ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Nitrogen has key role in estimating carbon dioxide emissions from land use change

·        Ocean acidification as a hearing aid for fish?

Nitrogen has key role in estimating carbon dioxide emissions from land use change

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 01:07 PM PDT

A new global-scale modeling study that takes into account nitrogen — a key nutrient for plants — estimates that carbon emissions from human activities on land were 40 percent higher in the 1990s than in studies that did not account for nitrogen. Plant regrowth — and therefore carbon assimilation by plants — is limited by nitrogen availability, causing other studies to overestimate regrowth and underestimate net emissions from the harvest-regrowth cycle.

Something’s fishy in the tree of life: Largests and most comprehensive studies of fish phylogeny

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 10:26 AM PDT

A team of scientists has dramatically increased our understanding of fish evolution and their relationships. The group integrated extensive genetic and physical information about specimens to create a new “tree of life” for fishes. The vast amount of data generated through large-scale DNA sequencing required supercomputing resources for analysis. The result is the largest and most comprehensive studies of fish phylogeny to date.

After major earthquake: A global murmur, then unusual silence

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 10:26 AM PDT

In the global aftershock zone that followed the major April 2012 Indian Ocean earthquake, seismologists noticed an unusual pattern — period of quiet, without a large quake. Why did this period of quiet occur?

Research harnesses solar-powered proteins to filter harmful antibiotics from water

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 09:11 AM PDT

New research details how solar-powered proteins can be used to filter antibiotics and other harmful compounds from rivers and lakes at a significantly higher rate than present treatment standards.

Random walks on DNA: Bacterial enzyme has evolved an energy-efficient method to move long distances along DNA

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 07:52 AM PDT

Scientists have revealed how a bacterial enzyme has evolved an energy-efficient method to move long distances along DNA. The findings present further insight into the coupling of chemical and mechanical energy by a class of enzymes called helicases, a widely-distributed group of proteins, which in human cells are implicated in some cancers.

Mine disaster: Hundreds of aftershocks

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 07:51 AM PDT

A new study has identified hundreds of previously unrecognized small aftershocks that happened after Utah’s deadly Crandall Canyon mine collapse in 2007. The aftershocks suggest the collapse was as big — and perhaps bigger — than shown in another study by the university in 2008.

Ocean acidification as a hearing aid for fish?

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Scientists report stunning new insight into the potential effects of acidification on the sensory function of larval cobia. The study is the first to use micro-CT technology to examine otoliths while still inside the heads of the larval fish.

Global warming: ‘Black carbon’ flowing from soil to oceans

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 04:59 AM PDT

A smaller proportion of black carbon created during combustion will remain in soil than have been estimated before. Contrary to previous understanding, burying black carbon in the ground in order to restrain climate change will not create a permanent carbon reserve. Instead, a part of black carbon will dissolve from soil to rivers.

Surprising new function for small RNAs in evolution

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 04:59 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered a completely new mechanism by which evolution can change the appearance of an organism. The researchers found that the number of hairs on flies’ legs varies according to the level of activity of a so-called microRNA. The results shed a completely new light on the molecular mechanisms of evolution.

Study of pumas in Santa Cruz Mountains documents impact of predator/human interaction

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 07:01 AM PDT

In the first published results of more than three years of tracking mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains, researchers have documented how human development affects the predators’ habits.

Long-term exposure to fine particles of traffic pollution increases risk of heart disease

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 07:01 AM PDT

Long-term exposure to fine particle matter air pollution in part derived from traffic pollution is also associated with atherosclerosis independent of traffic noise.

Previously unpublished paper by Francis Crick and Jeffries Wyman, ‘a footnote on allostery’

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 06:46 AM PDT

It is rare that an unpublished piece of research or theory remains significant after half a century. It is also a wonderful example of the boundless curiosity of the late Francis Crick. A previously unpublished work by Francis Crick and Jeffries Wyman from 1965 is now available, together with Jean-Pierre Changeux’s recollections on the origins of the theory of Allostery and several important texts by various authors on the subject.

Environmental toxicology: Removing nanosilver from wastewater

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 06:46 AM PDT

Nanosilver in wastewater can cause severe environmental damage if it occurs as a metal. A new study shows that nanosilver is quickly transformed into less problematic substances on its way to the wastewater treatment plant. In addition, it is efficiently retained in the sewage sludge so that only a small portion of it reaches the water systems.