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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

New research dishes the dirt on the demise of a civilization

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 08:24 AM PST

It's the dirt that's resulting in a new look at farming in the Dark Age, scientists report. The village of Nichoria in Messenia was located near the palace of Pylos during the Greek Bronze Age, when Greece was considered a Superpower of the Mediterranean. The region thrived on its trade and economic stability, culture, and art and architecture, including great monuments, palaces and writings. The collapse of the Bronze Age (beginning around 1200 BC), including the abandonment of cities and the destruction of palaces, is known as the Dark Age.

New technology focuses diffuse light inside living tissue

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 07:15 AM PST

For the first time, a new technique that focuses diffuse light inside a dynamic scattering medium containing living tissue has been revealed by researchers. In addition, they have improved the speed of optical focusing deep inside tissue by two orders of magnitude. This improvement in speed is an important step toward noninvasive optical imaging in deep tissue and photodynamic therapy.

Underwater drones map ice algae in Antarctica

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 07:14 AM PST

New robot technology leads Antarctic exploration into a new epoch. It is now possible to study the underside of sea ice across large distances and explore a world previously restricted to specially trained divers only.

Sensor demonstrates lack of space in living cells

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 07:14 AM PST

Proteins and other bio-molecules are often analyzed exclusively in aqueous solutions in test tubes. But it is uncertain if these experimental studies can be transferred to the densely-packed cellular environment. Researchers have developed a novel method that can be used to analyze the effects of the lack of space in living cells with the aid of a microscope for the first time. They designed a sensor that changes color depending on how confined the space in the cell is.

The bowhead whale lives over 200 years. Can its genes tell us why?

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 07:14 AM PST

A whale that can live over 200 years with little evidence of age-related disease may provide untapped insights into how to live a long and healthy life. Researchers present in a new report the complete bowhead whale genome and identify key differences compared to other mammals. Alterations in bowhead genes related to cell division, DNA repair, cancer, and aging may have helped increase its longevity and cancer resistance.

Scientists tap tree genomes to discover adaptation strategies

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 06:29 AM PST

A team of scientists has sequenced whole genomes from 544 unrelated trees of the same species. The study identified gene sequences from Populus trichocarpa, to understand how trees adapt to different climates.

Desires of Microscopic Shrimp Illuminate Evolutionary Theory

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 05:19 AM PST

New research on bioluminescent ostracods shows how tiny crustaceans are helping scientists to understand evolution by sexual selection. These millimeter-sized, shrimp-like animals can be found all across the globe, in both marine and freshwater environments. They've even been found living in leaf litter in tropical rainforests. There are an estimated 20,000 species of ostracods, but only about 200 that produce bioluminescence.

Braving the cold to understand what makes squirrels tick

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 05:19 AM PST

The circadian clock of arctic ground squirrels works differently during the cold of hibernation, new research shows. Many mammal species in colder climates spend the winter months in torpor, commonly known as hibernation. During this period of torpor, many bodily functions are suppressed to conserve energy, including the daily clock known as the circadian clock. A new study asks the question, do circadian clocks persist throughout torpor?

New hope for Borneo's orangutans despite threats of future climate change, deforestation

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 05:18 AM PST

A new study has attempted to identify new hope for Borneo's orangutans. 'Despite some pessimistic outcomes, we remain positive about the fate of the orangutan. Our work demonstrates that continued efforts to halt deforestation could mediate some orangutan habitat loss, and this is particularly important in the southern parts of Borneo.'

Global bird conservation could be four times more cost-effective

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 05:18 AM PST

Targeting conservation efforts to safeguard biodiversity, rather than focusing on charismatic species, could make current spending on threatened birds four times more effective, a new study has shown.

How vitamin C helps plants beat the sun

Posted: 05 Jan 2015 05:18 AM PST

While vitamin C in plant chloroplasts is known to help prevent a reduction in growth that plants experience when exposed to excessive light -- a phenomenon called photoinhibition -- how it gets into chloroplasts to begin with has been a mystery. Now, a team of researchers has identified PHT4;4 as the transport protein that allows vitamin C to enter chloroplasts. The work shows that PHT4;4 can transport vitamin C and that it is located in the envelope membranes of chloroplasts.

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