Kamis, 24 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Thursday, March 24, 2011

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Researchers collect 'signals intelligence' on insect pests (March 24, 2011) -- Using commercially available parts, scientists have developed a new automated system for detecting insects based on the peculiar sounds the insects make while moving. ... > full story

Larger female hyenas produce more offspring (March 24, 2011) -- When it comes to producing more offspring, larger female hyenas outdo their smaller counterparts. A new study revealed this as well as defined a new way to measure spotted hyenas' size. ... > full story

Developing strategies in a desert watershed that sustain regional water supplies (March 24, 2011) -- Agricultural scientists are helping meet the water demands of a riparian desert region that is home to a national conservation area and a thriving military base. ... > full story

Study finds no association between mercury exposure and risk of cardiovascular disease (March 23, 2011) -- In a new, large-scale study, researchers found no evidence that higher levels of mercury exposure were associated with higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or total cardiovascular disease in two separate studies of US adults. ... > full story

Zebrafish model of human melanoma reveals new cancer gene (March 23, 2011) -- Looking at the dark stripes on the tiny zebrafish you might not expect that they hold a potential clue for discovering a treatment for melanoma. Yet melanocytes, the same cells that are are responsible for the pigmentation of zebrafish stripes and for human skin color, are also where melanoma originates. Researchers have now used zebrafish to identify a new gene responsible for promoting melanoma. ... > full story

Bird embryo provides unique insights into development related to cancer and wound healing (March 23, 2011) -- Avian embryos could join the list of model organisms used to study a specific type of cell migration called epiboly, a developmental process involving mass movement of cells as a sheet that is linked with medical conditions that include wound healing and cancer. ... > full story

Anaerobic digestion on farms could turn agriculture green (March 23, 2011) -- New research has shown that small scale digesters on farms could be profitable for farmers, good for the environment and help the UK meet targets on green energy and greenhouse gas emissions. ... > full story

Tree resin captures key evidence of current and ancient insect invasions (March 23, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered that insects that bore into trees as long ago as 90 million years, or as recently as last summer, leave a calling card that's rich with information. ... > full story

European coastal pollution is harmful to seals, study finds (March 23, 2011) -- The bodies of harbor seals, which live in estuaries or along coastlines where industrial activities take place, are highly contaminated. This is the result of a European study, involving Spanish participation, which warns of the danger to these mammals from ports throughout Europe, even in the Mediterranean. ... > full story

Plant buffers can slow runoff of veterinary antibiotics (March 23, 2011) -- Field tests support laboratory research indicating that vegetative buffer strips can reduce levels of herbicide and veterinary antibiotics in runoff from farm plots. Plant species tested included tall fescue, switchgrass and native warm-season grasses. Researchers applied three herbicides and three antibiotics, then generated water runoff using a rotating-boom rainfall simulator. All vegetative buffer systems significantly reduced the transport of dissolved and sediment-bound herbicides atrazine, metolachlor and glyphosate in runoff. ... > full story

First image of protein residue in 50-million-year-old reptile skin (March 23, 2011) -- The organic compounds surviving in 50-million-year-old fossilized reptile skin can be seen for the first time, thanks to a stunning infrared image produced by palaeontologists and geochemists. ... > full story

New scientific field will study ecological importance of sounds (March 23, 2011) -- Researchers are aiming to create a new scientific field that will use sound as a way to understand the ecological characteristics of a landscape and to reconnect people with the importance of natural sounds. ... > full story

Bees could reveal key to dementia (March 23, 2011) -- Scientists have succeeded in reversing the aging process in the bee brain -- findings which she believes may bring hope to people with dementia. ... > full story

Load up on fiber now, avoid heart disease later (March 23, 2011) -- A new study shows a high-fiber diet could be a critical heart-healthy lifestyle change young and middle-aged adults can make. ... > full story

In the race of life, better an adaptable tortoise than a fit hare (March 23, 2011) -- When it comes to survival of the fittest, it's sometimes better to be an adaptable tortoise than a fitness-oriented hare, an evolutionary biologist says. Scientists show that more adaptable bacteria oriented toward long-term improvement prevailed over competitors that held a short-term advantage. ... > full story

Good news for meat lovers: Most ready-to-eat meat products contain very few cancerous compounds, study finds (March 23, 2011) -- Researchers have shown that ready-to-eat meat products -- such as pepperoni, deli meats and hot dogs -- are relatively free of carcinogenic compounds. ... > full story

New technique could help solve mystery of vanishing bees (March 23, 2011) -- Ecologists have developed a better way of rearing bee larvae in the laboratory that could help discover why honey bee populations worldwide are declining. The technique, together with details of how statistics adapted from other areas of ecology can aid bee research, is published in a new article. ... > full story

Scientists grow personalized collections of intestinal microbes (March 23, 2011) -- Scientists have shown they can grow and manipulate personalized collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory and pluck out particular microbes of interest. The research sets the stage for identifying new probiotics and evaluating in preclinical trials whether microbe transplants can restore the natural balance of intestinal bacteria in "sick" microbial communities. ... > full story

Scientists crack molecular code regulating neuronal excitability (March 23, 2011) -- A key question in protein biochemistry is how proteins recognize "correct" interaction partners in a sea of cellular factors. Nowhere is that more critical to know than in the brain, where interactions governing channel protein activity can alter an organism's behavior. A team of biologists has recently deciphered a molecular code that regulates availability of a brain channel that modulates neuronal excitability, a discovery that might aid efforts to treat drug addiction and mental disorders. ... > full story

The killer within: A novel bacterial suicide mechanism (March 23, 2011) -- The zeta toxins are a family of proteins that are normally present within various pathogenic bacteria and can mysteriously trigger suicide when the cells undergo stress. Researchers in Germany have now found the mechanism underlying this programmed bacterial cell death. ... > full story

The Mekong: Record of the Vietnam War (March 23, 2011) -- During the second half of the 20th Century, South-East Asia was the arena of a series of armed conflicts, direct consequences of the Second World War, decolonization and the Cold War, followed by political instability which continued up to the 1990s. The region's history has left its scars: extensive forests erased from the map by bombing, populations displaced or forced to emigrate, entire areas abandoned although vegetation is steadily taking over again. Research scientists recently showed the discharge rate of the Mekong has oscillated in close correlation with the major events that had taken place. Runoff increased by over 50% in southern Laos between 1972 and 1975, at the height of the Vietnam War. Conversely, the north of the country saw it decrease by 30% between 1995 and 2004, following people's exodus from the area to escape from the communist forces' advance. Only the extensive changes in land-use and vegetation pattern can explain such variations in discharge of the Mekong. ... > full story

Chikungunya: The key role of 'innate immunity' (March 23, 2011) -- Chikungunya is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes. The disease is spreading in the world and periodically sparks new outbreaks. Blood analyses conducted during the 2007 Gabonese epidemic recently showed the key role of innate immunity, the organism's first line of defense, in the clinical course of the infection. Control of the disease thus closely depends on the underlying configuration of each patient's immune system. ... > full story

Carbon capture and storage: Carbon dioxide pressure dissipates in underground reservoirs (March 23, 2011) -- The debate surrounding carbon capture and storage intensifies as scientists examine the capacity for storing carbon dioxide underground, in a new study. ... > full story

Two new targets for melanoma therapies (March 23, 2011) -- Zebrafish don't get sunburns, but they can get skin cancer -- at least those fish that have been engineered to model the often deadly human cancer. Researchers have used the zebrafish model to discover two new melanoma-promoting proteins that could be targets for therapy. ... > full story

Tahoe native fish population declines sharply, invasives on the rise (March 22, 2011) -- In a lakewide study, scientists have found a considerable decline in native fish species density at Lake Tahoe since 1951. They are recommending establishing and implementing a management plan to protect the nearshore zone habitat, which is critical to native fish. ... > full story

Stress affects the balance of bacteria in the gut and immune response (March 22, 2011) -- Stress can change the balance of bacteria that naturally live in the gut, according to new research. ... > full story

Unknown animals nearly invisible yet there (March 22, 2011) -- Bryozoans (moss animals) are a group of aquatic invertebrates that are found in great variety throughout the world, with well over 100 species in Sweden alone. Yet little is known about them. Researchers have now studied Swedish bryozoan species using DNA techniques. ... > full story

Golf courses that reuse water irrigate too much, study suggests (March 22, 2011) -- Irrigation is one of the most controversial aspects in the sustainable management of golf courses. Researchers from the Canary Islands have spent 25 years analyzing the practices relating to reclaimed water at one of the oldest golf courses in Spain. The results show that plants on the course receive 83 percent more water than they need. ... > full story

Newly discovered virus implicated in deadly Chinese outbreaks (March 22, 2011) -- Outbreaks of a mysterious and deadly disease in central China have been linked to a previously unknown virus. Five years ago, large numbers of farmers in central China began falling victim to an mysterious disease marked by high fever, gastrointestinal disorder and an appalling mortality rate -- as high as 30 percent in initial reports. ... > full story

Conservationists develop coral 'stress test' to identify reefs more likely to survive climate change (March 22, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a "stress test" for coral reefs as a means of identifying and prioritizing areas that are most likely to survive bleaching events and other climate change factors. The scientists say that these "reefs of hope" are priorities for national and international management and conservation action. ... > full story

Saving one of the world's most endangered birds (March 22, 2011) -- The entire population of the Tuamotu Kingfisher -- less than 125 -- lives on one tiny island in the south Pacific, and without serious intervention, these birds will no longer exist. One researcher is trying to stop the birds' extinction by working with farmers and residents on the island inhabited by the kingfishers. ... > full story

Native Americans modified American landscape years prior to arrival of Europeans (March 22, 2011) -- A new study shows that Native Americans' land use nearly a century ago produced a widespread impact on the eastern North American landscape and floodplain development several hundred years prior to the arrival of major European settlements. ... > full story

Fish know to avoid the spear (March 22, 2011) -- Fish are not as dumb as people sometimes think. Marine scientists have found that fish that are regularly hunted with spearguns are much more wary and keep their distance from fishers. In investigating the effects of marine areas closed to fishing by customary laws, an international team of researchers working in the Pacific found that fish exposed to speargun fishing take flight much earlier when a diver approaches compared with those living in protected zones. ... > full story

New treatment may desensitize kids with milk allergies, study suggests (March 22, 2011) -- Milk allergy is the most common, affecting 2.5 percent of children under age 3. In a small clinical study, scientists report effectively desensitizing milk-allergic patients by increasing their exposure to milk in tandem with an allergy drug called omalizumab, allowing children to build up resistance quickly with limited allergic reactions. ... > full story

How the lily blooms: Ruffling at the edge of each petal drives the delicate flower to open (March 22, 2011) -- The "lily white" has inspired centuries' worth of rich poetry and art, but when it comes to the science of how and why those delicately curved petals burst from the bud, surprisingly little is known. Mathematics has now revealed that differential growth and ruffling at the edges of each petal -- not in the midrib, as commonly suggested -- provide the driving force behind the blooming of the lily. The research contradicts earlier theories regarding growth within the flower bud. The findings explain the blooming process both theoretically and experimentally. ... > full story

How different strains of parasite infection affect behavior differently (March 22, 2011) -- Toxoplasma gondii infects approximately 25 percent of the human population. The protozoan parasite is noted for altering the behavior of infected hosts. Researchers have found clear differences in the manipulation of host gene expression among the three clonal lineages that predominate in Europe and North America, despite the high level of genetic similarity among them. ... > full story

Channeling powerful Kansas wind to keep electricity running (March 22, 2011) -- Engineers are researching ways to use Kansas wind and other distributed energy sources to avoid cascading failures and prevent major power outrages. ... > full story

Fewer bats carry rabies than thought (March 22, 2011) -- Bats are not as disease-ridden as the stigma suggests, according to new research. Previous studies have suggested that typically about 10 percent of bats taken by the public to be tested have rabies but new research says the number is closer to one per cent regardless of species or where the bats roost. ... > full story

Compound from Chinese medicine blocks biofilm formation on medical implant materials (March 22, 2011) -- A compound that is an active ingredient in plants commonly used in Chinese medicine prevents biofilm formation on polystyrene and polycarbonate surfaces by Staphylococcus aureus. The research suggests that this compound, 1,2,3,4,6-Penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucopyranose (PGG) is highly promising for clinical use in preventing biofilm formation by S. aureus. ... > full story

Biodiversity leads to higher productivity (March 22, 2011) -- Ecosystems containing several species are more productive than individual species on their own. Using data from more than 400 published experiments, an international research team has found overwhelming evidence that biodiversity in the plant kingdom is very efficient in assimilating nutrients and solar energy, resulting in greater production of biomass. ... > full story

A 'fossil seismograph' for ancient earthquakes (March 22, 2011) -- Scientists have invented a "fossil seismograph," which examines geological formations to find historical patterns of earthquakes reaching far back into the ancient past. With this information, experts can better predict where and when earthquakes may occur again -- and take measures to prevent more catastrophic damage. ... > full story

Streptococcus enzyme could compete with toothbrushes, dental floss (March 22, 2011) -- Investigators from Japan show in vitro that the bacterium Streptococcus salivarius, a non-biofilm forming, and otherwise harmless inhabitant of the human mouth, actually inhibits the formation of dental biofilms, otherwise known as plaque. Two enzymes this bacteria produces are responsible for this inhibition. ... > full story

Basking in the sun: How large mammals survive winter in the mountains (March 22, 2011) -- Sunbathing in sub-zero temperatures may not be everybody’s idea of fun but it forms an important part of the strategy of Alpine ibex for surviving the winter. ... > full story

Canadian Avalanche victims die significantly quicker than Swiss counterparts, study finds (March 22, 2011) -- Avalanche victims buried in Canada die significantly quicker than those buried in Switzerland, according to new research. ... > full story

A better test for human papillomavirus (March 22, 2011) -- A new test for human papillomavirus (HPV) is just as sensitive as the old one, but more specific for detecting cervical cancer, meaning that it has fewer false positive results, according to a new study. ... > full story

New model for studying Parkinson's: Swiss researchers develop new, working mammalian model to combat genetic causes of the disease (March 22, 2011) -- Evidence is steadily mounting that genetic factors play an important role in many cases of Parkinson's disease (PD). Researchers in Switzerland now report a new mammalian model for studying a specific gene mutation commonly found in PD sufferers, opening the door to new drugs to fight the malady. ... > full story

Spacebound bacteria inspire earthbound remedies (March 21, 2011) -- Recent research aboard the Space Shuttle is giving scientists a better understanding of how infectious disease occurs in space and could someday improve astronaut health and provide novel treatments for people on Earth. ... > full story

Fault-finding coral reefs can predict the site of coming earthquakes (March 21, 2011) -- Scientists are surveying "mass wasting," a unique geological phenomenon of the Red Sea, to identify active fault-line activity along fossil coral reefs and sediment levels. They say that their research is applicable to any coastal land areas, such as Japan and the west coast of the US. ... > full story

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