Σάββατο, 5 Ιουλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Power-napping helps late-born dormice prepare for winter

Posted: 04 Jul 2014 10:48 AM PDT

For hibernating mammals, the pre-winter months are a race against time to accumulate enough energy reserves to last until spring. Offspring born late in the year have much less time to achieve this. Scientists have discovered that power-napping can help late-born dormice overcome these unfavourable odds.

New archaeological find could shed light on late-Roman Britain

Posted: 04 Jul 2014 10:47 AM PDT

A unique archaeological find uncovered near the site of a Roman villa in Dorset could help to shed light on the rural elite of late-Roman Britain. The skeletal remains are thought to be unique as they are buried near the site of a Roman villa, making it likely that the five skeletons belonged to the owners and occupants of the villa -- the first time in Britain that the graves of villa owners have been found in such close proximity to the villa itself.

Who is responsible for climate change?

Posted: 04 Jul 2014 10:47 AM PDT

Calculating the cumulative cost of carbon dioxide emissions gives new insights into the question of who is responsible for climate change. One of the major reasons for the failure of the 2009 Climate Convention Conference in Copenhagen was the issue of carbon debt. Developed countries called for emission reductions in developing countries, while the latter use the former's historical emissions, their carbon debt, as a reason for inaction. A new article suggests how to finally settle this question of historical responsibility.

The road to sustainable tuna aquaculture

Posted: 04 Jul 2014 10:46 AM PDT

Domesticating Atlantic Bluefin Tuna may help meet the food industry's demand for this endangered species. However, making such an endeavour sustainable is a challenging task.

Payback time for soil carbon from pasture conversion to sugarcane production

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

The reduction of soil carbon stock caused by the conversion of pasture areas into sugarcane plantations may be offset within two or three years of cultivation. Researchers report that soil from pasture areas has a carbon stock whose volume varies only slightly over the years. However, the process of preparing this type of soil for conversion to sugarcane plantations causes part of the carbon stock to be emitted into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2).

Gene discovered that activates stem cells for organ regeneration in Planarians

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers announced the discovery of a gene zic-1 that enables stem cells to regrow a head after decapitation in flatworm planarians. Many species across the animal kingdom have the ability to regenerate, but the mechanisms that connect injuries to stem cell activation and the production of new tissues are not fully understood.

Host genetics can contribute to lung damage in severe tuberculosis

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

A third of the global population is infected with the bacterial pathogen that causes tuberculosis. Most carriers control the infection and are asymptomatic, but severe forms of the disease kill over a million people every year. A new article now identifies a factor made by the host that exacerbates lung damage in severe TB. The results also suggest why gene mutations that render the factor inactive are common.

Biological signal processing: Body cells -- instrumentalists in a symphony orchestra

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Every organism has one aim: to survive. Its body cells all work in concert to keep it alive. They do so through finely tuned means of communication. Scientists have now successfully revealed for the first time the laws by which cells translate signals from their surroundings into internal signals.

No two lark sparrows are alike (at least when it comes to migration habits)

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 08:28 AM PDT

A new study conducted by researchers who used geolocators to track birds migration journey, shows that migration flyways and winter destinations of sparrows are unique to each bird.

Biological basis for magic mushroom 'mind expansion' discovered

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:26 AM PDT

New research shows that our brain displays a similar pattern of activity during dreams as it does during a mind-expanding drug trip. The study found that under psilocybin, activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced, with several different areas in this network -- such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex -- active at the same time. This pattern of activity is similar to the pattern observed in people who are dreaming.

Artificial cilia: Scientists develop nano-structured transportation system

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:26 AM PDT

Cilia, or ciliated epithelia, cover our respiratory tract like a lawn. In our pharynx and nasal mucosa they are responsible for continuously transporting mucus and particles embedded therein towards our throat. (except for heavy smokers, whose cilia where destroyed by nicotine and tar.) Scientists have now come one step closer to their aim of artificially reproducing this biological transport system with switchable molecules.

'Work environment' affects protein properties

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:16 AM PDT

The function of proteins, which fulfill various tasks inside the cells, is often analyzed in aqueous buffer solutions. However, it is not known, for example in case of pharmaceutical studies, if they work in the same way in those solutions as in their natural environment: the cytoplasm is highly crowded with biomolecules, organic and inorganic substances. Researchers have now demonstrated that the water surrounding the dissolved substances inside the cell plays a crucial role with regard to protein stability, which has frequently been neglected in the past.

First national model for bovine TB calls for more focus on cattle

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 10:17 AM PDT

The first national model to investigate the bovine TB spread has been developed by researchers in England. The results derived from the model demonstrated that the majority of herd outbreaks are caused by multiple transmissions routes -- including failed cattle infection tests, cattle movement and reinfection from environmental reservoirs (infected pastures and wildlife). The study suggests that improved testing, vaccination of cattle and culling all cattle on infected farms would be the most effective strategies for controlling the disease.

Probiotics for poultry production

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Researchers have identified three new strains of bacteria that show good potential as probiotics for poultry production. Antibiotics have been routinely used to prevent or control poultry diseases. But due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Europe has banned the use of antibiotics as growth promoters for poultry production. As a result, there is growing interest in developing alternatives, such as probiotics -- defined as live microbial feed supplements that beneficially affect a host animal by improving its intestinal balance.

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