Minggu, 23 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Sunday, January 23, 2011

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Cracking a tooth: 3-D map of atoms sheds light on nanoscale interfaces in teeth, may aid materials design (January 22, 2011) -- Using a highly sophisticated atomic-scale imaging tool on a sea creature's tooth, two researchers have peeled away some of the mystery of organic/inorganic interfaces that are at the heart of tooth and bone structure. They are the first to produce a three-dimensional map of the location and identity of millions of individual atoms in the complex hybrid material that allows the animal to literally chew rock. ... > full story

Defense mechanism against bacteria and fungi deciphered (January 22, 2011) -- To defend microbial attacks, the human body naturally produces a group of antibiotics, called defensins. An interdisciplinary team of biochemists and medical scientists has now deciphered the mechanism of action of a defensin, hitherto looked upon as exhibiting only minor activity. Their results might be useful in future drug development for inflammatory and infectious diseases. Nature now presents their findings online ahead of the print publication. ... > full story

Islands in the sky: How isolated are mountain top plant populations? (January 22, 2011) -- Do mountain tops act as sky islands for species that live at high elevations? Are plant populations on these mountain tops isolated from one another because the valleys between them act as barriers, or can pollinators act as bridges allowing genes to flow among distant populations? ... > full story

Montrealers are feeding fish Prozac; Research shows influence on brain activity while long-term consequences are unclear (January 22, 2011) -- Around one in four Montrealers take some kind of anti-depressant, and according to new research, the drugs are passing into the waterways and affecting fish. The findings are internationally significant as the city's sewage treatment system is similar to that in use in other major cities. ... > full story

With cloud computing, the mathematics of evolution may get easier to learn (January 22, 2011) -- An innovative, educational computing platform hosted by the cloud (remote, high-capacity, scalable servers) is helping university students understand parts of evolutionary biology on an entirely new level. Soon, high-school and middle-school students will benefit from the same tool as well. ... > full story

HEPA filters reduce cardiovascular health risks associated with air pollution, study finds (January 21, 2011) -- Using inexpensive air filters may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk that results from exposure to air pollution, according to researchers from Canada, who studied healthy adults living in a small community in British Columbia where wood burning stoves are the main sources of pollution. The researchers found that high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters reduced the amount of airborne particulate matter, resulting in improved blood vessel health and reductions in blood markers that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. ... > full story

New melt record for Greenland ice sheet; 'Exceptional' season stretched up to 50 days longer than average (January 21, 2011) -- New research shows that 2010 set new records for the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, expected to be a major contributor to projected sea level rises in coming decades. ... > full story

Remarkable preservation of African fossils explained (January 21, 2011) -- The mystery of how an abundance of fossils have been marvelously preserved for nearly half a billion years in a remote region of Africa has been solved by a team of geologists. ... > full story

Genetic variety of virus causing AIDS as a time indicator (January 21, 2011) -- Researchers in Switzerland have identified a simple method to establish when a patient contracted the virus causing AIDS. The time of infection can be of importance for the treatment of the illness and it contributes to the understanding of the course of the epidemic. ... > full story

Stretching the truth: Biophysicists help unravel DNA stretching mystery (January 21, 2011) -- Using a new experimental test structure, biophysicists have unraveled part of a 15-year mystery in the mechanics of DNA -- just how the molecule manages to suddenly extend to almost twice its normal length. ... > full story

Plants moved downhill, not up, in warming world (January 21, 2011) -- Scientists now challenge a widely held assumption that plants will move uphill in response to warmer temperatures. Many forecasts say climate change will cause a number of plants and animals to migrate to new ranges or become extinct. That research has largely been based on the assumption that temperature is the dominant driver of species distributions. However, new research reveals that other factors, such as precipitation, may be more important than temperature in defining the habitable range of these species. ... > full story

NASA prepares to launch next Earth-observing satellite mission (January 21, 2011) -- NASA's newest Earth-observing research mission is nearing launch. The Glory mission will improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate. Glory also will extend a legacy of long-term solar measurements needed to address key uncertainties about climate change. ... > full story

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