ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Distinct sensory-motor reflexes in fruit flies: Use odor receptors, visual cues to find fruit

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry

Distinct sensory-motor reflexes in fruit flies: Use odor receptors, visual cues to find fruit

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 03:55 PM PST

That fruit fly appearing moments after you poured that first glass of cabernet, has just used a poppy-seed-sized brain to conduct a finely-choreographed search and arrive in time for happy hour.

Climate change threatens to cause trillions in damage to world’s coastal regions if they do not adapt to sea-level rise

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 10:15 AM PST

New research predicts that coastal regions may face massive increases in damages from storm surge flooding over the course of the 21st century. Global average storm surge damages could increase from about $10-$40 billion per year today to up to $100,000 billion per year by the end of century, if no adaptation action is taken.

Research: It’s more than just the science

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 09:37 AM PST

Researchers outline not only why it’s important to pursue science collaboratively, but how to create and maintain science teams to get better research results.

Appearance of lyme disease rash can help predict how bacteria spreads through body

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 09:36 AM PST

Lyme disease is often evident by a rash on the skin, but infections do not always produce similar rashes. This can make it difficult to detect the disease early, when antibiotic treatmen

Primitive artificial cell turned into complex biological materials

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 08:21 AM PST

Imagine starting from scratch with simple artificial microscopic building blocks and ending up with something much more complex: living systems, novel computers or every-day materials. For decades scientists have pursued the dream of creating artificial building blocks that can self-assemble in large numbers and reassemble to take on new tasks or to remedy defects. Now researchers have taken a step forward to make this dream into a reality.

Connection found in pathogenesis of neurological diseases, HIV

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 08:18 AM PST

A new study published shows similarities in the pathogenesis of prion disease — misfolded proteins that can lead to neurological diseases — and the HIV virus.

Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 07:20 AM PST

The increasing use of chemical herbicides is often blamed for the declining plant biodiversity in farms. However, other factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important to species diversity, according to researchers.

Undergraduate biology education: Making science go viral

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 07:14 AM PST

According to a newly published analysis, students in HHMI’s Science Education Alliance-PHAGES program have published their own scientific results, receive higher grades in their biology courses, are more likely to continue their education than overall student populations, and report an engagement in the process of science similar to what is reported by students who participate in “traditional” apprentice-based summer research.

Pulp and paper mill wastewater can become biogas

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 04:39 AM PST

Wastewater from pulp and paper mills contains large volumes of organic material that can be converted into biogas, according to findings by researchers.

Robots with insect-like brains: Robot can learn to navigate through its environment guided by external stimuli

Posted: 04 Feb 2014 04:39 AM PST

Scientists have developed a robot that perceives environmental stimuli and learns to react to them. The scientists used the relatively simple nervous system of the honeybee as a model for its working principles. To this end, they installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle and connected it to a computer. The computer program replicated in a simplified way the sensorimotor network of the insect brain.

Market forces influence value of bat-provided services, such as pest control

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 04:18 PM PST

Researchers studied how forces such as volatile market conditions and technological substitutes affect the value of pest control services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats on cotton production in the US. They found the services are impacted by the forces to the tune of millions of dollars.

Organic farms support more species, researchers find

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 04:18 PM PST

On average, organic farms support 34 percent more plant, insect and animal species than conventional farms, say scientists. Researchers looked at data going back 30 years and found that this effect has remained stable over time and shows no signs of decreasing.

Study examines consumption of added sugar, death from cardiovascular disease

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 01:34 PM PST

Many U.S. adults consume more added sugar (added in processing or preparing of foods, not naturally occurring as in fruits and fruit juices) than expert panels recommend for a healthy diet, and consumption of added sugar was associated with increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study.

How shape-shifting DNA-repair machine fights cancer

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:52 PM PST

Maybe you’ve seen the movies or played with toy Transformers, those shape-shifting machines that morph in response to whatever challenge they face. It turns out that DNA-repair machines in your cells use a similar approach to fight cancer and other diseases, according to new research.

Local  regions

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:52 PM PST

Despite their typically small size and sparse distribution, farms that sell their products locally may boost economic growth in their communities in some regions of the US, according to a team of economists.

New maps highlight habitat corridors in the tropics

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:52 PM PST

Scientists created maps of habitat corridors connecting protected areas in the tropics to incorporate biodiversity co-benefits into climate change mitigation strategies.

Difficult dairy policy debate: It’s not over yet

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:50 PM PST

New research focuses on the U.S. dairy industry and federal policy related to dairy, other agriculture and food. He explains the complex new dairy policy, which the Senate is expected to vote on early this week.

Reported oil sands emissions greatly underestimated, report shows

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:49 PM PST

A new comprehensive modeling assessment of contamination in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region indicates that officially reported emissions of certain highly hazardous air pollutants have been greatly underestimated.

Are invasive plants a problem in Europe? Controversial views among invasion biologists

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 07:10 AM PST

The apparent expert consensus that the spread of new species (invasion) is a serious environmental problem does not necessarily reflect the thinking of researchers in the field. A new study documents that invasion biologists widely differ in their understanding and assessment of the invasion problem in Europe.