Kamis, 07 April 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Thursday, April 7, 2011

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Strong Indian crust thrust beneath the Tibetan Plateau, new study suggests (April 7, 2011) -- For many years, most scientists studying Tibet have thought that a very hot and very weak lower and middle crust underlies its plateau, flowing like a fluid. Now, scientists are questioning this long-held belief and proposing that an entirely different mechanism is at play. ... > full story

Treating newborn horses: A unique form of pediatrics (April 7, 2011) -- Like any other newborn, the neonatal horse can be a challenging patient. Its immune system is still under construction, its blood chemistry can vary wildly, and -- like most infants -- it wants to stay close to mom. ... > full story

Common dietary fat and intestinal microbes linked to heart disease (April 6, 2011) -- A new pathway has been discovered that links a common dietary lipid and intestinal microflora with an increased risk of heart disease. The study shows that people who eat a diet containing a common nutrient found in animal products (such as eggs, liver and other meats, cheese and other dairy products, fish, shellfish) are not predisposed to cardiovascular disease solely on their genetic make-up, but rather, how the micro-organisms that live in our digestive tracts metabolize a specific lipid -- phosphatidyl choline (also called lecithin). Lecithin and its metabolite, choline, are also found in many commercial baked goods, dietary supplements, and even children's vitamins. ... > full story

Nano fitness: Helping enzymes stay active and keep in shape (April 6, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a new technique for boosting the stability of enzymes, making them useful under a much broader range of conditions. They confined lysozyme and other enzymes inside carefully engineered nanoscale holes, or nanopores. Instead of denaturing, these embedded enzymes mostly retained their 3-D structure and exhibited a significant increase in activity. ... > full story

Strawberries may slow precancerous growth in the esophagus, study suggests (April 6, 2011) -- Eating strawberries may be a way to help people at risk of esophageal cancer protect themselves from the disease, according to a new study. ... > full story

Seeing rice with X-rays may improve crop yields (April 6, 2011) -- Most people experience X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanners when they are evaluated for a suspected tumor or blood clot. Now rice plants have becoe the patients in a novel use of CT scanners as part of an agriculture study to increase rice yield. ... > full story

Birds must choose between mating and migrating (April 6, 2011) -- Sex or nice weather. That's the agonizing choice some birds face, according to a new study. Researchers discovered that for some male birds traveling to areas with lighter rainfall comes at the cost of attracting a female when they return home. ... > full story

Hotspots of genetic rearrangement: Findings in mice could aid understanding of how mammals genetically adapt (April 6, 2011) -- Researchers have zoomed in on mouse chromosomes to map hotspots of genetic recombination -- sites where DNA breaks and reforms to shuffle genes. The findings have the potential to improve the detection of genes linked to disease and to help understand the root causes of genetic abnormalities. ... > full story

Climate change is making our environment 'bluer' (April 6, 2011) -- The "color" of our environment is becoming "bluer," a change that could have important implications for animals' risk of becoming extinct, ecologists have found. In a major study, researchers examined how quickly or slowly animal populations and their environment change over time, something ecologists describe using "spectral color." ... > full story

Third dimension of specific cell cultivation (April 6, 2011) -- Researchers have succeeded in cultivating cells in specific locations on 3-D structures. The fascinating thing is that the cells are offered small "holds" in the micrometer range on the scaffold, to which they can adhere. Adhesion is possible only on these holds, not on the remaining structure. For the first time, cell adhesion and, hence, cell shape are influenced precisely in three dimensions. ... > full story

Microbe responsible for methane from landfills identified (April 6, 2011) -- Researchers have long known that landfills produce methane, but had a hard time figuring out why -- since landfills do not start out as a friendly environment for the organisms that produce methane. New research shows that one species of microbe is paving the way for other methane producers. ... > full story

Did dinosaurs have lice? Researchers say it's possible (April 6, 2011) -- A new study louses up a popular theory of animal evolution and opens up the possibility that dinosaurs were early -- perhaps even the first -- animal hosts of lice. ... > full story

Where will the debris from Japan's tsunami drift in the ocean? (April 6, 2011) -- The huge tsunami triggered by the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake destroyed coastal towns near Sendai in Japan, washing such things as houses and cars into the ocean. Based on a model derived from past trajectories of drifting buoys, projections of where this debris might head over the next five to six years have been made. ... > full story

Active electromagnetic suspension system can increase ride quality of cars by 60 percent (April 6, 2011) -- Researchers in the Netherlands have developed an active electromagnetic suspension system that can increase the ride quality of cars by 60 percent. Cars fitted with this suspension system are also safer because they no longer roll (sway) in corners. The system is developed in partnership with the Swedish company SKF, and is being demonstrated next week at the AutoRAI auto show in Amsterdam. ... > full story

Electron microscopy: New type of genetic tag illuminates life in never-before-seen detail (April 6, 2011) -- By modifying a protein from a plant that is much favored by science, researchers have created a new type of genetic tag visible under an electron microscope, illuminating life in never-before-seen detail. ... > full story

Addressing the nuclear waste issue with common algae (April 6, 2011) -- Researchers have an enhanced understanding of a common freshwater alga and its remarkable ability to remove strontium from water. Insight into this mechanism ultimately could help scientists design methods to remove radioactive strontium from existing nuclear waste. They are the first to show quantitatively how Closterium moniliferum sequesters strontium (in the form of barium-strontium-sulfate crystals) and to use this to think about a practical sequestration system for nuclear waste that maximizes strontium removal. ... > full story

Repulsion more important than cohesion in embryonic tissue separation (April 6, 2011) -- Until now, adherence was thought to be the principle force responsible for the separation of the ectoderm from the mesoderm in embryonic cells. But by using high resolution imaging, researchers have now discovered that, although embryonic cells of different types will temporarily adhere when they touch, they then invariably pull apart rather violently, suggesting that direct contact between two "foreign" cells triggers a "repulsive signal." ... > full story

Dead midges reveal living conditions of fish (April 6, 2011) -- Microscopic remains of dead Phantom midge larvae may explain a few hundred years of history of the living conditions of fish, acidification and fish death in Swedish lakes. Researchers have developed a method of using lake-bottom sediments to show when and how fish life disappeared from acidified lakes -- invaluable knowledge for lake restorations in acidified regions. ... > full story

Chimp, bonobo study sheds light on the social brain (April 5, 2011) -- Why our two closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, have widely different social traits, despite belonging to the same genus, has long been a puzzle. Now, a comparative analysis of their brains shows neuroanatomical differences that may be responsible for these behaviors, from the aggression more typical of chimpanzees to the social tolerance of bonobos. ... > full story

Cost-effective manure management, thanks to computer-simulated farms (April 5, 2011) -- Scientists have used computer-simulated farms with the support of field research to compare the environmental impact and economic efficacy of using alternative manure application methods in farming systems. ... > full story

Economics, physics are roadblocks for mass-scale algae biodiesel production, study finds (April 5, 2011) -- Companies looking to engineer an eco-friendly diesel fuel have more red lights in their path. According to researchers, making petroleum diesel completely green would not only bend the laws of physics, it would cost too much green. ... > full story

Vitamin A derivative can inhibit early forms of breast cancer, researchers show (April 5, 2011) -- A nutrient found in carrots and sweet potatoes may prove key to fighting breast cancer at early stages, according to a new study. ... > full story

World's reef fishes tussling with human overpopulation (April 5, 2011) -- Coral reefs provide a range of critical goods and services to humanity -- everything from nutrient cycling to food production to coast protection to economic revenues through tourism, according to researchers. Yet, they say, the complex nature and large-scale distribution of coral reefs is challenging scientists to understand if this natural ecosystem will continue working to deliver goods and services given the ongoing loss of biodiversity in coral reefs. ... > full story

History of nuclear power needs to be addressed, expert says (April 5, 2011) -- The long-standing conflicts over nuclear power and the risks of radiation exposure are nothing new -- in fact, the debate over the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in Japan are similar to arguments happening between scientists, governmental agencies and the public since 1945, according to an expert on the history of science. ... > full story

Scientists find new type of mineral in historic meteorite (April 5, 2011) -- Researchers have found a new mineral named "Wassonite" in one of the most historically significant meteorites recovered in Antarctica in December 1969. ... > full story

Rare alpine insect may disappear with glaciers (April 5, 2011) -- Loss of glaciers and snowpack due to climate warming in alpine regions is putting pressure on a rare aquatic insect -- the meltwater stonefly, according to a new study. ... > full story

Record depletion of Arctic ozone layer causing increased UV radiation in Scandinavia (April 5, 2011) -- Over the past few days, ozone-depleted air masses have extended from the north pole to southern Scandinavia, leading to higher than normal levels of ultraviolet radiation during sunny days in southern Finland. These air masses will move east over the next few days, covering parts of Russia and perhaps extend as far south as the Chinese/Russian border. Such excursions of ozone-depleted air may also occur over Central Europe and could reach as far south as the Mediterranean. Researchers say that the current situation in the Arctic ozone layer is unparalleled. ... > full story

Air France wreckage located nearly 2.5 miles below surface of Atlantic Ocean (April 5, 2011) -- A search team has located the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 some 3,900 meters, or nearly 2.5 miles, below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil's northeastern coast. ... > full story

Facial structures of men and women have become more similar over time (April 5, 2011) -- New research shows that they really don't make women like they used to, at least in Spain. The study, which examined hundreds of Spanish and Portuguese skulls spanning four centuries, shows that differences in the craniofacial features of men and women have become less pronounced. ... > full story

Mangroves among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics; Coastal trees key to lowering greenhouse gases (April 5, 2011) -- Coastal mangrove forests store more carbon than almost any other forest on Earth, according to a study conducted by a team of US Forest Service and university scientists. ... > full story

Ancient enzymes: Protein adaptation shows that life on early Earth lived in a hot, acidic environment (April 5, 2011) -- A new study reveals that a group of ancient enzymes adapted to substantial changes in ocean temperature and acidity during the last four billion years, providing evidence that life on Early Earth evolved from a much hotter, more acidic environment to the cooler, less acidic global environment that exists today. ... > full story

When African animals hit the hay: Fossil teeth show who ate what and when as grasses emerged (April 5, 2011) -- Fossil teeth of African animals show that during the past 10 million years, different plant-eating critters began grazing on grass at different times as many switched from a salad-bar diet of tree leaves and shrubs, a new study has found ... > full story

Oxygen sensor invention could benefit fisheries to breweries (April 5, 2011) -- Monitoring oxygen levels in water has applications for oil spills, fish farming, brewing beer and more -- and a researcher is poised to help supply that need. The concept of oxygen sensors isn't new. The challenge, however, has been manufacturing one that can withstand fluctuations in temperature, salinity, carbon dioxide, phosphates and biological wastes. Physicist Ruby Ghosh was able to overcome those obstacles as well as build one that provides real-time data and is relatively inexpensive. ... > full story

Caterpillars aren't so bird-brained after all: Clever behavioral strategies help them outwit predators (April 5, 2011) -- Caterpillars that masquerade as twigs to avoid becoming a bird's dinner are actually using clever behavioral strategies to outwit their predators, according to a new study. ... > full story

Novel compounds for fighting against parasitic diseases (April 5, 2011) -- Parasites of the Trypanosomatidae family cause a number of serious human diseases. Researchers have now published the identification of novel anti-parasitic compounds targeting an enzyme unique to the parasites. These compounds are promising for the development of drugs with fewer side-effects than current medical treatments. ... > full story

Food safety study of beef 'trim' leads to ongoing research collaboration (April 5, 2011) -- Burgers, meat loaf and other lean ground beef favorites may be made from "trim," the meat that's left over after steaks and roasts have been carved from a side of beef. A study conducted several years ago to ensure that imported beef trim is safe to eat has led to an ongoing collaboration between US Department of Agriculture scientists who conducted the research and colleagues from Uruguay, which exports this in-demand beef. ... > full story

Declining rainfall is a major influence for migrating birds (April 4, 2011) -- Instinct and the annual increase of daylight hours have long been thought to be the triggers for birds to begin their spring migration. Scientists, however, have now found that that may not be the case. Researchers have focused on how warming trends in temperate breeding areas disrupt the sensitive ecology of migratory birds. This new research shows that changes in rainfall on the tropical wintering grounds could be equally disruptive. ... > full story

Chemists produce first high-resolution RNA 'nano square' (April 4, 2011) -- Chemists have produced the first high resolution structure of a nano-scale square made from ribonucleic acid, or RNA. ... > full story

'In-depth' radar: Seeing what lies beneath the surface (April 4, 2011) -- Where do the water pipes and electric cables lie? Could valuable cultural artefacts be hidden here? And how high is the salt concentration on the road today? A georadar can reveal what lies below the surface, providing information that can be extremely useful to industry. A Norwegian researcher wants to evaluate how georadar could be utilized. ... > full story

Algae that live inside the cells of salamanders are the first known vertebrate endosymbionts (April 4, 2011) -- A species of algae long known to associate with spotted salamanders has been discovered to live inside the cells of developing embryos, say scientists from the US and Canada. This is the first known example of a eukaryotic algae living stably inside the cells of any vertebrate. ... > full story

Leatherback sea turtle nests increasing in Florida (April 4, 2011) -- The number of endangered leatherback sea turtle nests at 68 beaches in Florida has increased by 10.2 percent a year since 1979, according to a new study. ... > full story

Formaldehyde: Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life (April 4, 2011) -- Formaldehyde, a poison and a common molecule throughout the universe, is likely the source of the solar system's organic carbon solids -- abundant in both comets and asteroids. Scientists have long speculated about the how organic, or carbon-containing, material became a part of the solar system's fabric. New research shows that these complex organic solids were likely made from formaldehyde in the primitive solar system. ... > full story

High dose of oxygen enhances natural cancer treatment, researchers find (April 4, 2011) -- An environment of pure oxygen at three-and-a-half times normal air pressure adds significantly to the effectiveness of a natural compound already shown to kill cancerous cells, according to new research. ... > full story

New role for cilia protein in mitosis (April 4, 2011) -- Researchers have described a previously unknown role for the cilia protein IFT88 in mitosis, the process by which a dividing cell separates its chromosomes containing the cell's DNA into two identical sets of new daughter cells. This newly discovered function for IFT88 suggests a possible alternative or contributory cause for cilia-related diseases such as primary ciliary dyskinesia, and polycystic kidney disease. ... > full story

Tree growth and fecundity affected more by climate change than previously thought (April 4, 2011) -- An 18-year study of 27,000 individual trees finds that tree growth and fecundity -- the ability to produce viable seeds -- are more sensitive to climate change than previously thought. ... > full story

NASA airborne radar set to image Hawaiian volcano (April 4, 2011) -- The Kilauea volcano that recently erupted on the Big Island of Hawaii will be the target for a NASA study to help scientists better understand processes occurring under Earth's surface. ... > full story

Sleeping through danger: The dormouse approach to survival (April 4, 2011) -- Amid the general rejoicing over the first signs of spring, spare a thought for the humble dormouse, which is about to embark on the most dangerous period of its life. This is the surprising finding of a long-term study of dormouse survival rates in five different countries in Europe. ... > full story

West and Central African lions are genetically different from those in East and southern Africa (April 4, 2011) -- New findings of genetic research on lions reveals a remarkable difference between lions in West and Central Africa and lions in East and southern Africa. ... > full story

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