Selasa, 31 Agustus 2010

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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Acidifying oceans spell bleak marine biological future 'by end of century', Mediterranean research finds (August 31, 2010) -- A unique 'natural laboratory' in the Mediterranean Sea is revealing the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels on life in the oceans. The results show a bleak future for marine life as ocean acidity rises, and suggest that similar lowering of ocean pH levels may have been responsible for massive extinctions in the past. ... > full story

Vulnerability in commercial quantum cryptography (August 31, 2010) -- Researchers have recently developed and tested a technique exploiting imperfections in quantum cryptography systems to implement an attack. ... > full story

Impact hypothesis loses its sparkle: Shock-synthesized diamonds said to prove catastrophic impact killed off N. American megafauna can't be found (August 31, 2010) -- The warming that following the last Ice Age was interrupted by a cold snap that killed off megafauna such as the giant ground sloth and the woolly mammoth. Could this crisis have been caused by an asteroid impact or a comet breaking up in the atmosphere? Unfortunately the geological evidence for such a dramatic event has not stood up to scrutiny. In a new study, a group of scientists challenges the catastrophists last, best hope: shock-synthesized nanodiamonds. ... > full story

Shallow water habitats important for young salmon and trout (August 31, 2010) -- Research from Sweden shows that competition from older fish causes young salmon and trout to seek refuge in shallow water. Preserving such habitats may, therefore, be important for the survival of the young fish. ... > full story

First clear evidence of organized feasting by early humans (August 30, 2010) -- Community feasting is one of the most universal and important social behaviors found among humans. Now, scientists have found the earliest clear evidence of organized feasting, from a burial site dated about 12,000 years ago. These remains represent the first archaeological verification that human feasting began before the advent of agriculture. ... > full story

Research produces tools to study stallions' subfertility (August 30, 2010) -- Subfertility of breeding stallions -- meaning the horses are less able to sire foals -- is a well-recognized problem that has caused multi-million-dollar losses in the equine industry, experts say. Researchers believe they are making progress in solving the problem by using an approach that might provide tools and resources necessary to study subfertility without causing stallions the angst of providing testicular samples for testing. ... > full story

'Stocky dragon' dinosaur, relative of Velociraptor, terrorized Late Cretaceous Europe (August 30, 2010) -- Paleontologists have discovered that a close relative of Velociraptor hunted the dwarfed inhabitants of Late Cretaceous Europe, an island landscape largely isolated from nearby continents. While island animals tend to be smaller and more primitive than their continental cousins, the theropod Balaur bondoc was as large as its relatives on other parts of the globe and demonstrated advanced adaptations including fused bones and two terrifyingly large claws on each hind foot. ... > full story

Scientists bring new species of turtle out of its shell (August 30, 2010) -- When scientists announce the discovery of a new animal species, we often imagine exotic, difficult to reach locations -- the untouched shore of a distant island, the forests of the rain-drenched Amazon or the darkest depths of the Arctic Ocean. But the recent announcement of a new species of turtle in the southeastern United States proves that even in a country considered to be well-explored, perhaps more awaits discovery. ... > full story

Batteries for battery powered cars are more environmentally friendly than expected (August 30, 2010) -- Battery powered cars will play a major role in future of mobility. What was not known so far, was how environmentally friendly the manufacture, operation and disposal of the batteries are. Researchers have now calculated the ecological footprint of the most commonly used type, the lithium-ion battery. A car with a petrol engine must consume less than 4 liters of fuel per 100km or about 70 mpg (miles per gallon) in order to be as environmentally friendly as modern electric cars. ... > full story

Octopus mimics flatfish and flaunts it (August 30, 2010) -- The mimic octopus, which can imitate flatfish and sea snakes to dupe potential predators, may well be the king of impersonation. By creatively configuring its limbs, adopting characteristic undulating movements, and displaying conspicuous color patterns, the mimic octopus can successfully pass for a number of different creatures that share its habitat, several of which are toxic. Now, scientists have conducted DNA analysis to determine how this remarkable adaptation evolved. ... > full story

Forest fire smoke in the stratosphere: New insights into pyrocumulonimbus clouds (August 30, 2010) -- Meteorologists are now discovering that changes in the frequency of occurrence and intensity of wildfires has substantial consequences for a variety of important problems including atmospheric changes. Superimposed on this important topic is a relatively new discovery: forest fire smoke in the stratosphere, an area of the atmosphere that begins nearly 38 thousand feet above the Earth's surface. As a result, a poorly understood aspect of wildfire behavior -- pyrocumulonimbus firestorm dynamics and atmospheric impact -- is becoming the focus of increasing attention. ... > full story

New view of tectonic plates: Computer modeling of Earth's mantle flow, plate motions, and fault zones (August 30, 2010) -- Computational scientists and geophysicists have developed new computer algorithms that for the first time allow for the simultaneous modeling of Earth's mantle flow, large-scale tectonic plate motions, and the behavior of individual fault zones, to produce an unprecedented view of plate tectonics and the forces that drive it. ... > full story

'Biosensors' on four feet detect animals infected with bird flu (August 30, 2010) -- Blood hounds, cadaver dogs, and other canines who serve humanity may soon have a new partner -- disease detector dogs -- thanks to an unusual experiment in which scientists trained mice to identify feces of ducks infected with bird influenza. The proof-of-concept study may pave the way for development of "biosensors on four feet" that warn of infection with influenza and other diseases. ... > full story

Wonder of the natural world: Key to Christmas Island's red crab migration discovered (August 30, 2010) -- One of the most spectacular migrations on Earth is that of the Christmas Island red crab. Acknowledged as one of the wonders of the natural world, every year millions of the crabs simultaneously embark on a five-kilometer breeding migration. Now, scientists have discovered the key to their remarkable athletic feat. ... > full story

Cinnamon extracts may reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease, study suggests (August 30, 2010) -- A water soluble extract of cinnamon, which contains antioxidative compounds, could help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease, a new study suggests. ... > full story

Hyperspectral imaging speeds detection of Campylobacter (August 30, 2010) -- A type of high-tech imaging can be used to distinguish the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter from other microorganisms as quickly as 24 hours after a sample is placed on solid media in a Petri dish, according to a new study. ... > full story

Progress on vaccine for 'Ich,' bane of fish farms and home aquarium hobbyists (August 30, 2010) -- Tests of the potential vaccine against "Ich" -- the dreaded "white-spot" disease that plagues fish in commercial fish farms, public aquariums, pet fish retail outlets and home aquariums -- are raising hopes for finally controlling the disease, scientists report. ... > full story

Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing (August 30, 2010) -- An international team of scientists from Italy, France, New Zealand, Belgium and the US have published a draft sequence of the domestic apple genome. The sequence will allow scientists to more rapidly identify which genes provide desirable characteristics to the fruit and which genes and gene variants provide disease or drought resistance to the plant. This information can be used to rapidly improve the plants through more informed selective breeding. ... > full story

Making an explosive double date with Russian volcanoes (August 30, 2010) -- Two French scientists are traveling to one of the remotest places on Earth, the Kamchatka peninsula, to piece together the complex life story of two volcanoes. Kamchatka is a unique site for studying how volcanic cycles shaped the landscape of the early Earth. ... > full story

Tiny gulf sea creature could shed light on oil spill’s impact (August 28, 2010) -- A molecular biologist will soon bring dozens of tiny, transparent animals that live in Gulf Coast waters back to his campus laboratory as part of an effort to better understand the oil spill's long-term impact on the coastal environment and creatures living there. ... > full story

Exposure to low doses of BPA alters gene expression in the fetal mouse ovary (August 28, 2010) -- A new study finds that exposure of pregnant female mice to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A may produce adverse reproductive consequences on gene expression in fetal ovaries as early as 12 hours after the mother has first been exposed to the chemical. ... > full story

Secrets of the gecko foot help robot climb (August 28, 2010) -- The science behind gecko toes holds the answer to a dry adhesive that provides an ideal grip for robot feet. A mechanical engineer is using the new material, based on the structure of a gecko foot, to keep his robots climbing. ... > full story

Bacteria make thrift a habit, researchers find (August 28, 2010) -- In these lean times, smart consumers refuse to pay a lot for throwaway items, but will shell out a little more for products that can be used again and again. The same is true of bacteria and other microbes, researchers have learned. ... > full story

Fertilizer chemicals linked to animal developmental woes (August 28, 2010) -- Fertilizer chemicals may pose a bigger hazard to the environment -- specifically to creatures that live in water -- than originally foreseen, according to new research. Toxicologists show that water fleas take up nitrates and nitrites -- common chemicals used primarily in agriculture as fertilizers -- and convert those chemicals into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide can be toxic to many organisms. ... > full story

Ugly Betty forced to aim for Average Joe, house sparrow study finds (August 28, 2010) -- Less-pretty female house sparrows tend to lower their aim when selecting a mate. Addressing the lack of studies on condition-dependency of female mate choice, evolutionary biologists found that female sparrows of a low quality prefer males of an equally low quality. ... > full story

Scientists unveil structure of adenovirus, the largest high-resolution complex ever found (August 28, 2010) -- After more than a decade of research, scientists have pieced together the structure of a human adenovirus -- the largest complex ever determined at atomic resolution. ... > full story

Ant colonies shed light on metabolism (August 28, 2010) -- Ants are usually regarded as the unwanted guests at a picnic. But a recent study of California seed harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex californicus) examining their metabolic rate in relation to colony size may lead to a better appreciation for the social, six-legged insects, whose colonies researchers say provide a theoretical framework for understanding cellular networks. ... > full story

Genetic test finds healthiest fish for breeding (August 28, 2010) -- A Norwegian company has developed a new genetic test that quickly determines which salmon have the highest resistance to the IPN virus. The recently launched commercial product could mean a breakthrough in the battle against this costly disease. ... > full story

Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants (August 27, 2010) -- Health conscious consumers who hesitate at the price of fresh blueberries and blackberries, fruits renowned for high levels of healthful antioxidants, now have an economical alternative. It is black rice, one variety of which got the moniker "forbidden rice" in ancient China because nobles commandeered every grain for themselves and forbade the common people from eating it. ... > full story

Shrinking atmospheric layer linked to low levels of solar radiation (August 27, 2010) -- Scientists link a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun's ultraviolet radiation levels. ... > full story

Lethal backfire: Green odor with fatal consequences for voracious caterpillars (August 27, 2010) -- During field studies, scientists discovered that the oral secretions of tobacco hornworm larvae contain a particular substance that promptly alters a green leaf volatile in tobacco leaves into an odor attractant signal. With this signal, called (E)-2-hexenal, they unintentionally lure their own enemies: carnivorous bugs. These bugs start their piercing attacks not only against freshly hatched caterpillar babies; they also devour eggs laid by the female moths. ... > full story

Wheat's genetic code cracked: Draft sequence coverage of genome to aid global food shortage (August 27, 2010) -- A team of UK researchers has publicly released the first sequence coverage of the wheat genome. The release is a step towards a fully annotated genome and makes a significant contribution to efforts to support global food security. ... > full story

Frog skin may provide 'kiss of death' for antibiotic-resistant germs (August 27, 2010) -- Kissing a frog won't turn it into a prince -- except in fairy-tales -- but frogs may be hopping toward a real-world transformation into princely allies in humanity's battle with antibiotic-resistant infections that threaten millions of people. Scientists reported that frog skin contains substances that could be the basis for a new genre of antibiotics. ... > full story

Mayan water reservoir in Mexican rainforest: Archaeologists find huge artificial lake with ceramic-lined floor (August 27, 2010) -- Archaeologists have found an almost seven-foot-deep water reservoir the size of a soccer field, whose floor is lined with ceramic shards, in the Mexican rainforest. It seems that in combination with the limestone on top, the shards were supposed to seal the artificial lake. The system was built about 1,500 years ago. It is the first example of this design found for the Maya. It is not yet known whether the reservoir's entire floor is tiled. ... > full story

Neuron-damaging mechanism discovered in mouse model of inherited ALS (August 27, 2010) -- New research uncovers what may be a primary neuron-damaging insult that occurs in an inherited form of a devastating neurodegenerative disorder. The study describes a critical mechanistic link between a mutant protein and disease pathogenesis in an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ... > full story

On organic coffee farm, complex interactions keep pests under control (August 27, 2010) -- Proponents of organic farming often speak of nature's balance in ways that sound almost spiritual, prompting criticism that their views are unscientific and naive. At the other end of the spectrum are those who see farms as battlefields where insect pests and plant diseases must be vanquished with the magic bullets of modern agriculture: pesticides, fungicides and the like. ... > full story

Artificial enzyme removes natural poison (August 27, 2010) -- For the first time ever, a completely artificial chemical enzyme has been successfully used to neutralize a toxin found naturally in fruits and vegetables. This is the first evidence that it's possible to design artificial enzymes for this class of task, and might result in a completely new way of designing drug-targets. ... > full story

Genomes of two ant species sequenced: Clues to their extraordinary social behavior (August 27, 2010) -- Scientists have finally sequenced the entire genome of an ant, actually two very different species of ant, and the insights gleaned from their genetic blueprints are already yielding tantalizing clues to the extraordinary social behavior of ants. ... > full story

Light, circadian rhythms affect vast range of physiological, behavioral functions (August 27, 2010) -- A new study of the genetic basis of circadian rhythms -- the biological responses related to daily light exposure -- has found that a few minutes of light exposure in a fungus directly affects a huge range of its biological functions, everything from reproduction to coloring and DNA repair. ... > full story

Vitamin A increases the presence of HIV in breast milk, studies suggest (August 27, 2010) -- Vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements are unsafe for HIV-positive women who breastfeed because they may boost the excretion of HIV in breast milk -- thereby increasing the chances of transmitting the infection to the child, a pair of new studies suggest. ... > full story

Scientists concerned about environmental impact of recycling of e-waste (August 27, 2010) -- Much of the world's electronic waste is being shipped to China for recycling and the cottage industry that has sprung up there to recover usable materials from computers, cell phones, televisions and other goods may be creating significant health and environmental hazards. ... > full story

El Niños are growing stronger, NASA/NOAA study finds (August 27, 2010) -- A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA. The research may improve our understanding of the relationship between El Niños and climate change, and has potentially significant implications for long-term weather forecasting. ... > full story

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish genomes reveals diversity, history (August 27, 2010) -- Through genomic analysis, researchers have shown that the Ashkenazi Jewish population is genetically more diverse than people of European descent, despite previous assumptions that Ashkenazi Jews have been an isolated population. In addition, analyses of disease-related genes of higher prevalence in the Ashkenazi Jewish population indicate that only a minority of traits show signs of positive selection, suggesting that most have arisen through random genetic drift. ... > full story

Novel mechanism protects plants against freezing; Insights could add to understanding of drought tolerance also (August 27, 2010) -- New nesearch helps explain how plants protect themselves from freezing temperatures and could lead to discoveries related to plant tolerance for drought and other extreme conditions. ... > full story

Macrophages: The 'defense' cells that help throughout the body (August 27, 2010) -- The term "macrophage" conjures images of a hungry white blood cell gobbling invading bacteria. However, macrophages do much more than that: Not only do they act as antimicrobial warriors, they also play critical roles in immune regulation and wound-healing. They can respond to a variety of cellular signals and change their physiology in response to local cues. ... > full story

Genetic rarity found: A mutation that restores health (August 27, 2010) -- Errors in the copying of genes during cell division can cause numerous diseases, including cancer. Scientists, however, have unraveled the secrets of a much more rare phenomenon with potential therapeutic implications -- disease-causing genes that show a high frequency of self-repair. ... > full story

First 3-D atomic view of key genetic processes (August 27, 2010) -- Scientists have created the first 3-D picture of genetic processes that happen inside every cell of our bodies. The picture is the first-ever image of a protein interacting with DNA in its tightly packed "nucleosome" form. The research, which reveals new information about genetic processes, is expected to aid future investigations into diseases such as cancer. ... > full story

Acidity regulates cell membrane synthesis (August 27, 2010) -- Acidity (pH) in cells of baker's yeast regulate the synthesis of cell membranes by controlling the production of enzymes that synthesize membranes. The elucidated mechanism is so simple and universal that it is highly likely that it determines many cellular processes in all forms of life. ... > full story

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