ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: A solution to sinusitis from the sea

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


A solution to sinusitis from the sea

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 02:33 PM PST

Scientists and surgeons are developing a new nasal spray from a marine microbe originally being investigated to clear the hulls of ships in order to help clear chronic sinusitis.

Meerkats use subordinate animals as guinea pigs when approaching novel threats

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 02:32 PM PST

In their environment, wild animals are exposed to countless threats, be they predators, diseases or natural obstacles to get over, such as gorges or rivers. In recent times, numerous human-made threats have been added to the naturally-existing ones, such as dangerous roads to cross. Scientists have worked to understand how animals cope with novel human-made threats by studying groups of wild meerkats, a species of socially-living mongooses.

Ancient fossilized sea creatures yield oldest biomolecules isolated directly from a fossil

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 01:41 PM PST

Though scientists have long believed that complex organic molecules couldn’t survive fossilization, some 350-million-year-old remains of aquatic sea creatures uncovered in Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa have challenged that assumption.

Pollution doesn’t change the rate of droplet formation

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 01:41 PM PST

When it comes to forming the droplets that make up clouds, a little oily and viscous organic material apparently doesn’t matter that much. And that’s good news for reducing the uncertainty of climate model predictions.

Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 06:25 AM PST

The widespread reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing significant changes to the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Living organisms need antifreeze to survive in the cold

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 06:25 AM PST

If you thought antifreeze was only something that was necessary to keep your car from freezing up in the winter, think again.  Plants and animals living in cold climates have natural antifreeze proteins (AFPs) which prevent ice growth and crystallization of organic fluid matter. Without such antifreeze, living matter would suffer from frost damage and even death.

Microbes team up to boost plants’ stress tolerance

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 10:43 AM PST

While most farmers consider viruses and fungi potential threats to their crops, these microbes can help wild plants adapt to extreme conditions, according to a virologist.

‘Snooze button’ on biological clocks improves cell adaptability

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 10:42 AM PST

The circadian clocks that control and influence dozens of basic biological processes have an unexpected ‘snooze button’ that helps cells adapt to changes in their environment.

Ancient teeth bacteria record disease evolution

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 10:41 AM PST

DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to the modern day.

Decoys could blunt spread of ash-killing beetles

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:53 AM PST

As the emerald ash borer ravages North American ash trees, threatening the trees’ very survival, a team of entomologists and engineers may have found a way to prevent the spread of the pests.

Slithering towards extinction: Reptiles in trouble

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:53 AM PST

Nineteen percent of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction, according to new research. The study is the first of its kind summarising the global conservation status of reptiles. More than 200 world renowned experts assessed the extinction risk of 1,500 randomly selected reptiles from across the globe.

Wild plants are infected with many viruses and still thrive

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:47 AM PST

Researchers have studied viruses as agents of disease in humans, domestic animals and plants, but a study of plant viruses in the wild may point to a more cooperative, benevolent role of the microbe, according to a virologist.

Statistics help clear fog for better climate change picture

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:47 AM PST

Statistics is an important tool in sorting through information on how human activities are affecting the climate system, as well as how climate change affects natural and human systems, according to statisticians.

Climate change is not an all-or-nothing proposition

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:45 AM PST

A statistician says that the natural human difficulty with grasping probabilities is preventing Americans from dealing with climate change.

Climate change’s costly wild weather consequences

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:45 AM PST

Atmospheric scientists show concern about how climate change is increasing the number of severe weather events.

Scientists explore new technologies that remove atmospheric carbon dioxide

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:42 AM PST

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions may not be enough to curb global warming, say scientists. The solution could require carbon-negative technologies that actually remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Tree-ring data show history, pattern to droughts

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 05:30 AM PST

Researchers used more than 1,400 climate-sensitive tree-ring chronologies from multiple tree species across North America to reconstruct the Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), a widely used soil moisture index.

Microbial biorefinery provides new insight into how bacteria regulate genes

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 04:41 PM PST

New research reveals the genetic and chemical mechanisms through which some bacteria consume lignin, a highly stable polymer that accounts for up to a third of plant biomass. Microorganisms that can break down plant biomass into the precursors of biodiesel or other commodity chemicals might one day be used to produce alternatives to petroleum.

Revealing the secrets of motility in archaea

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 11:18 AM PST

The protein structure of the archaellum, the motor that propels many species of Archaea, the third domain of life, has been characterized for the first time. A ring made of six identical proteins derives energy from hydrolyzing adenosine triphosate and uses this energy to drive shape changes, both assembling and rotating the archaellum’s whiplike propeller.

Rapid changes in the Arctic ecosystem during ice minimum in summer 2012

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 11:17 AM PST

Huge quantities of algae are growing on the underside of sea ice in the Central Arctic: In 2012 the ice algae Melosira arctica was responsible for almost half the primary production in this area. When the ice melts, as was the case during the ice minimum in 2012, these algae sink rapidly to the bottom of the sea at a depth of several thousands of meters.

Fish become bolder and more gluttonous from mood-altering drug residue in water

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 11:17 AM PST

Anxiety-moderating drugs that reach waterways via wastewater create fearless and asocial fish that eat more quickly than normal. These behavioral changes can have serious ecological consequences.

Animal model of human evolution indicates thick hair mutation emerged 30,000 years ago

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 10:39 AM PST

The first animal model of recent human evolution reveals that a single mutation produced several traits common in East Asian peoples, from thicker hair to denser sweat glands, an international team of researchers reports.

Studies reveal genetic variation driving human evolution

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 10:39 AM PST

A pair of studies sheds new light on genetic variation that may have played a key role in human evolution. The study researchers used an animal model to study a gene variant that could have helped humans adapt to humid climates, and they used whole-genome sequence data to identify hundreds of gene variants that potentially helped humans adapt to changing environmental conditions over time.

Understanding why cells stick: ‘Cyclic mechanical reinforcement’ extends longevity of bonds between cells

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 10:26 AM PST

A new study provides insights into how cells stick to each other and to other bodily structures, an essential function in the formation of tissue structures and organs. It’s thought that abnormalities in their ability to do so play an important role in a broad range of disorders.