ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Reforestation study shows trade-offs between water, carbon and timber

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry

Reforestation study shows trade-offs between water, carbon and timber

Posted: 23 May 2013 01:22 PM PDT

More than 13,000 ships per year transit the Panama Canal each year. Each time a ship passes through, more than 55 million gallons of water are used. The advent of large “super” cargo ships has demanded expansion of the canal, leaving the authority to consider how meet increased demand for water. One proposed measure is the reforestation of the watershed.

Earth’s mantle affects long-term sea-level rise estimates

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:37 AM PDT

New findings reveal that the U.S. shoreline — from Virginia to Florida — has been uplifted by more than 210 feet, meaning less ice melted than expected. This is big news for scientists who use the coastline to predict future sea-level rise.

Scientists offer first definitive proof of bacteria-feeding behavior in green algae

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:37 AM PDT

Researchers have captured images of green alga consuming bacteria, offering a glimpse at how early organisms dating back more than 1 billion years may have acquired free-living photosynthetic cells. This acquisition is thought to be a critical first step in the evolution of photosynthetic algae and land plants, which, in turn, contributed to the increase in oxygen levels in Earth’s atmosphere and ocean and provided one of the conditions necessary for animal evolution.

Biophysicists measure mechanism that determines fate of living cells

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:37 AM PDT

For the first time, biophysicists have measured the molecular force required to mechanically transmit function-regulating signals within a cell. A new laboratory method, named the tension gauge tether approach, has made it possible to detect and measure the mechanics of the single-molecule interaction by which human cell receptors are activated.

Tomatoes: The world’s favorite fruit, only better-tasting and longer-lasting

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:35 AM PDT

Research with GM purple tomatoes could lead to improved varieties of tomatoes with consumer and commercial benefits through conventional breeding or GM. The findings could also be applied to other soft fruit such as strawberries.

New target to boost plant resistance to insects and pathogens identified

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:33 AM PDT

Plants have evolved unique and sophisticated immune systems to defend themselves against insects and pathogens. Plant hormones called jasmonates play an important role in this defense, but jasmonates have been found to also be important for plant growth. Now, researchers have discovered a gene in the jasmonate pathway that controls plant defenses but does not play a detectable role in plant development. These findings could be applied to improve crop resistance in agriculture.

White tiger mystery solved: Coat color produced by single change in pigment gene

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:33 AM PDT

White tigers today are only seen in zoos, but they belong in nature, say researchers reporting new evidence about what makes those tigers white. Their spectacular white coats are produced by a single change in a known pigment gene, according to a new study.

Bittersweet: Bait-averse cockroaches shudder at sugar

Posted: 23 May 2013 11:29 AM PDT

Sugar isn’t always sweet to German cockroaches. In a new study, researchers show that glucose sets off bitter receptors in roach taste buds, causing roaches to avoid foods that bring on this taste-bud reaction.

Bacterium from Canadian high Arctic offers clues to possible life on Mars

Posted: 23 May 2013 08:38 AM PDT

The recent discovery of a bacterium that is able to thrive at minus 15 degrees Celsius, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth, is exciting because it offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on Mars.

Serengeti road divides biologists: Will a road across the northern tier of Serengeti National Park ruin it?

Posted: 23 May 2013 05:29 AM PDT

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania may be the most iconic national park in the world. Here, lions, leopards, elephants, hippos and giraffes wander free. Rivers of wildebeests, zebra and Thompson’s gazelles — more than 2 million all told — cross the landscape in one of the largest animal migrations on the planet. While the park is ideally located for wandering wildebeests, its location is less than ideal for the region’s residents. They see the undeveloped park as a formidable barrier to trade and travel. To address this, the Tanzania government now plans to build a gravel road across 50 km of the northern part of the park to link the country’s coast to Lake Victoria and countries to the west, including Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

What the smallest infectious agents reveal about evolution

Posted: 22 May 2013 09:46 PM PDT

Radically different viruses share genes and are likely to share ancestry, according to new research. The comprehensive phylogenomic analysis compares giant viruses that infect amoeba with tiny viruses known as virophages and to several groups of transposable elements. The complex network of evolutionary relationships the authors describe suggests that viruses evolved from non-viral mobile genetic elements and vice versa, on more than one occasion.

New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil

Posted: 22 May 2013 03:03 PM PDT

Two new species of cave-dwelling short-tailed whipscorpions have been discovered in northeastern Brazil, and are described in new research.

Captive-bred wallabies may carry antibiotic resistant bacteria into wild populations

Posted: 22 May 2013 03:03 PM PDT

Endangered brush-tail rock wallabies raised in captive breeding programs carry antibiotic resistance genes in their gut bacteria and may be able to transmit these genes into wild populations, according to new research.

Ants and carnivorous plants conspire for mutualistic feeding

Posted: 22 May 2013 03:03 PM PDT

An insect-eating pitcher plant teams up with ants to prevent mosquito larvae from stealing its nutrients, according to new research.