Senin, 24 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Monday, January 24, 2011

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Delving into the past of a big cat: Clouded leopard redefined (January 24, 2011) -- Using genetic and morphological analyses, researchers have recently demonstrated that the clouded leopard (Neofelis) should not only be classified into two species, but that one of which even comprises two distinct subspecies. ... > full story

Light controls a worm's behavior: Scientists commandeer organism's nervous system without wires or electrodes (January 23, 2011) -- Physicists and bioengineers have developed an optical instrument allowing them to control the behavior of a worm just by shining a tightly focused beam of light at individual neurons inside the organism. ... > full story

Contagious cancer thrives in dogs by adopting host's genes (January 23, 2011) -- A curious contagious cancer, found in dogs, wolves and coyotes, can repair its own genetic mutations by adopting genes from its host animal, according to a new study. ... > full story

Could oysters be used to clean up Chesapeake Bay? (January 23, 2011) -- Chronic water quality problems caused by agricultural and urban runoff, municipal wastewater, and atmospheric deposition from the burning of fossil fuels leads to oxygen depletion, loss of biodiversity, and harmful algal blooms. This nutrient pollution is prevalent in many coastal marine and estuarine ecosystems worldwide. Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America and although many efforts have been taken to improve its water quality, nutrient pollution still keeps it at unacceptable levels. In a new study, biologists have measured the nutrient removal capacity of the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. ... > full story

Long-distance migration may help reduce infectious disease risks for many animal species (January 23, 2011) -- It's a common assumption that animal migration, like human travel across the globe, can transport pathogens long distances, in some cases increasing disease risks to humans. In some cases, animal migrations could actually help reduce the spread and prevalence of disease and may even promote the evolution of less-virulent disease strains, according to new research. ... > full story

Scientists successfully use sedation to help disentangle North Atlantic right whale (January 23, 2011) -- Scientists have successfully used at-sea chemical sedation to help cut the remaining ropes from a young North Atlantic right whale on January 15 off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla. The sedative given to the whale allowed the disentanglement team to safely approach the animal and remove 50 feet of rope which was wrapped through its mouth and around its flippers. ... > full story

Global pacts like REDD ignore primary causes of destruction of forests, new study suggests (January 23, 2011) -- A new study by some of the world's top experts on forest governance finds fault with a spate of international accords, and helps explain their failure to stop rampant destruction of the world's most vulnerable forests. The report suggests that global efforts have too often ignored local needs, while failing to address the most fundamental challenge to global forest management -- that deforestation usually is caused by economic pressures imposed from outside the forests. ... > full story

Cracking a tooth: 3-D map of atoms sheds light on nanoscale interfaces in teeth, may aid materials design (January 22, 2011) -- Using a highly sophisticated atomic-scale imaging tool on a sea creature's tooth, two researchers have peeled away some of the mystery of organic/inorganic interfaces that are at the heart of tooth and bone structure. They are the first to produce a three-dimensional map of the location and identity of millions of individual atoms in the complex hybrid material that allows the animal to literally chew rock. ... > full story

Defense mechanism against bacteria and fungi deciphered (January 22, 2011) -- To defend microbial attacks, the human body naturally produces a group of antibiotics, called defensins. An interdisciplinary team of biochemists and medical scientists has now deciphered the mechanism of action of a defensin, hitherto looked upon as exhibiting only minor activity. Their results might be useful in future drug development for inflammatory and infectious diseases. Nature now presents their findings online ahead of the print publication. ... > full story

Islands in the sky: How isolated are mountain top plant populations? (January 22, 2011) -- Do mountain tops act as sky islands for species that live at high elevations? Are plant populations on these mountain tops isolated from one another because the valleys between them act as barriers, or can pollinators act as bridges allowing genes to flow among distant populations? ... > full story

Montrealers are feeding fish Prozac; Research shows influence on brain activity while long-term consequences are unclear (January 22, 2011) -- Around one in four Montrealers take some kind of anti-depressant, and according to new research, the drugs are passing into the waterways and affecting fish. The findings are internationally significant as the city's sewage treatment system is similar to that in use in other major cities. ... > full story

With cloud computing, the mathematics of evolution may get easier to learn (January 22, 2011) -- An innovative, educational computing platform hosted by the cloud (remote, high-capacity, scalable servers) is helping university students understand parts of evolutionary biology on an entirely new level. Soon, high-school and middle-school students will benefit from the same tool as well. ... > full story

HEPA filters reduce cardiovascular health risks associated with air pollution, study finds (January 21, 2011) -- Using inexpensive air filters may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk that results from exposure to air pollution, according to researchers from Canada, who studied healthy adults living in a small community in British Columbia where wood burning stoves are the main sources of pollution. The researchers found that high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters reduced the amount of airborne particulate matter, resulting in improved blood vessel health and reductions in blood markers that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. ... > full story

New melt record for Greenland ice sheet; 'Exceptional' season stretched up to 50 days longer than average (January 21, 2011) -- New research shows that 2010 set new records for the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, expected to be a major contributor to projected sea level rises in coming decades. ... > full story

Remarkable preservation of African fossils explained (January 21, 2011) -- The mystery of how an abundance of fossils have been marvelously preserved for nearly half a billion years in a remote region of Africa has been solved by a team of geologists. ... > full story

Genetic variety of virus causing AIDS as a time indicator (January 21, 2011) -- Researchers in Switzerland have identified a simple method to establish when a patient contracted the virus causing AIDS. The time of infection can be of importance for the treatment of the illness and it contributes to the understanding of the course of the epidemic. ... > full story

Stretching the truth: Biophysicists help unravel DNA stretching mystery (January 21, 2011) -- Using a new experimental test structure, biophysicists have unraveled part of a 15-year mystery in the mechanics of DNA -- just how the molecule manages to suddenly extend to almost twice its normal length. ... > full story

Plants moved downhill, not up, in warming world (January 21, 2011) -- Scientists now challenge a widely held assumption that plants will move uphill in response to warmer temperatures. Many forecasts say climate change will cause a number of plants and animals to migrate to new ranges or become extinct. That research has largely been based on the assumption that temperature is the dominant driver of species distributions. However, new research reveals that other factors, such as precipitation, may be more important than temperature in defining the habitable range of these species. ... > full story

NASA prepares to launch next Earth-observing satellite mission (January 21, 2011) -- NASA's newest Earth-observing research mission is nearing launch. The Glory mission will improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate. Glory also will extend a legacy of long-term solar measurements needed to address key uncertainties about climate change. ... > full story

Newly discovered group of algae live in both fresh water and ocean (January 21, 2011) -- Biologists have discovered an entirely new group of algae living in a wide variety of marine and freshwater environments. This group of algae, which the researchers dubbed "rappemonads," have DNA that is distinctly different from that of other known algae. Based on their DNA analysis, the researchers believe that they have discovered not just a new species or genus, but a potentially large and novel group of microorganisms. ... > full story

New low-cost method to deliver vaccine shows promise (January 21, 2011) -- A promising new approach to immunization might reduce costs and enable thousands more people around the world to be vaccinated. A research team developed a vaccine for rotavirus that can be administered through nasal drops. The study in mice induced a potent immune response and prevented infection. ... > full story

Bus and tram passengers warned to keep their germs to themselves (January 21, 2011) -- You are six times more likely to end up at the doctors with an acute respiratory infection (ARI) if you have recently used a bus or tram -- but those who use buses or trams daily might well be somewhat protected compared with more occasional users. ... > full story

Appearance not always enough to identify species (January 21, 2011) -- Linnaean taxonomy is still a cornerstone of biology, but modern DNA techniques have erased many of the established boundaries between species. This has made identifying species difficult in practice, which can cause problems, as shown by a researcher Sweden. ... > full story

Data matrix codes used to catalogue archaeological heritage (January 21, 2011) -- Researchers in Spain have implemented an innovative system to register archaeological artifacts that eliminates problems in manual markings, such as errors in writing or erosion of data. The system, based on direct labeling using bi-dimensional data matrix (DM) codes, has been used by the research team over the past two years, during which numerous artifacts and bone remains from sites in Spain and Africa were registered. ... > full story

Biological clock ticks slower for female birds who choose good mates (January 20, 2011) -- In birds as in people, female fertility declines with age. But some female birds can slow the ticking of their biological clocks by choosing the right mates, says a new study. ... > full story

Global view of blood cell development reveals new and complex circuitry (January 20, 2011) -- A small pool of stem cells replenishes the human body with about 200 billion new blood cells daily, but the elaborate circuitry that controls this process remains largely unknown. Scientists have now taken a systematic approach to help decipher this circuitry, compiling a comprehensive catalog of the factors that determine a blood cell's fate. ... > full story

2010 ties record for world's warmest year: World Meteorological Organization (January 20, 2011) -- The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Data received by the WMO show no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998. ... > full story

Identity theft by aphids: Research points to a need for possible reclassification of aphid species (January 20, 2011) -- New research has people asking: "What IS a species?" and entomologists wondering about the relationship between an insect species and the host plant or plants it feeds on. ... > full story

How to tell a pterodactyl's sex: Dino-era riddle solved by new fossil find (January 20, 2011) -- Killed and preserved with her egg, a fossil of a flying reptile shows for the first time how hips and crests can be used to sex pterodactyls. ... > full story

Insect eyes inspire improved solar cells: Anti-reflective film based on moth eyes increases efficiency of photovoltaics (January 20, 2011) -- The eyes of moths, which allow them to see well at night, are also covered with a water-repellent, anti-reflective coating that makes their eyes among the least reflective surfaces in nature. Mimicking the moth eye's microstructure, a team of researchers has created a new film for covering solar cells that can cut down on the amount of reflected light and help capture more power from the sun. ... > full story

Like humans, amoebae pack a lunch before they travel (January 20, 2011) -- Some amoebae do what many people do. Before they travel, they pack a lunch. Evolutionary biologists have shown that long-studied social amoebae Dictyostellum discoideum (commonly known as slime molds) increase their odds of survival through a rudimentary form of agriculture. ... > full story

NASA Mars rover will check for ingredients of life (January 20, 2011) -- One of the jobs for the biggest science instrument on NASA's next Mars rover will be to check for the carbon-based molecular building blocks of life. ... > full story

Bedbug genetic study finds possible pesticide-resistance genes (January 20, 2011) -- Entomologists have conducted the first genetic study of bedbugs, paving the road to the identification of potential genes associated with pesticide resistance and possible new control methods for the troublesome insect, whose sudden resurgence in the United States has led to a public health scare. ... > full story

Nanoparticle vaccine protects against stomach flu (January 20, 2011) -- A new vaccine strategy using nanoparticles as carriers may be the key to developing a vaccine against norovirus, one of the most common causes of foodborne disease in the United States. ... > full story

See how they grow: Monitoring single bacteria without a microscope (January 20, 2011) -- With an invention that can be made from some of the same parts used in CD players, researchers have developed a way to measure the growth and drug susceptibility of individual bacterial cells without the use of a microscope. ... > full story

Small molecules may prevent Ebola infection (January 20, 2011) -- Scientists report they've discovered small molecules that appear to bind to the outer protein coat of the Ebola virus, possibly blocking the virus from entering human cells. The finding may open new paths to treatment of Ebola and the related Marburg viral disease. ... > full story

Prion disease spreads in sheep via mother's milk (January 20, 2011) -- Transmission of prion brain diseases such as bovine spongiform enecephalopathy (BSE) -- also known as mad cow disease -- and human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is generally attributed to the consumption of the brain or organ meat of infected animals but new research demonstrates lambs exposed to milk from prion-infected sheep with inflamed mammary glands can develop prion disease as well. The research has major implications for human and livestock health. ... > full story

Glycerin confirmed as a feasible feedstuff for swine (January 20, 2011) -- An increased interest in biofuel production and a growing need to find cost-effective livestock feedstuff alternatives has led researchers to further evaluate the use of glycerin in swine diets. ... > full story

Arctic sea-ice controls the release of mercury (January 20, 2011) -- Scientists have recently highlighted a new role that sea-ice plays in the mercury cycle in the Arctic. By blocking sunlight, sea-ice could influence the breakdown and transfer into the atmosphere of toxic forms of mercury present in the surface waters of the Arctic Ocean. These results suggest that climate plays a key role in the mercury cycle and that the release of mercury into the atmosphere could be accentuated by the melting of Arctic sea-ice. ... > full story

Celiac patients can eat hydrolyzed wheat flour, study finds (January 20, 2011) -- Baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour are not toxic to celiac disease patients, according to new research. ... > full story

Novel antibiotic combinations fight resistance genes (January 20, 2011) -- The combination the antibiotic ceftazidime plus the compound NXL104 is active against bacterial pathogens containing genes that confer resistance to multiple carbapenems, according to new research. ... > full story

Scientists view genome as it turns on and off inside cells (January 20, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a new approach to decoding the vast information embedded in an organism's genome, while shedding light on exactly how cells interpret their genetic material to create RNA messages and launch new processes in the cell. ... > full story

Complete structure of HIV’s outer shell revealed (January 20, 2011) -- Scientists have determined the structure of the protein package that delivers the genetic material of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to human cells. ... > full story

Staph vaccine shows promise in Phase I (January 20, 2011) -- A new experimental vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus has been shown to be well-tolerated, and to boost antibodies, according to new research. ... > full story

Gardening in space with HydroTropi (January 19, 2011) -- Plants are fundamental to life on Earth, converting light and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Plant growth may be an important part of human survival in exploring space, as well. Gardening in space has been part of the International Space Station from the beginning -- whether peas grown in the Lada greenhouse or experiments in the Biomass Production System. The space station offers unique opportunities to study plant growth and gravity, something that cannot be done on Earth. ... > full story

Robotic ghost knifefish is 'born' (January 19, 2011) -- Researchers have created a robotic fish that can move from swimming forward and backward to swimming vertically almost instantaneously by using a sophisticated, ribbon-like fin. The robot -- created after observing and creating computer simulations of the black ghost knifefish of the Amazon River Basin -- could pave the way for nimble robots that could perform underwater recovery operations or long-term monitoring of coral reefs. ... > full story

Atlas of an organism: Gene expression in developing mouse embryo (January 19, 2011) -- While every cell of an organism contains the same genes only a proportion are expressed in any tissue at a given stage in development. Knowing the extent of gene transcription is valuable and a team of European researchers has generated an atlas of gene expression for the developing mouse embryo. This will be a powerful resource to determine co-expression of genes and to identify functional associations between genes relevant to development and disease. ... > full story

Killer paper for next-generation food packaging (January 19, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting development and successful lab tests of "killer paper," a material intended for use as a new food packaging material that helps preserve foods by fighting the bacteria that cause spoilage. The paper contains a coating of silver nanoparticles, which are powerful anti-bacterial agents. ... > full story

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