'Science Notes 2012' now available online

Spiders thumping and vibrating with rhythmic signals of attraction. Volcanoes erupting explosively in the deep sea's crushing pressure. Bicyclists building their sturdy frames with grass, not metal. These actors have stories to tell, and their stage is Science Notes 2012, the annual magazine published by UCSC's Science Communication Program.

As usual, original artwork graces the issue, produced by students in the Science Illustration Program at CSU Monterey Bay. Videos and podcasts also accompany the stories.

The magazine spotlights community efforts to combat diseases, from dengue virus in Nicaragua to sudden oak death in northern California. Toxins that harm us in subtle ways also are a theme, from lead that still seeps into our bodies to algal blooms posing yet another threat to sea otters.

Challenging questions confront researchers in these pages, too: Why have Humboldt squid fled from a vital Mexican fishery? Can farmers afford to grow strawberries without nasty soil treatments? Do engineers know how to make robot-assisted surgery more. . . human?

UCSC faculty featured in the stories include environmental toxicologists Russell Flegal and Donald Smith, computer engineer Jacob Rosen, ocean scientist Raphael Kudela, and sustainable agriculture expert Carol Shennan.