Top Environment News -- ScienceDaily

Top stories featured on ScienceDaily's Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, and Fossils & Ruins sections.

08/20/2017 07:50 AM
No guts no glory: Harvesting the microbiome of athletes
Scientists have tapped into the microbiome of elite runners and rowers, and have identified particular bacteria that may aid athletic performance. The goal is to develop probiotic supplements that may help athletes -- and even amateur fitness enthusiasts -- recover from a tough workout or more efficiently convert nutrients to energy. The researchers will present their work today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

08/20/2017 07:50 AM
Mussel-inspired glue could one day make fetal surgery safer
Whether to perform surgery on a fetus is a heart-wrenching decision. This type of surgery involves penetrating the delicate amniotic sac, increasing health risks to the fetus. Now researchers report the development of a glue, inspired by the tenacious grip of mussels on slippery rocks, that could one day help save the lives of the youngest patients.

08/20/2017 07:50 AM
Sugars in human mother's milk are new class of antibacterial agents
A new study has found that sugars in mother's' milk do not just provide nutrition for babies but also help protect them from bacterial infections, making them a new class of antimicrobial agent.

08/18/2017 04:24 PM
Ocean channel in Bahamas marks genetic divide in Brazilian free-tailed bats
Brazilian free-tailed bats are expert flyers, capable of migrating hundreds of miles and regularly traveling more than 30 miles a night. But they pull up short at a narrow ocean channel that cuts across the Bahamas, dividing bat populations that last shared an ancestor hundreds of thousands of years ago.

08/18/2017 12:35 PM
How immature cells grow up to be red blood cells
Researchers have identified the mechanism behind red blood cell specialization and revealed that it is controlled by an enzyme called UBE2O. This finding could spark the development of new treatments for blood disorders and cancers.

08/18/2017 11:58 AM
Hot spot at Hawaii? Not so fast
Geophysicists use a new model to conclude that volcanic hot spots around the globe aren't moving as fast as recently thought.

08/18/2017 10:25 AM
Mineral layer around avian flu pathogen may be the cause for human infections
Avian flu can be transmitted from birds to humans; transmission among humans, however, is limited. The reason may be an eggshell-like mineral layer that the virus acquires due to the high calcium concentration in the intestines of birds. These mineralized viruses are significantly more infectious and, in addition, more robust and heat stable than the native viruses.

08/18/2017 10:23 AM
Cheesemaking secret unlocked
Researchers say their new knowledge on the inner workings of a bacterium has important implications for Australia's billion dollar cheese industry. The research group has explained the regulation of an enzyme in the bacterium Lactococcus, which is used as a starter culture in cheese production.

08/18/2017 10:23 AM
Mechanisms explaining positional diversity of the hindlimb in tetrapod evolution
Elucidating how body parts in their earliest recognizable form are assembled in tetrapods during development is essential for understanding the nature of morphological evolution. Researchers found in eight tetrapod species that the position of the sacral vertebrae and the hindlimbs is determined by the initiation timing of Gdf11 gene expression. This will contribute to a forthcoming model explaining the coupling of spine and hindlimb positioning - a major step in fully understanding tetrapod evolution.

08/18/2017 10:23 AM
How whip-like cell appendages promote bodily fluid flow
Researchers have revealed that a molecule called Daple is essential for the correct orientation and coordinated beating of cilia on the surface of cells lining ventricles in the brain. Without Daple, the cilia develop a random arrangement and cannot produce a uniform flow of CSF. This in turn leads to a build-up of fluid, which is associated with swelling of the head, known as hydrocephalus.

08/18/2017 10:23 AM
Mitochondria: A map of the cell's powerhouse
Researchers are mapping the distribution of all proteins in mitochondria for the first time.

08/18/2017 09:36 AM
Why whisky tastes better when diluted with water
There is a reason why whisky is diluted with water before being bottled. The same reason also makes many whisky enthusiasts add a few drops of water in their glasses – it makes the whisky taste better. But why is this so? Researchers have now presented an answer to this question.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Spoiler alert: Computer simulations provide preview of upcoming eclipse
Scientists have forecast the corona of the sun during the upcoming eclipse. The findings shed light on what the eclipse of the sun might look like Aug. 21 when it will be visible across much of the US, tracing a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Archaeologists uncover ancient trading network in Vietnam
A team of archaeologists has uncovered a vast trading network which operated in Vietnam from around 4,500 years ago up until around 3,000 years ago.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Climate change and habitat conversion combine to homogenize nature
Climate change and habitat conversion to agriculture are working together to homogenize nature. In other words, the more things change, the more they are the same.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Histone 1, the guardian of genome stability
Genomic instability is the main risk factor for tumor development in humans. Therefore understanding its origin and and exploring therapeutic targets is paramount. Histone 1 silences a region of the genome that causes irreparable DNA damage when translated and is lethal for the organism.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Gene variant activity is surprisingly variable between tissues
Every tissue has its own pattern of active alleles, a large-scale study has found. Researchers were able to show that the differential allele activity is regulated by tissue-specific, regulatory DNA elements known as enhancers - a process that could also be involved in many diseases.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Right kind of collaboration is key to solving environmental problems
Society's ability to solve environmental problems is tied to how different actors collaborate and the shape and form of the networks they create, says a new study.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Allergies: Cross-reactivity between cypress pollen and peaches/citrus fruits explained
Medical researchers have identified the likely origin of the cross-reactivity between cypress pollen, peaches and citrus fruits. Their work has shown that these sources contain allergens belonging to a new family of proteins involved in pollen food associated syndrome. This discovery paves the way for the development of novel allergy diagnostic tests.

08/18/2017 09:21 AM
Citrus fruits were the clear status symbols of the nobility in the ancient Mediterranean
New research reveals that citrons and lemons were status symbols for the ancient Roman ruling elite. It also plots the route and evolution of the citrus trade in the ancient Mediterranean.

08/18/2017 09:20 AM
Spider silk protein may be useful for engineering artificial cardiac tissue
Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac muscle cells due to disease, especially ischemic diseases such as cardiac infarction. There is still no treatment to reverse damage of this nature. Research is ongoing to develop methods of repairing such damage to normalize cardiac function. A promising approach: cardiac muscle tissue made of spider silk.

08/17/2017 07:09 PM
In search of Edwards' pheasant: Amost extinct?
Scientists say we need to improve our information about little-known species to reduce the risk of one going extinct just because no-one is interested in looking for it.

08/17/2017 05:00 PM
The laws of attraction: Pheromones don't lie, fruit fly research suggests
For the first time, scientists have shown that a female fruit fly's pheromone signals can actually tell males how much energy her body has invested in egg production versus in storing away energy for her own survival. And it's a signal that she can't change in order to make herself more attractive.

08/17/2017 04:20 PM
Study validates East Antarctic ice sheet to remain stable even if western ice sheet melts
A new study validates that the central core of the East Antarctic ice sheet should remain stable even if the West Antarctic ice sheet melts.

08/17/2017 04:20 PM
New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises
Oceanographers report completing the largest single-site microbiome gene catalog constructed to date. With this new information, the team discovered nutrient limitation is a central driver in the evolution of ocean microbe genomes.

08/17/2017 02:18 PM
Disrupted gut microbiome makes children more susceptible to amoebic dysentery
Children with lower diversity of microbial species in their intestines are more susceptible to severe infection with the Entamoeba histolytica parasite, according to a new study.

08/17/2017 02:18 PM
Gene that makes large, plump tomatoes identified
Farmers can grow big, juicy tomatoes thanks to a mutation in the cell size regulator gene that occurred during the tomato domestication process.

08/17/2017 02:18 PM
Worm atlas profiles gene readouts in every cell type in the animal
A worm atlas has been built that profiles gene readouts for every kind of cell in the animal. This is the first time this type of comprehensive profiling for a multi-cellular organism has been created. The study was conducted at a larval stage of the roundworm C. elegans. The resource should have many uses, such as for studies on how genetic instructions guide the formation of body parts.

08/17/2017 02:17 PM
Non-toxic, lubricant-infused coatings deter mussels and prevent their attachment by disrupting their mechanosensory and adhesive systems
Mussels are one of the worst perpetrators of biofouling, or the unwanted accumulation of organisms on underwater structures. A team of scientists has demonstrated that a lubricant-infused surface effectively prevents mussels from sticking by masking the solid surface with a layer of liquid.

08/17/2017 02:17 PM
Discovery could lead to new catalyst design to reduce nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust
Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust.

08/17/2017 02:17 PM
Algal blooms cost Ohio homeowners $152 million over six years
Algal blooms at two Ohio lakes cost Ohio homeowners $152 million in lost property value over six years, researchers estimate. Meanwhile, a related study suggests that algae is driving anglers away from Lake Erie, causing fishing license sales to drop at least 10 percent every time a bloom reaches a moderate level of health risk.

08/17/2017 02:17 PM
Super-photostable fluorescent labeling agent for super-resolution microscopy
Chemists have developed a super-photostable fluorescent dye, PhoxBright 430 (PB430), to visualize cellular ultrastructure by super resolution microscopy. The exceptional photostability of this new dye enables continuous STED imaging and together with its ability to fluorescently label proteins, PB430 demonstrates its use in the 3D construction and multicolor imaging of biological structures.

08/17/2017 02:15 PM
Early Indian Ocean trade routes bring chicken, black rat to eastern Africa
The earliest introduction of domestic chickens and black rats from Asia to the east coast of Africa came via maritime trade routes between the 7th and 8th centuries AD.

08/17/2017 02:15 PM
Bacteria stab amoebae with micro-daggers
Researchers have discovered a type of bacteria that uses tiny daggers to prevent itself from being eaten by amoebae. The scientists also resolved the three-dimensional structure of the mechanism that allows the micro-daggers to be shot quickly.

08/17/2017 02:15 PM
Female mouse embryos actively remove male reproductive systems
A protein called COUP-TFII determines whether a mouse embryo develops a male reproductive tract, according to new research. The discovery changes the long-standing belief that an embryo will automatically become female unless androgens, or male hormones, in the embryo make it male.

08/17/2017 02:15 PM
Antibiotics found to weaken body's ability to fight off disease
Adding another reason for doctors to avoid the overuse of antibiotics, new research shows that a reduction in the variety of microbes in the gut interferes with the immune system's ability to fight off disease.

08/17/2017 01:59 PM
Viruses and aphids that help crops? Scientists think it may be possible
Scientists are making an effort to help corn stand up to stress brought on by drought and disease by using viruses and aphids to activate desirable traits. It’s speculative research that could yield new insight into how viruses, insects and plants interact.

08/17/2017 01:11 PM
Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts
A research team examined the US Department of Agriculture's Smart Snacks in School regulation. The federal mandate was intended to replace unhealthy school snacks and beverages with more wholesome options, including fruits, vegetables, and packaged treats low in fat, sugar, and sodium.

08/17/2017 12:23 PM
Hemorrhagic fevers: Countering inflammation to prevent circulatory failure
Hemorrhagic fevers are severe viral diseases that are often fatal. Researchers have now identified messenger substances of the immune system, which in infected mice lead to the development of shock.

08/17/2017 12:21 PM
Reed warblers have a sense for magnetic declination
Researchers recently showed that migratory reed warblers depend on an internal geomagnetic map to guide them on their long-distance journeys. But it wasn't clear how the birds were solving the difficult 'longitude problem,' determining where they were along the east-west axis and which way to go. The team's latest report shows birds rely on changes from east to west in magnetic declination, the angular difference between geographic north and magnetic north.

08/17/2017 12:21 PM
Peroxisomes identified as 'fighters' in the battle against bacterial infections
Peroxisomes are required for cells in the innate immune response to bacteria and fungi. Now scientists have found that peroxisomes are necessary for proper functioning of the innate immune system, the body's first line of defense against microorganisms.

08/17/2017 12:21 PM
Slowing dangerous bacteria may be more effective than killing them
A new study suggests it may be possible to slow dangerous infections by manipulating the messages microbes send to one another, allowing the body to defeat an infection without causing the bacteria to develop resistance to the treatment.

08/17/2017 12:21 PM
Ray of hope for more abundant wheat crops
Using infrared gas analyzers connected to a miniature controlled environment chamber, botanists have simulated a sudden increase in sunlight following shade, and measured the time it took for the plant to regain its maximum photosynthesis efficiency and take full advantage of the extra energy from light. They found it took about 15 minutes for photosynthesis to reach maximum efficiency.

08/17/2017 12:21 PM
Olfactory receptors that enable ants to smell and recognize workers, males, and their queen identified
To reign supreme in a colony, queen ants exude a special scent, or pheromone, on the waxy surface of their body that suppresses ovary development in their sisters, rendering the latter reproductively inactive workers that find food, nurse the young and protect the colony. Now, researchers have begun to unravel the molecular mechanisms behind how ants sense these pheromones and how they control reproduction regulation and other social activities in ant communities.

08/17/2017 12:21 PM
Antillean manatee count informs policy recommendations
Scientists use sonar to estimate Antillean Manatee populations in the murky waters of Panama's internationally protected San San Pond Sak wetlands.

08/17/2017 11:09 AM
First successful wild whale shark health assessments performed
For the first time ever, scientists successfully performed health assessments, including collecting blood and biological samples, taking measurements and attaching satellite tracking tags, to a population of wild whale sharks -- the world's largest fish, classified as 'endangered' since 2016. The research advancement, which occurred in Indonesia's remote Cendrawasih Bay, has significant implications for unlocking the mysteries surrounding the overall health of whale sharks -- including the potential impacts of tourism on their health.

08/17/2017 11:09 AM
Poisonings went hand in hand with the drinking water in ancient Pompeii
The ancient Romans were famous for their advanced water supply. But the drinking water in the pipelines was probably poisoned on a scale that may have led to daily problems with vomiting, diarrhea, and liver and kidney damage. This is the finding of analyses of water pipe from Pompeii.

08/17/2017 11:08 AM
Whales turn tail at ocean mining noise
A new international study has measured the effect of loud sounds on migrating humpback whales as concern grows as oceans become noisier. Scientists have said one of the main sources of ocean noise was oil and gas exploration, due to geologists firing off loud acoustic air guns to probe the structure of the ocean floor in search of fossil fuels.

08/17/2017 10:07 AM
Digging in the dirt: Researchers develop new methods for assesing risk of subsurface phosphorus
New methods for assessing the loss of phosphorus in soil have now been developed by researchers. While current measurements focus mainly on surface runoff, the new research is looking at the best way to measure the risk of underground phosphorus that winds up in drainage water.

08/17/2017 09:32 AM
Measuring global biodiversity change
A new article shows how Essential Biodiversity Variables can be produced to measure biodiversity change at a global scale.

08/17/2017 09:31 AM
‘Euro Devil’: Fossil of carnivorous marsupial relative discovered in E Europe
Scientists have discovered fossil remains of a new carnivorous mammal in Turkey, one of the biggest marsupial relatives ever discovered in the northern hemisphere.

08/17/2017 09:28 AM
Florida flood risk study identifies priorities for property buyouts
A study of flood damage in Florida proposes prioritizing property buyouts based on flood risk, ecological value, and socioeconomic conditions. Forecasters say an above-normal hurricane season is likely in the Atlantic Ocean this year, while a rising sea level is making Florida increasingly vulnerable to dangerous flooding.

08/17/2017 09:28 AM
Dissolvable, easy-to-use milk capsules for your coffee
Have your coffee without spilling the milk: researchers have developed a milk capsule that dissolves when placed in a hot drink. Not only does this reduce the consumption of packaging material, the capsules are easier to use than conventional plastic containers.

08/17/2017 09:28 AM
Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?
A new mechanism of stomach gland regeneration reveals impact of Helicobacter pylori infection.

08/17/2017 09:27 AM
Cloudy water linked to gastrointestinal illnesses
A review of studies from both North America and Europe found links between acute gastrointestinal illness, which typically includes diarrhea and vomiting, and cloudy drinking water.

08/17/2017 09:27 AM
Ocean exploration uncovers one of Cuba's hidden natural treasures
After nearly two years of planning, a team of scientists from the US and Cuba has explored never-before-studied mesophotic coral reefs during a month-long circumnavigation of the entire coast of Cuba, spanning about 1,500 miles. Except for a few places along the coast, prior to this expedition, there were virtually no data or charts indicating what was beyond the shallow reef zone.

08/16/2017 06:14 PM
Study shows response to phytase varies among canola meal varieties
Canola meal, which is included in diets fed to pigs as a protein source, is also relatively high in phosphorus. However, most of the phosphorus in canola meal is bound to phytic acid, and microbial phytase is often added to diets to help make more phosphorus available to pigs. New research shows that not all kinds of canola meal respond equally to the addition of phytase.

08/16/2017 06:13 PM
Deafness in farmed salmon linked to accelerated growth
Half of the world's farmed salmon are part deaf due to accelerated growth rates in aquaculture, new research has found. The results now offer a better understanding of the effects of a common inner ear deformity, and some specific actions to tackle this welfare issue.

08/16/2017 06:12 PM
In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control
Double-blind test bolsters observational data that walnuts promote feelings of fullness. Results provide a quantitative measure for testing other compounds' ability to control appetite, including potential medications for the treatment of obesity.

08/16/2017 04:06 PM
Changing tides: Lake Michigan could best support lake trout and steelhead
Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem, making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent US Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.