Selasa, 29 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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Human virus linked to deaths of endangered mountain gorillas; Finding confirms that serious diseases can pass to gorillas from people (March 29, 2011) -- For the first time, a virus that causes respiratory disease in humans has been linked to the deaths of wild mountain gorillas, reports a team of researchers in the United States and Africa. ... > full story

No longer pining for organic molecules to make particles in the air (March 29, 2011) -- The fresh scent of pine has helped atmospheric scientists find missing sources of organic molecules in the air -- which, it could well turn out, aren't missing after all. Researchers have now found that particles containing compounds such as those given off by pine trees evaporate more than 100 times slower than expected by current air-quality models. ... > full story

Even Canadian rocks are different: Sedimentary differences on either side of border date back 120 million years (March 29, 2011) -- Canadians have always seen themselves as separate and distinct from their American neighbors to the south, and now they have geological proof. New research shows that rock formations roughly along the same political boundary as the two North American countries formed as early as 120 million years ago. ... > full story

Malaria as a complication to landmines and war injuries (March 29, 2011) -- Malaria can complicate the course of disease in poor farmers with landmine injuries in underdeveloped countries, where both malaria and war injuries are frequent causes of illness and death. New research charts the extent and effect of malaria on war-injured people and studied the potential for preventing them contracting the disease. ... > full story

Will we hear the light? Surprising discovery that infrared can activate heart and ear cells (March 29, 2011) -- Scientists have used invisible infrared light to make rat heart cells contract and toadfish inner-ear cells send signals to the brain. The discovery someday might improve cochlear implants for deafness and lead to devices to restore vision, maintain balance and treat movement disorders like Parkinson's. ... > full story

First applications of Europe's Galileo satellite nagivation system showcased (March 29, 2011) -- The first satellites of the the European navigation system Galileo are to be in position in the year 2012 and start their work. Fraunhofer Galileo Labs are showcasing the first applications that use new, improved possibilities provided by satellite navigation. ... > full story

How do plants fight disease? Breakthrough research offers a clue (March 28, 2011) -- How exactly bacterial pathogens cause diseases in plants remains a mystery and continues to frustrate scientists working to solve this problem. Now scientists have performed research on the soybean plant in the lab that makes major inroads into our understanding of plant-pathogen interactions, a rapidly developing area among the plant sciences. ... > full story

Dark side of spring? Pollution in our melting snow (March 28, 2011) -- With birds chirping and temperatures warming, spring is finally in the air. But for environmental chemist Torsten Meyer, springtime has a dark side. ... > full story

Scientists trace violent death of Iron Age man (March 28, 2011) -- An Iron Age man whose skull and brain was unearthed during excavations at the University of York was the victim of a gruesome ritual killing, according to new research. ... > full story

Twinkle, twinkle, quantum dot: New particles can change colors and tag molecules (March 28, 2011) -- Engineers have invented a new kind of nano-particle that shines in different colors to tag molecules in biomedical tests. These tiny plastic nano-particles are stuffed with even tinier bits of electronics called quantum dots. Like little traffic lights, the particles glow brightly in red, yellow, or green, so researchers can easily track molecules under a microscope. ... > full story

New trash-to-treasure process turns landfill nuisance into plastic (March 28, 2011) -- With billions of pounds of meat and bone meal going to waste in landfills after a government ban on its use in cattle feed, scientists have described development of a process for using that so-called meat and bone meal to make partially biodegradable plastic that does not require raw materials made from oil or natural gas. ... > full story

Deep-sea volcanoes don't just produce lava flows, they also explode (March 28, 2011) -- Most deep-sea volcanoes produce effusive lava flows rather than explosive eruptions, both because the levels of magmatic gas tend to be low, and because the volcanoes are under a lot of pressure from the surrounding water. But by using an ion microprobe, researchers have now proved that explosive eruptions can also occur. ... > full story

Blocking ship-borne bioinvaders before they dock (March 28, 2011) -- The global economy depends on marine transportation. But in addition to cargo, the world's 50,000-plus commercial ships carry tiny stowaways that can cause huge problems for the environment and economy. A new model will facilitate accurate screening of vessels for dangerous species before they unload. ... > full story

Huge potential of nanocrystals to raise efficiency in fuel cells (March 28, 2011) -- The addition of extremely small crystals to solid electrolyte material has the potential to considerably raise the efficiency of fuel cells. ... > full story

Remarkable fossil sea creature -- 525 million years old -- shows soft parts of body including tentacles (March 28, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a remarkable fossil which sheds new light on an important group of primitive sea creatures. The 525-million-year-old fossil belongs to a group of tentacle-bearing creatures which lived inside hard tubes. Previously only the tubes have been seen in detail, but this new specimen clearly shows the soft parts of the body including tentacles for feeding. ... > full story

How bees learn which odors to follow (March 28, 2011) -- Scientists have traced odor memory to a certain area of the bee brain. How successful bees are in their search for food depends largely on how well they can, based on their odors, detect nectar-rich flowers from a distance and distinguish them from less promising plants. Researchers have investigated how and whether bees can recognize a relationship between the odor and nectar of a particular flowers and whether this association is localized in a certain area of the bee brain. ... > full story

'Green' cars could be made from pineapples and bananas (March 28, 2011) -- Your next new car hopefully won't be a lemon. But it could be a pineapple or a banana. Scientists in Brazil have developed a more effective way to use fibers from these and other plants in a new generation of automotive plastics that are stronger, lighter, and more eco-friendly than plastics now in use. Their work could lead to stronger and more sustainable materials for cars and other products. ... > full story

Babies who sleep with smoker parents exhibit high nicotine levels (March 28, 2011) -- "Third-hand smoke" stuck to skin or clothing is responsible for the high nicotine levels seen in babies who share a bedroom with their smoker parents, according to a new study in Spain. The study also shows that ventilating bedrooms is not effective in reducing the levels of toxins from passive smoking. ... > full story

Debut of the first practical 'artificial leaf' (March 28, 2011) -- Scientists have claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy -- development of the first practical artificial leaf. Researchers have developed an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics the process, called photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy. ... > full story

Large regional changes in farmland area predicted (March 28, 2011) -- The effects of climate change and population growth on agricultural land area vary from region to region, according to a new study. Regions with relative high latitudes -- China, Russia and the US -- could see a significant increase in arable land in coming years, but Africa, Europe and India and South America could lose land area. ... > full story

From cotton candy to rock: New evidence about beginnings of the solar system (March 28, 2011) -- The earliest rocks in our solar system were more like cotton candy than the hard rock that we know today, according to new research. ... > full story

Walnuts are top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants (March 28, 2011) -- A new scientific study positions walnuts in the number one slot among a family of foods that lay claim to being among Mother Nature's most nearly perfect packaged foods: Tree and ground nuts. A new analysis shows that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut. ... > full story

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

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