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Saturday, January 31, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Ancient deformation of the lithosphere revealed in Eastern China

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 06:14 PM PST

Seismic investigations from the Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt in eastern China suggest that this region was affected by extreme mantle perturbation and crust-mantle interaction during the Mesozoic era. The Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt formed through the collision between the North and South China blocks, which produced large-scale destruction of the cratonic lithosphere, accompanied by widespread magmatism and metallogeny.

Latent HIV may lurk in 'quiet' immune cells, research suggests

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 11:23 AM PST

HIV can lie dormant in infected cells for years, even decades. Scientists think unlocking the secrets of this viral reservoir may make it possible to cure, not just treat, HIV. Researchers have gained new insight on which immune cells likely do, and do not, harbor this latent virus.

Renewable energy policies drive production of Southern wood pellets for bioenergy

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 10:28 AM PST

Policies in the European Union and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used to generate bioenergy. This demand could provide new markets for US timber exports, increase wood prices, and lead to increases in forestland area.

Population genomics unveil seahorse domain

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 09:18 AM PST

In a finding vital to effective species management, a team of biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the western mid-Atlantic Ocean than a vagrant.

Scientists Use Knowledge from the Food Industry to Understand Mass Extinction

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 09:17 AM PST

The close of the Permian Period around 250 million years ago saw Earth's biggest extinction ever. At this time large volcanic eruptions were occurring in what is now Siberia. The volcanoes pumped out gases that led to acid rain. Falling on the supercontinent Pangaea, the acid rain killed off end-Permian forests. The demise of forests led to soil erosion and the production of organic-rich sediments in shallow marine waters.

Heat waves becoming more prominent in urban areas, research reveals

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST

The world's urban areas have experienced significant increases in heat waves over the past 40 years, according to new research. These prolonged periods of extreme hot days have significantly increased in over 200 urban areas across the globe between 1973 and 2012, and have been most prominent in the most recent years on record.

Why do zebras have stripes? Temperature counts

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 06:29 AM PST

One of nature's fascinating questions is how zebras got their stripes. A team of life scientists has found at least part of the answer: The amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live.

Blue mussels not yet the bellwether of NE coastal environment

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 06:29 AM PST

Mussels could be the perfect 'sentinel' species to signal the health of coastal ecosystems. But a new study of blue mussels in estuary ecosystems along 600 kilometers of coastline in the Northeast uncovered three key mysteries that will have to be solved first.

Updating satellite data on seas could dramatically reduce search and rescue times for lost planes, ships

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 05:15 AM PST

A new satellite imaging concept could significantly reduce search areas for missing boats and planes. Researchers have been trialling a concept for using satellite imagery to significantly improve the chances of locating ships and planes, such as the missing Malaysian flight MH370, lost at sea. A preliminary study identified 54 satellites with 85 sensors, currently only taking images of land, which could be used to take images of Earth's oceans and inland waters. The research team believe regularly updated images of the seas via these satellites could enable the reduction of search areas for missing ships to just a few hundred square miles. This offers the possibility of dramatically reducing search and rescue times and significantly improving chances of survival for missing ships.

Water purification: Running fuel cells on bacteria

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 05:15 AM PST

Researchers in Norway have succeeded in getting bacteria to power a fuel cell. The "fuel" used is wastewater, and the products of the process are purified water droplets and electricity. This is an environmentally-friendly process for the purification of water derived from industrial processes and suchlike. It also generates small amounts of electricity – in practice enough to drive a small fan, a sensor or a light-emitting diode. In the future, the researchers hope to scale up this energy generation to enable the same energy to be used to power the water purification process, which commonly consists of many stages, often involving mechanical and energy-demanding decontamination steps at its outset.

Future of oil and gas development in the Western Amazon

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 07:43 AM PST

The western Amazon -- a vast region encompassing the Amazonian portions of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil -- is one of the world's last high-biodiversity wilderness landscapes. It is also home to an active hydrocarbon (oil and gas) sector, characterized by operations in extremely remote areas that require new access routes.

Unprecedented Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde type of behaviour of aphids towards ants discovered

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

Unprecedented interaction between aphids and ants that reveals how the first group of insects may display a Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde type of behaviour towards the second group has been identified by researchers. Traditionally, aphids and ants have had a relationship based on cooperativism. However, after more than 50 hours of recording different anthills through a microscopy, this research has revealed that a certain species of aphids produces individuals which are adopted in the ant's brood chamber and they end up being aggressive to them by sucking haemolymph from their larvae.

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