Selasa, 01 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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New hope for one of the world’s rarest chameleons (March 1, 2011) -- Conservationists have discovered a new population of Madagascar’s Belalanda chameleon. The discovery took place just days after the team hosted an international conference to assess the conservation status of all Madagascar’s reptiles, three of which, including the Belalanda, are already very close to extinction and have been classified as Critically Endangered. ... > full story

Increase in microearthquakes in California found after Chilean quake (March 1, 2011) -- By studying seismographs from the earthquake that hit Chile last February, Earth scientists have found a statistically significant increase of microearthquakes in central California in the first few hours after the main shock. The observation provides an additional support that seismic waves from distant earthquakes could also trigger seismic events on the other side of the Earth. ... > full story

Dry lake reveals evidence of southwestern 'megadroughts' (March 1, 2011) -- There's an old saying that if you don't like the weather in New Mexico, wait five minutes. Maybe it should be amended to 10,000 years, according to new research. Scientists report that the Southwest region of the United States undergoes "megadroughts" -- warmer, more arid periods lasting hundreds of years or longer. ... > full story

Free radicals may be good for you (March 1, 2011) -- Fear of free radicals may be exaggerated, according to new research. A new study shows that free radicals act as signal substances that cause the heart to beat with the correct force. ... > full story

Scientists track great hammerhead shark migration (February 28, 2011) -- A new study details the first scientific research to successfully track a great hammerhead shark using satellite tag technology. ... > full story

Antioxidants in pecans may contribute to heart health and disease prevention (February 28, 2011) -- New research shows that after eating pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and unhealthy oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood decreased by as much as 33 percent. ... > full story

Learning from old bones to treat modern back pain (February 28, 2011) -- The bones of people who died up to a hundred years ago are being used in the development of new treatments for chronic back pain. It is the first time old bones have been used in this way. ... > full story

Climate change causing demise of lodgepole pine in western North America (February 28, 2011) -- Lodgepole pine, a hardy tree species that can thrive in cold temperatures and plays a key role in many western ecosystems, is already shrinking in range as a result of climate change -- and may almost disappear from most of the Pacific Northwest by 2080, a new study concludes. ... > full story

Scientists generate pluripotent stem cells from horses (February 28, 2011) -- Pluripotent stem cells have now been generated from horses. The findings will help enable new stem-cell based regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine, and because horses' muscle and tendon systems are similar to our own, aid the development of preclinical models leading to human applications. ... > full story

This microbe's for you: Brewery waste becomes scientific fodder for producing liquid biofuels (February 28, 2011) -- Gaining new insight into how efficiently the microbes in large bioreactors produce methane from brewery waste, scientists hope to use their new knowledge to shape these microbial communities to produce liquid biofuels and other useful products. ... > full story

Migrating sea turtles have magnetic sense for longitude (February 28, 2011) -- From the very first moments of life, hatchling loggerhead sea turtles have an arduous task. They must embark on a transoceanic migration, swimming from the Florida coast eastward to the North Atlantic and then gradually migrating over the course of several years before returning again to North American shores. Now, researchers have figured out how the young turtles find their way. ... > full story

Drier conditions projected to accelerate dust storms in the southwest (February 28, 2011) -- Drier conditions projected to result from climate change in the Southwest will likely reduce perennial vegetation cover and result in increased dust storm activity in the future, according to a new study. ... > full story

Powerful microscope reveals chemical structure of fossils (February 28, 2011) -- Surprising new research shows that, contrary to conventional belief, remains of chitin-protein complex--structural materials containing protein and polysaccharide--are present in abundance in fossils of arthropods from the Palaeozoic era. ... > full story

Subtle shifts, not major sweeps, drove human evolution (February 28, 2011) -- The most popular model used by geneticists for the last 35 years to detect the footprints of human evolution may overlook more common subtle changes, a new study finds. A computational analysis reveals that selective sweeps may have been rare, with little influence on the history of our species. ... > full story

Collisions of protein machines cause DNA replication derailment (February 28, 2011) -- Scientists have published results that will forever change the way researchers view the interplay between gene expression, DNA replication and the prevention of DNA damage. ... > full story

Potential treatment for Chikungunya discovered (February 28, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered two new fully human monoclonal antibodies which could battle Chikungunya, a disease that currently has no available vaccine or specific treatment. ... > full story

Mystery about recognition of unfolded proteins solved: The lock shapes the key (February 28, 2011) -- Proteins normally recognize each other by their specific 3-D structure. If the key fits in the lock, a reaction can take place. However there are reactions at the onset of which the key does not really have a shape. Chemists have now shown how this might work. ... > full story

Shining a light on trypanosome reproduction (February 28, 2011) -- Compelling visual evidence of sexual reproduction in African trypanosomes, single-celled parasites that cause major human and animal diseases, has been found. ... > full story

Markedly higher vitamin D intake needed to reduce cancer risk, researchers say (February 28, 2011) -- Researchers have reported that markedly higher intake of vitamin D is needed to reach blood levels that can prevent or markedly cut the incidence of breast cancer and several other major diseases than had been originally thought. ... > full story

Meningitis: Neisseria meningitidis disseminates itself by sending out 'scouts' (February 28, 2011) -- Although, in the majority of cases, the localized presence of Neisseria meningitidis in the throat has no consequence, it can sometimes lead to meningitis or septicaemia. Scientists have recently discovered how this bacterium disseminates, leaving the throat to pass into the bloodstream. ... > full story

Turning forests into fuel: Promise and limits of biomass energy in Northeastern U.S. (February 28, 2011) -- In targeted applications, the heat generated by locally-grown biomass can reduce dependence on fossil fuels and support local economies," said Dr. Charles D. Canham, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute and co-author of the report. "But each forested landscape is different, and regional variation in forest conditions and energy infrastructure means there is no one-size-fits-all solution." ... > full story

The deterioration of Mediterranean farmland patrimony (February 28, 2011) -- The traditionally irrigated Mediterranean landscape has suffered an important loss of the cultural and ecological patrimony that it holds, especially as a result of the modernization of the traditional watering networks established throughout this countryside, according to researchers. ... > full story

PCBs may affect in vitro fertilization outcomes (February 27, 2011) -- Serum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at concentrations found in the general U.S. population are associated with the failure of fertilized embryos to implant in the uterus after in vitro fertilization (IVF). This study may help explain earlier reports of impaired reproduction and increased time to pregnancy among women exposed to PCBs. ... > full story

Bisphenol A exposures lower in Canadians compared to Americans (February 27, 2011) -- Health Canada's declaration that bisphenol A is a health hazard makes it unique in the world, but it must now follow through with legislation to protect people from exposure. That's the conclusion of a new analysis that found concentrations of bisphenol A in Canadians are lower than for Americans, although the reason for the difference is unknown. ... > full story

Scientists find gene responsible for color patterns in mice (February 27, 2011) -- Scientists are moving closer to answering some age-old questions. How did the leopard get its spots? How did the zebra get its stripes? The answer may be a gene called Agouti, which the scientists have found governs color patterns in deer mice, the most widespread mammal in North America. ... > full story

Arctic environment during an ancient bout of natural global warming (February 27, 2011) -- Scientists are unraveling the environmental changes that took place around the Arctic during an exceptional episode of ancient global warming. Around 56 million years ago there was a period of global warming called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, during which global sea surface temperatures increased by approximately 5°C. The warming of the oceans led to profound ecological changes, including the widespread extinction of many types of foraminifera, tiny single-celled organisms with distinctive shells. ... > full story

Reducing one's 'nitrogen footprint': New Web-based tool helps people make sustainable living choices (February 27, 2011) -- People who want to eat healthy and live sustainably have a new way to measure their impact on the environment: a Web-based tool that calculates an individual's "nitrogen footprint." ... > full story

Clues about grasshopper population explosions (February 27, 2011) -- Biologists are examining what can limit grasshopper populations and the role played by grasshoppers in prairie ecosystems. ... > full story

Floating solar panels: Solar installations on water (February 27, 2011) -- Most of the solar energy systems on the market today bare two major weaknesses: they require vast land areas in order to be built, and the costs related to solar cells fabrication and maintenance are high. A new technology is about to overcome these challenges and many more: floating solar power plants. ... > full story

Planning and visualization lead to better food habits (February 27, 2011) -- If you want to improve the way you eat, the best way to do so is to both make an action plan and visualize yourself carrying it out, according to researchers. ... > full story

Transgenic fungi may be able to combat malaria and other bug-borne diseases (February 26, 2011) -- New findings indicate that a genetically engineered fungus carrying genes for a human anti-malarial antibody or a scorpion anti-malarial toxin could be a highly effective, specific and environmentally friendly tool for combating malaria, at a time when the effectiveness of current pesticides against malaria mosquitoes is declining. ... > full story

Coral 'network' can protect Asia-Pacific fish stocks, study suggests (February 26, 2011) -- Researchers have established that the richest marine region on Earth -- the Coral Triangle between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines -- depends vitally for its diversity and resilience on coral and fish larvae swept in from the South China Sea and Solomon Islands. ... > full story

Tweeting teenage songbirds reveal impact of social cues on learning (February 26, 2011) -- In a finding that once again displays the power of the female, neuroscientists have discovered that teenage male songbirds, still working to perfect their song, improve their performance in the presence of a female bird. ... > full story

Bamiyan Buddhas once glowed in red, white and blue (February 25, 2011) -- The monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan once shone in glowing colors. Restorers have analyzed hundreds of fragments of the statues that were blow up by the Taliban. They have, for the first time, been able to reliably date the period in which they were sculpted, and have also studied the technically brilliant method of construction. A new process could stabilize the porous rock, paving the way for a reconstruction. ... > full story

Rare, unique seeds arrive at Svalbard Vault, as crises threaten world crop collections (February 25, 2011) -- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault celebrated its third anniversary Feb. 24 with the arrival of seeds for rare lima beans, blight-resistant cantaloupe, and progenitors of antioxidant-rich red tomatoes from Peru and the Galapagos Islands. The arrival of these collections, including many drought- and flood-resistant varieties, comes at a time when natural and human-made risks to agriculture have reinforced the critical need to secure all the world's food crop varieties. ... > full story

Newborn heart muscle can grow back by itself, study shows (February 25, 2011) -- In a promising science-fiction-meets-real-world juxtaposition, researchers have discovered that the mammalian newborn heart can heal itself completely. ... > full story

Low vitamin D levels linked to allergies in kids (February 25, 2011) -- A study of more than 3,000 children shows that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased likelihood that children will develop allergies, according to a new article. ... > full story

HIV makes protein that may help virus's resurgence (February 25, 2011) -- New research enhances the current knowledge of how human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1), which causes AIDS, controls the cell cycle of cells that it infects. The new findings may shed light on how the virus reactivates after entering a dormant state, called latency. Better understanding of the biological events that revive HIV from latency may eventually lead to better treatments for people with HIV infection. ... > full story

Much of Mississippi River sediment comes from stream bank collapse, rather than field runoff (February 25, 2011) -- Much of the Mississippi River's sediment load doesn't come from field runoff, according to work by scientists. Instead, researchers have confirmed that stream bank collapse and failure can be chief contributors to high sediment levels in the silty streams and rivers that flow into the Mississippi. ... > full story

Obesity and diabetes are a downside of human evolution, research suggests (February 25, 2011) -- As if the recent prediction that half of Americans will have diabetes or pre-diabetes by the year 2020 isn't alarming, a new genetic discovery provides a disturbing explanation as to why: we took an evolutionary "wrong turn." In the report, scientists show that human evolution leading to the loss of function in a gene called "CMAH" may make humans more prone to obesity and diabetes than other mammals. ... > full story

Links between longer ragweed season and climate change confirmed (February 25, 2011) -- New studies have confirmed what many pollen-sensitive people already suspected: In some parts of North America, ragweed season now lasts longer and ends later. ... > full story

New long-acting local anesthetic derived from algae effectively blocks pain in surgical patients (February 25, 2011) -- Medical researchers bringing surgical patients closer to having a long-acting local anesthetic. In a randomized, double-blind trial, patients given neosaxitoxin, a new local anesthetic derived from algae, had significantly less postoperative pain and recovered about two days sooner than those given the commonly used local anesthetic bupivacaine. ... > full story

Global red fire ant invasions traced to southern US (February 25, 2011) -- Red imported fire ant invasions around the globe in recent years can now be traced to the southern US, where the nuisance insect gained a foothold in the 1930s, new research has found. ... > full story

Chemical compounds in trees can fight deadly staph infections in humans (February 25, 2011) -- A research team has found an antibiotic in the Eastern Red Cedar tree that is effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a "superbug" that is resistant to most medications. ... > full story

Ocean currents cause microbes to filter light (February 25, 2011) -- Paul Matisse's glass-enclosed liquid sculptures contain an object whose movement through the liquid creates whorls that can be seen only because elongated particles trailing the object align with the direction of the current; light reflects off the particles, making the current visible to the viewer. Researchers have recently demonstrated that this same phenomenon is responsible for the swirling patterns scientists typically see when they agitate a flask containing microbes in water; many microbes are themselves elongated particles that make the whorls visible. ... > full story

New bird to science emphasizes the critical need to conserve the remaining dry forests of Madagascar (February 25, 2011) -- Researchers from Madagascar and the United States described a new species of forest-dwelling rail. ... > full story

Homoplasy: A good thread to pull to understand the evolutionary ball of yarn (February 25, 2011) -- With the genetics of so many organisms that have different traits yet to study, and with the techniques for gathering full sets of genetic information from organisms rapidly evolving, the "forest" of evolution can be easily lost to the "trees" of each individual case and detail. ... > full story

Cod fish with mini-thermometers (February 25, 2011) -- Hundreds of cod equipped with high-tech mini-thermometers have helped determine which water temperatures the fish can handle. ... > full story

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