Senin, 11 Oktober 2010

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Monday, October 11, 2010

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Tsunami risk higher in Los Angeles, other major cities than thought, Haiti study suggests (October 11, 2010) -- Geologists studying the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake say the risk of destructive tsunamis is higher than expected in places such as Kingston, Istanbul, and Los Angeles. This latest research suggests even a moderate earthquake on a strike-slip fault can generate tsunamis through submarine landslides, raising the overall tsunami risk in these places. ... > full story

Fragrance exposure: New discovery on the causes of contact allergy (October 11, 2010) -- The fragrances used in many household and skincare products can cause contact allergy when exposed to oxygen in the air, new research from Sweden reveals. ... > full story

Intracellular express: Why transport protein molecules have brakes (October 11, 2010) -- Through single-molecule biomechanical experiments, researchers have revealed in unprecedented detail how an intracellular express delivery service works, and why it is so efficient. With tools including optical tweezers, they manipulated a special type of kinesins, transport proteins that "walk" along intracellular fibers carrying vital substances. They found that of the molecule's two "legs" -- made of two different protein chains -- one puts the brakes on its uninhibited partner when there's no cargo attached. ... > full story

Cell survival protein discovery rewrites immune system story (October 10, 2010) -- A discovery by researchers in Australia is set to rewrite a long-held belief about how the body's immune system establishes its memory. ... > full story

Deceitful lily fools flies: Solomon's lily imitates a yeasty odor to lure vinegar flies into a trap (October 10, 2010) -- Scientists in Germany have solved a case of fraud that has been pending for 40 million years. Arum palaestinum, called the Solomon's lily, attracts vinegar flies as pollinators by emitting odor molecules that resemble those produced during alcoholic fermentation of rotting fruit initiated by yeast. The plant accomplishes the illusion of yeast by producing specific chemicals that create the impression of fermentation in the fly brain. ... > full story

Environmental changes to blame for drop in yield of 'miracle rice' (October 10, 2010) -- Environmental changes are to blame for a 15 percent drop in the yield of "miracle rice" -- also known as rice variety IR8 -- since the 1960s when it was first released and lauded for its superior yields that helped avert famine across Asia at the time. ... > full story

Turtle, dugongs 'at risk under climate change' (October 10, 2010) -- The "turtle and dugong capital of the world", the northern Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait region, faces increased pressure under climate change from human actions such as fishing, hunting, onshore development and pollution. ... > full story

Bee colony collapse associated with viral, fungal infection, biologist says (October 10, 2010) -- The sudden death of bee colonies since late 2006 across North America has stumped scientists. But today, researchers may have a greater understanding of the mysterious colony collapse disorder. ... > full story

New bacterial foe in cystic fibrosis identified (October 10, 2010) -- Exacerbations in cystic fibrosis, or CF, may be linked to chronic infection with a bacterium called Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, which was previously thought to simply colonize the CF lung. The finding that chronic infection with S. maltophilia is independently linked with an increased risk of exacerbations gives clinicians and researchers a new potential measure of the health status of CF patients, as well as a new potential target in fighting their disease. ... > full story

Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate (October 10, 2010) -- A billion people living in underdeveloped areas around the world are infected with parasitic helminthes, worms that survive by residing in and feeding on their hosts. Biomedical researchers are investigating illnesses caused by these gut-dwelling worms in an effort to decipher how immune cells send and receive signals that determine the specific immune response to mount. ... > full story

New deep-sea hot springs discovered in Atlantic: Hydrothermal vents may contribute more to oceans' thermal budget (October 9, 2010) -- Hydrothermal vents may contribute more to the thermal budget of the oceans than previously assumed. Scientists on board the German research vessel Meteor have discovered a new hydrothermal vent 500 kilometres south-west of the Azores. ... > full story

Plants kick-started evolutionary drama of Earth's oxygenation (October 9, 2010) -- Scientists have taken a significant step toward unlocking the secrets of oxygenation of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. The new research indicates that the appearance of large predatory fish as well as vascular plants approximately 400 million years ago coincided with an increase in oxygen, to levels comparable to those we experience today. If so, then animals from before that time appeared and evolved under markedly lower oxygen conditions than previously thought. ... > full story

Vaccinations should continue as influenza pandemics epidemics wane, experts urge (October 9, 2010) -- Influenza pandemics often come in multiple waves. As the one wave subsides, public health officials have to decide whether continuing vaccination programs is warranted to prevent or reduce a subsequent wave. Researchers now report on a new computer model that can be used to predict both subsequent-wave mechanisms and vaccination effectiveness. They conclude that additional waves in an epidemic can be mitigated by vaccination even when an epidemic appears to be waning. ... > full story

Haze on Saturn's moon Titan may hold ingredients for life (October 8, 2010) -- Simulating possible chemical processes in the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, a planetary research team found amino acids and nucleotide bases in the mix -- the most important ingredients of life on Earth. ... > full story

Killer disease decimates UK frog populations (October 8, 2010) -- Common frog (Rana temporaria) populations across the UK are suffering dramatic population crashes due to infection from the emerging disease Ranavirus, new research reveals. ... > full story

Measurements of CO<sub>2</sub> and CO in China's air indicate sharply improved combustion efficiency (October 8, 2010) -- A collaborative, six-year study of carbon dioxide levels in Beijing and surrounding provinces suggests that combustion efficiency, a component of overall energy efficiency, is improving in the region. The findings are generally consistent with official Chinese government statistics and could bolster their credibility as international negotiations proceed on commitments of China and other nations to combat climate change. ... > full story

Yersinia pestis bacteria confirmed as cause of Middle Ages 'Black Death' plague epidemic (October 8, 2010) -- The latest tests conducted by anthropologists in Germany have proven that the bacteria Yersinia pestis was indeed the causative agent behind the "Black Death" that raged across Europe in the Middle Ages. ... > full story

Scientists trick bacteria into embedding small molecules in cell wall (October 8, 2010) -- Scientists have engineered the cell wall of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, tricking it into incorporating foreign small molecules and embedding them within the cell wall. The discovery represents the first time scientists have engineered the cell wall of a "Gram-positive" bacteria, and could pave the way for new methods of combating the bacteria responsible for many of the most infectious diseases. ... > full story

Bacteria can stand-up and 'walk' (October 8, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered that bacteria are capable of "standing up" and moving while vertical. Apart from being an extraordinary insight into the behavior of bacteria, the findings have important biomedical implications. ... > full story

How bacteria become resistant to antibiotics (October 8, 2010) -- New research suggests that bacteria are remarkably resilient to toxic substances, such as antibiotics, because bacteria have the innate ability to produce a large variety of proteins. Those proteins then are able to do things such as pump toxins out or alter toxins so that they can no longer kill the bacteria. ... > full story

Female fish flaunt fins to attract a mate (October 8, 2010) -- For the first time, biologists have described the evolution of the size of a female trait which males use to choose a partner. The research shows that male cichlid fish prefer females with a larger pelvic fin and that this drives females to grow fins out of proportion with their body size. ... > full story

Chemists simplify biodiesel conversion (October 8, 2010) -- Chemists have streamlined the conversion of waste vegetable oil into biodiesel, eliminating the need for corrosive chemicals to perform the reactions. The researchers were able to pull off the waste vegetable oil-to-biodiesel conversion in a single reaction vessel using environmentally friendly catalysts and making the conversion six times faster than current methods. ... > full story

Transgenic corn suppresses European corn borer, saves farmers billions (October 8, 2010) -- Transgenic corn's suppression of the European corn borer has saved Midwest farmers billions of dollars in the past decade, reports a new study in Science. ... > full story

Can you analyze me now? Cell phones bring spectroscopy to the classroom (October 8, 2010) -- A chemistry professor has developed a method using a few basic, inexpensive supplies and a cell phone camera to build a spectrometer, an important analytical chemistry instrument, for high school classes. Students can see its workings and play with its components, encouraging critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. ... > full story

Family ties bind desert lizards in social groups (October 8, 2010) -- Researchers have found that a species of lizard in the Mojave Desert lives in family groups and shows patterns of social behavior more commonly associated with mammals and birds. Their investigation of the formation and stability of family groups in desert night lizards provides new insights into the evolution of cooperative behavior. ... > full story

Researchers find no visible oil sands off Florida Panhandle, Alabama beaches (October 8, 2010) -- A team of researchers studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on northern Gulf of Mexico beaches say areas just offshore from some of Florida's most heavily oiled beaches appear to be free of visible oil contamination in the sediments. ... > full story

Elusive intermediary: Newly discovered protein may help improve crop yields, solar cells (October 8, 2010) -- Plants use specialized protein complexes to collect the light that drives photosynthesis. Researchers in Germany have now identified a protein that is necessary for the assembly of one such complex. The discovery could lead to improved crop yields and might even form the basis for new types of solar cells. ... > full story

Too much of a good thing: Human activities overload ecosystems with nitrogen (October 8, 2010) -- Humans are overloading ecosystems with nitrogen through the burning of fossil fuels and an increase in nitrogen-producing industrial and agricultural activities, according to a new study. While nitrogen is an element that is essential to life, it is an environmental scourge at high levels. ... > full story

New tool in the fight against tuberculosis: Algorithm enables cell-scale simulations (October 8, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a way to harness prodigious quantities of genomic and metabolic data by developing an algorithm that automatically integrates both data sets. The model, called probabilistic regulation of metabolism, enables researchers to perturb a regulatory gene or metabolic process and see how that affects the entire network. Although the researchers studied tuberculosis, the method holds promise for reconstructing network models for any organism with appropriate genomic data. ... > full story

Novel reference material to standardize gene therapy applications (October 8, 2010) -- The introduction of a new, fully characterized viral vector for use as reference material to help standardize gene therapy protocols in research applications and human clinical trials is described in a new article. ... > full story

Structure of plastic solar cells impedes their efficiency (October 8, 2010) -- Scientists have found that the low rate of energy conversion in all-polymer solar-cell technology is caused by the structure of the solar cells themselves. ... > full story

Virtual research institute needed to unlock RNA’s promise, say scientists (October 8, 2010) -- A Europe-wide network of labs focusing on RNA research is needed to make the most of RNA's high potential for treating a wide range of diseases. The recommendation for this virtual research institute comes from a panel of biologists at the European Science Foundation in a new report. ... > full story

Shift work and cancer: Evidence and research challenges (October 8, 2010) -- Shift work can cause cancer, recent studies suggest. In a new review article, researchers describe the current state of knowledge in this area and point out the challenges lying ahead. ... > full story

Volcanoes wiped out Neanderthals, new study suggests (October 7, 2010) -- New research suggests that climate change following massive volcanic eruptions drove Neanderthals to extinction and cleared the way for modern humans to thrive in Europe and Asia. ... > full story

Bacteria to blame in asthma attacks in children, research suggests (October 7, 2010) -- Doctors have long known that viral infections can bring about asthma attacks and the shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing associated with them. But while viral infections cannot be treated, scientists have discovered that treatable bacterial infections can also cause asthma attacks. The discovery could revolutionize treatment. ... > full story

Research identifies the herbal supplements that are effective in treating anxiety (October 7, 2010) -- A systematic review of research into the use of nutritional supplements for the treatment of anxiety disorders has found strong evidence for the use of extracts of passionflower or kava and combinations of L-lysine and L-arginine. Researcherspooled the results of 24 studies involving a total of more than 2000 participants, showing that some nutritional and herbal supplements can be effective, without the risk of serious side effects. ... > full story

Norwegian researchers at forefront of oil spill modelling after Deepwater Horizon accident (October 7, 2010) -- What has happened to the 4.9. million barrels of crude oil that were discharged in the Deepwater Horizon accident? Has it dissolved in the water masses? Has it accumulated in the ocean depths? Among those seeking answers are Norwegian researchers at the forefront of modelling oil behaviour in water masses. One commonly used tactic for managing spilled oil is to apply large amounts of chemical dispersants. Norwegian researchers have provided expertise in the modelling and use of dispersants in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico accident. ... > full story

Crop failures set to increase under climate change (October 7, 2010) -- Large-scale crop failures like the one that caused the recent Russian wheat crisis are likely to become more common under climate change due to an increased frequency of extreme weather events, a new study shows. ... > full story

Bacteria keep tabs on state of oil field (October 7, 2010) -- The ups and downs of the bacteria in an oil field provide a useful source of information for keeping tabs on the state of the oil field itself. In theory, this process known as 'biomonitoring' can increase the yield from an oil field. ... > full story

Rare Japanese plant has largest genome known to science (October 7, 2010) -- Scientists have discovered that Paris japonica, a striking rare native of Japan, has the largest genome of them all -- bigger than the human genome and even larger than the previous record holder -- the marbled lungfish. ... > full story

Air pollution linked to breast cancer, study suggests (October 7, 2010) -- Air pollution has already been linked to a range of health problems. Now, a ground-breaking new study suggests pollution from traffic may put women at risk for another deadly disease. The study links the risk of breast cancer -- the second leading cause of death from cancer in women -- to traffic-related air pollution. ... > full story

Vultures use face flushing technique for instant status updates (October 7, 2010) -- Tech savvy humans who use social media sites to instantly update their "statuses" may be behaving like vultures who use "face flushing" as a visible way of instantly updating their own status when interacting with peers and rivals. Research reveals how the ability to rapidly change skin color is a key form of interaction for vultures, especially for displays of dominance. ... > full story

Number of synapses shown to vary between night and day, zebrafish study finds (October 7, 2010) -- With the help of tiny, see-through fish, researchers are homing in on what happens in the brain while you sleep. In a new study, they show how the circadian clock and sleep affect the scope of neuron-to-neuron connections in a particular region of the brain, and they identified a gene that appears to regulate the number of these connections, called synapses. ... > full story

Fish near coal-fired power plants have lower levels of mercury (October 7, 2010) -- Fish located near coal-fired power plants have lower levels of mercury than fish that live much further away. The surprising finding appears to be linked to high levels of another chemical, selenium, found near such facilities, which unfortunately poses problems of its own. ... > full story

Greatest warming is in the north, but biggest impact on life is in the tropics, new research shows (October 7, 2010) -- New research adds to growing evidence that, even though the temperature increase associated with a warming climate has been smaller in the tropics, the impact of warming on life could be much greater there than in colder climates. ... > full story

Volcano fuels massive phytoplankton bloom (October 7, 2010) -- New study shows that 2008 volcano in North Pacific fueled largest phytoplankton bloom in the region since satellite measurements began in 1997. This study has important implications for proposals to seed the oceans with iron to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. ... > full story

Nature’s sights and sounds -- but not cityscapes and noise -- ease spinal pain during bone marrow extractions (October 7, 2010) -- As the song says, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and now researchers have found that the sights and sounds of chirping birds, ribbiting frogs and water trickling downstream can ease the substantial pain of bone marrow extraction in one of five people who must endure it. ... > full story

Long-extinct passenger pigeon finds a place in the family tree (October 7, 2010) -- With bits of DNA extracted from century-old museum specimens, researchers have found a place for the extinct passenger pigeon in the family tree of pigeons and doves, identifying for the first time this unique bird's closest living avian relatives. ... > full story

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