ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Climate change projected to alter Indiana bat maternity range

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Climate change projected to alter Indiana bat maternity range

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 04:12 PM PST

Scientists have forecast profound changes over the next 50 years in the summer range of the endangered Indiana bat. Researchers now discuss the findings of one of the first studies designed to forecast the responses of a temperate zone bat species to climate change.

Stable fisher population found in the Southern Sierra Nevada

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 04:12 PM PST

After experiencing years of population decline on the West Coast, a recent study examining fisher populations found that — at least in the southern Sierra Nevada — the animal’s numbers appear to be stable.

Heat Shock Proteins May Shed New Light on a Variety of Debilitating Diseases

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 01:33 PM PST

Researchers, in a finding that runs counter to conventional wisdom, have discovered for the first time that a gene thought to express a protein in all cells that come under stress is instead expressed only in specific cell types.

Why are there redheads? Birds might hold the clues

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 12:19 PM PST

Biologists examined the survival rates and chestnut feather coloration of barn swallows and other species of birds, to unearth factors favoring the evolution of pheomelanin in spite of its costs. They found that under conditions of low stress, birds with larger amounts of pheomelanin survived better, suggesting the pigment may serve a beneficial role.

Tooth development and weaning in chimpanzees not as closely related as once thought

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 12:19 PM PST

Using a first-of-its-kind method, scientists have used digital photographs to show that, after the eruption of their first molar tooth, many juvenile chimps continue to nurse as much, if not more, than they had in the past. The research challenges earlier studies that linked juvenile chimps’ tooth development with their weaning as a rough proxy for understanding similar developmental landmarks in the evolution of early humans.

New look at cell membrane reveals surprising organization

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 12:19 PM PST

A look directly at the cell membrane is changing our understanding of its organization. Using a completely new approach to imaging cell membranes, a new study has revealed surprising relationships among membrane molecules. Sphingolipids are thought to form small microdomains in the membrane, but the new technique showed that they cluster together to form much larger patches, and are not as cholesterol dependent as expected.

Shedding light on role of Amazon forests in global carbon cycle

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 12:19 PM PST

Scientists have devised an analytical method that combines satellite images, simulation modeling and painstaking fieldwork to help researchers detect forest mortality patterns and trends. This new tool will enhance understanding of the role of forests in carbon sequestration and the impact of climate change on such disturbances.

Bugs in the atmosphere: Significant microorganism populations found in middle and upper troposphere

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 12:19 PM PST

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers used genomic techniques to document the presence of significant numbers of living microorganisms — principally bacteria — in the middle and upper troposphere, that section of the atmosphere approximately four to six miles above Earth’s surface.

Climate change impacts to U.S. coasts threaten public health, safety and economy, report finds

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 11:30 AM PST

According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of US coastal communities’ social, economic and natural systems.

Irrigation in California’s Central Valley intensifies rainfall, storms across the Southwest

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 10:39 AM PST

Agricultural irrigation in California’s Central Valley doubles the amount of water vapor pumped into the atmosphere, ratcheting up rainfall and powerful monsoons across the interior Southwest, according to a new study.

Groundwater depletion linked to climate change

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 07:47 AM PST

Climate change may be exacerbating many countries’ experience of water stress, according to new research. Experts explain how several human-driven factors, if not rectified, will combine with climate change to significantly reduce useable groundwater availability for agriculture globally.

Mysteries of spider silk strength unraveled

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 07:47 AM PST

Scientists are celebrating their recent success on the path to understanding what makes the fiber that spiders spin — weight for weight — at least five times as strong as piano wire. They have found a way to obtain a wide variety of elastic properties of the silk of several intact spiders’ webs using a sophisticated but non–invasive laser light scattering technique.

New technique sheds light on RNA

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 07:46 AM PST

Researchers have developed a technique to better understand why RNA may be different in cancer cells than in normal cells. The technique will bring new depth of understanding to tests that sequence a tumor’s entire genome.

Genome sequence of 90 chickpea lines decoded

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 07:46 AM PST

Decoded genome of chickpea, a leading grain legume for many poor smallholder farmers, promises improved livelihoods in marginal environments.

Misconceptions about a popular pet treat

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 05:29 AM PST

A popular dog treat, the “bully stick,” could be adding more calories than pet owners realize, and possibly be contaminated by bacteria, according to a new study.

Primates, too, can move in unison

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 05:19 AM PST

Primates modify their body movements to be in tune with others, just like humans do. Humans unconsciously modify their movements to be in synchrony with their peers. For example, we adapt our pace to walk in step or clap in unison at the end of a concert. This phenomenon is thought to reflect bonding and facilitate human interaction. Researchers report that pairs of macaque monkeys also spontaneously coordinate their movements to reach synchrony.

What holds chromosomes together? Structure of DNA-packaging proteins described

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 05:15 AM PST

To ensure that the genetic material is equally and accurately distributed to the two daughter cells during cell division, the DNA fibers must have an ordered structure and be closely packed. Scientists have now elucidated the structure of a ring-shaped protein complex (SMC-kleisin), which ensures order in this packaging process.

Measuring the consequence of forest fires on public health

Posted: 27 Jan 2013 07:58 PM PST

Pollution from forest fires is impacting the health of people with asthma and other chronic obstructive lung diseases, finds a new study. This study uses data from pharmacies and dispensaries to measure the increase in drugs needed to alleviate symptoms associated with pollution.