ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Researcher sheds light on M.O. of unusual RNA molecules

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry

Researcher sheds light on M.O. of unusual RNA molecules

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 06:22 PM PDT

Researchers have figured out how some RNA molecules take advantage of their position within the three-dimensional mishmash of genomic material to home in on targets.

Muscle power: Bats power take-off using recycled energy

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 06:22 PM PDT

Bats are uniquely able to stretch and store energy in their bicep and tricep tendons during take-off and climbing flight, giving them an extra power boost. A new study on fruitbats used cutting edge technology to image how these small mammals move through the air.

The evolution of fins to limbs in the land invasion race

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 06:22 PM PDT

Why did animals with limbs win the race to invade land over those with fins? A new study comparing the forces acting on fins of mudskipper fish and on the forelimbs of tiger salamanders can now be used to analyze early fossils that spanned the water-to-land transition in tetrapod evolution, and further understand their capability to move on land.

Flipping fish adapt to land living

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 06:22 PM PDT

Researchers have found that the amphibious mangrove rivulus performs higher force jumps on land than some other fishes that end up on land. This new study shows that unlike the largemouth bass, which makes very few excursions on land, the mangrove rivulus, which can live out of water for extended periods, has a strong jumping technique on land to locate new food resources, avoid predators, escape poor water conditions and also to return to the water.

Treating oil spills with chemical dispersants: Is the cure worse than the ailment?

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 06:22 PM PDT

Treating oil spills at sea with chemical dispersants is detrimental to European sea bass. A new study suggests that although chemical dispersants may reduce problems for surface animals, the increased contamination under the water reduces the ability for fish and other organisms to cope with subsequent environmental challenges.

Jump for your life: Bipedal rodents survive in the desert with a hop, a skip and a jump

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 06:22 PM PDT

Researchers have found that bipedal desert rodents manage to compete with their quadrupedal counterparts by using a diverse set of jumps, hops and skips. A new study suggests that it is this unpredictable movement that allows the bipedal rodents to coexist in Old World deserts with quadrupedal rodents.

To feed the future, we must mine the wealth of the world’s seed banks today, experts argue

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 09:10 AM PDT

With fewer than a dozen flowering plants out of 300,000 species accounting for 80 percent of humanity’s caloric intake, people need to tap unused plants to feed the world in the near future, claims a plant geneticist.

Solitary lemurs avoid danger with a little help from the neighbors

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 08:36 AM PDT

An endangered species of Madagascan lemur uses the alarm calls of birds and other lemurs to warn it of the presence of predators, a new study has found. This is the first time this phenomenon has been observed in a solitary and nocturnal lemur species.

It smells fishy: Copper prevents fish from avoiding danger

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:18 AM PDT

Fish fail to detect danger in copper-polluted water. A new study shows that fish cannot smell a danger odor signal emitted by other fish in waters contaminated with copper.

Octopus’ blue blood allows them to rule the waves

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:18 AM PDT

Worldwide colonization by octopods is in their blood. They manage to survive temperature habitats ranging from as low as -1.8°C to more than 30°C due to their ability to keep supplying oxygen to their body tissues. A new study shows that a blue colored pigment, hemocyanin, in their blood, responsible for oxygen transport, crucially allows octopods to live in freezing temperatures.

Unique shell design gives guillemot eggs an edge for living on the edge

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:18 AM PDT

Unique nano-structures on guillemot eggshells eggs enable them to survive precarious habitats, on exposed cliffs with no nest. A new study shows how these structures act as self-cleaning guardians of the eggs, preventing them from falling and protecting them from salt and guano exposure.

Seeing Sea stars: The missing link in eye evolution?

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:18 AM PDT

A study has shown for the first time that sea stars (also known as starfish) use primitive eyes at the tip of their arms to visually navigate their environment. New research has shown that sea star eyes are image-forming and could be an essential stage in eye evolution.

Jumping snails leap over global warming

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:18 AM PDT

Snails in the Great Barrier Reef literally jump for their life to avoid predators. But will they be able to maintain these life-saving jumps, with rising sea temperatures? A new study shows that the snails will indeed be able to keep on jumping, even at temperatures which will kill fish.

The balancing act of producing more food sustainably

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:17 AM PDT

A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population, argues a team of scientists.

New concept for biofuel cells: Tree fungus lets current flow

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:15 AM PDT

Scientists have found a way to make a species of tree fungus useful for the production of electricity.

In bitter cold subglacial lake, surprising life goes on

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 07:14 AM PDT

Lake Vostok, buried under a glacier in Antarctica, is so dark, deep and cold that scientists had considered it a possible model for other planets, a place where nothing could live. However, researchers have revealed a surprising variety of life forms living and reproducing in this most extreme of environments.