Παρασκευή, 13 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Viral infections, including flu, could be inhibited by naturally occurring protein

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 09:13 AM PDT

By boosting a protein that naturally exists in our cells, an international team of researchers has found a potential way to enhance our ability to sense and inhibit viral infections. The laboratory-based discovery could lead to more effective treatments for viruses ranging from hepatitis C to the flu.

Double Trouble for the Mediterranean Sea: Acidification and warming threaten iconic species

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 08:45 AM PDT

Scientist have finalized their findings about the threat of Mediterranean Sea warming and acidification on key species and ecosystems after a 3.5 year study. They have found that this sea is warming and acidifying at unprecedented rates – the main reason is emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. This increases the CO2 in the atmosphere causing warming of the atmosphere and the ocean as well as acidification of its waters due to uptake of CO2 by surface waters.

Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations charted

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice.

David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:50 AM PDT

In nature, it is very rare to find a proverbial much smaller David able to overpower and kill a Goliath for supper. This is exactly the modus operandi of a solitary tiny spider from the Negev desert in Israel that routinely kills ants up to almost four times its own size.

White sharks in northwest Atlantic offers optimistic outlook for recovery

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

White sharks are among the largest, most widespread apex predators in the ocean, but are also among the most vulnerable. A new study, the most comprehensive ever on seasonal distribution patterns and historic trends in abundance of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, used records compiled over more than 200 years to update knowledge and fill in gaps in information about this species.

Going inside an ant raft: Researchers look to CT scan to visualize connectivity phenomenon

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

Researchers froze ant rafts and scanned them with a miniature CT scan machine to look at the strongest part of the structure -- the inside -- to discover how opaque ants connect, arrange and orient themselves with each other.

Energy demands of raising a pup push sea otter moms to the limit

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

By the time a sea otter pup is weaned, its mother may be so depleted physiologically that she is unable to survive the stress of a minor wound or infection. To understand why this happens, biologists quantified the energy demands of a growing sea otter pup, revealing just how much it costs a sea otter mom to raise her pup.

The 'microbial garden' taking the shine off glaciers

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

The first ecological study of an entire glacier has found that microbes drastically reduce surface reflectivity and have a non-negligible impact on the amount of sunlight that is reflected into space. Observing how life thrives at extreme cold temperatures also has important implications for the search for life on distant worlds, such as Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, researchers found for the first time that chimpanzees housed in a socially complex, contained setting spontaneously cooperate with multiple partners of their choosing. This finding addresses long-standing doubt about the level of cooperation chimpanzees are able to spontaneously achieve or understand.

Tiny plants ride on the coattails of migratory birds: Migrant birds may be virtual dispersal highways for plants

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Since the days of Darwin, biologists have questioned why certain plants occur in widely separated places, the farthest reaches of North American and the Southern tip of South America but nowhere in between. How did they get there? Researchers have now found an important piece of the puzzle: migratory birds about to fly to South America from the Arctic harbor small plant parts in their feathers.

'Pocket sauropod' sheds light on giant's evolution

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:51 AM PDT

A new study presents a detailed description of the skull bones of a dwarf sauropod, together with an updated reconstruction of an adult Europasaurus skull. At 40 meters long and 100 tons in weight, and with an exceptionally long neck and small head, the herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth.

Why Diplodocus did not put all her eggs in one basket

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:51 AM PDT

If you thought the largest dinosaurs to have walked the earth produced the biggest eggs, you'd be mistaken. Scientists have discovered that both individual egg size and clutch size for the sauropods – which includes Diplodocus – were a lot smaller than might be expected for such enormous creatures.

Dormant Viruses Re-Emerge in Patients with Lingering Sepsis, Signaling Immune Suppression

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:50 AM PDT

A provocative study links prolonged episodes of sepsis — a life-threatening infection and leading cause of death in hospitals — to the reactivation of otherwise dormant viruses in the body. In healthy people, such latent viruses are kept in check by the immune system. But a new study provides strong evidence that when sepsis lingers for more than a few days, which is common, viruses re-emerge and enter the bloodstream, signaling that the immune system has become suppressed.

Famine fear won't sway minds on GM crops

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:09 PM PDT

Stories of how genetically modified (GM) crops could have prevented the Irish Potato Famine were no more likely to boost support for disease-resistant genetically modified crops than were generic crop-disease descriptions. "If you think genetically modified crops are dangerous 'frankenfoods' and/or that crop disease is best controlled with chemicals, plaintive tales of historical famines won't change your mind about genetic modification for disease resistance," one researcher said.

Findings may advance iron-rich, cadmium-free crops

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

With reports of toxic, cadmium-tainted rice in China, a new study describes a protein that transports metals in certain plants and holds promise for developing iron-rich but cadmium-free crops. Iron and cadmium are both found in soil and are interchangeably taken up by iron transporters in plants. Pollution and heavy fertilizer use have increased soil cadmium levels in China, for example. In humans, cadmium can damage internal organs and cause cancer. At the same time, iron is an essential nutrient for plants and humans. Iron deficiency affects 30 percent of the world's population.

Certified food scientists making strides one year later

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

The Institute of Food Technologists debuted its Certified Food Scientist (CFS) credential in 2013 to recognize the applied scientific knowledge and skills of food scientists, and the recently released Employment & Salary Survey from Food Technology magazine suggests that it is indeed a beneficial designation. According to survey data, CFS recipients earn a median salary of $101,000 vs a median of $81,048 for those who do not have CFS certification.

Diet higher in protein may be linked to lower risk of stroke

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 02:07 PM PDT

People with diets higher in protein, especially from fish, may be less likely to have a stroke than those with diets lower in protein, according to a meta-analysis. The meta-analysis looked at all of the available research on the relationship between protein in the diet and the risk of stroke. Seven studies with a total of 254,489 participants who were followed for an average of 14 years were included in the analysis.

Key step toward a safer strep vaccine

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

The genes encoding a molecule that famously defines Group A Streptococcus (strep), a pathogenic bacterial species responsible for more than 700 million infections worldwide each year, has been identified by an international team of scientists. Efforts to develop such a vaccine have been significantly hindered by complexities in how the human immune system reacts to the bacterial pathogen. Specifically, some patients with strep infections produce antibodies that cross-react with their own heart valve tissue, leading to rheumatic fever and heart damage.

How Earth avoided global warming, last time around

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Geochemists have calculated a huge rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide was only avoided by the formation of a vast mountain range in the middle of the ancient supercontinent, Pangea. A new model explains some of the events in the 80 million years following the start of the Carboniferous period.

More than just food for koalas: Scientists sequence genome of eucalyptus -- a global tree for fuel and fiber

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

Researchers seek to harness and improve upon Eucalyptus' potential for enhancing sustainable biofuels and biomaterials production. It can be harvested from tropical and temperate zones and has over 700 species that are rich in genetic variation. The international effort to sequence and analyze the genome of Eucalyptus grandis engaged more than 80 researchers from 30 institutions, representing 18 countries.

Genes found in nature yield 1918-like virus with pandemic potential

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:15 AM PDT

An international team of researchers has shown that circulating avian influenza viruses contain all the genetic ingredients necessary to underpin the emergence of a virus similar to the deadly 1918 influenza virus.

Tuberculosis dogma upended: Even uninfected cells trigger immune defenses

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 10:15 AM PDT

Immune system cells uninfected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis trigger immune system T cells to fight the disease, infectious disease experts have found by experimenting with mice. The findings upend the long-held scientific belief that only cells, known specifically as dendritic cells, infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis could stimulate a broader, defensive immune system attack of the invading microorganism.

Preserving the Battle of Hastings from 'contamination'

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 07:21 AM PDT

The Battle of Hastings is regularly fought all over again by enthusiastic re-enactors, before large crowds of spectators. The problem is that they are depositing material that could compromise the archaeology of the historic site. But now one of the world's leading battlefield archaeologists is developing a unique project designed to unearth whatever genuine material survives from 1066.

African Swallowtail butterfly: Genetic secrets of nature's master of mimicry unraveled

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:38 AM PDT

Scientists investigating how one of the greatest shape shifters in the natural world is able to trick predators to avoid being eaten have identified the gene behind the fascinating feat. The African Swallowtail butterfly, also known as the 'Mocker Swallowtail' or the 'Flying Handkerchief,' can appear to change both color and shape.

Home, office ventilation should be key issue during construction planning

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

The inhabitants of Central Europe spend about 80 percent of their lifetime in buildings. With elaborate ventilation systems, researchers have provided a pleasant climate in homes and offices, and which ventilation should be used in which building is one of the key issues during the planning phase of a new building.

New sensor to detect harmful bacteria on food industry surfaces

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

A new device designed to sample and detect foodborne bacteria is being trialled by scientists. The team is developing a sensor capable of collecting and detecting Listeria monocytogenes on food industry surfaces, thereby preventing contaminated products from entering the market. Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen that causes listeriosis, an infection with symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhea, that can spread to other parts of the body and lead to more serious complications, like meningitis.

Milestone in salmon research: Genome fully sequenced

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Fully sequencing the Atlantic salmon genome is a landmark achievement -- and provides a wellspring of new opportunities for scientists and the aquaculture industry. The new knowledge will be useful in efforts to develop new vaccines, improve feeding and understand more about what happens when escaped farmed fish mix with their wild counterparts. Selective breeding of salmon will be more targeted and efficient.

Fermentation of cocoa beans requires precise collaboration among two bacteria, and yeast

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:55 PM PDT

Good chocolate is among the world's most beloved foods, which is why scientists are seeking to improve the product, and enhance the world's pleasure. A team of researchers has embarked upon a quest to better understand natural cocoa fermentation.

Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases, study suggests

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:52 PM PDT

Higher red meat intake in early adulthood might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and women who eat more legumes -- such as peas, beans and lentils -- poultry, nuts and fish might be at lower risk in later life, suggests a paper.

Wolves in wolves' clothing not all the same: Surprising distinction between mainland, coastal wolves in B.C.

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

British Columbia's mainland wolves and coastal wolves are more distinct than previously believed, research shows. The discovery emphasizes the importance of incorporating traditional ecological perspectives with empirical scientific methods, and the authors attribute the observed genetic differentiation to the profoundly different ecological environments.

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