Referral Banners

Thursday, November 6, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Benefits of being fat (but not too fat) for deep-diving elephant seals

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

Researchers using a new type of tracking device on female elephant seals have discovered that adding body fat helps the seals dive more efficiently by changing their buoyancy. The study looked at the swimming efficiency of elephant seals during their feeding dives and how that changed in the course of months-long migrations at sea as the seals put on more fat.

Synthetic fish measures wild ride through dams

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

A synthetic fish is helping existing hydroelectric dams and new, smaller hydro facilities become more fish-friendly. The latest version of the Sensor Fish – a small tubular device filled with sensors that analyze the physical stresses fish experience – measures more forces, costs about 80 percent less and can be used in more hydro structures than its predecessor, according to a new article.

Turning pretty penstemon flowers from blue to red

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:48 AM PST

While roses are red, and violets are blue, how exactly do flower colors change? In the case of penstemons, with over 200 species to choose from, scientists have now shown that turning their flowers from blue to red involves knocking out the activity of just a single enzyme involved in the production of blue floral pigments.

African diamond mine reveals dinosaur and large mammal tracks

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:48 AM PST

Unexpectedly one of the largest diamond mines in Africa, Catoca in Angola, holds 118-million-year-old dinosaur, crocodile and large mammal tracks. The mammal tracks show a raccoon-sized animal, during a time when most were no larger than a rat.

Taking a deeper look at 'ancient wing'

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:48 AM PST

In order to determine the feather color of ancient organisms such as Archaeopteryx, microscopic melanin-containing structures called melanosomes have been compared in a variety of living and fossil birds. However, might there be another explanation for the presence of these structures? This research uses scanning electron microscopy and high-sensitivity molecular techniques to respond to alternative interpretations and shed light -- and color -- on Jurassic feathers.

How the shape of eggs can help explain the evolutionary history of birds

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:47 AM PST

The eggs of amniotes - mammals, reptiles and birds – come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes. Evolutionary biologists have now addressed shape variety in terrestrial vertebrates' eggs, pinpointing morphological differences between the eggs of birds and those of their extinct relatives, the theropod dinosaurs.

2000-year-old youth organization

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:47 AM PST

In Roman Egypt, 14-year-old boys were enrolled in a youth organization in order to learn to be good citizens.

New techniques to control cork stoppers

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

The application of infrared spectroscopy techniques can enhance the control of parameters that determine the cork performance in a bottle, researchers report. Cork is the main non-timber forest product in the Mediterranean region, and its usage is essential to preserve thousands of hectares of cork oak in southern European and Maghreb countries. In order to adapt the product to the wine industry, the cork stopper undergoes a wide range of control processes including physical, chemical, microbiological and organoleptic parameters and classification by image analysis and traceability.

Novel nanofiber-based technology could help prevent HIV/AIDS transmission

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 03:37 PM PST

Scientists have developed a novel topical microbicide loaded with hyaluronic acid nanofibers that could potentially prevent transmission of HIV through the vaginal mucosa.

When less is more: Death in moderation boosts population density in nature

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

In nature, the right amount of death at the right time might actually help boost a species' population density, according to new research that could help in understanding animal populations, pest control and managing fish and wildlife stocks.

Digital dinosaurs: New research employs high-end technology to restore dinosaur fossil

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:30 PM PST

Scientists employed high-resolution X-ray computed tomography and digital visualization techniques to restore a rare dinosaur fossil. The focus of the study was the skull of Erlikosaurus andrewsi, a 3-4 meter large herbivorous dinosaur called a therizinosaur, which lived more than 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period in what is now Mongolia.

Law research article paints dismal picture for litigation against greenhouse gas emitters

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 01:29 PM PST

A new article, focused on litigation against greenhouse gas emitters is based on an analysis of 178 federal and state lawsuits and the pleading patterns that emerge from those cases. Research findings suggest that greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, if not motivated by fear of litigation, are unlikely to shift from blocking to supporting emissions-restricting legislation.

The inside story: How the brain and skull stay together

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 12:37 PM PST

Researchers have discovered a network of tissue communication that ensures that the brain and spinal cord are matched with the skull and spinal column, during embryonic development. Their discovery may have important implications for the understanding and treatment of congenital defects like Spina Bifida and Chiari malformations.

How cells defend themselves against antibiotics, cytostatic agents

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 12:37 PM PST

ABC Transporters are proteins that are embedded in the cell membrane and facilitate the transport across cellular barriers not only of an almost unlimited variety of toxic substances, but also of substances that are essential for life. They also play a role in the development of antibiotic resistance. A research group has now succeeded in elucidating the detailed structure of this transporter.

Tectonic plates not rigid, deform horizontally in cooling process

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:19 AM PST

The puzzle pieces of tectonic plates are not rigid and don't fit together as nicely as we were taught in high school. A new nstudy quantifies deformation of the Pacific plate and challenges the central approximation of the plate tectonic paradigm that plates are rigid.

Scent communication in polar bears explored

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:19 AM PST

Scientists have provided the first systematic examination of the social information polar bears may glean from scent left in the paw prints of other polar bears. The authors also suggest that scent communication in polar bears may be compromised if climate-change driven sea ice losses in the Arctic intensify.

Secondhand smoke can cause weight gain

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 09:13 AM PST

New research is challenging the decades-old belief that smoking cigarettes helps keep you slim. A study finds that exposure to cigarette smoke can actually cause weight gain. But here's the kicker: Secondhand smoke is the biggest culprit.

Geologist reveals correlation between earthquakes, landslides in Peru

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 09:13 AM PST

A geologist has demonstrated that earthquakes -- not climate change, as previously thought -- affect the rate of landslides in Peru. "Geologic records of landslide activity offer rare glimpses into landscapes evolving under the influence of tectonics and climate," says a researcher whose expertise includes geomorphology and tectonics. "Because deposits from individual landslides are unlikely to be preserved, it's difficult to reconstruct landslide activity in the geologic past. Therefore, we've developed a method that measures landslide activity before and after the last glacial-interglacial climate transition in Peru."

Fish integration: Nature adores a hybrid

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:15 AM PST

After a few generations of breeding and natural selection, hybrid fish are genetically as robust as their purely wild forefathers, new research shows. The team transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated and hybridized populations of Algonquin Park vbrook trout to new environments. The researchers then compared survival rates and physical characteristics to determine whether hybridization affects a fish's potential to adapt after multiple generations of natural selection in the wild.

Hermit thrush or humans: Who sets the tone?

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:15 AM PST

The songs of the hermit thrush, a common North American songbird, follow principles found in much human music -- namely the harmonic series. Researchers are the first to demonstrate note selection from the harmonic series in a non-human animal using rigorous analytical methods.

Coffee tree genome sequenced

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

The coffee tree genome has been sequenced. By using several sequencing technologies, researchers coordinated the mapping of the DNA sequence for the coffee tree, assembled in large fragments able to be used in various types of analysis. The team then anchored these sequence fragments to a high-density genetic card to reconstruct the pseudo-chromosomes. A catalogue of genes and repeated sequences was then created and validated, allowing for a comparison with other plants.

Climate, emerging diseases: Dangerous connections found

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

Climate change may affect human health directly or indirectly. In addition to increased threats of storms, flooding, droughts, and heat waves, other health risks are being identified. In particular, new diseases are appearing, caused by infectious agents until now unknown, or that are changing, especially under the effect of changes in the climate. These are so-called "emerging" or "re-emerging" infectious diseases, such as leishmaniasis, West Nile fever, etc. According to the WHO, these diseases are causing one third of deaths around the world, and developing countries are on the front line.

Vaccine-resistant polio strain discovered

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

The global initiative to eradicate poliomyelitis through routine vaccination has helped reduce the number of cases by more than 99% in 30 years. However, major epidemics are still occurring today. Researchers have identified the virus responsible for deadly and recent outbreaks, and have sequenced its genetic material. The genetic sequence shows two mutations, unknown until now, of the proteins that form the "shell" (capsid) of the virus. On the face of it, this evolution complicates the task for the antibodies produced by the immune system of the vaccinated patient as they can no longer recognize the viral strain.

Improving taste of alcohol-free beer with aromas from regular beer

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

Consumers often complain that alcohol-free beer is tasteless, but some of the aromas it is lacking can be carried across from regular beer. Researchers have developed the technique and a panel of tasters has confirmed its effectiveness. The alcohol in beer acts as a solvent for a variety of aromatic compounds; therefore, when it is eliminated, as in non-alcoholic beers, the final product loses aromas and some of its taste. It is difficult to recover these compounds, but researchers have done just this using a pervaporation process.

Helping Pacific islanders eat more 'greens'

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:12 AM PST

Research is helping indigenous Pacific Island and Torres Strait Islander people eat more "greens" to improve their diet and help combat disease. "People in these regions have too high consumption of high-energy, low-nutrient foods such as a polished rice, white flour and sugar," says one researcher. "This has led to high rates of metabolic diseases -- obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. We wanted to help them make easy nutritional changes to their diet that would have a significant impact in the short-term."

Radiation a risk factor for brain tumors in young people, study finds

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:11 AM PST

In people under age 30, radiation is a risk factor for a type of brain tumor called a meningioma, a study has found. Researchers analyzed records of 35 patients who were diagnosed with meningiomas before age 30. Five had been exposed to ionizing radiation earlier in their lives. They include two patients who received radiation for leukemia at ages 5 and 6; one who received radiation at age 3 for a brain tumor known as a medulloblastoma; and one who received radiation for an earlier skull base tumor that appeared to be a meningioma. The fifth patient had been exposed at age 9 to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine.

Little evidence that conservation organizations respond to economic signals

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:11 AM PST

Nonprofit organizations aiming to protect biodiversity show little evidence of responding to economic signals, which could limit the effectiveness of future conservation efforts, experts say.

Undiagnosed, undertreated Chagas disease emerging as U.S. public health threat

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Across a broad swath of the southern United States, residents face a tangible but mostly unrecognized risk of contracting Chagas disease -- a stealthy parasitic infection that can lead to severe heart disease and death -- according to new research.

Forensic DNA test conclusively links snake bite marks on people to species

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Starting with a simple DNA swab taken from fang marks on people bitten by snakes, an international research team correctly identified the species of the biting snake 100 percent of the time in a first-of-its-kind clinical study.

Shaping up: Researchers reconstruct early stages of embryo development

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Researchers have managed to reconstruct the early stage of mammalian development using embryonic stem cells, showing that a critical mass of cells -- not too few, but not too many -- is needed for the cells to being self-organizing into the correct structure for an embryo to form.

'Stockholm Syndrome' could have ancient roots: Traditional stories highlight how ancient women survived

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

Through the ages, women have suffered greatly because of wars. Consequently, to protect themselves and their offspring, our female ancestors may have evolved survival strategies specific to problems posed by warfare.

Felling pine trees to study their wind resistance

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

Technicians have in recent days been felling trees to simulate the effect of the wind in mountains in the Bizkaia locality of Artzentales. Forestry experts felled radiata pine specimens of different ages in order to find out their resistance to gales and observe the force the wind needs to exert to blow down these trees in the particular conditions.

No quick fix for global warming, experts say

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 01:19 PM PST

A debate has broken out between politicians and scientists as to whether atmospheric warming can be delayed by reducing short-lived climate forcing agents. An international research team has now confirmed that a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is the only long-term remedy for global warming.

Thirdhand smoke: Toxic airborne pollutants linger long after smoke clears

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 11:23 AM PST

A new study assessing the health effects of thirdhand smoke constituents present in indoor air. Looking at levels of more than 50 volatile organic compounds and airborne particles for 18 hours after smoking had taken place, they found that thirdhand smoke continues to have harmful health impacts for many hours after a cigarette has been extinguished.

Biosimilar drugs could create billions in health care savings, study finds

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 08:41 AM PST

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected soon to approve rules for introduction of 'biosimilars,' generic versions of complex biologic drugs used to treat illnesses such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. A new analysis finds that biosimilars could cut spending on biologics in the United States by $44 billion over the next decade, creating savings for patients, health care payers and taxpayers.

No comments: