Rabu, 30 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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Measurements of winter Arctic sea ice shows continuing ice loss, study finds (March 30, 2011) -- The 2011 Arctic sea ice extent maximum that marks the beginning of the melt season appears to be tied for the lowest ever measured by satellites, say scientists. ... > full story

Like products, plants wait for optimal configuration before market success (March 30, 2011) -- Scientists have now amassed the largest evolutionary tree (phylogeny) for plants. They have learned that major groups of plants tinker with their design and performance before rapidly spinning off new species. The finding upends long-held thinking that plants' speciation rates are tied to the first development of a new physical trait or mechanism. ... > full story

New insight into how 'tidying up' enzymes work (March 29, 2011) -- New research sheds light on how molecules are broken down by the body -- a finding that promises to help pharmaceutical chemists design better drugs. ... > full story

Communicating uncertain climate risks (March 29, 2011) -- Despite much research that demonstrates potential dangers from climate change, public concern has not been increasing. ... > full story

Treadmill tests for poison frogs show toxic species are more physically fit (March 29, 2011) -- The most toxic, brightly colored members of the poison frog family may also be the best athletes, says a new study. ... > full story

Key plant traits yield more sugar for biofuels (March 29, 2011) -- New clues about plant structure are helping researchers narrow down a large collection of poplar tree candidates and identify winners for future use in biofuel production. ... > full story

Some ingredients in 'green' products come from petroleum rather than natural sources (March 29, 2011) -- With more and more environmentally conscious consumers choosing "green" products, scientists have now reported that the first reality check has revealed that the ingredients in those product may come from a surprising source -- petroleum, rather than natural plant-based sources. ... > full story

Satellites detect extensive drought impact on Amazon forests (March 29, 2011) -- A new study has revealed widespread reductions in the greenness of the forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010. ... > full story

Chemists' biosensor may improve food, water safety and cancer detection (March 29, 2011) -- A new nanotechnology-based biosensor under development may allow early detection of both cancer cells and pathogens, leading to increased food safety and reduced health risks. ... > full story

Wind can keep mountains from growing (March 29, 2011) -- Wind is a much more powerful force in the evolution of mountains than previously thought, according to a new report. The researchers figured out wind's rock-sculpting abilities by studying gigantic wind-formed ridges of rock called yardangs that are found in Central Asia. Bedrock in the area that would have formed mountains instead was sand-blasted into dust. ... > full story

Next-generation chemical mapping on the nanoscale (March 29, 2011) -- Scientists have pioneered a new chemical mapping method that provides unprecedented insight into materials at the nanoscale. These new maps will guide researchers in deciphering molecular chemistry and interactions that are critical for artificial photosynthesis, biofuels production and light-harvesting applications such as solar cells. ... > full story

From crankcase to gas tank: New microwave method converts used motor oil into fuel (March 29, 2011) -- That dirty motor oil that comes out of your car or truck engine during oil changes could end up in your fuel tank, according to a new report. It described development of a new process for recycling waste crankcase oil into gasoline-like fuel -- the first, they said, that uses microwaves and has "excellent potential" for going into commercial use. ... > full story

Researchers close in on technology for making renewable petroleum (March 29, 2011) -- Researchers are a key step closer to making renewable petroleum fuels using bacteria, sunlight and carbon dioxide. ... > full story

Bones conjure Yellowstone's ecological ghosts (March 29, 2011) -- By taking a closer look at animal bones scattered across the wilderness landscape, a researcher has found a powerful tool for showing how species' populations have changed over decades or even a century. ... > full story

GPS study shows wolves more reliant on a cattle diet (March 29, 2011) -- Cattle ranchers in southwestern Alberta have suspected it for a long time, and now GPS tracking equipment confirms it: wolf packs in the area are making cow meat a substantial part of their diets. ... > full story

Evolution: Not only the fittest survive (March 29, 2011) -- Darwin's notion that only the fittest survive has been called into question by new research. The study shows that biodiversity can evolve and persist even in environments where it was previously thought impossible. The research calls into question the current theoretical understanding of evolution. ... > full story

Speeding up Mother Nature's very own CO<sub>2</sub> mitigation process (March 29, 2011) -- Using seawater and calcium to remove carbon dioxide in a natural gas power plant's flue stream, and then pumping the resulting calcium bicarbonate in the sea, could be beneficial to the oceans' marine life. ... > full story

Tiger numbers increase in India (March 29, 2011) -- The Indian Government has released new tiger population numbers for the first time since 2007, indicating that numbers have increased in the country that has half of the world's remaining wild tigers. ... > full story

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

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