ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Remote coral reefs can be tougher than they look: Western Australia’s Scott Reef has recovered from mass bleaching

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

Remote coral reefs can be tougher than they look: Western Australia’s Scott Reef has recovered from mass bleaching

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 06:45 AM PDT

Isolated coral reefs can recover from catastrophic damage as effectively as those with nearby undisturbed neighbors, a long-term study by marine biologists has shown. Scott Reef, a remote coral system in the Indian Ocean, has largely recovered from a catastrophic mass bleaching event in 1998, according to the study.

The Snakelocks Anemone, a marine species prized in cooking, has been bred for the first time in captivity

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 06:43 AM PDT

Researchers have managed to breed for the first time in captivity a marine animal known as the snakelocks anemone and have also begun breeding a species of sea cucumber although this process is still in its initial stages. Both species have great culinary potential and possess excellent nutritional properties.

Power struggles are best kept out of the public eye: Audiences influence future status of quails following fights between rivals

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 05:25 AM PDT

For animals, prevailing in a fight affects their likelihood of winning future conflicts. The opposite is true of losing a fight. The sex hormone testosterone is often believed to mediate this “winner effect”. Researchers have examined whether the presence of an audience influences the behavior and the testosterone changes of Japanese quails (Coturnix japonica) after a fight. The evidence shows that both winners and losers exhibit raised testosterone levels after a conflict without an audience.

The resilience of the Chilean coast after the earthquake of 2010

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 03:44 AM PDT

In February 2010, a violent earthquake struck Chile, causing a tsunami 10 m in height. Affecting millions of people, the earthquake and giant wave also transformed the appearance of the coastline: the dunes and sandbars were flattened, and the coast subsided in places by up to 1 m. But although the inhabitants are still affected for the long term, the shore system quickly rebuilt itself.

How life may have first emerged on Earth: Foldable proteins in a high-salt environment

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 03:40 AM PDT

Scientists may be a step closer to understanding how life first emerged on Earth billions of years ago. Researchers have produced data supporting the idea that 10 amino acids believed to exist on Earth around 4 billion years ago were capable of forming foldable proteins in a high-salt (halophile) environment. Such proteins would have been capable of providing metabolic activity for the first living organisms to emerge on the planet between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago.

First expansion of ‘sea potato’ seaweed into New England

Posted: 04 Apr 2013 03:45 PM PDT

There’s a new seaweed in town, a brown, bulbous balloon befitting the nickname “sea potato.” Its New England debut was spotted by two plant biology graduate students; now researchers are keeping a close eye on Colpomenia peregrina’s progress to determine whether there is cause for alarm.

Let me introduce myself — leafcutter bee Megachile chomskyi from Texas

Posted: 04 Apr 2013 09:24 AM PDT

A new species of leafcutter bee, Megachile chomskyi, is described from Texas, United States. While many other genera within the family chew leaves or petals to build their nests, certain species within Megachile neatly cut them, hence their common name. The new species is named after Professor Noam Chomsky to commemorate his great contributions to the fields of linguistics, humanities and political science.

New ‘dual resistant’ tomatoes fight lethal pests with one-two punch

Posted: 04 Apr 2013 06:23 AM PDT

In the battle against thrips, breeders have developed a new weapon: a tomato that packs a powerful one-two punch to deter the pests and counter the killer viruses they transmit.