ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

New models predict drastically greener Arctic in coming decades

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 01:56 PM PDT

New research predicts that rising temperatures will lead to a massive “greening,” or increase in plant cover, in the Arctic. In a new paper, scientists reveal new models projecting that wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 50 percent over the next few decades. The researchers also show that this dramatic greening will accelerate climate warming at a rate greater than previously expected.

Congestion in Earth’s mantle: Mineralogists explain why plate tectonics stagnates in some places

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 01:55 PM PDT

Seismic measurements show that in some regions of the Earth’s mantle, plate tectonics stagnates. The causes of the ‘congestion’ of the subducted plate are still unknown. In a new study, mineralogists from Germany explain the phenomenon for the first time.

Splendid Skadar Lake (Montenegro and Albania) surprises with new species of snails

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:51 AM PDT

The Skadar Lake system at the border of Montenegro and Albania is a well-known hotspot of freshwater biodiversity and harbors a highly diverse mollusc fauna. As in many of the Balkan lakes, the endemic species of Skadar Lake are still poorly known and continue to yield unexpected discoveries. A new freshwater snail species has recently been found.

Protective prion keeps yeast cells from going it alone

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 11:21 AM PDT

A team of scientists has added markedly to the job description of prions as agents of change, identifying a prion capable of triggering a transition in yeast from its conventional single-celled form to a cooperative, multicellular structure. This change, which appears to improve yeast’s chances for survival in the face of hostile environmental conditions, is an epigenetic phenomenon — a heritable alteration brought about without any change to the organism’s underlying genome.

In solving social dilemmas, vervet monkeys get by with a little patience

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 09:50 AM PDT

People could learn a lot from vervet monkeys. When vervets need to work together, they don’t tell each other what to do or punish uncooperative behavior. But according to new evidence, they do get by, with a little patience.

Caffeine-‘addicted’ bacteria: Finding may lead to new decontamination methods, new medicines

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:35 AM PDT

Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that — literally. Their report describes bacteria being “addicted” to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of wastewater to bioproduction of medications for asthma.

Climate change likely to worsen threat of diarrheal disease in Botswana

Posted: 26 Mar 2013 09:16 AM PDT

Climate drives a large part of diarrheal disease in Sub-Saharan Africa and makes communities vulnerable to climate change, according to new research.