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Thursday, January 15, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Helicopter parenting better for pets than for kids

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 01:28 PM PST

Helicopter parenting may not be the best strategy for raising independent kids. But a healthy measure of overprotectiveness could actually be advantageous when raising dogs and cats, according to a new study that compares 'dog people' to 'cat people' and correlates neuroticism with better pet care.

Are all rattlesnakes created equal? No, maybe not

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 11:05 AM PST

New research by a team of biologists has revealed that creating antivenom is a bit tricky. That's because the type of venom a snake produces can change according to where it lives.

Correcting estimates of sea level rise

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 11:05 AM PST

The acceleration in global sea level from the 20th century to the last two decades has been significantly larger than scientists previously thought, according to a new study. Previous estimates of global sea-level rise from 1900-1990 had been over-estimated by as much as 30 percent, researchers suggest.

Renewable resources reach their limits

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 11:04 AM PST

Landscape ecologists and plant ecologists analyzed the production and extraction rates of 27 global renewable and non-renewable resources together with economists and sustainability scholars. They examined 20 renewable resources, such as maize, rice, wheat or soya, which represent around 45% of the global calorie intake according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as well as animal products, such as fish, meat, milk and egg. For 18 of these renewable resources the annual growth rate (for example the increase in meat production or in fish catch) reached its peak -- the peak-rate year -- around 2006 a few years ago.

Rainfall can release aerosols, study finds

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 08:55 AM PST

High-speed imaging captures raindrops releasing clouds of aerosols on impact. In learning this, researchers suspect that in natural environments, aerosols may carry aromatic elements, along with bacteria and viruses stored in soil. These aerosols may be released during light or moderate rainfall, and then spread via gusts of wind.

DNA 'smart glue' could someday be used to build tissues, organs

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 08:55 AM PST

DNA molecules provide the 'source code' for life in humans, plants, animals and some microbes. But now researchers report an initial study showing that the strands can also act as a glue to hold together 3-D-printed materials that could someday be used to grow tissues and organs in the lab.

Chemical analysis of ancient rocks reveals earliest record yet of Earth's atmosphere: Isotopic memory of atmospheric persistence

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 08:52 AM PST

Chemical analysis of some of the world's oldest rocks has provided the earliest record yet of Earth's atmosphere. The results show that the air 4 billion years ago was very similar to that more than a billion years later, when the atmosphere -- though it likely would have been lethal to oxygen-dependent humans -- supported a thriving microbial biosphere that ultimately gave rise to the diversity of life on Earth today.

Climate, friends influence young corals choice of real estate

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:18 AM PST

Where baby corals choose to settle is influenced by ocean temperature and the presence of their symbiotic algae in the water, researchers have found.

Levels of 'Molly,' aka ecstasy, spike in rivers near music festival

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:17 AM PST

The illicit drug called 'Molly' or ecstasy is a serious concern for parents, law enforcement and now for environmentalists. Scientists report that a major music festival in Taiwan coincides with a spike in the drug's levels in nearby rivers. Not only does this highlight drug abuse at the concert, but the scientists say it also focuses attention on potential effects the substance could have on aquatic life.

Early protection, fungicide effectively reduce downy mildew in basil

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:17 AM PST

Production of sweet basil has been drastically affected by downy mildew caused by the foliar disease Peronospora belbahrii. Scientists evaluated two- to seven-week-old basil plants for susceptibility to downy mildew and analyzed the effect of pre-inoculation applications of acibenzolar-S-methyl for controlling the disease. Results indicated two- to three-week-old basil plants need to be protected, and ASM should be applied before pathogen infection on five- to seven-week-old plants to reduce downy mildew.

Native grasses identified for use in western US urban landscapes

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:17 AM PST

Researchers assessed the phenotypic and genotypic attributes of a native fine-leaved Festuca collection in Montana by cloning 270 FEID 9025897 plants and evaluating them for genetic diversity and plant morphology for two years. The selections were evaluated for plant height, width, biomass, relative vigor, persistence, and regrowth after clipping. Nineteen plants from the collection were identified for their ornamental characteristics and potential for use in urban horticultural applications.

Jaw mechanics of a shell-crushing Jurassic fish revealed

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:17 AM PST

The feeding habits of an unusual 200-million-year-old fish have been uncovered by an undergraduate in a groundbreaking study. The Jurassic fish, Dapedium, known from the Lower Lias rocks of the Dorset coast around Lyme Regis, was one of many new groups of fishes that came on the scene 200 million years ago. These included ancestors of the modern teleost fishes -- the group of 30,000 species of salmon, cod, seahorses, and perch -- that dominate the waters today.

New restoration focus for western dry forests

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:16 AM PST

The most significant current threat to western dry forests is from insect outbreaks and droughts, not wildfires, research shows. Historically abundant small trees offer the greatest hope for forest survival and recovery after these events, authors say.

Anatomy of petal drop in sunflowers

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:16 AM PST

Anatomical analysis of two sunflower cultivars revealed a differentiated region at the junction of the flowers' petal and achene. Cell division at the abscission zone of the short-lived cultivar occurred earlier than in the long-lived cultivar, indicating that the tempo of development differed; the abscission layer reached full maturity sooner in Procut Bicolor, resulting in earlier petal drop, than in Procut Yellow Lite. Vase life was also correlated to flower color.

Sweet potato leaves a good source of vitamins

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:16 AM PST

A study designed to determine the ascorbic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 content in foliar tissues of sweet potato confirmed that mature and young sweet potato leaves can be a good source of multiple water-soluble vitamins in the human diet. Young leaves contained the highest ascorbic acid content, followed by mature leaves and buds.

Root hydraulic conductance linked to trees' post-transplant recovery

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:16 AM PST

A study of two Quercus species investigated whether root hydraulic conductance is related to post-transplant recovery. Researchers compared root hydraulic conductance after transplanting using a number of variables including root pruning, caliper size, and transplant timing. Hydraulic conductance in fine roots was related to recovery of the species after transplanting. Stem diameter growth after transplanting was greater for small-caliper Quercus bicolor trees than Quercus macrocarpa.

New contaminants found in oil, gas wastewater

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:16 AM PST

High levels of two potentially hazardous contaminants, ammonium and iodide, have been documented in wastewater being discharged into streams and rivers from oil and gas operations in Pennsylvania. Levels of contamination were just as high in wastewater coming from conventional oil and gas wells as from hydraulically fractured shale gas wells.

Stone Age humans weren't necessarily more advanced than Neanderthals

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 07:15 AM PST

A multi-purpose bone tool dating from the Neanderthal era has been discovered by researchers, throwing into question our current understanding of the evolution of human behavior. It was found at an archaeological site in France.

Cone snail venom holds promise for medical treatments for cancer, addiction

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 06:08 AM PST

While considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, snails have found a more intriguing use to scientists and the medical profession offering a plethora of research possibilities. Cone snails are marine mollusks, just as conch, octopi and squid, but they capture their prey using venom. The venom of these marine critters provides leads for detection and possible treatment of some cancers and addictions.

Possible treatments identified for highly contagious stomach virus

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 06:08 AM PST

Antibiotics aren't supposed to be effective against viruses. But new evidence in mice suggests antibiotics may help fight norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus, report scientists. Outbreaks of norovirus are notoriously difficult to contain and can spread quickly on cruise ships and in schools, nursing homes and other closed spaces.

Captive breeding alters snail behavior

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 05:39 AM PST

Rearing snails in the laboratory can cause important changes in their behavior, researchers have found. "We found that great pond snails follow the slime trails laid down by other snails as they move. What we found really surprising was that rearing the snails in the laboratory changed this behaviour relative to wild snails. This difference between wild and laboratory reared snails only occurred when they had been socially isolated for a week before we tested them," authors say.

Urban stormwater management: Permeable pavements to reduce run-off from parking lots

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 04:27 AM PST

Scientists have developed permeable pavements to reduce the problems caused by storm and runoff water in urban areas. The project also aims to prepare for the higher volumes of rainfall and more intense storms that can be expected in the future. The pavement solutions developed in the project are well suited for areas with low traffic volume, such as car parks, pavements, courtyards, fields and squares.

Testing for Bovine Tuberculosis is more effective than badger culls at controlling the disease

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 04:27 AM PST

The only effective potential Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) control strategies are badger culling, cattle testing, controlling cattle movement, and ceasing the practice of housing farm cattle together during winter. New modelling has found that in a region containing about 1.5m cows of which 3000 to 15,000 might have TB, badger culling could account for a reduction of 12 in the number of infected cattle. While reducing the testing interval by one month could reduce the number of those infected by 193.

How cells communicate

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 04:27 AM PST

During embryonal development of vertebrates, signaling molecules inform each cell at which position it is located. In this way, the cell can develop its special structure and function. For the first time now, researchers have shown that these signaling molecules are transmitted in bundles via long filamentary cell projections.

Pitcher plants 'switch off' traps to capture more ants

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 05:43 PM PST

Insect-eating pitcher plants temporarily 'switch off' their traps in order to lure more prey into danger, new research has found. "The plant's key trapping surface is extremely slippery when wet but not when dry. For up to eight hours during dry days, these traps are 'switched off' and do not capture any of their insect visitors," a scientist explained. The researchers conducted experiments in which they artificially kept the trapping surfaces wet all the time. They found that wetted plants no longer captured large 'batches' of ants.

Bacteria as individual as people? Study of rhizobium from plant roots suggests yes

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 05:41 PM PST

Bacteria are as individual as people, new research suggests. Bacteria are essential to health, agriculture and the environment, and new research tools are starting to shed more light on them. The team extracted the bacteria from plant roots and established 72 separate strains. They determined the DNA sequence of the genome of each strain. Their research shows that each of those 72 strains is unique -- each has different genes and is capable of growing on different food sources.

New device allows for manipulation of differentiating stem cells

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 12:40 PM PST

A new device creates nanopores in adherent cell membranes, allowing researchers to deliver molecules directly into the cells during differentiation. "The ability to deliver molecules into adherent cells without disrupting differentiation is needed for biotechnology researchers to advance both fundamental knowledge and the state-of-the-art in stem cell research," one researcher notes.

Crush those clinkers while they're hot

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 12:40 PM PST

Clinkers pulverized to make cement should be processed right out of the kiln to save the most energy. The environmentally friendly advice is the result of a recent computational study.

A breakthrough approach to addressing the causes of biodiversity loss

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 11:52 AM PST

A simplified framework of the interactions between nature and people could potentially change the manner in which biodiversity assessments will be conducted in the future.

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