|Long-term research reveals how climate change is playing out in real ecosystems
Posted: 01 Dec 2012 05:59 AM PST
Around the world, the effects of global climate change are increasingly evident and difficult to ignore. However, evaluations of the local effects of climate change are often confounded by natural and human induced factors that overshadow the effects of changes in climate on ecosystems. Now, scientists report a number of surprising results that may shed more light on the complex nature of climate change.
|Genome of the Black Death reveals evidence for an Antique Bubonic Plague pandemic
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 06:31 AM PST
Researchers have compared medieval and modern plague pathogens. In a comparison of more than 300 contemporary strains of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes bubonic plague, with ancient bacterial DNA isolated from victims of the Black Death (1347 — 1351), a team led by researchers at University of Tuebingen obtained evidence suggestive of a bubonic plague outbreak in the late antique period (8th to 10th centuries AD). The study raises strong suspicions that the plague of Justinian, a massive pandemic that is thought to be in part responsible for the collapse of the East Roman Empire, may have been caused by the same bacterium implicated in the Black Death.
|Ecologists shed new light on effects of light pollution on wildlife
Posted: 28 Nov 2012 06:39 AM PST
Light pollution is often associated with negative effects on wildlife. Now, ecologists have found that by mimicking a perpetual full moon, the gas flares and electrical lighting along Scotland’s Forth estuary are helping shorebirds stock up on more food during the winter to fuel their spring migration.
|One step closer to ‘space climate’ forecasting
Posted: 28 Nov 2012 06:37 AM PST
The Sun determines the course of the planets. But the planets may also exert an influence on the Sun. Their configurations appear to be responsible for long-term cycles of increased solar activity. Scientists have compared cycles of solar magnetic activity over the past 10,000 years ? as reconstructed from ice cores ? with the action of the planets. The agreement observed is very striking, raising hopes that our ability to forecast periods of intense solar activity may ultimately be improved. This is becoming increasingly important as our society is ever-more dependent on technologies such as satellite communications and navigation systems ? as well as power grids ? which can be disabled by major solar eruptions.