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Friday, October 10, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Migrating animals' urine affects ocean chemistry

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:38 PM PDT

Tiny animals migrating from the ocean's surface to the sunlit depths release ammonia, the equivalent of our urine, that plays a significant role in marine chemistry, particularly in low-oxygen zones.

Stunning finds from ancient Greek shipwreck

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 01:37 PM PDT

Divers and archaeologists have retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera. The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue.

New leafhopper species named after University of Illinois entomologist

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Three new species of leafhoppers from China in the genus Futasujinus were recently identified during a review of leafhoppers in museum collections in China, the UK, and Illinois. One of them, Futasujinus dietrichi, was 'named after Dr. Chris Dietrich, University of Illinois, USA, in recognition of his good work on leafhoppers.'

Balancing birds and biofuels: Grasslands support more species than cornfields

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Scientists have examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat. The research team found that grassland fields supported more than three times as many bird species as cornfields, and new findings indicate grassland fields may represent an acceptable tradeoff between creating biomass for bioenergy and providing habitat for grassland birds.

Snakes and snake-like robots show how sidewinders conquer sandy slopes

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a unique bed of inclined sand and using a snake-like robot to test ideas spawned by observing the real animals, both biologists and roboticists have now gained long-sought insights.

Drinking decaf or regular coffee maybe good for the liver

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:26 AM PDT

Researchers report that decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health. Results show that higher coffee consumption, regardless of caffeine content, was linked to lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes. This suggests that chemical compounds in coffee other than caffeine may help protect the liver.

Climate change alters the ecological impacts of seasons

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

If more of the world's climate becomes like that in tropical zones, it could potentially affect crops, insects, malaria transmission, and even confuse migration patterns of birds and mammals worldwide. The daily and nightly differences in temperatures worldwide are fast approaching yearly differences between summer and winter temperatures.

Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses.

New increase in antimicrobial use in animals in Denmark

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Antimicrobial usage in animals in Denmark continued to increase in 2013 – mainly due to an increased use in pigs. However, antimicrobial use in pigs is still 12% lower than in 2009. In general, livestock received very little of the critically important antimicrobials, which are used to treat humans.

Understanding the bushmeat market: Why do people risk infection from bat meat?

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Ebola, as with many emerging infections, is likely to have arisen due to human interaction with wild animals -- most likely the practice of hunting and eating wild meat known as 'bushmeat.' A team of researchers has surveyed almost 600 people across southern Ghana to find out what drives consumption of bat bushmeat -- and how people perceive the risks associated with the practice.

A cost-effective and energy-efficient approach to carbon capture

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a slurry-based process that can revolutionize carbon capture. The slurry, consisting of a porous powder suspended in glycol, offers the efficient large-scale implementation of a liquid while maintaining the lower costs and energy efficiency of solid carbon-capturing materials.

Jumping Genes and Cichlids' Egg-Spots: How Evolution Creates new Characteristics

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

The evolution of new traits with novel functions has always posed a challenge to evolutionary biology. Studying the color markings of cichlid fish, scientists were now able to show what triggered these evolutionary innovations, namely: a mobile genetic element in the regulatory region of a color gene.

Making window glass visible – but only to birds

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Ultraviolet patterns can make window glass visible to birds, thus preventing fatal collisions. However, it has now been shown that such windows are not likely to work for all species, but only for birds like small passerines, gulls and parrots, who have a special type of color vision. For birds of prey, geese, pigeons and crows, these patterns are likely to be too difficult to detect.

Gene therapy shows promise for severe combined immunodeficiency

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Gene therapy using a modified delivery system, or vector, can restore the immune systems of children with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1), a rare, life-threatening inherited condition that primarily affects boys, researchers have discovered.

Automated imaging system looks underground to help improve crops

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:37 PM PDT

An automated imaging technique for measuring and analyzing the root systems of mature plants has been developed by researchers. The work could help plant scientists improve food crops to help meet the needs of a growing world population.

Highway runs through it: Mountain lions in southern California face genetic decay

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Cut off by freeways and human development, mountain lions in southern California are facing a severe loss of genetic diversity, according to a new study. Pumas in the Santa Ana Mountains display lower genetic diversity than those from nearly every other region in the state.

Fine-tuning of bitter taste receptors may be key to animal survival

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Chicken taste receptors are 'broadly tuned' for bitter taste, whereas six frog taste receptors are mixed, consisting of broadly as well as narrowly tuned receptors. In general, individual substances activated different receptors in clearly separated concentration ranges, which may also provide a clue to the role of bitter taste diversity in enhancing the chance of survival.

Treasure trove of ancient genomes helps recalibrate the human evolutionary clock

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

To improve the modeling and reading of the branches on the human tree of life, researchers compiled the most comprehensive DNA set to date, a new treasure trove of 146 ancient (including Neanderthal and Denisovian) and modern human full mitochondrial genomes (amongst a set of 320 available worldwide).

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