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Read All About it: PLOS ONE in the News 2015

[Above image: Polar Bear jumping, in Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Norway. Arturo de Frias Marques, Wikimedia]

This December, the Press team is reflecting on some of the PLOS ONE articles covered in the news in 2015. Over the past year ~2,000 PLOS ONE publications were covered in over 6,000 news stories. It was extremely difficult to narrow the list down, so for this post we selected one popular article for each month of 2015. But remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg!*

On thin ice

1 journal.pone.0112021.g003(3)2015 may end up being one of the hottest years on record and in January, PLOS ONE published a study showing polar bears may be moving further north due to loss in sea ice. Nearly 20 news outlets covered this article including The Washington Post and The Scientist.

To the loo

2 Ant ToiletsIn February, ants using the corners of their nests as a ‘toilet’ caused a stir in Scientific American and National Geographic, among others.

Location, location, location

Regional Personality Differences in Great BritainA survey of people living in Great Britain administered in collaboration with the BBC was published in March. The authors identified geographic differences in personality in Great Britain and received a range of coverage throughout the UK.

Cracking up

Real-Time Visualization of Joint CavitationA real-time imaging analysis of a cavity forming inside cracking joints captivated the YouTube audience in April, where the authors supplementary joint-cracking video received over 400,000 views in the first week of publication. The article was also included in the top 100 Altmetric papers for this year.

Murderous May

Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle PleistoceneOur May highlight described the discovery of 430,000 year-old skull that may show the earliest murder recorded. The New York Times, Smithsonian, and Discovery were all captivated by the gory remains.

Hydrothermal vent watch

Adaptations to Hydrothermal Vent Life in Kiwa tyleri, a New Species ofWhile David Hasselhoff may have been heading to the California beach in June, his namesake, the ‘Hoff’ Yeti Arctic crab, was finally given a formal scientific name, Kiwa tyleri. The BBC and National Geographic, and 20 other news stories covered the occasion.

Curl up with Wendiceratops

7 journal.pone.0130007.g016July heated up with the discovery and description of Wendiceratops, a new curly-horned dinosaur related to the Triceratops. The article was featured in The Washington Post, Discovery News, and on PLOS blogs.

Dancing beak to beak

8 _ Behavior and Body Patterns of the Larger Pacific Striped OctopusIn August, scientists reported the unique behaviors of captive larger Pacific striped octopus, which engage in beak-to-beak mating, den co-occupancy by a mating pair, and extended spawning. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and National Geographic, among others, were enchanted by these observations.

Published research may overestimate benefits of talk therapy

In September a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the efficacy of psychological treatment for depression found that published reports may have overestimated its benefits. The study was covered in the New York Times, NPR, among others.

Horsing around

9 _ Description of a Well Preserved Fetus of the European Eocene Equoid EuIn October, a 48 million year-old fossilized ‘horse’ pregnancy discovered in Germany was covered in Spiegel, BBC, and the New York Times.

Walking in the spider webs

10_ A New Spin on Noninvasive Genetics of Predator and PreIn November, scientists identified the spider and their prey’s DNA from a spider web. These CSI-like results pave the way for noninvasive genetic sampling and inspired coverage by the BBC, Conservation, and The Scientist.

Swimming with the fishes

11 _ Benefits of Group Foraging Depend on Prey Type in a Small Marine PredaOnce the December chill set in, we got to swim along with little penguins and learned that they are more likely to work together to hunt schooling prey than solitary prey.

We hope you enjoyed reminiscing with us and look forward to doing it all again next year!

Happy New Year!

*If you want to check out more popular articles from this year or years past, we’d suggest trying our ALM reports.



Peacock E, Sonsthagen SA, Obbard ME, Boltunov A, Regehr EV, Ovsyanikov N, et al. (2015) Implications of the Circumpolar Genetic Structure of Polar Bears for Their Conservation in a Rapidly Warming Arctic. PLoS ONE 10(1): e112021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112021

Czaczkes TJ, Heinze J, Ruther J (2015) Nest Etiquette—Where Ants Go When Nature Calls. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0118376. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118376

Rentfrow PJ, Jokela M, Lamb ME (2015) Regional Personality Differences in Great Britain. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0122245. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122245

Kawchuk GN, Fryer J, Jaremko JL, Zeng H, Rowe L, Thompson R (2015) Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0119470. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119470

Sala N, Arsuaga JL, Pantoja-Pérez A, Pablos A, Martínez I, Quam RM, et al. (2015) Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126589. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126589

Thatje S, Marsh L, Roterman CN, Mavrogordato MN, Linse K (2015) Adaptations to Hydrothermal Vent Life in Kiwa tyleri, a New Species of Yeti Crab from the East Scotia Ridge, Antarctica. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127621. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127621

Evans DC, Ryan MJ (2015) Cranial Anatomy of Wendiceratops pinhornensisgen. et sp. nov., a Centrosaurine Ceratopsid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Oldman Formation (Campanian), Alberta, Canada, and the Evolution of Ceratopsid Nasal Ornamentation. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0130007. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130007

Caldwell RL, Ross R, Rodaniche A, Huffard CL (2015) Behavior and Body Patterns of the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0134152. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134152

Driessen E, Hollon SD, Bockting CLH, Cuijpers P, Turner EH (2015) Does Publication Bias Inflate the Apparent Efficacy of Psychological Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of US National Institutes of Health-Funded Trials. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0137864. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137864

Franzen JL, Aurich C, Habersetzer J (2015) Description of a Well Preserved Fetus of the European Eocene Equoid Eurohippus messelensis. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0137985. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137985

Xu CCY, Yen IJ, Bowman D, Turner CR (2015) Spider Web DNA: A New Spin on Noninvasive Genetics of Predator and Prey. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0142503. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142503

Sutton GJ, Hoskins AJ, Arnould JPY (2015) Benefits of Group Foraging Depend on Prey Type in a Small Marine Predator, the Little Penguin. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144297. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144297


Images from PLOS ONE articles: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5, Image 6, Image 7, Image 8, Image 9 (featured image), Image 10, Image 11.


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