Rabu, 02 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Wednesday, February 2, 2011

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Arctic mercury mystery: Meterological conditions in the spring and summer to blame? (February 2, 2011) -- More mercury is deposited in the Arctic than anywhere else on the planet. Researchers think one explanation for this may lie in the meteorological conditions in the Arctic spring and summer. ... > full story

Monster cyclone Yasi eyes Australia in NASA image (February 2, 2011) -- Mass evacuations are underway in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland in anticipation of what forecasters expect will be the largest cyclone ever to hit the continent. ... > full story

Do chimpanzees mourn their dead infants? (February 2, 2011) -- For the first time, researchers report in detail how a chimpanzee mother responds to the death of her infant. The chimpanzee mother shows behaviors not typically seen directed toward live infants, such as placing her fingers against the neck and laying the infant's body on the ground to watch it from a distance. The observations provide unique insights into how chimpanzees, one of humans' closest primate relatives, learn about death. ... > full story

NASA satellite tracks menacing Australian cyclone (February 1, 2011) -- Fresh on the heels of a series of crippling floods that began in December 2010, and a small tropical cyclone, Anthony, this past weekend, the northeastern Australian state of Queensland is now bracing for what could become one of the largest tropical cyclones the state has ever seen. ... > full story

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in children and insecticide-treated bednets reduce prevalence of infection by up to 85 percent (February 1, 2011) -- Two separate studies -- carried out in Burkina Faso and Mali -- have found that combining intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in children with insecticide-treated bednets can substantially reduce the incidence of severe malaria. ... > full story

Technology protects cotton from caterpillar's appetite (February 1, 2011) -- To demonstrate tiny cotton-eating caterpillars' destructive power, entomologists planted two cotton varieties -- one genetically modified to provide protection and one not -- in a demonstration field. ... > full story

Bacteria in the gut may influence brain development (February 1, 2011) -- Scientists have found that gut bacteria may influence mammalian brain development and adult behavior. ... > full story

Biologists discover 'control center' for sperm production (February 1, 2011) -- Biologists have published results of a new study into the intricacies of sex in flowering plants. They have found that a gene in plants, called DUO1, acts as a master switch to ensure twin fertile sperm cells are made in each pollen grain. ... > full story

NASA satellites capture data on monster winter storm affecting 30 U.S. states (February 1, 2011) -- One of the largest winter storms since the 1950s is affecting 30 U.S. states with snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. NASA satellites have gathering data on the storm that stretches from Texas and the Rockies to the New England states. ... > full story

Seeking social genes: Researchers compare insect genomes to hone in on genes associated with complex social structure (February 1, 2011) -- In order understand the evolution of complex societies, researchers are sequencing the genomes of social insects. The most recent data come from several species of ants, including the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. ... > full story

Where has all the Gulf spill oil gone? (February 1, 2011) -- Many questions remain about the fate and environmental impact of the marine oil caused by the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform. ... > full story

Cluster encounters 'natural particle accelerator' above Earth's atmosphere: How northern and southern lights are generated (February 1, 2011) -- The European Space Agency's Cluster satellites have flown through a natural particle accelerator just above Earth's atmosphere. The data they collected are unlocking how most of the dramatic displays of the northern and southern lights are generated. ... > full story

Clean streets and intact road surfaces help to keep the air clean (February 1, 2011) -- Road traffic is one of the main sources of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, above all when the weather situation favors the creation of winter smog. Vehicle tailpipe emissions are responsible for just less than half of the fine particles, however. The majority of this pollutant is produced by mechanical wear and resuspension of dust due to air turbulence from passing vehicles, as a study by atmospheric scientists has shown. ... > full story

Newly discovered dinosaur likely father of Triceratops (February 1, 2011) -- Triceratops and Torosaurus have long been considered the kings of the horned dinosaurs. But a new discovery traces the giants' family tree further back in time, when a newly discovered species called Titanoceratops appears to have reigned long before its more well-known descendants, making it the earliest known member of its family. ... > full story

New probiotic combats inflammatory bowel disease (February 1, 2011) -- You know the probiotics in your peach yogurt are healthful, but now it appears they may also be a powerful treatment for disease. A genetically tweaked version of a common probiotic in yogurt and cheese appears to be an effective therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Researchers found the novel probiotic significantly halted disease progression in a preclinical study. It may also be useful in treating colon cancer, researchers suggest. ... > full story

Dogs can accurately sniff out early stage bowel cancer (February 1, 2011) -- Dogs can sniff out bowel cancer in breath and stool samples, with a very high degree of accuracy -- even in the early stages of the disease -- reveals new research. ... > full story

Argentine ant genome sheds light on a successful pest (February 1, 2011) -- Researchers have unlocked the genetic code of the highly invasive Argentine ant, providing clues as to why this species has been so successful. ... > full story

Bugs might convert biodiesel waste into new fuel (February 1, 2011) -- A strain of bacteria found in soil is being studied for its ability to convert waste from a promising alternative fuel into several useful materials, including another alternative fuel. ... > full story

Explosive- and drug-sniffing dog performance is affected by their handlers' beliefs (February 1, 2011) -- Drug- and explosives-sniffing dog/handler teams' performance is affected by human handlers' beliefs, possibly in response to subtle, unintentional handler cues, a new study has found. The study found that detection-dog/handler teams erroneously "alerted," or identified a scent, when there was no scent present more than 200 times -- particularly when the handler believed that there was scent present. ... > full story

Low-energy remediation with patented microbes: Naturally occurring microbes break down chlorinated solvents (February 1, 2011) -- Scientists have patented a consortium of microbes that have an appetite for chlorinated volatile organic compounds, similar to dry-cleaning fluid. ... > full story

Go green to give a boost to employee morale (February 1, 2011) -- In a global recession, most people are thankful to have a job, but a new study suggests that employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs if they are working for a company that is perceived to be "green." The financial performance of companies fails to correlate with employee happiness. ... > full story

New quartet of ant genomes sequenced (February 1, 2011) -- Ants are dominant members of almost all terrestrial ecosystems; they are master architects, voracious predators, farmers, ranchers, scavengers and come in a fantastic array of shapes, sizes and colors. Almost all humans have come into contact with ants in one fashion or another. There are fire ants in back yards, Argentine ants in kitchens, harvester ants in children's ant farms, and trains of leaf-cutter ants dismantling forests in documentaries. Ants originated more than 100 million years ago, their ecological dominance and evolutionary success, complex societies, variation in form and function, and the diverse roles they play in ecosystems, collectively contribute to the scientific rationale behind scientists' efforts to sequence their genomes. ... > full story

New appreciation of the ecology-evolution dynamic (January 31, 2011) -- Ecology drives evolution. Scientists now describe a growing evidence that the reverse is also true, and explores what that might mean to our understanding of how environmental change affects species and vice-versa. ... > full story

Secrets in stone: Rare archaeological find in Norway (January 31, 2011) -- It looked to be a routine excavation of what was thought to be a burial mound. But beneath the mound, archaeologists from Norway found something more: unusual Bronze Age petroglyphs. ... > full story

Plants can adapt genetically to survive harsh environments (January 31, 2011) -- Scientist have found genetic evidence of how some plants adapt to live in unfavorable conditions, a finding he believes could one day be used to help food crops survive in new or changing environments. ... > full story

New African wolf discovered (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists studying genetic evidence have discovered a new species of wolf living in Africa. The researchers have proved that the mysterious animal, known as the 'Egyptian jackal' and often confused with the golden jackal, is not a sub-species of jackal but a gray wolf. ... > full story

Plankton inspires creation of stealth armor for slow-release microscopic drug vehicles (January 31, 2011) -- The ability of some plankton and bacteria to build an extra natural layer of nanoparticle-like armor has inspired chemists to devise a startlingly simple way to give drug bearing polymer vesicles (microscopic polymer based sacs of liquid) their own armored protection, and in some cases provide "stealth" capabilities which can avoid the body's defenses while releasing the drug. ... > full story

Young rats given polyphenols show less endothelial function deterioration with aging (January 31, 2011) -- A new study examined whether intake of red wine polyphenols, a rich source of natural antioxidants, prevents aging-related impairment of vascular function and physical exercise capacity. ... > full story

Surf's up: New research provides precise way to monitor ocean wave behavior, shore impacts (January 31, 2011) -- Engineers have created a new type of "stereo vision" to use in studying ocean waves as they pound against the shore, providing a better way to understand and monitor this violent, ever-changing environment. ... > full story

Mussel power: Universal solvent no match for new self-healing sticky gel (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists can now manufacture a synthetic version of the self-healing sticky substance that mussels use to anchor themselves to rocks in pounding ocean surf and surging tidal basins. Potential applications include use as an adhesive or coating for underwater machinery or in biomedical settings as a surgical adhesive or bonding agent for implants. ... > full story

War, plague no match for deforestation in driving CO<sub>2</sub> buildup (January 31, 2011) -- Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today's annual demand for gasoline. The Black Death, on the other hand, came and went too quickly for it to cause much of a blip in the global carbon budget. Dwarfing both of these events, however, has been the historical trend towards increasing deforestation as crop and pasture lands expanded to feed growing human populations. ... > full story

Shape-shifting sugars pinned down (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists have solved a 50-year-old puzzle about how, why or indeed if, sugar molecules change their shape. ... > full story

Antibiotic offers potential for anti-cancer activity (January 31, 2011) -- An antibiotic known for its immunosuppressive functions could also point the way to the development of new anti-cancer agents. ... > full story

Nerve cell molecule has antidepressant effect; animal study may lead to more effective treatments for depression (January 31, 2011) -- Mice that lack a molecule involved in regulating nerve cell signaling are more active and resilient to stressful situations, a new study shows. Mice lacking the molecule -- known as Cdk5 -- exhibited the same behaviors seen in mice given antidepressant drugs. ... > full story

Sprouts? Supplements? Team them up to boost broccoli's cancer-fighting power (January 31, 2011) -- A new study provides convincing evidence that the way you prepare and consume your broccoli matters, and also suggests that teaming broccoli with broccoli sprouts may make the vegetable's anti-cancer effect almost twice as powerful. ... > full story

Stem cell marker regulates synapse formation (January 31, 2011) -- Among stem cell biologists there are few better-known proteins than nestin, whose very presence in an immature cell identifies it as a "stem cell," such as a neural stem cell. As helpful as this is to researchers, until now no one knew which purpose nestin serves in a cell. ... > full story

'Old' information theory makes it easier to predict flooding (January 31, 2011) -- Many different aspects are involved in predicting high water and floods, such as the type of precipitation, wind, buildings and vegetation. The greater the number of variables included in predictive models, the better the prediction will be. However, the models will inevitably become increasingly more complex. Researchers use basic insight from the information theory (Shannon's Information Theory) to demonstrate the cohesion between this added complexity, the information from observational data and the uncertainty of predictions. ... > full story

Newly decoded ant genomes provide clues on ant social life, pest control (January 31, 2011) -- Scientists have deciphered the genomes of four new ant species, including the invasive Argentine ant -- a pest which ruins picnics, infest homes and decimates native species with its massive supercolonies. The results reveal how genetics may determine the destinies of queen and worker ants, and may enable the development of novel pest control solutions. The sequenced genomes include: the Argentine ant, red harvester ant, fire ant and leafcutter ant. ... > full story

A clearer picture of how rivers and deltas develop (January 30, 2011) -- By adding information about the subsoil to an existing sedimentation and erosion model, researchers have obtained a clearer picture of how rivers and deltas develop over time. A better understanding of the interaction between the subsoil and flow processes in a river-delta system can play a key role in civil engineering (delta management), but also in geology (especially in the work of reservoir geologists). ... > full story

Gene 'relocation' key to most evolutionary change in bacteria (January 30, 2011) -- Scientists have now shown that bacteria evolve new abilities, such as antibiotic resistance, predominantly by acquiring genes from other bacteria. The researchers new insights into the evolution of bacteria partly contradict the widely accepted theory that new biological functions in bacteria and other microbes arise primarily through the process of gene duplication within the same organism. ... > full story

Regenerative medicine advance: New 'cocktails' support long-term maintenance of human embryonic stem cells (January 30, 2011) -- A team of stem cell biologists and engineers, using a feedback system control scheme, has innovatively and efficiently identified an optimal combination and concentration of small molecule inhibitors from a very large pool of possibilities to support the long-term maintenance of human embryonic stem cells. This is a major advancement towards the quest to broadly transition regenerative medicine from the bench top to the clinic. ... > full story

Wheat resistance genes failing, new approach needed to stop flies (January 30, 2011) -- Many of the genes that allow wheat to ward off Hessian flies are no longer effective in the southeastern United States, and care should be taken to ensure that resistance genes that so far haven't been utilized in commercial wheat lines are used prudently, according to scientists. ... > full story

Cocaine production increases destruction of Colombia’s rainforests (January 29, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting new evidence that cultivating coca bushes, the source of cocaine, is speeding up destruction of rainforests in Colombia and threatening the region's "hotspots" of plant and animal diversity. The findings underscore the need for establishing larger protected areas to help preserve biodiversity. ... > full story

DNA caught rock 'n rollin': On rare occasions DNA dances itself into a different shape (January 29, 2011) -- DNA, that marvelous, twisty molecule of life, has an alter ego, research reveals. On rare occasions, its building blocks "rock and roll," deforming the familiar double helix into a different shape. ... > full story

More frequent drought likely in eastern Africa (January 29, 2011) -- The increased frequency of drought observed in eastern Africa over the last 20 years is likely to continue as long as global temperatures continue to rise, according to new research. This poses increased risk to the estimated 17.5 million people in the Greater Horn of Africa who currently face potential food shortages. ... > full story

Draft 'genetic road map' of biofuels crop (January 29, 2011) -- The first rough draft of a "genetic road map" of a biomass crop, prairie cordgrass, is giving scientists an inside look at the genes of one of the crops that may help produce the next generation of biofuels. ... > full story

Air above Dead Sea contains very high levels of oxidized mercury (January 28, 2011) -- Measurements show that the sea's salt has profound effects on the chemistry of the air above its surface. The atmosphere over the Dead Sea, researchers have found, is laden with oxidized mercury. Some of the highest levels of oxidized mercury ever observed outside the polar regions exist there. ... > full story

Cow rumen enzymes for better biofuels (January 28, 2011) -- When it comes to breaking down plant matter and converting it to energy, the cow has it all figured out. Its digestive system allows it to eat more than 150 pounds of plant matter every day. Now researchers report that they have found dozens of previously unknown microbial enzymes in the bovine rumen -- the cow's primary grass-digestion chamber -- that contribute to the breakdown of switchgrass, a renewable biofuel energy source. ... > full story

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