Παρασκευή, 6 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Newly discovered insect 'Supersonus' hits animal kingdom's highest-pitch love call

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:09 PM PDT

In the rainforests of South America, scientists have discovered a new genus and three new species of insect with the highest ultrasonic calling songs ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Katydids (or bushcrickets) are insects known for their acoustic communication, with the male producing sound by rubbing its wings together (stridulation) to attract distant females for mating.

Novel approach to reactivate latent HIV found

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

A new way to make latent HIV reveal itself has been discovered by scientists, which could help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to finding a cure for HIV infection. They discovered that increasing the random activity, or noise, associated with HIV gene expression -- without increasing the average level of gene expression -- can reactivate latent HIV.

YbeY is essential for fitness and virulence of V. cholerae, keeps RNA household in order

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

YbeY is a conserved protein that is present in most bacteria. A new study examines the function of YbeY in the cholera bacterium and reveals critical roles in RNA metabolism in this and other pathogenic bacteria.

Mechanism that forms cell-to-cell catch bonds found by researchers

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Strong cell-to-cell bonds are important to heart health and fighting cancer. The bonds connecting heart cells have to withstand constant forces caused by continuous pumping. And, in some cancers, bonds no longer resist forces, allowing cancer cells to detach and spread. A research group is studying the biophysics of certain biological bonds.

Mobile DNA test for HIV under development

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Bioengineers are developing an efficient test to detect signs of HIV and its progress in patients in low-resource settings. The current gold standard to diagnose HIV in infants and to monitor viral load depends on lab equipment and technical expertise generally available only in clinics. The new research features a nucleic acid-based test that can be performed at the site of care.

How do phytoplankton survive scarcity of critical nutrient?

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

How do phytoplankton survive when the critical element phosphorus is difficult to find? Researchers conducted the most comprehensive survey of the content and distribution of a form of phosphorus called polyphosphate, or poly-P in the western North Atlantic. What they found was surprising.

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body have been discovered by researchers. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness.

Gene study shows how sheep first separated from goats

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of sheep to reveal how they became a distinct species from goats around four million years ago. The study is the first to pinpoint the genetic differences that make sheep different from other animals.

Flowers' polarization patterns help bees find food

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Bees use their ability to 'see' polarized light when foraging for food, researchers have discovered. This is the first time bees have been found to use this ability for something other than navigation.

New EU reforms fail European wildlife, experts argue

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Despite political proclamation of increased environmental focus, experts argue that the European Union's recent agricultural reforms are far too weak to have any positive impact on the continent's shrinking farmland biodiversity, and call on member states to take action.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage -- a major side effect of chemotherapy -- but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

First 3-D pterosaur eggs found with their parents

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered the first three-dimensionally preserved pterosaur eggs in China. The eggs were found among dozens, if not hundreds, of pterosaur fossils, representing a new genus and species (Hamipterus tianshanensis). The discovery reveals that the pterosaurs -- flying reptiles with wingspans ranging from 25 cm to 12 m -- lived together in gregarious colonies.

What a 66-million-year old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a researchers. During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology -- the regrowth of plants after a fire -- revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Chemical element bromine is essential to life in humans and other animals, researchers discover

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life. Now there is a 28th: bromine. In a new paper, researchers establish for the first time that bromine, among the 92 naturally-occurring chemical elements in the universe, is the 28th element essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.

New method reveals single protein interaction key to embryonic stem cell differentiation

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A new method to simplify the study of protein networks has been pioneered by researchers. Through the use of synthetic proteins, they revealed a key interaction that regulates the ability of embryonic stem cells to change into other cell types. "Our work suggests that the apparent complexity of protein networks is deceiving, and that a circuit involving a small number of proteins might control each cellular function," said the senior author.

Can mice mimic human breast cancer? Study says 'yes'

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

Many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level, researchers report. "There are definitely clear parallels between mice and men in relation to breast cancer and this study provides legitimacy to using these models so ultimately a cure can be found," one researcher said.

State of wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate research

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The current state of knowledge, critical knowledge gaps, and importance of fire emissions for global climate and terrestrial carbon cycling is the focus of nine science syntheses published in a special issue of a journal. The issue reflects the collaborative efforts of a team of 17 scientists and associates from many organizations.

Toward a better drug against malaria

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:36 AM PDT

Structural biologists explain on the molecular level, how the drug atovaquone acts on the pathogen of malaria. Malaria is one of the most dangerous tropical diseases in the world. Anopheles mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium species -- unicellular parasites -- transmit the disease by biting. Atovaquone blocks a protein of the respiratory chain in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, thus killing off the parasites. However, the pathogen is susceptible to mutations so that drug resistant strains are arising and spreading.

Shorter tuberculosis treatment regimens will reduce cost for patients, families

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Shorter tuberculosis treatment regimens will reduce costs for patients and their families, conclude researchers who carried out a comparative study in Tanzania and Bangladesh looking at the out-of-pocket costs incurred by TB patients in both countries. The main objective of the study was to quantify the potential savings of a 4 month regimen to patients, because a number of new drugs in the current development pipeline have the potential to shorten standard first-line TB therapy from 6 months to 4 months.

A sand-dwelling new species of the moonseed plant genus Cissampelos from the Americas

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered in dry forests and transient sand dunes in Bolivia and Paraguay, a new plant species in the moonseed family Menispermaceae.

Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines starts to click: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Biological systems produce an incredible array of self-assembling protein tools on a nanoscale, such as molecular motors, delivery capsules and injection devices. Inspired by sophisticated molecular machines naturally found in living things, scientists want to build their own with forms and functions customized to tackle modern day challenges. A new computational method, proven to accurately design protein nanomaterials that arrange themselves into a symmetrical, cage-like structure, may be an important step toward that goal.

Research on marijuana's negative health effects summarized in report

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

The current state of science on the adverse health effects of marijuana use links the drug to several significant adverse effects including addiction, a review reports. The review describes the science establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily or young users. It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased vulnerability to other drugs.

Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

The first genotyping of grey squirrels sampled from Italy and the UK shows a direct link between their genetic diversity and their ability to invade new environments. Grey squirrels are an invasive species introduced from North America. While they are common throughout most of the UK and Ireland, on mainland Europe they are currently only found in Italy, where they mostly exist in discrete, but slowly expanding, populations.

Effect of Bilbao atmosphere on Chillida's sculptures

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Weathering steel is a steel specially designed to resist exposure to the open air. Yet in Bilbao some of the sculptures produced in this material, like Eduardo Chillida's Besarkada XI and Begirari IV, have not been preserved as was anticipated and have sustained some degradation. As explained by a research group, this degradation to due to the fact that the protective layer that is usually developed by this material has not been properly formed.

Hurricane Sandy no help to Obama in 2012 presidential race, new study suggests

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Results suggest that immediately following positive news coverage of Obama's handling of the storm's aftermath, Sandy positively influenced attitudes toward Obama, but that by Election Day, reminders of the hurricane became a drag instead of a boon for the president, despite a popular storyline to the contrary.

Looking for the best strategy? Ask a chimp

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a new study which found that chimps consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

Report supports shutdown of all high seas fisheries

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Fish and aquatic life living in the high seas are more valuable as a carbon sink than as food and should be better protected, according to new research. The study found fish and aquatic life remove 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, a service valued at about $148 billion US. This dwarfs the $16 billion US paid for 10 million tons of fish caught on the high seas annually.

Smart application of surfactants gives sustainable agriculture

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Researchers have investigated the interaction between the plant's barrier, plant protection products and adjuvants that are added to increase the effect of the plant protection product. The results of this research can be applied to minimize the use of plant protection products in agriculture.

Elucidating pathogenic mechanism of meningococcal meningitis

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:30 AM PDT

Neisseria meningitidis, also called meningococcus, is a bacterium responsible for meningitis and septicemia. Its most serious form, purpura fulminans, is often fatal. This bacterium, which is naturally present in humans in the nasopharynx, is pathogenic if it reaches the blood stream. Teams of scientists have deciphered the molecular events through which meningococci target blood vessels and colonize them. This work opens a path to new therapeutic perspectives for treating vascular problems caused by this type of invasive infection.

Basis of allergic reaction to birch pollen identified

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

In Austria alone around 400,000 people are afflicted by a birch pollen allergy and its associated food intolerances. Why so many people have allergic reactions to birch pollen has still not been completely explained. It is known that a certain birch pollen protein causes an overreaction of the immune system. Researchers have now discovered what makes this protein an allergen, that is, an allergy trigger.

Doing more means changing less when it comes to gene response, new study shows

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

The more biological functions a gene has, the less it responds to environmental change, a team of researchers has discovered, based on work focused on thermally-adapted fish populations. "In addition to having important implications for climate change adaptation, these findings could radically change the way we study gene responses to any external stimulus like for example to drug treatments," the authors suggest.

Sea star disease epidemic surges in oregon, local extinctions expected

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

Just in the past two weeks, the incidence of sea star wasting syndrome has exploded along the Oregon Coast and created an epidemic of historic magnitude, one that threatens to decimate Oregon's entire population of purple ochre sea stars. Prior to this, Oregon had been the only part of the West Coast that had been largely spared this devastating disease.

Habitat loss on breeding grounds cause of monarch decline, study finds

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Habitat loss on breeding grounds in the United States -- not on wintering grounds in Mexico -- is the main cause of recent and projected population declines of migratory monarch butterflies in eastern North America, according to new research. Milkweed is the only group of plants that monarch caterpillars feed upon before they develop into butterflies. Industrial farming contributed to a 21-per-cent decline in milkweed plants between 1995 and 2013, and much of this loss occurred in the central breeding region.

Air pollution linked to irregular heartbeat, lung blood clots

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat -- a risk factor for stroke -- and blood clots in the lung, finds a large study. The evidence suggests that high levels of certain air pollutants are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, but exactly how this association works has not been clarified.

Crooning in the concrete jungle: Taiwan's frogs use drains to amplify mating calls

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

As our cities continue to grow many animal species have to choose to abandon their changing habitats or adapt to their new setting. In Taiwan the tiny mientien tree frog (Kurixalus diootocus) is making the most of its new situation by using city storm drains to amplify mating calls.

First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

The first intact skull of a Mediterranean worm lizard has been found in Spain, according to a new study. Only isolated fragments of fossil Mediterranean worm lizards have previously been found in Europe, and currently, our limited knowledge of their evolution is mainly based on molecular studies. The worm lizard is a limbless, scaled reptile and categorized in the genus Blanus in the Mediterranean.

New app collects wildlife-vehicle collision data

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

A new app used to report wildlife-vehicle collisions increased efficiency and accuracy when compared to manual methods. Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC) endanger both humans and wildlife. Understanding when and where these collisions occur is essential to mitigating risks, but collecting this information requires an efficient and accurate system. Because data is currently gathered manually scientists aimed to develop and test a smartphone-based system for reporting, collecting, and managing WVC data that is improved over the manual method.

Feeding increases coral transplant survival

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Feeding juvenile corals prior to transplantation into a new reef may increase their survival. The global decline of coral reefs and the loss of associated ecological services have necessitated immediate intervention measures to try to reverse their further deterioration. Scientists have attempted to recolonize damaged reefs by transplanting juvenile corals, but the survival of young corals on the reef remained low.

You catch (and kill) more flies with this sweetener

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

A popular non-nutritive sweetener may be an effective and human-safe insecticide, researchers have discovered through a study that began as a sixth-grade science fair project. Erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, was toxic to fruit flies in a dose-dependent manner in the study. Flies consumed erythritol when sugar was available and even seemed to prefer it. No other sweeteners tested had these toxic effects.

Sperm size, shape in young men affected by cannabis use

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:29 PM PDT

Young men who use cannabis may be putting their fertility at risk by inadvertently affecting the size and shape of their sperm, according to new research. In the world's largest study to investigate how common lifestyle factors influence the size and shape of sperm, a research team found that sperm size and shape was worse in samples ejaculated in the summer months, but was better in men who had abstained from sexual activity for more than six days.

One and done: New antibiotic could provide single-dose option

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:20 PM PDT

In the battle against stubborn skin infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a new single-dose antibiotic is as effective as a twice-daily infusion given for up to 10 days, according to a large study.

Report highlights successful efforts to stem deforestation in 17 countries

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:20 PM PDT

Programs and policies to reduce tropical deforestation, and the global warming emissions resulting from deforestation, are seeing broad success in 17 countries across four continents, according to a new report.

Drones give farmers an eye in the sky to check on crop progress

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:17 PM PDT

This growing season, crop researchers are experimenting with the use of drones -- unmanned aerial vehicles -- on their farms. A crop sciences educator is using two drones to take aerial pictures of crops growing in research plots on the farms.

Cleaning the air with roof tiles

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:13 AM PDT

Engineering students have created a roof tile coating that when applied to an average-sized residential roof breaks down the same amount of smog-causing nitrogen oxides per year as a car driven 11,000 miles makes. They also calculated it would cost only about $5 for enough titanium dioxide to coat an average-sized residential roof.

Scientist uses fossils to prove historic Ohio millstones have French origins

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:13 AM PDT

A geologist studied fossils to confirm that stones used in 19th century Ohio grain mills originated from France. Fossils embedded in these millstones were analyzed to determine that stones known as French buhr were imported from regions near Paris, France, to Ohio in the United States.

Environmental 'one-two punch' imperils Amazonian forests

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

One of the world's longest-running ecological studies has revealed that Amazonian forests are being altered by multiple environmental threats -- creating even greater perils for the world's largest rainforest. But the biggest surprise is that nearby undisturbed forests, which were also being carefully studied, changed as well.

'Clever' DNA may help bacteria survive

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that bacteria can reshape their DNA to survive dehydration. The research shows that bacterial DNA can change from the regular double helix -- known as B-DNA, to the more compact A-DNA form, when faced with hostile conditions such as dehydration. "Our findings may be important in understanding how dormant bacteria that are transferred from dry surfaces may become active and reproduce in the human body,' one researcher noted.

Preserving bread longer: A new edible film made with essential oils

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Essential oils have boomed in popularity as more people seek out alternatives to replace their synthetic cleaning products, anti-mosquito sprays and medicines. Now scientists are tapping them as candidates to preserve food in a more consumer-friendly way. They have developed new edible films containing oils from clove and oregano that preserve bread longer than commercial additives.

Reporters using more 'hedging' words in climate change articles

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:41 AM PDT

The amount of 'hedging' language -- words that suggest room for doubt -- used by prominent newspapers in articles about climate change has increased over time, according to a new study.

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