Shrubs lend insight into a glacier’s past

Ethical Markets Earth Systems Science

Shrubs lend insight into a glacier’s past

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 04:27 PM PST

The stems of shrubs have given researchers a window into a glacier’s past, potentially allowing them to more accurately assess how they’re set to change in the future.

Rapid changes in climate don’t slow some lizards

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 01:43 PM PST

One tropical lizard’s tolerance to cold is stiffer than scientists had suspected. A new study shows that the Puerto Rican lizard Anolis cristatellus has adapted to the cooler winters of Miami. The results also suggest that this lizard may be able to tolerate temperature variations caused by climate change.

Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 01:42 PM PST

Scientists have demonstrated that polluted air — whether regional pollution or coming from local traffic sources — is associated with autism.

New crab species discovered off the coast of Belize

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 01:39 PM PST

Areopaguristes tudgei is a new species of hermit crab recently discovered on the barrier reef off the coast of Belize.

Chameleon-like changes in world’s most abundant phytoplankton

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 01:39 PM PST

Biologists have identified both the enzyme and molecular mechanism critical for controlling a chameleon-like process that allows one of the world’s most abundant ocean phytoplankton, once known as blue-green algae, to maximize light harvesting for photosynthesis.

Ancient microbes found living beneath the icy surface of Antarctic lake

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 12:10 PM PST

A pioneering study reveals, for the first time, a viable community of bacteria that survives and ekes out a living in a dark, salty and subfreezing environment beneath nearly 20 meters of ice in one of Antarctica’s most isolated lakes.

Using biomarkers from prehistoric human feces to track settlement and agriculture

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 12:10 PM PST

Geoscientists have used a biomarker from human feces in a new way to establish the first human presence, the arrival of grazing animals and human population dynamics in a landscape.

Evolutionary mode routinely varies amongst morphological traits within fossil species lineages

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 12:10 PM PST

This new study uses model selection methods available only in the last several years and is an excellent example of an emerging revolution in scientific inquiry as new techniques are used to breathe new life into old data.

Watermelon genome decoded: Scientists find clues to disease resistant watermelons

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 12:10 PM PST

Scientists have sequenced the watermelon genome ? information that could dramatically accelerate watermelon breeding toward production of a more nutritious, tastier and more resistant fruit.

Alaska’s iconic Columbia Glacier expected to stop retreating in 2020

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 11:29 AM PST

The wild and dramatic cascade of ice into the ocean from Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, an iconic glacier featured in the documentary “Chasing Ice” and one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, will cease around 2020, according to a new study.

Bioengineered marine algae expands environments where biofuels can be produced

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 11:28 AM PST

Biologists have demonstrated for the first time that marine algae can be just as capable as fresh water algae in producing biofuels.

Sensor detects bombs on sea floor

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:13 AM PST

A sensor has been developed to detect undetonated explosives on the sea floor. It is based on technology used to find mineral deposits underground.

BioMAP screening procedure could streamline search for new antibiotics

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:13 AM PST

Researchers have developed a new strategy for finding novel antibiotic compounds, using a diagnostic panel of bacterial strains for screening chemical extracts from natural sources.

Deciphering bacterial doomsday decisions

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:13 AM PST

Like a homeowner prepping for a hurricane, the bacterium Bacillus subtilis uses a long checklist to prepare for survival in hard times. Scientists have discovered that B. subtilis begins survival preparations well in advance of making the ultimate decision of whether to “hunker down” and form a spore.

Model sheds light on chemistry that sparked origin of life

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:13 AM PST

The question of how life began on a molecular level has been a longstanding problem in science. However, recent mathematical research sheds light on a possible mechanism by which life may have gotten a foothold in the chemical soup that existed on the early Earth.

Swans have crash landings and hip injuries are more common than previously thought

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:12 AM PST

Injuries to mute swans’ hips are believed to be uncommon. However, new evidence suggests that such injuries are more frequent than suspected but are under-recorded because of difficulties in diagnosis. They show that computerized tomography is far better suited to examine the hip joint than classical radiographic methods.

How does a volcanic crater grow? Grab some TNT and find out

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:09 AM PST

A new study examines maar craters, which resemble the bowl-like cavities formed by meteorites but are in some ways more mysterious.

Water resources management and policy in a changing world: Where do we go from here?

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 08:07 AM PST

Visualize a dusty place where stream beds are sand and lakes are flats of dried mud. Are we on Mars? In fact, we’re on arid parts of Earth, a planet where water covers some 70 percent of the surface.

Funneling the sun’s energy

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 08:07 AM PST

Engineers propose a new way of harnessing photons for electricity, with the potential for capturing a wider spectrum of solar energy.

Microbial ‘missing link’ discovered after man impales hand on tree branch

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 08:07 AM PST

Two years ago, a 71-year-old Indiana man impaled his hand on a branch after cutting down a dead tree. The wound caused an infection that led scientists to discover a new bacterium and solve a mystery about how bacteria came to live inside insects.

Dendroecology, an ally of the conservation for biodiversity

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 08:06 AM PST

Researchers suggest the use of dendroecology, the dating of past events through study of tree ring growth, to enhance the management and conservation of the Pinus Nigra within the center of the Iberian Peninsula.

Polar perils: Activity in the Arctic is on the increase, but how safe is it to operate there?

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 08:05 AM PST

Activity in the Arctic is on the increase, but how safe is it to operate there? At latitudes of more than 70 degrees north there are no good Internet systems. Satellite signals are difficult to obtain and other radio frequencies are very patchy.