ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

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ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Parasites of Madagascar’s lemurs expanding with climate change

Health and environment: A closer look at plastics

Scientists underestimated potential for Tohoku earthquake: Now what?

Microbiologists eavesdrop on the hidden lives of microbes

Putting the squeeze on cells: By deforming cells, researchers can deliver RNA, proteins and nanoparticles for many applications

Breakthrough: How salt stops plant growth

Greenland ice cores reveal warm climate of the past

Residents near Chinese e-waste site face greater cancer risk

Prediction of Asian summer monsoon rainfall and tropical storm activity close at hand

Climate change could cause massive losses in Pyrenees ski resorts

Benefits of social grooming in wild chimpanzees: Hormone oxytocin facilitates cooperation

How the purple and pink sunscreens of reef corals work

Pavlov’s rats? Rodents trained to link rewards to visual cues

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 04:58 PM PST

In experiments on rats outfitted with tiny goggles, scientists say they have learned that the brain’s initial vision processing center not only relays visual stimuli, but also can “learn” time intervals and create specifically timed expectations of future rewards. The research sheds new light on learning and memory-making, the investigators say, and could help explain why people with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble remembering recent events.

More small meat-eating dinosaurs than thought

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 04:53 PM PST

Researchers used fossilized teeth to identify at least 23 species of small meat-eating dinosaurs.

Brain of ampelosaur from Cuenca (Spain) revealed

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 04:53 PM PST

Scientists have made a 3-D reconstruction of the remains of ampelosaur, found in 2007 in the site of Lo Hueco (Cuenca). The fossils are about 70 million years old (Late Cretaceous).

Owl monkeys who ‘stay true’ reproduce more than those with multiple partners

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 04:52 PM PST

Breaking up is hard to do — and can be detrimental to one’s reproductive fitness, according to a new study. Focusing on wide-eyed, nocturnal owl monkeys, considered a socially monogamous species, the research reveals that, when an owl monkey pair is severed by an intruding individual, the mate who takes up with a new partner produces fewer offspring than a monkey who sticks with its tried-and-true partner.

Hailstones reveal life in a storm cloud

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 04:52 PM PST

It isn’t life on Mars, but researchers have found a rich diversity of microbial life and chemicals in the ephemeral habitat of a storm cloud, according to a new study.

Parasites of Madagascar’s lemurs expanding with climate change

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 01:50 PM PST

Rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns in Madagascar could fuel the spread of lemur parasites and the diseases they carry.

Health and environment: A closer look at plastics

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:39 AM PST

Scientists have been following the chemical trail of plastics, quantifying their impact on human health and the environment. In a new overview, researchers detail the risks and societal rewards of plastics and describe strategies to mitigate their negative impacts, through reconsideration of plastic composition, use and disposal.

Scientists underestimated potential for Tohoku earthquake: Now what?

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:39 AM PST

The massive Tohoku, Japan, earthquake in 2011 and Sumatra-Andaman superquake in 2004 stunned scientists because neither region was thought to be capable of producing a megathrust earthquake with a magnitude exceeding 8.4. Now earthquake scientists are going back to the proverbial drawing board and admitting that existing predictive models looking at maximum earthquake size are no longer valid.

Microbiologists eavesdrop on the hidden lives of microbes

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:38 AM PST

Microbiologists who study wild marine microbes, as opposed to the lab-grown variety, face enormous challenges in getting a clear picture of the daily activities of their subjects. But a team of scientists recently figured out how to make the equivalent of a nature film, showing the simultaneous activities of many coexisting species in their native habitat over time.

Putting the squeeze on cells: By deforming cells, researchers can deliver RNA, proteins and nanoparticles for many applications

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:37 AM PST

Living cells are surrounded by a membrane that tightly regulates what gets in and out of the cell. This barrier is necessary for cells to control their internal environment, but it makes it more difficult for scientists to deliver large molecules such as nanoparticles for imaging, or proteins that can reprogram them into pluripotent stem cells. Researchers have now found a safe and efficient way to get large molecules through the cell membrane, by squeezing the cells through a narrow constriction that opens up tiny, temporary holes in the membrane.

New way to identify ‘smoked’ grapes and wines

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:37 AM PST

With climate change sparking concern about an increased risk of wildfires, scientists are reporting development of a way to detect grapes exposed to smoke from those fires, which otherwise could be vented into bad-tasting wine.

Breakthrough: How salt stops plant growth

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:37 AM PST

Until now it has not been clear how salt, a scourge to agriculture, halts the growth of the plant-root system. Researcher found that not all types of roots are equally inhibited. They discovered that an inner layer of tissue in the branching roots is sensitive to salt and activates a stress hormone, which stops root growth. The study is a boon for understanding the stress response and for developing salt-resistant crops.

Greenland ice cores reveal warm climate of the past

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:36 AM PST

Between 130,000 and 115,000 years ago, Earth’s climate was warmer than today. But how much warmer and what did it mean for the sea levels? As we face global warming, the answer to these questions is becoming very important. New research from the NEEM icecore drilling project in Greenland shows that the period was warmer than previously thought. The international project is led by the Niels Bohr Institute and the results are published in Nature.

Better outlook for dwindling black macaque population in Indonesia

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 10:34 AM PST

Since at least the 1970s, the population of critically endangered Sulawesi black macaques living in an Indonesian nature reserve has been dropping. But a new study shows that the population has stabilized over the past decade.

Previous unknown fossilized fox species found

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 08:53 AM PST

Archeologists have discovered a 2-million-year-old fossil fox at the now renowned archaeological site of Malapa, South Africa, in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. The previously unknown species of fox has been named Vulpes Skinneri.

Underwater CO₂ shows potential as barrier to Asian carp

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 08:52 AM PST

As the Asian carp population grows and the threat of the invasive species entering Lake Michigan through one of the Chicago canals is monitored, a researcher believes using two barrier methods is better than one.

Residents near Chinese e-waste site face greater cancer risk

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 07:16 AM PST

Residents living near an e-waste recycling site in China face elevated risks of lung cancer.

Prediction of Asian summer monsoon rainfall and tropical storm activity close at hand

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 07:16 AM PST

The amount of rainfall and number of tropical storms during a summer monsoon season greatly impact the agriculture, economy, and people in Asia. A promising breakthrough for predicting in spring the summer monsoon rainfall and tropical storm activity over East Asia has now been made.

Climate change could cause massive losses in Pyrenees ski resorts

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 06:42 AM PST

An increase in temperatures due to climate change could mean that the Andorran ski resorts have a shorter season in the future, especially in lower areas. An increase of 4 ºC would stop the artificial snow machines from maintaining the ski season in the lowest areas.

Global gene pool of goat is seriously under threat

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 06:42 AM PST

Amongst the range of domestic livestock species, the goat is not just the ‘black sheep’ but a resource of survival in impoverished countries, and many breeds are at great risk of disappearing.

Benefits of social grooming in wild chimpanzees: Hormone oxytocin facilitates cooperation

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 06:42 AM PST

Animals which maintain cooperative relationships show gains in longevity and offspring survival. However, little is known about the cognitive or hormonal mechanisms involved in cooperation. Researchers studying wild chimpanzees have now found that cooperative relationships are facilitated by an endocrinological mechanism involving the hormone oxytocin, even when these are between non-kin.

How the purple and pink sunscreens of reef corals work

Posted: 23 Jan 2013 06:41 AM PST

New research has found a mechanism as to how corals use their pink and purple hues as sunscreen to protect them against harmful sunlight. Many reef corals need light to survive, as they benefit from sugars and lipids that are produced by their light-dependent symbiotic algae. However, in the shallow water of coral reefs, light levels are often higher than required by the corals, so paradoxically, the vital sunlight can become harmful for the algae and their hosts.