ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

Insect pests more plentiful in hotter parts of city than in cooler areas

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 04:05 PM PDT

Higher temperatures in cities can be a key driver of insect pest outbreaks on trees in urban areas, according to new research.

Poultry probiotic cuts its coat to beat bad bacteria

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 04:05 PM PDT

A strain of probiotic bacteria that can fight harmful bacterial infections in poultry has the ability to change its coat, according to new findings. The probiotic is currently being taken forward through farm-scale trials to evaluate how well it combats Clostridium perfringens.

New bone survey method could aid long-term survival of Arctic caribou

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 01:33 PM PDT

A study adds critical new data for understanding caribou calving grounds in an area under consideration for oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

How microbes survive at bare minimum: Archaea eat protein

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 01:32 PM PDT

Beneath the ocean floor is a desolate place with no oxygen and sunlight. Yet microbes have thrived in this environment for millions of years. Scientists have puzzled over how these microbes survive, but today there are more answers.

New evidence ancient asteroid caused global firestorm on Earth

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 11:42 AM PDT

A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new study.

Scientists image deep magma beneath Pacific seafloor volcano

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 11:41 AM PDT

Since the plate tectonics revolution of the 1960s, scientists have known that new seafloor is created throughout the major ocean basins at linear chains of volcanoes known as mid-ocean ridges. But where exactly does the erupted magma come from? Researchers now have a better idea after capturing a unique image of a site deep in the earth where magma is generated.

Carbon cycle: Four cells turn seabed microbiology upside down

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 11:41 AM PDT

With DNA from just four cells, researchers reveal how some of the world’s most abundant organisms play a key role in carbon cycling in the seabed.

Summer melt season getting longer on Antarctic Peninsula

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:37 AM PDT

New research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been getting longer over the last 60 years. Increased summer melting has been linked to the rapid break-up of ice shelves in the area and rising sea level.

New fossil species from a fish-eat-fish world when limbed animals evolved

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:35 AM PDT

Scientists who famously discovered the lobe-finned fish fossil Tiktaalik roseae, a species with some of the clearest evidence of the evolutionary transition from fish to limbed animals, have described another new species of predatory fossil lobe-finned fish fish from the same time and place. By describing more Devonian species, they’re gaining a greater understanding of the “fish-eat-fish world” that drove the evolution of limbed vertebrates.

Pesticide combination affects bees’ ability to learn

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:33 AM PDT

Two new studies have highlighted a negative impact on bees’ ability to learn following exposure to a combination of pesticides commonly used in agriculture. The researchers found that the pesticides, used in the research at levels shown to occur in the wild, could interfere with the learning circuits in the bee’s brain.

New insights into how genes turn on and off

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:25 AM PDT

Researchers have shed new light on methylation, a critical process that helps control how genes are expressed. Working with placentas, the team discovered that 37 percent of the placental genome has regions of lower methylation, called partially methylated domains, in which gene expression is turned off.

New type of solar structure cools buildings in full sunlight

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:25 AM PDT

Scientists have designed an entirely new form of cooling panel that works even when the sun is shining. Such a panel could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by radiating sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space.

Tarsiers’ bulging eyes shed light on evolution of human vision

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:25 AM PDT

After eons of wandering in the dark, primates developed highly acute, three-color vision that permitted them to shift to daytime living, a new study suggests.

Early prehistoric marine reptiles: Evidence of a placodont that originated in Europe

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 10:24 AM PDT

Placodonts were among the first marine reptiles. With their trademark crushing teeth, they fed on shellfish and crustaceans. However, when and where these highly specialized marine reptiles originated remained unclear until now. A 246-million-year-old skull of a juvenile placodont was recently discovered in the Netherlands. Paleontologists have now demonstrated that it is one of the earliest examples of these saurians and that it originated in Europe.

Dusting for prints from a fossil fish to understand evolutionary change

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 07:41 AM PDT

In 370-million-year-old red sandstone deposits in a highway roadcut, scientists have discovered a new species of armored fish in north central Pennsylvania. Studying and describing this fish’s anatomy, they took advantage of a technique that may look like it was stolen from crime scene investigators.

Lunar cycle determines hunting behavior of nocturnal gulls

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 07:30 AM PDT

Zooplankton, small fish and squid spend hardly any time at the surface when there’s a full moon. To protect themselves from their natural enemies, they hide deeper down in the water on bright nights, coming up to the surface under cover of darkness when there’s a new moon instead. Scientists discovered that this also influences the behavior of swallow-tailed gulls, a unique nocturnal species of gull from the Galapagos Islands.

Fewer children mean longer life?

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 07:30 AM PDT

New research into aging processes, based on modern genetic techniques, confirms theoretical expectations about the correlation between reproduction and lifespan. Studies of birds reveal that those that have offspring later in life and have fewer broods live longer. And the decisive factor is telomeres, shows new research.

Controversial worm keeps its position as progenitor of humankind

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 07:30 AM PDT

Researchers are arguing about whether or not the Xenoturbella bocki worm is the progenitor of humankind. But new studies indicate that this is actually the case.

More fat, less protein improves canine olfactory abilities

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 07:26 AM PDT

From sniffing out bombs and weapons to uncovering criminal evidence, dogs can help save lives and keep the peace. Now, researchers have uncovered how to improve dogs’ smelling skills through diet, by cutting protein and adding fats.

Mountain pine beetle genome decoded

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 06:36 AM PDT

The genome of the mountain pine beetle — the insect that has devastated British Columbia’s lodgepole pine forests — has now been decoded.

Blowing in the wind: How accurate is thermography of horses’ legs?

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 06:25 AM PDT

Since its introduction fifty or so years ago, thermography has been increasingly used by vets to pinpoint the cause of lameness in horses.  The method is fast and safe and is based on a simple idea.  The horse’s body surface emits infrared radiation that can be detected by an infrared camera, which is both easy and inexpensive to use.  The camera produces a coloured image that shows the variation in surface temperature across the area investigated.  The temperature is directly related to the presence of blood vessels near the skin, so the method can detect local inflammatory lesions or regions of modified blood flow and thus help localize the origin of lameness.

Mathematical butterflies provide insight into how insects fly

Posted: 25 Mar 2013 09:56 AM PDT

Researchers have developed sophisticated numerical simulations of a butterfly’s forward flight.


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