ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Pacific Ocean temperature influences tornado activity in US

Jay OwenEarth Systems Science


ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Pacific Ocean temperature influences tornado activity in US

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 02:40 PM PDT

A researcher has found that the temperature of the Pacific Ocean could help scientists predict the type and location of tornado activity in the US.

Unique skull find rebuts theories on species diversity in early humans

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 02:39 PM PDT

Paleoanthropologists have uncovered the intact skull of an early Homo individual in Dmanisi, Georgia. This find is forcing a change in perspective in the field of paleoanthropology: human species diversity two million years ago was much smaller than presumed thus far. However, diversity within the Homo erectus, the first global species of human, was as great as in humans today.

Could Hurricane Sandy happen again? Maybe, says geologist

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 02:39 PM PDT

Almost a year after Hurricane Sandy, parts of New York and New Jersey are still recovering from billions of dollars in flood damage. A geologist sees the possibility of damage from storms smaller than Sandy in the future.

Jellyfish energy consumption study will improve bio-inspired robotic designs for navy

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 02:33 PM PDT

Jellyfish are one of the most energetically efficient natural propulsors on the planet, according to a professor of mechanical engineering. He led a study highlighting the motion of the jellyfish.

Adaptability to local climate helps invasive species thrive

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 11:46 AM PDT

The ability of invasive plants to rapidly adapt to local climates — and potentially to climate change — may be a key factor in how quickly they spread.

Frog-killing fungus paralyzes amphibian immune response

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 11:44 AM PDT

A fungus that is killing frogs and other amphibians around the world releases a toxic factor that disables the amphibian immune response, investigators report.

Marmoset monkeys know polite conversation

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:52 AM PDT

Humans aren’t the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking.

Mathematical study of photosynthesis clears the path to developing new super-crops

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:51 AM PDT

How some plant species evolved super-efficient photosynthesis had been a mystery. Now, scientists have identified what steps led to that change.

Next-generation gene sequencing can identify invasive carp species

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 08:43 AM PDT

A project to map the microbes present in the digestive systems of fish species holds promise for monitoring the presence of Asian carp in Chicago area waterways and ultimately preventing their spread, according to a study.

Archaeologists rediscover the lost home of the last Neanderthals

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 08:14 AM PDT

A record of Neanderthal archaeology, thought to be long lost, has been re-discovered by scientists working in the Channel island of Jersey.

The complicated birth of a volcano

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 08:14 AM PDT

They are difficult to reach, have hardly been studied scientifically, and their existence does not fit into current geological models: the Marie Byrd Seamounts off the coast of Antarctica present many riddles to volcanologists. Scientists have just published possible explanations for the origin of these former volcanoes.

A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 07:09 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered a highly distinctive and endangered new dragon tree species — Dracaena kaweesakii. The new species grows to an impressive 12 m and has soft, sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream flowers with bright orange filaments. Due to its extensive branching and attractive appearance this dragon tree species is often used as an ornamental plant in Thailand.

Activating proteins in brain by shining LED light on them

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 06:35 AM PDT

With the flick of a light switch, researchers can change the shape of a protein in the brain of a mouse, turning on the protein at the precise moment they want. This allows the scientists to observe the exact effect of the protein’s activation. The new method relies on specially engineered amino acids — the molecules that make up proteins — and light from an LED. Now that it has been shown to work, the technique can be adapted to give researchers control of a wide variety of other proteins in the brain to study their functions.

Neanderthals used toothpicks to alleviate the pain of diseases related to teeth, such as inflammation of the gums

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 05:03 AM PDT

Removing food scraps trapped between the teeth one of the most common functions of using toothpicks, thus contributing to our oral hygiene. This habit is documented in the genus Homo, as early as Homo habilis, a species that lived between 1.9 and 1.6 million years ago. New research based on the Cova Foradà Neanderthal fossil shows that this hominid also used toothpicks to mitigate pain caused by oral diseases such as inflammation of the gums (periodontal disease). It is the oldest documented case of palliative treatment of dental disease done with this tool.

Sun and photocatalysts will clean polluted water, cheaply and quickly

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 05:01 AM PDT

A little amount of appropriately prepared powder is poured in water polluted with phenol and cellulose. A bit of the sun and after fifteen minutes harmful compounds disappear, and the powder can be filtered off and reused. Sounds like a fairy tale? Perhaps, but it is not magic, only a masterly use of chemistry and physics.

Glacial history affects shape and growth habit of alpine plants

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 05:01 AM PDT

During the Ice Ages the European Alps were covered by a thick layer of ice. Climate fluctuations led to great changes in the occurrences of plants: They survived the cold periods in refugia on the periphery of the Alps which they then repopulated after the ice had drawn back. Such processes in the history of the earth can be detected by molecular analysis as genetic fingerprints: refugia and colonization routes can be identified as genetic groups within the plant species. Thus, the postglacial colonization history of alpine plants is still borne in plants alive today.