ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Strengthening legumes to tackle fertilizer pollution

Jay Owen Nature/Biomimicry



Strengthening legumes to tackle fertilizer pollution

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 01:19 PM PDT

Scientists create the first model of legume iron transportation aimed at maximizing nitrogen fixation, even in poor soil.

Big ecosystem changes viewed through the lens of tiny carnivorous plants

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 12:39 PM PDT

The water-filled pool within a pitcher plant, it turns out, is a tiny ecosystem whose inner workings are similar to those of a full-scale water body. Whether small carnivorous plant or huge lake, both are subject to the same ecological “tipping points,” of concern on Earth Day — and every day, say scientists.

Asian monsoon is getting predictable: Strong correlation between summer monsoon and preceding climate pattern

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:58 AM PDT

For much of Asia, the pace of life is tuned to rhythms of monsoons. Its variations can mean the difference between drought and flood. Now a new study reports on a crucial connection that could drastically improve the ability of forecasters to reliably predict the monsoon a few months in advance.

Wildfires can burn hot without ruining soil

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:57 AM PDT

When scientists torched an entire 22-acre watershed in Portugal in a recent experiment, their research yielded a counterintuitive result: Large, hot fires do not necessarily beget hot, scorched soil.

Source of organic matter affects Bay water quality

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:51 AM PDT

Organic carbon in runoff from urbanized landscapes is more likely to persist as it is carried downstream, thus contributing to low-oxygen “dead zones” in coastal waters.

Whether human or hyena, there’ s safety in numbers

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:51 AM PDT

Humans, when alone, see threats as closer than they actually are. But mix in people from a close group, and that misperception disappears.

Insights into deadly coral bleaching could help preserve reefs: Surprising result from study of 1893 World’s Fair corals

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:51 AM PDT

Coral reefs are stressed because of climate change. Researchers have discovered corals themselves play a role in their susceptibility to deadly coral bleaching due to the light-scattering properties of their skeletons. No one else has shown this before. Using optical technology designed for early cancer detection, the researchers discovered that reef-building corals scatter light in different ways to the symbiotic algae that feed the corals.

Flexible partnership allows lichens to occur in different habitats

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:51 AM PDT

A group of researchers has discovered the survival secrets of a lichen that occurs in polar regions of the northern and southern Hemisphere, but curiously also dwells in the warm climate of the Mediterranean. The lichen is able to form symbiotic associations with different algae which helps to colonize successfully areas with vastly different climates.

Ancient DNA reveals Europe’s dynamic genetic history

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:40 AM PDT

Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

Counting on black crows to help us adapt to stressful situations

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 10:40 AM PDT

It’s hard not to catch sight of at least one black crow in the pursuit of our daily lives. For most of us, however, that is where the interaction ends. For one professor that single sighting is the open door to hours of observation.

Iron in primeval seas rusted by bacteria

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 08:07 AM PDT

Researchers have been able to show for the first time how microorganisms contributed to the formation of the world’s biggest iron ore deposits. The biggest known deposits — in South Africa and Australia — are geological formations billions of years old. They are mainly composed of iron oxides — minerals we know from the rusting process. These iron ores not only make up most of the world demand for iron — the formations also help us to better understand the evolution of the atmosphere and climate, and provide important information on the activity of microorganisms in the early history of life on Earth.

Precision agriculture improves farming efficiency, has important implications on food security

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 08:07 AM PDT

Precision agriculture promises to make farming more efficient and should have an important impact on the serious issue of food security, according to a new study. A scientist assesses how there is potential to manage land more effectively to improve the farming economy and crop quality, and to ensure food security.

‘Toggle switch’ to burn fat identified

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 08:07 AM PDT

For a long time, scientists have dreamt of converting undesirable white fat cells into brown fat cells and thus simply have excess pounds melt away. Researchers have now gotten a step closer to this goal: They decoded a “toggle switch” in mice which can significantly stimulate fat burning.

Residential lawns efflux more carbon dioxide than corn fields, study finds

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 08:07 AM PDT

More carbon dioxide is released from residential lawns than corn fields according to a new study. And much of the difference can likely be attributed to soil temperature. The data suggest that urban heat islands may be working at smaller scales than previously thought.

Less rainfall expected for the Hawaiian Islands

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 07:24 AM PDT

Almost imperceptibly, rainfall over the Hawaiian Islands has been declining since 1978, and this trend is likely to continue with global warming to the end of this century, according to scientists.

A beautiful species of tree iguana redescribed 179 years after its discovery

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 07:23 AM PDT

The tree iguana, Liolaemus nigromaculatus, was the second species of the genus Liolaemus to be described and the nominal species of the group nigromaculatus. However, since its description, no scientific study further clarified the identity of this engaging species or its type locality. A recent study by Chilean biologists clarifies the mysteries around this tree iguana, characterizing the species and its dwelling areas.

71 new parasitoid wasp species discovered from Southeast Asia

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 07:23 AM PDT

A recent study of the parasitoid wasp genus Oxyscelio found a total of 90 species present in Southeast Asia. This includes the astonishing number of 71 newly described wasps from across 16 different nations. The study greatly expands and contributes to the knowledge of this intriguing parasitoid wasp genus.

Scientists reveals escalating cost of forest conservation

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 07:23 AM PDT

New researchers illustrates how changes to farming could dramatically increase future costs of conservation.

Rescue me: New study finds animals do recover from neglect

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:11 AM PDT

Animal sanctuaries can play an important role in rehabilitating goats and other animals that have suffered from neglect, according to scientists.

Why soft corals have unique pulsating motion

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:10 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered why Heteroxenia corals pulsate. Their work resolves an old scientific mystery.

Roe deer more likely to be run over at nightfall on a Sunday in April

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:10 AM PDT

Car accidents involving animals are a serious and growing problem in Europe. They pose a risk for human life and may result in mortal victims, damage to vehicles and the loss of wildlife. Specifically, in Galicia the time distribution of the accidents varies according to the month, the day of the week and even the time of day.

When dogs are most likely to pick up ticks

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:09 AM PDT

It may be slighter later than expected but spring finally seems to be upon us.  Unfortunately, this also means the start of the tick season, both for humans and for their pets.  But when exactly is the risk of dogs’ picking up ticks greatest? 

Decoding touch: Rats detect textures with their whiskers

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:09 AM PDT

With their whiskers rats can detect the texture of objects in the same way as humans do using their fingertips. A new study shows that it is possible to understand what specific object has been touched by a rat by observing the activation of brain neurons. A further step towards understanding how the brain, also in humans, represents the outside world.

Scientists urge UN to take action on chemicals in consumer products and pesticides

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:08 AM PDT

Today, a group of influential scientists called for swift action by the UN system to prevent harm from a wide variety of synthetic chemicals in consumer products and pesticides that play a role in increased incidences of reproductive diseases, cancer, obesity, and type-2 diabetes worldwide.