Selasa, 25 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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Faster early development might have its costs, study in salamanders suggests (January 25, 2011) -- Fast development is often perceived as an advantage, as it enables better harmony with one's environment and readiness to cope with the challenges that it poses. However new research found that the acceleration of developmental rate incurs potentially lethal physiological costs for the developing individual. ... > full story

Monk seal and hump-backed dolphin are threatened by fishing activities off coast of Mauritania (January 25, 2011) -- Researchers in Spain have studied the marine trophic network in Mauritania, on the north west coast of Africa, which is an extremely heavily exploited fishing area, as well as being home to two of the world's most threatened species of marine mammal -- the monk seal and the Atlantic hump-backed dolphin. The results of the study show that industrial and traditional fishing activities along the coast are putting these mammals and local marine ecosystems at great danger. ... > full story

Sensors to detect explosives, monitor food being developed (January 25, 2011) -- Monitoring everything from explosives to tainted milk, materials for use in creating sensors for detection devices have been developed by a team of chemists. ... > full story

Industrial pollutants found in Eastern Lake Erie carp (January 25, 2011) -- Researchers have documented elevated levels of two industrial pollutants in carp in eastern Lake Erie, adding to the body of scientific work demonstrating the lasting environmental effects of human activity and waste disposal on the Great Lakes. ... > full story

Spiders adjust courtship signals for maximum effect (January 24, 2011) -- Male wolf spiders produce multiple courtship signals -- vibrations and visual cues -- to attract females. New research shows that when courting, these males can modify their mating signals depending on the environmental surface (soil, rock, wood, leaves) in order to ensure that their message gets through. ... > full story

Humans has been provoking climate change for thousands of years, carbon history shows (January 24, 2011) -- The Roman Conquest, the Black Death and the discovery of America -- by modifying the nature of the forests -- have had a significant impact on the environment. These are the findings of scientists in Switzerland who have researched our long history of emitting carbon into the environment. ... > full story

Climate change threatens many tree species (January 24, 2011) -- Global warming is already affecting the earth in a variety of ways that demand our attention. Now, new research indicates that many tree species might become extinct due to climate change if no action is taken in time. ... > full story

Aquatic food web tied to land: Some fish are made out of maple leaves (January 24, 2011) -- A distant relative of shrimp, zooplankton are an important food source for fish and other aquatic animals. Long characterized as algae feeders, a new study reports that nearly a third of zooplankton diets are supported by material that originates on land in lake watersheds. ... > full story

A new way to control 'superweeds': Two bacterial enzymes confer resistance to common herbicide (January 24, 2011) -- They pop up in farm fields across 22 states, and they've been called the single largest threat to production agriculture that farmers have ever seen. They are "superweeds" -- undesirable plants that can tolerate multiple herbicides -- and they cost time and money because the only real solution is for farmers to plow them out of the field before they suffocate corn, soybeans or cotton. Researchers may now have a new weapon on the horizon to eliminate superweeds. ... > full story

Salty evolution: Previously unknown central metabolic pathway in microorganisms discovered (January 24, 2011) -- Microbiologists in Germany have discovered a previously unknown central metabolic pathway in microorganisms. The life forms use this pathway to survive under extremely salty conditions, such as in the Dead Sea. ... > full story

Dangerous environments 'make parents more caring,' researchers find (January 24, 2011) -- Changes in the environment that put the lives of adults at risk drive parents to invest more in caring for their offspring, scientists have found. ... > full story

Persistent drought to linger across southern United States (January 24, 2011) -- While wet and snowy weather has dominated the western U.S., persistent drought conditions are likely to linger in the Southern Plains and Southeast through mid to late spring, according to NOAA's National Weather Service. La Niña has kept storms and most of their precipitation in the north, leaving the South drier than normal. ... > full story

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

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