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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

New two-stroke engine, notable for its low consumption and low level of pollutant emissions

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 05:25 AM PST

Scientists have created a new two-stroke engine for use in small cars, notable for its low consumption and low level of pollutant emissions. The engine is quite small and light and uses only two cylinders instead of the four commonly used in the four-stroke engines currently on the market.

Startling decline in European birds: Majority of losses from most common species

Posted: 02 Nov 2014 06:21 PM PST

Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines over the past 30 years, with the majority of losses from the most common species, according to a new study. However numbers of some less common birds have risen.

Getting more out of nature: Genetic toolkit finds new maximum for crop yields

Posted: 02 Nov 2014 01:01 PM PST

Scientists have found a new way to dramatically increase crop yields. The team has discovered a set of gene variations that boost fruit production in the tomato plant by as much as 100 percent. Plant breeders will be able to combine different gene variants to create an optimal plant architecture for particular varieties and growing conditions. The set will enable farmers to maximize yield in tomatoes and potentially other flowering plants, including crops like soybeans.

Possible alternative to antibiotics

Posted: 02 Nov 2014 01:00 PM PST

A novel substance for the treatment of severe bacterial infections has been developed to work without antibiotics. Scientists say that this would prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.

Floodplain evolution in Amazon Basin driven by sediment supply

Posted: 02 Nov 2014 01:00 PM PST

A new study of the Amazon River basin shows lowland rivers that carry large volumes of sediment meander more across floodplains and create more oxbow lakes than rivers that carry less sediment.

Scientists replicate the tide with two buckets, aquarium tubing, and a pump

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:33 PM PDT

A design for a new, inexpensive tidal simulation unit enables researchers to investigate tidal marsh plant growth in a controlled setting. The unit costs less than US$27 to build, takes up less than two square feet of space, and does not require external plumbing; the protocol is now available. The system could be an important tool for researchers working to preserve and restore environmentally important wetlands.

Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:32 PM PDT

A new analysis of geologic history may help solve the riddle of the "Cambrian explosion," the rapid diversification of animal life in the fossil record 530 million years ago that has puzzled scientists since the time of Charles Darwin. New research suggests a major tectonic event may be connected with the apparent burst of life that occurred 530 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion.

Plants: Breaking down DNA by genome

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:32 PM PDT

A new study provides plant biologists with an efficient approach for separating plant nuclear DNA from organellar DNA for genomic and metagenomic studies. The approach targets the methyl-CpG-binding domain and allows researchers to isolate nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrial DNA, and can also target genomes of endophytes and prokaryotic parasites in plant DNA samples.

Resveratrol could reverse benefits of being active

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:32 PM PDT

Adding resveratrol supplements to your exercise routine may not enhance the effects of physical activity, scientists say. "The easiest way to experience the benefits of physical activity is to be physically active," says Dr. Gurd, a professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. "The efficacy of resveratrol at improving metabolic and cardiovascular functions is not as profound as was once thought."

Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park: Fracture-Controlled Erodibility, Great Rock Climbing

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:31 PM PDT

Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park is an iconic American landscape: It is a sub-alpine meadow surrounded by glacially sculpted granitic outcrops in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Because of its accessibility and aesthetic appeal, it is a focal point for both vacationers (up to 4,200 people per day) and geoscientists.

2014 Antarctic ozone hole holds steady

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 06:38 PM PDT

The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak size on Sept. 11, according to scientists. The size of this year's hole was 24.1 million square kilometers (9.3 million square miles) -- an area roughly the size of North America.

New influenza virus affects cattle, pigs

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:30 AM PDT

A new influenza virus, discovered in pigs and later found in cows, shares common ancestry with known influenza viruses, but is distinct enough that researchers have proposed calling it Type D Influenza.

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