ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Pine beetle outbreak buffers watersheds from nitrate pollution

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Pine beetle outbreak buffers watersheds from nitrate pollution

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 02:21 PM PST

Scientists have found an unexpected silver lining in the devastating pine beetle outbreaks ravaging the West: Such events do not harm water quality in adjacent streams as scientists had previously believed.

Surprising twist to protein misfolding discovered

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 01:15 PM PST

An effort to develop software that unravels the complexities of how proteins fold is paying dividends in new findings on how they misfold, according to researchers.

4,000-year-old shaman’s stones discovered near Boquete, Panama

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:35 PM PST

Archaeologists have discovered a cluster of 12 unusual stones in the back of a small, prehistoric rock-shelter near the town of Boquete in Panama. The cache represents the earliest material evidence of shamanistic practice in lower Central America.

Salmon runs boom, go bust over centuries

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:34 PM PST

Salmon runs are notoriously variable: strong one year, and weak the next. New research shows that the same may be true from one century to the next.

‘Bipolar’ marine bacteria discovered: Refutes ‘everything is everywhere’ idea

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:34 PM PST

In another blow to the “Everything is Everywhere” tenet of bacterial distribution in the ocean, scientists have found “bipolar” species of bacteria that occur in the Arctic and Antarctic, but nowhere else.

Potential harvest of most fish stocks largely unrelated to abundance

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:34 PM PST

Environmental mood swings determine the sustainable yield of most fish populations.

Chimpanzees successfully play the Ultimatum Game: Apes’ sense of fairness confirmed

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:34 PM PST

Researchers have shown that chimpanzees possess a sense of fairness that has previously been attributed as uniquely human. Biologists played the Ultimatum Game with the chimpanzees to determine how sensitive the animals are to the reward distribution between two individuals if both need to agree on the outcome.

Gene flow from India to Australia about 4,000 years ago

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:29 PM PST

Australia is thought to have remained largely isolated between its initial colonization around 40,000 years ago and the arrival of Europeans in the late 1800s. A new study has found evidence of substantial gene flow between Indian populations and Australia about 4,000 years ago.

Eastern Europe: Tree rings reveal climate variability and human history

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 12:29 PM PST

A total of 545 precisely dated tree-ring width samples, both from living trees and from larch wood taken from historical buildings in the northern Carpathian arc of Slovakia, were used to reconstruct May-June temperatures yearly back to 1040 AD. The tree-ring data from the Tatra Mountains best reflects the climate history of Eastern Europe, with a geographical focus on the Baltic.

Climate change may benefit most mammals that live in northern Europe’s Arctic and Sub-Arctic land areas in short run

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 08:15 AM PST

The climate changes depicted by climatologists up to the year 2080 will benefit most mammals that live in northern Europe’s Arctic and Sub-Arctic land areas today if they are able to reach their new climatic ranges.

Global warming has increased monthly heat records worldwide by a factor of five, study finds

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 07:17 AM PST

Monthly temperature extremes have become much more frequent, as measurements from around the world indicate. On average, there are now five times as many record-breaking hot months worldwide than could be expected without long-term global warming, shows a new study. In parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia the number of monthly records has increased even by a factor of ten. 80 percent of observed monthly records would not have occurred without human influence on climate, the authors conclude.

Two new studies show why biodiversity is important for pollination services in California almond

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 06:27 AM PST

Scientist show why biodiversity benefits California almond pollination. The presence of wild bees was found to alter the behavior of honey bees and improve their pollination effectiveness. Furthermore, wild bees buffered pollination under high winds and wild pollinators visited the parts of the almond trees that were less favored by honey bees. These findings help explain why orchards where wild bees are present have greater fruit set.

New insights into cell division from simplified model: Artificial minimal actin cortex developed

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 06:25 AM PST

All living organisms consist of cells that have arisen from other living cells by the process of cell division. However, it is not yet fully understood just how this important process takes place. Scientists have now developed a minimal biological system, which brings together key components of the cell division apparatus. With the aid of this minimal model, the researchers were able to take a closer look at the biophysical mechanisms involved.

Environmental impact of insecticides on water resources: Current methods of measurement and evaluation show shortcomings

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 06:25 AM PST

Common practice for the monitoring of insecticides in water resources reveals shortcomings. Until now water samples have mostly been taken on fixed dates, for example once per month. However, insecticides enter water resources very irregularly and, even though their concentrations exceed the threshold levels only for a short time, their harmful effect is present. The consequence: If one bases the evaluation upon the zero values often measured within the scope of regular sampling, the overall evaluation underestimates the actual risks.

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