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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Computer model provides a new portrait of carbon dioxide

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 02:45 PM PST

An ultra-high-resolution computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe. Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.

Bed bugs can transmit parasite that causes chagas disease

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 02:43 PM PST

Bed bugs, like the triatomines, can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases in the Americas, research has confirmed.

Virus devastating sea stars on Pacific Coast identified

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 01:44 PM PST

Scientists have now explained the mysteriously sudden appearance of a disease that has decimated sea stars on the North American Pacific Coast.

Graphene/nanotube hybrid benefits flexible solar cells

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 12:47 PM PST

Scientists have created a graphene/nanotube cathode that may make cheap, flexible dye-sensitized solar cells more practical.

Why lizards have bird breath: Iguanas evolved one-way lungs surprisingly like those of birds

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 12:46 PM PST

Biologists long assumed that one-way air flow was a special adaptation in birds driven by the intense energy demands of flight. But now scientists have shown that bird-like breathing also developed in green iguanas – reptiles not known for high-capacity aerobic fitness. The finding bolsters the case that unidirectional bird-like flow evolved long before the first birds.

Scientists Reveal Weak Spots in Ebola's Defenses

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 12:46 PM PST

Scientists have identified weak spots on the surface of Ebola virus that are targeted by the antibodies in ZMapp, the experimental drug cocktail administered to several patients during the recent Ebola outbreak.

Fruit flies learn from others: Researchers study how group interaction influences where female fruit flies lay their eggs

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 10:24 AM PST

Fruit flies do not always conform to the norm. When female fruit flies have to decide where to lay their eggs, they take their lead from what they see most others in their group do. However, some do take their personal preferences into account.

As temperatures rise, soil will relinquish less carbon to the atmosphere than predicted

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 10:24 AM PST

Current climate models probably overestimate the amount of carbon that will be released from soil into the atmosphere as global temperatures rise, according to research. The findings are from a new computer model that explores the feedbacks between soil carbon and climate change. It's the first such model to include several physiologically realistic representations of how soil microbes break down organic matter, a process that annually unleashes about ten times as much carbon into the atmosphere as fossil fuel emissions.

Businesses can help preserve endangered species with small landscape changes

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 10:08 AM PST

Businesses can contribute to raptor preservation efforts by engaging in less development of lawn areas and increased planting or preservation of native grasslands and woodlots. As more businesses are built on the edges of urban areas, land where raptors once lived becomes industrialized, which raises concerns about the consequences of habitat destruction on raptor populations, experts say.

Scientists X-ray tiny cell organelles responsible for carbon fixation

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 10:07 AM PST

Scientists have developed a high-throughput method of imaging biological particles using an X-ray laser. The images show projections of the carboxysome particle, a delicate and tiny cell compartment in photosynthetic bacteria.

Revolutionary solar-friendly form of silicon shines

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 10:06 AM PST

Silicon is the second most-abundant element in the earth's crust. When purified, it takes on a diamond structure, which is essential to modern electronic devices -- carbon is to biology as silicon is to technology. Scientists have synthesized an entirely new form of silicon, one that promises even greater future applications.

Extinction risk not the answer for reef futures

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 08:17 AM PST

Leading coral reef scientists say there needs to be a new approach to protecting the future of marine ecosystems, with a shift away from the current focus on extinction threat.

Stenospermocarpic fruit linked to unmarketable black walnuts

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 08:17 AM PST

Studies were conducted to determine the incidence of ambered black walnut kernels in an orchard, and to ascertain when symptoms were apparent in specific tissues. Factors such as cropload, soil type, ambient temperatures, or precipitation were not associated with a high incidence of ambered kernels. Analyses determined that visible embryo degeneration, associated with ambered kernels in black walnut fruit, was detected in early July when shell hardening occurs and kernel tissues are enlarging.

Three new ornamental dogwoods introduced

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

Three new ornamental dogwood varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose have been introduced by reserachers. 'Empire' is a brilliant, white-bracted kousa dogwood with a columnar form and exfoliating bark. 'Pam's Mountain Bouquet', a kousa dogwood with a spreading form, features a prolific fused bract display. 'Red Steeple' features a columnar-shaped canopy with red foliage that fades to green and white bracts with a red tint along the margins.

Less sex plus more greens equals a longer life: Reptile study

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

While a life in the slow lane may be easier, will it be any longer? It will if you're a reptile. A new study finds that reduced reproductive rates and a plant-rich diet are responsible for the increased lifespan of reptiles.

Family ties that bind: Having the right surname sets you up for life

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 08:13 AM PST

"Laws of inheritance" govern social status across generations, according to new research. If your surname reveals that you descended from the "in" crowd in the England of 1066 -- the Norman Conquerors -- then even now you are more likely than the average Brit to be upper class. To a surprising degree, the social status of your ancestors many generations in the past still exerts an influence on your life chances, according to new research.

Adjusting Earth’s thermostat, with caution

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 08:13 AM PST

A vast majority of scientists believe that the Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate and that human activity is almost certainly the dominant cause. But on the topics of response and mitigation, there is far less consensus.

Tillage shows very little impact on carbon sequestration

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 06:31 AM PST

Reducing or eliminating tillage is one of the farming practices most frequently touted to improve carbon sequestration in soil. A new study turns this paradigm on its head. This study, the result of a rigorous experiment conducted in the Ile-de-France region, shows that after a period of 41 years, three tillage methods led to similar carbon sequestration outcomes. However, variations were apparent over time based on climate conditions.

Evolutionary constraints revealed in diversity of fish skulls

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 05:47 AM PST

In the aquatic environment, suction feeding is far more common than biting as a way to capture prey. A new study shows that the evolution of biting behavior in eels led to a remarkable diversification of skull shapes, indicating that the skull shapes of most fish are limited by the structural requirements for suction feeding.

Turbulence in molten core helps amplify Earth's magnetic field

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 05:46 AM PST

Researchers have shown that turbulence, random motion that takes place in the molten metal in the Earth's core, makes a contribution to our planet's magnetic field. To obtain this result, they modeled the Earth's outer core using liquid sodium enclosed between two rotating concentric metal spheres. Like many planets and most stars, the Earth produces its own magnetic field by dynamo action, i.e. because of the motion of an electrically conducting fluid-in this case, a mixture of molten iron and nickel.

Climate capers of the past 600,000 years

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 05:46 AM PST

If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. Researchers have drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern Turkey) which provide unique insights into the last 600,000 years. The samples reveal that the climate has done its fair share of mischief-making in the past. Furthermore, there have been numerous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The results of the drilling project also provide a basis for assessing the risk of how dangerous natural hazards are for today's population.

On a safari through the genome: Genes offer new insights into the distribution of giraffes

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 05:46 AM PST

The Giraffe, a symbol of the African savanna and a fixed item on every safari's agenda, is a fascinating animal. However, contrary to many of the continent's other wild animals, these long-necked giants are still rather poorly studied. Based on their markings, distribution and genome, nine subspecies are recognized – including the two subspecies Angola Giraffe and South African Giraffe.

EU's total responsibility for global emissions has increased

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 05:46 AM PST

"The Kyoto Protocol has not met the expectations. Currently, global emissions are at a more than 50% higher level than during the Protocol's reference year, 1990. In the light of current trends and the annual increase in emissions being around 2.5% on average, global emissions have been assumed to double by 2030. Moreover, in 2030 the EU's share of global emissions will be around 4 %, whereas now it is around 9 %," one expert summarizes.

Up to 80 million bacteria sealed with a kiss

Posted: 16 Nov 2014 06:10 PM PST

As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10 second kiss, according to new research. The study also found that partners who kiss each other at least nine times a day share similar communities of oral bacteria.

A kingdom of cave beetles found in Southern China

Posted: 14 Nov 2014 09:49 AM PST

A team of scientists specializing in cave biodiversity from the South China Agricultural University unearthed a treasure trove of rare blind cave beetles. The description of seven new species of underground Trechinae beetles attests for the Du'an karst as the most diverse area for these cave dwellers in China.

Trends in plant biodiversity data online

Posted: 14 Nov 2014 09:49 AM PST

Today's herbaria, as well as all other collections-based environments, are now transitioning their collections data onto the web to remain viable in the smartphone-in-my-pocket age. A team of researchers has examined the importance of these online plant-based resources through the use of Google Analytics.

More reliable thermal readings of Arctic sea ice

Posted: 13 Nov 2014 05:51 AM PST

Arctic sea ice has diminished significantly in recent decades, particularly in summer. Researchers from Norway and China have collaborated on developing an autonomous buoy with instruments that can more precisely measure the optical properties of Arctic sea ice while also taking measurements of ice thickness and temperature.

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