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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Luring Back the Swallows to San Juan Capistrano

A last-ditch effort is under way to lure back the cliff swallow, which put San Juan Capistrano on the map but has snubbed the mission in recent years. The mission has tried drawing them back with food. It has tried shelter. Now, it's trying seduction.

In other environmental news, citizen scientists have captured about 13,000 moths in southern England in a project described as the largest of its kind. Researchers hope the data will help them understand how species will migrate in response to climate change.

According to oil firm Total, the gas leak from the Elgin platform in the North Sea has been stopped. The company's platform was evacuated when the gas began leaking on March 25. An attempt to stop the leak by pumping heavy mud into the well got under way on Tuesday.

The proposed 2,200-megawatt Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, which would flood much of the Ene River valley in Peru, would displace thousands of people and species in the process.

At the Millennium Seed Bank in West Sussex, an hour or so from London, scientists are racing against time: 100,000 species of flora are threatened with extinction. "Even if we know that plants are being lost in the wild," says Paul Smith, head of seed conservation, "if we can get them into the seed bank, we can regenerate them in the future."


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PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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