling populations in the Southern Ocean consumed 430 million tonnes of Antarctic krill per year, which suggests that whales could accelerate the recycling of nutrients to a degree that might support a radically different ecosystem under higher whale populations.

Cover image: John Durban and Holly Fearnbach

This Week

News in Focus

Books & Arts




    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Reaching a deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystems that maintain whales might aid conservation efforts. Measurements of the animals’ krill intake indicate that previous figures were substantial underestimates.

    • Victor Smetacek
  • News & Views |

    Entering your personal identification number using the keypad of a cash machine is notoriously insecure. A clever application of the special theory of relativity could make identification safer.

    • Gilles Brassard
  • News & Views |

    Efforts to generate nanoscale-resolution images of cell interiors have gained ground through the development and refinement of a microscopy method. The data sets are publicly available as resources for further discoveries.

    • Jason R. Swedlow
    • Lucy Collinson
  • Perspective

  • Articles

  • Article |

    A zero-knowledge proof, which can be used to verify secret information, is reported here with security that is enforced by the laws of special relativity.

    • Pouriya Alikhani
    • Nicolas Brunner
    • Hugo Zbinden
  • Article |

    Bloch wavefunctions of two types of hole in gallium arsenide are reconstructed by measuring the polarization of light emitted by collisions of electrons and holes accelerated by a terahertz laser.

    • J. B. Costello
    • S. D. O’Hara
    • M. S. Sherwin
  • Article |

    Amorphous–amorphous phase transitions in silicon dioxide are shown to proceed through a sequence of percolation transitions, a process that has relevance to a range of important liquid and glassy systems.

    • A. Hasmy
    • S. Ispas
    • B. Hehlen
  • Article |

    Through an idealized set of simulations, with a model that incorporates key physics, research reveals dramatic swings between massive rainfall events and extended dry periods in hothouse climates.

    • Jacob T. Seeley
    • Robin D. Wordsworth
  • Article |

    Experiments in mice identify the medial septum as an extrahippocampal input region that is critical for social memory formation, and show that modulation of the medial septum by serotonin regulates the stability of social memories.

    • Xiaoting Wu
    • Wade Morishita
    • Robert C. Malenka
  • Article |

    Astrocytes can respond to diseases and injuries of the central nervous system by driving the death of neurons and mature oligodendrocytes through the delivery of long-chain saturated fatty acids contained in lipoparticles.

    • Kevin A. Guttenplan
    • Maya K. Weigel
    • Ben A. Barres
  • Article | | Open Access

    A study of SARS-CoV-2 variants examining their transmission, infectivity, and potential resistance to therapies provides insights into the biology of the Delta variant and its role in the global pandemic.

    • Petra Mlcochova
    • Steven A. Kemp
    • Ravindra K. Gupta
  • Article |

    This study systematically profiles the activity of several classes of antibiotics on gut commensal bacteria and identifies drugs that mitigate their collateral damage on commensal bacteria without compromising their efficacy against pathogens.

    • Lisa Maier
    • Camille V. Goemans
    • Athanasios Typas
  • Article |

    Enteric glial cells have tissue-wide immunoregulatory roles through the upregulation of IFNγ-dependent genes both at steady state and after parasite infection, promoting immune homeostasis and CXCL10-mediated tissue repair after pathogen-induced intestinal damage in mice.

    • Fränze Progatzky
    • Michael Shapiro
    • Vassilis Pachnis
  • Article |

    Focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) combined with deep-learning-based segmentation is used to produce three-dimensional reconstructions of complete cells and tissues, in which up to 35 different organelle classes are annotated.

    • Larissa Heinrich
    • Davis Bennett
    • Destiny Nguyen
  • Article | | Open Access

    Cryo-electron microscopy structures of the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv4.2 alone and in complex with auxiliary subunits (DPP6S and/or KChIP1) reveal the distinct mechanisms of these two different subunits in modulating channel activity.

    • Yoshiaki Kise
    • Go Kasuya
    • Osamu Nureki

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