Kamis, 03 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Thursday, March 3, 2011

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Clouds amplify ecological light pollution (March 3, 2011) -- The brightness of the nightly sky glow over major cities has been shown to depend strongly on cloud cover. In natural environments, clouds make the night sky darker by blocking the light of the stars but around urban centers, this effect is completely reversed, according to a new study. ... > full story

Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling (March 3, 2011) -- Warming temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic may be behind a progressively earlier bloom of a crucial annual marine event, and the shift could hold consequences for the entire food chain and carbon cycling in the region. ... > full story

What wasps can tell us about sex (March 3, 2011) -- Whether an individual parasitoid wasp reproduces sexually or asexually is determined by a single gene, researchers have discovered. This new finding could help to answer a central question of evolutionary biology – and could also be of interest for biological pest control. ... > full story

How much can a cell uptake? (March 3, 2011) -- Immunological research has revealed a critical component in the "decision-making" process of white blood cells that play a role in the healing process from bacterial inflammation. ... > full story

Diversifying crops may protect yields against a more variable climate (March 3, 2011) -- Farmers could protect crop yields against pest and pathogen outbreaks likely to become more common as climate changes if they used modeling techniques to evaluate the potential of crop diversification. ... > full story

Florida could be 10 to 15 million years older than previously believed, pollen study shows (March 2, 2011) -- A new study of 45-million-year-old pollen from Pine Island west of Fort Myers has led to a new understanding of the state's geologic history, showing Florida could be 10 million to 15 million years older than previously believed. ... > full story

Protein identified that serves as a switch in a key pathway of programmed cell death (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have identified how cells flip a switch between cell survival and cell death that involves a protein called FLIP. ... > full story

New role found for cancer protein p53 (March 2, 2011) -- The gene for the protein p53 is the most frequently mutated in human cancer. It encodes a tumor suppressor, and traditionally researchers have assumed that it acts primarily as a regulator of how genes are made into proteins. Now, researchers show that the protein has at least one other biochemical activity: controlling the metabolism of the sugar glucose, one of body's main sources of fuel. ... > full story

Two new crustaceans discovered in Iberian Peninsula, Spain (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have now described two cladocerous crustaceans, which could be endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, and which were found in two lagoons, one in the lower basin of the Guadalquivir river, and the other in the grasslands of Extremadura. Both of these arthropods may today inhabit more areas in the Mediterranean region. ... > full story

Combined molecular study techniques reveal more about DNA proteins (March 2, 2011) -- Researchers have combined two molecular imaging technologies to create an instrument with incredible sensitivity that provides new, detailed insight into dynamic molecular processes. Two physics professors combined their expertise in single-molecule biophysics -- fluorescence microscopy and optical traps -- to create a unique instrument that measures both a DNA-regulating protein's motion and conformational changes as it acts. ... > full story

Effectiveness of wastewater treatment may be damaged during a severe flu pandemic (March 2, 2011) -- Existing plans for antiviral and antibiotic use during a severe influenza pandemic could reduce wastewater treatment efficiency prior to discharge into receiving rivers, resulting in water quality deterioration at drinking water abstraction points, according to a new article. ... > full story

Good fungi might prove even better for plant, human health (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have come closer to understanding how a common fungus "makes its living in the soil," which could lead to its possible "career change" as a therapeutic agent for plant and human health. ... > full story

Bacteria can communicate with each other through nanotubes, researchers discover (March 2, 2011) -- A pathway whereby bacteria communicate with each other has been discovered. The discovery has important implications for efforts to cope with the spread of harmful bacteria in the body. ... > full story

New 'thermometer' helps scientists accurately measure rock formation (March 2, 2011) -- Researchers have used magnesium isotopes to determine the temperature at which rocks form, which will allow scientists to better study the formation of Earth's crust and mantle as well as the formation of meteorites. ... > full story

World's most powerful optical microscope: Microscope could 'solve the cause of viruses' (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have produced the world's most powerful optical microscope, which could help us understand the causes of many viruses and diseases. ... > full story

Songbird's strategy for changing its tune could inform rehab efforts (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered that the male Bengalese finch uses a simple mental computation and an uncanny memory to create its near-perfect mate-catching melody. ... > full story

Scientists unravel the mysterious mechanics of spider silk (March 2, 2011) -- Scientists now have a better understanding of why spider silk fibers are so incredibly strong. Recent research describes the architecture of silk fibers from the atomic level up and reveals new information about the molecular structure that underlies the amazing mechanical characteristics of this fascinating natural material. ... > full story

HIV vaccine impacts the genetic makeup of the virus (March 2, 2011) -- An AIDS vaccine tested in people, but found to be ineffective, influenced the genetic makeup of the virus that slipped past. This is the first evidence that vaccine-induced cellular immune responses against HIV-1 infection exert selective pressure on the virus. The findings suggest new strategies for developing HIV vaccines that put selective pressure in a controlled manner that debilitates the virus and that avoids selecting for strains that can escape immune defenses. ... > full story

Mini or massive? For turtles and tortoises, it all depends on where you live (March 2, 2011) -- Life scientists report the first quantitative evidence for an evolutionary link in turtles and tortoises between habitat and body size. ... > full story

Herbal teas may provide health benefits (March 2, 2011) -- Those who enjoy the caffeinated lift that comes from drinking traditional coffees and teas may tend to overlook the benefits of drinking herbal infusions. Now, the idea that herbal teas may provide a variety of health benefits is no longer just folklore. ... > full story

Algae converted to butanol; Fuel can be used in automobiles (March 2, 2011) -- Chemical engineers have developed a method for converting common algae into butanol, a renewable fuel that can be used in existing combustible engines. The green technology benefits from and adds greater value to a process being used now to clean and oxygenate U.S. waterways by removing excess nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer in runoff. ... > full story

Findings on pollution damage to human airways could yield new therapies (March 2, 2011) -- Researchers have identified how nanoparticles from diesel exhaust damage lung airway cells, a finding that could lead to new therapies for people susceptible to airway disease. The scientists also discovered that the severity of the injury depends on the genetic make-up of the affected individual. ... > full story

Pakistan floods last summer could have been predicted, experts say (March 2, 2011) -- Five days before intense monsoonal deluges unleashed vast floods across Pakistan last July, computer models at a European weather-forecasting center were giving clear indications that the downpours were imminent. Now, a new scientific study that retrospectively examines the raw data from these computer models, has confirmed that, if the information had been processed, forecasters could have predicted extremely accurate rainfall totals 8-10 days beforehand. ... > full story

Analysis of bread mold genomes demonstrates 'reverse-ecology' tool (March 1, 2011) -- In a demonstration of "reverse-ecology," biologists have shown that one can determine an organism's adaptive traits by looking first at its genome and checking for variations across a population. The study offers a powerful new tool in evolutionary genetics research, one that could be used to help monitor the effects of climate change and habitat destruction. ... > full story

'Social-IQ score' for bacteria developed (March 1, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a "Social-IQ score" for bacteria -- and it may lead to new antibiotics and powerful bacteria-based "green" pesticides for the agricultural industry. ... > full story

Florida citrus industry: Mechanical harvesting creates up to 250 percent more debris than hand harvesting, study finds (March 1, 2011) -- Harvesting can account for as much as 50 percent of the production cost for Florida's citrus crops. In a recent research study debris samples were collected from three harvesting systems; results indicated that mechanical harvesting increased debris per load by as much as 250 percent compared with hand-harvested fruit. The study results will aid growers in evaluating the costs and benefits of mechanical harvesting techniques as well as engineers who design debris elimination systems for mechanical harvesting. ... > full story

Technique for measuring methane gas from cattle (March 1, 2011) -- Recently, scientists developed a methane release measuring technique as way of tracking the discharge of the gas without disrupting the regular management of the herd. ... > full story

Rare 89-million-year-old flying reptile fossil from Texas may be world's oldest pteranodon (March 1, 2011) -- Fossil bones discovered in Texas are from the left wing of an ancient flying reptile that died 89 million years ago, representing what may be the world's earliest occurrence of the prehistoric creature Pteranodon, says paleontologists. If the reptile is pteranodon, it would be the first of its kind discovered as far south as Texas within the ancient Western Interior Seaway. ... > full story

Sugar-sweetened drinks associated with higher blood pressure (March 1, 2011) -- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks are associated with higher blood pressure levels, according to a new study. Adults with higher sodium intake had a stronger association between sugar-sweetened beverages and high blood pressure. ... > full story

Scientists identify new implications for perennial bioenergy crops (March 1, 2011) -- Scientists have found that converting large swaths of land to bioenergy crops could have a wide range of effects on regional climate. ... > full story

Mating mites trapped in amber reveal sex role reversal (March 1, 2011) -- In the mating game, some female mites are mightier than their mates, new research suggests. The evidence comes, in part, from 40 million-year-old mating mites preserved in Baltic amber. ... > full story

'Stupid strategies' could be best for the genes (March 1, 2011) -- Blindly copying what your parents did -- no matter how stupid it may seem -- could be the best strategy for the long-term success of your genes, according to new research. ... > full story

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

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