Senin, 28 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Monday, March 28, 2011

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Structure of DNA repair complex reveals workings of powerful cell motor (March 28, 2011) -- Over the last years, researchers have steadily built a model of how a powerful DNA repair complex works. Now, a new discovery provides revolutionary insights into the way the molecular motor inside the complex functions -- findings they say may have implications for treatment of disorders ranging from cancer to cystic fibrosis. ... > full story

Sea ice holds deep secrets (March 28, 2011) -- Future safety in traversing the enormous Arctic Ocean will require greater knowledge about the molecular structure of sea ice. But studying sea ice without disturbing it or having it melt is no simple matter. ... > full story

Can biochar help suppress greenhouse gases? (March 28, 2011) -- Scientists have conducted an experiment over an 86-day spring/summer period to determined the effect of incorporating biochar into the soil on nitrous oxide emissions produced by cattle urine. ... > full story

Shallow-water shrimp tolerates deep-sea conditions (March 28, 2011) -- By studying the tolerance of marine invertebrates to a wide range of temperature and pressure, scientists are beginning to understand how shallow-water species could have colonized the ocean depths. ... > full story

Ecosystem-wide framework for monitoring coral reef fisheries can be used on global scale (March 28, 2011) -- Scientists have created a framework that increases the effectiveness of critical reef monitoring techniques. The new framework improves the accuracy and efficiency of fish counts and can be used to determine the best long term management strategies -- whether the reefs are in Florida, Hawaii or anywhere around the world. ... > full story

Faster method to study plant ecology (March 27, 2011) -- Cleaning up pollution, protecting soil from erosion and maintaining species-rich ecosystems are some goals of a computational ecology project. The work sheds light on a new method to speed up research in the ecology of plants. ... > full story

Biodiversity and sustainable resource use may co-exist in tropical forests (March 27, 2011) -- When local residents are allowed to make rules about managing nearby forests, the forests are more likely to provide greater economic benefits to households and contain more biodiversity, researchers conclude from an analysis of forest practices in tropical developing countries of East Africa and South Asia. ... > full story

Smaller particles could make solar panels more efficient (March 27, 2011) -- New research could significantly improve the efficiency of solar cells. The size of light-absorbing particles -- quantum dots -- affects the particles' ability to transfer energy to electrons to generate electricity. ... > full story

Wealth of orchid varieties is down to busy bees and helpful fungi, says study (March 27, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered why orchids are one of the most successful groups of flowering plants -- it is all down to their relationships with the bees that pollinate them and the fungi that nourish them. ... > full story

Remarkable diversity of lichen species found in Florida state park (March 27, 2011) -- Florida's Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park appears to be have more lichen biodiversity in a relatively small space than anywhere else in North America, according to a recent census. Botanists found 432 species in one square kilometer, including 18 never before identified by scientists and nearly 100 previously not known from North America. ... > full story

Freshwater content of upper Arctic Ocean increased 20 percent since 1990s, large-scale assessment finds (March 27, 2011) -- The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s, according to a new large-scale assessment. This corresponds to a rise of approximately 8,400 cubic kilometres and has the same magnitude as the volume of freshwater annually exported on average from this marine region in liquid or frozen form. ... > full story

New lignin 'lite' switchgrass boosts biofuel yield by more than one-third (March 27, 2011) -- Bioethanol from new lines of native perennial prairie grass could become less costly because of recent plant engineering. ... > full story

Antarctic icebergs play a previously unknown role in global carbon cycle, climate (March 26, 2011) -- In a finding that has global implications for climate research, scientists have discovered that when icebergs cool and dilute the seas through which they pass for days, they also raise chlorophyll levels in the water that may in turn increase carbon dioxide absorption in the Southern Ocean. ... > full story

Maquipucuna cloud forest in Ecuador yields new species of yeast (March 26, 2011) -- A new species of yeast has been discovered growing on the fruit of an unidentified and innocuous bramble collected from the biodiversity-rich Maquipucuna cloud forest nature reserve, near Quito, in Ecuador. ... > full story

Algae, bacteria hogged oxygen after ancient mass extinction, slowed marine life recovery (March 26, 2011) -- After the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history -- 250 million years ago -- algae and bacteria in the ocean rebounded so fast that they consumed virtually all the oxygen in the sea, slowing the recovery of the rest of marine animals for several million years. ... > full story

Bats keep separate households (March 26, 2011) -- The use of different environments by males and females in the parti-colored bat makes population estimation and thereby the conservation of the species more difficult. The use of different resources by males and females exacerbates the estimation of population sizes. However, the monitoring of population sizes, particularly for rare and threatened species, is pivotal to quick and effective conservation action. Scientists have now investigated the ecological niches of male and female parti-colored bats (Vespertilio murinus) and found out that the sexes use entirely different foraging grounds. With their results they can show that a finer grained view of what different demographic subsets of species do is essential for correct estimation of population trends with important implications on action plans for conservation. ... > full story

Inclusive fitness theory defended (March 26, 2011) -- In 1964, biologist William Hamilton introduced Inclusive Fitness Theory to predict and explain phenomena ranging from animal behavior to patterns of gene expression. With its many successes, the theory became a cornerstone for modern biology. In August 2010, researchers challenged the theory in the journal Nature. Now Nature has published sharp rebuttals from scores of scientists. ... > full story

Kudzu vines spreading north from US Southeast with warming climate (March 25, 2011) -- Kudzu, the plant scourge of the US Southeast. The long tendrils of this woody vine, or liana, are on the move north with a warming climate. ... > full story

Conch shell gives nano insights into composite materials (March 25, 2011) -- Researchers use the conch shell as an example of 'toughness-by-architecture' in the quest for new synthetic materials for engineering, construction and aerospace applications. ... > full story

Uncertain future for Joshua trees in US Southwest projected with climate change (March 25, 2011) -- Temperature increases resulting from climate change in the US Southwest will likely eliminate Joshua trees from 90 percent of their current range in 60 to 90 years, according to a new study. ... > full story

Cruise ship norovirus outbreak highlights how infections spread (March 25, 2011) -- Norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States and is estimated to cause nearly 21 million cases annually. The results of an investigation of a 2009 outbreak on a cruise ship shed light on how the infections can spread and the steps both passengers and crew can take to prevent them. ... > full story

In vivo systems biology: Using computer models, systems biologists can predict complicated behavior of cells in living animals (March 25, 2011) -- Researchers report that they have created a new computational model that describes how intestinal cells in mice respond to a natural chemical called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). ... > full story

MRSA infection shown to be seasonal (March 25, 2011) -- A new study has found a significant increase in the occurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in the summer and autumn months. The increase was more pronounced in the pediatric population than in adults. ... > full story

Wild birds may play a role in the spread of bird flu, new research suggests (March 25, 2011) -- Wild migratory birds may indeed play a role in the spread of bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. ... > full story

Eskimo study suggests high consumption of omega-3s in fish-rich diet reduces obesity-related disease risk (March 25, 2011) -- A study of Yup'ik Eskimos in Alaska, who on average consume 20 times more omega-3 fats from fish than people in the lower 48 states, suggests that a high intake of these fats helps prevent obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. ... > full story

Russian boreal forests undergoing vegetation change, study shows (March 25, 2011) -- Russia's boreal forest -- the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world, found in the country's cold northern regions -- is undergoing an accelerating large-scale shift in vegetation types as a result of globally and regionally warming climate. That in turn is creating an even warmer climate in the region, according to a new study. ... > full story

Religious young adults become obese by middle age: Cause may be unhealthy food at religious activities (March 25, 2011) -- Could it be the potato salad? Young adults who frequently attend religious activities are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age as young adults with no religious involvement, according to new research. This is the first longitudinal study to examine the development of obesity in people with various degrees of religious involvement. The cause may be unhealthy food served at religious activities. ... > full story

Artifacts in Texas predate Clovis culture by 2,500 years, new study shows (March 25, 2011) -- Researchers in Texas have discovered thousands of human artifacts in a layer of earth that lies directly beneath an assemblage of Clovis relics, expanding evidence that other cultures preceded the Clovis culture in North America. ... > full story

Unexpected action of bisphenol A on the inner ear of certain vertebrates (March 25, 2011) -- Bisphenol A, whose impact on reproduction and development is the subject of numerous studies, induces anomalies in the inner ear of embryos of certain vertebrates. This new, completely unsuspected effect has been demonstrated on zebrafish and Xenopus, a type of frog. These results illustrate, for the first time, the sensitivity of the inner ear in vertebrates to bisphenol A. The study demonstrates that the effects of this chemical compound on the embryonic development of animals, including mammals, now needs to be explored in greater depth. ... > full story

An ancestral link between genetic and environmental sex determination (March 25, 2011) -- Researchers have found a highly significant connection between the molecular mechanisms underlying genetic and environmental sex determination. The scientists report the identification of a gene responsible for the production of males during environmental sex determination in the crustacean Daphnia. ... > full story

Against the tide: Currents keep dolphins apart; Study finds invisible oceanographic factors that keep populations separate (March 25, 2011) -- Conservationists have discovered that groups of dolphins in the western Indian Ocean do not mix freely with one another. In fact, dolphin populations are kept separate by currents and other unseen factors. ... > full story

Beetle explorers name new species for Roosevelt (March 25, 2011) -- A new species of a rugged and dashing darkling beetle was named in honor of Theodore Roosevelt on the 100th anniversary of a speech he gave at Tempe Normal School, now Arizona State University. ... > full story

Cutting carbon dioxide could help prevent droughts, new research shows (March 25, 2011) -- Recent climate modeling has shown that reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would give the Earth a wetter climate in the short term. New research offers a novel explanation for why climates are wetter when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are decreasing. Their findings show that cutting carbon dioxide concentrations could help prevent droughts caused by global warming. ... > full story

Biofilm reorganization: Microcinematic image analysis finds existing theories of bacterial self-organization are lacking (March 25, 2011) -- In a surprising new study, researchers using image-analysis methods similar to those employed in facial-recognition software have made a startling discovery that rules out the two main theories scientists had created to explain how bacteria self-organize into multicellular aggregate mounds. ... > full story

Research brings habitat models into the future (March 25, 2011) -- Time marches on, and thanks to new research, models of wildlife habitat now can monitor changes over time more accurately and more easily. Researchers are combining habitat modeling and remote sensing technology, then gain the ability to use one model to monitor various changes over time. ... > full story

Mouse cancer genome unveils genetic errors in human cancers (March 24, 2011) -- By sequencing the genome of a mouse with cancer, researchers have uncovered mutations that also drive cancer in humans. The investigators are the first to sequence a mouse cancer genome. ... > full story

Researchers help map tsunami and earthquake damage in Japan (March 24, 2011) -- Researchers are processing satellite imagery of regions in Japan affected by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated sections of the country's east coast on March 11. ... > full story

High levels of dietary nitrate might in part explain the vascular benefits of diets rich in leafy greens (March 24, 2011) -- Nitric oxide (NO) helps maintain the health of vasculature. NO is synthesized by an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS). In a new study, researchers determined that after vessel injury, the NOS pathway is disrupted, but a secondary pathway that generates NO from nitrate is activated. This suggests that high levels of dietary nitrate might in part explain the vascular benefits of diets rich in leafy greens. ... > full story

Loss of plant diversity threatens Earth's life-support systems, experts say (March 24, 2011) -- An international team of researchers has published a comprehensive new analysis showing that loss of plant biodiversity disrupts the fundamental services that ecosystems provide to humanity. ... > full story

Glimpse of how the 'code' of life may have emerged (March 24, 2011) -- A portion of the "code" of life has been unraveled by a graduate student. She aimed to decipher intramolecular communication within a large RNA-protein enzyme responsible for expressing the genetic code for the amino acid glutamine. To her surprise, the experiments captured a partial glimpse of how the genetic coding of life may have emerged. ... > full story

Suggesting genes' friends, Facebook-style (March 24, 2011) -- Scientists in Germany have developed a new method that uncovers the combined effects of genes. The technique helps understand how different genes can amplify, cancel out or mask each others' effects, and enables scientists to suggest genes that interfere with each other in much the same manner that Facebook suggests friends. ... > full story

The evolution of brain wiring: Navigating to the neocortex (March 24, 2011) -- A new study is providing fascinating insight into how projections conveying sensory information in the brain are guided to their appropriate targets in different species. The research reveals a surprising new evolutionary scenario that may help to explain how subtle changes in the migration of "guidepost" neurons underlie major differences in brain connectivity between mammals and non-mammalian vertebrates. ... > full story

Neutron analysis yields insight into bacteria for solar energy (March 24, 2011) -- Structural studies of some of nature's most efficient light-harvesting systems are lighting the way for new generations of biologically inspired solar cell devices. ... > full story

Epigenomic findings illuminate veiled variants: Study assigns meaning to regions beyond genes with implications for studies of common diseases (March 24, 2011) -- Using a new mapping strategy, scientists have begun to assign meaning to the regions beyond our genes and has revealed how minute changes in these regions might be connected to common diseases. ... > full story

'Junk food' moms have 'junk food' babies (March 24, 2011) -- Pregnant mothers who eat high sugar and high fat diets have babies who are likely to become junk food junkies themselves. According to the report, which used rats, this happens because the high fat and high sugar diet leads to changes in the fetal brain's reward pathway, altering food preferences. ... > full story

Plant oil may hold key to reducing obesity-related medical issues, researcher finds (March 24, 2011) -- Scientists have known for years that belly fat leads to serious medical problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke. Now, a researcher has found a plant oil that may be able to reduce belly fat in humans. A new study has found that a specific plant oil, known as sterculic oil, may be a key in the fight against obesity. ... > full story

Road traffic pollution doubles risk of rejection after lung transplant (March 24, 2011) -- Lung transplant patients have double the risk of organ rejection and death within five years of the procedure if they live near a main road, new research indicates. ... > full story

Health information technology 'control tower' could improve earthquake response (March 24, 2011) -- A new study foresees improvements in patient outcomes after a major earthquake through more effective use of information technology. A control tower-style telemedicine hub to manage electronic traffic between first responders and remote medical experts could boost the likelihood that critically injured victims will get timely care and survive, according to the team's computer simulation model. ... > full story

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