Top Environment News -- ScienceDaily

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

06/22/2018 01:21 AM
Accurate measurements of sodium intake confirm relationship with mortality
Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, but a new study using multiple measurements confirms it.

06/21/2018 05:24 PM
Our intestinal microbiome influences metabolism -- through the immune system
The innate immune system, our first line of defense against bacterial infection, has a side job that's equally important: fine-tuning our metabolism.

06/21/2018 02:11 PM
US oil & gas methane emissions 60 percent higher than estimated
The US oil and gas industry emits 13 million metric tons of the potent greenhouse gas methane from its operations each year, 60 percent more than estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study.

06/21/2018 02:11 PM
Researchers create matchmaking service, for peptides and antibiotics
Researchers have matched small proteins, called peptides, with antibiotics so they can work together to combat hard-to-treat infections that don't respond well to drugs on their own.

06/21/2018 02:11 PM
How snowshoe hares evolved to stay seasonally camouflaged
Many animals have evolved fur or feather colors to blend in with the environment and hide from predators. But how do animals stay camouflaged when their environment changes with each new season? For snowshoe hares, hybridization plays an important role in their ability to match their environment, new research shows.

06/21/2018 02:11 PM
Antarctic ice sheet is melting, but rising bedrock below could slow it down
An international team of researchers has found that the bedrock below the remote West Antarctic Ice Sheet is rising much more rapidly than previously thought, in response to ongoing ice melt.

06/21/2018 02:11 PM
Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
A zebrafish view of the world has been forensically analyzed by researchers to reveal that how they see their surroundings changes hugely depending on what direction they are looking.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
Fish's use of electricity might shed light on human illnesses
African weakly electric fish, commonly called baby whales, use incredibly brief electrical pulses to sense the world around them and communicate with other members of their species. Part of that electrical mechanism exists in humans -- and by studying these fish, scientists may unlock clues about conditions like epilepsy.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
Mice not only experience regret, but also learn to avoid it in the future
New research has discovered that mice are capable of learning to plan ahead in order to avoid regret down the road even if there is no additional gain in rewards.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
First ancient syphilis genomes decoded
An international research team has recovered the first historic genomes from the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis. It was previously not thought possible to recover DNA of this bacterium from ancient samples. In the study, the researchers were able to distinguish genetically between the subspecies of the disease that cause syphilis and that cause yaws, which are not readily distinguishable in skeletal remains.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
Not junk: 'Jumping gene' is critical for early embryo
A so-called 'jumping gene' that researchers long considered either genetic junk or a pernicious parasite is actually a critical regulator of the first stages of embryonic development, according to a new study.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
A mechanism behind choosing alcohol over healthy rewards is found
Changes in a brain signalling system contribute to the development of alcohol addiction-like behaviors in rats, according to a new study. The findings indicate a similar mechanism in humans.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika
Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers have shown that invasive mosquitoes in California -- where cases of Zika in travelers have been a regular occurrence in recent years -- are capable of transmitting Zika.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
Cross-species prion adaptation depends on prion replication environment
A hamster prion that replicated under conditions of low RNA levels in mouse brain material resulted in altered disease features when readapted and transmitted back to hamsters, according to new research.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
How competition and cooperation between bacteria shape antibiotic resistance
New computational simulations suggest that the effects of antibiotics on a bacterial community depend on whether neighboring species have competitive or cooperative relationships, as well as their spatial arrangement.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
Six new species of goblin spiders named after famous goblins and brownies
A remarkably high diversity of goblin spiders is reported from the Sri Lankan forests. Nine new species are described in a recent paper, where six are named after goblins and brownies from Enid Blyton's children's books. There are now 45 goblin spider species belonging to 13 genera known to inhabit the island country.

06/21/2018 02:10 PM
Caffeine from four cups of coffee protects the heart with the help of mitochondria
A new study shows that a caffeine concentration equivalent to four cups of coffee promotes the movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria, enhancing their function and protecting cardiovascular cells from damage.

06/21/2018 12:18 PM
Engineering bacteria to exhibit stochastic Turing patterns
A new study has brought science one step closer to a molecular-level understanding of how patterns form in living tissue. The researchers engineered bacteria that, when incubated and grown, exhibited stochastic Turing patterns: a 'lawn' of synthesized bacteria in a petri dish fluoresced an irregular pattern of red polka dots on a field of green.

06/21/2018 12:18 PM
Major challenge in mass production of low-cost solar cells solved
A team has solved a major fabrication challenge for perovskite cells -- the intriguing potential challengers to silicon-based solar cells. The team reveals a new scalable means of applying the compound PCBM, a critical component, to perovskite cells.

06/21/2018 11:20 AM
DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpart
A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. This is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterpart -- and it does so by three orders of magnitude.

06/21/2018 11:19 AM
New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on planet's resources
The World Desertification Atlas by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures.

06/21/2018 10:14 AM
Marine reserves are vital -- but under pressure
A massive study of nearly 1800 tropical coral reefs around the world has found that marine reserves near heavily populated areas struggle to do their job -- but are a vast improvement over having no protection at all.

06/21/2018 10:14 AM
How do horses read human emotional cues?
Scientists demonstrated for the first time that horses integrate human facial expressions and voice tones to perceive human emotion, regardless of whether the person is familiar or not.

06/21/2018 10:14 AM
Exposure to fracking chemicals and wastewater spurs fat cell development
Exposure to fracking chemicals and wastewater promotes fat cell development, or adipogenesis, in laboratory cell models, a new study finds. Researchers observed increases in the size and number of fat cells after exposing the models to a mixture of 23 common fracking chemicals or to wastewater or surface-water samples containing them, even at diluted concentrations. Adipogenesis occurred through PPARy-dependent and independent mechanisms. More research is needed to assess potential health impacts outside the laboratory.

06/21/2018 10:13 AM
Your brain anatomy may play a role in determining your food choices
Our ability to exercise self-control is linked to our neurobiology.

06/21/2018 10:13 AM
Sticklebacks infected with parasites influence behavior of healthy fish
Certain types of tapeworm make sticklebacks behave carelessly and thus become easier prey for birds. A team of biologists have now demonstrated for the first time that the tapeworm not only influences the behavior of the infected fish -- indirectly, it can also induce risky behavior in other fish in the group.

06/21/2018 10:13 AM
Garden seed diet for threatened turtle doves has negative impact
New research into Britain's fastest declining bird species has found that young turtle doves raised on a diet of seeds foraged from non-cultivated arable plants rather than food provided in people's gardens are more likely to survive after fledging. Ecologists investigated the dietary habits of European turtle doves using DNA analysis of faecal samples and found significant associations between the body condition and the source of the bird's diet.

06/21/2018 12:03 AM
Many wildlife-vehicle collisions preventable
A new study has found that Ontario could save millions by implementing simple measures to help prevent vehicle accidents involving wildlife.

06/20/2018 07:37 PM
Buildings as power stations work: They generate more energy than they consume, data shows
The UK's first energy-positive classroom generated more than one and a half times the energy it consumed, according to data from its first year of operation, the team has revealed. The findings were announced as the researchers launched the next phase of their research, gathering data and evidence on an office building, constructed using similar methods.

06/20/2018 05:46 PM
Rhesus macaque model offers route to study Zika brain pathology
Rhesus macaque monkeys infected in utero with Zika virus develop similar brain pathology to human infants. The findings may open up new ways to study the infection in an animal model.

06/20/2018 05:46 PM
Boring barnacles prefer the shallow life on coral reefs
Scientists have quantified how barnacles infest stony coral over a variety of conditions and reduce calcium carbonate on reefs. Coral reefs harbor diverse marine life and help prevent coastal erosion.

06/20/2018 05:46 PM
When cozying up with would-be predators, cleaner shrimp follow a dependable script
It's a mystery how cleaner shrimp partner with would-be fish predators -- sometimes even climbing in their mouths -- without getting eaten. A new study reveals how the shrimp convinces fish not to eat them, and the fish conveys that it's a friend and not a foe.

06/20/2018 05:09 PM
How physics explains the evolution of social organization
A scientist says the natural evolution of social organizations into larger and more complex communities exhibiting distinct hierarchies can be predicted from the same law of physics that gives rise to tree branches and river deltas -- a concept called the constructal law.

06/20/2018 05:09 PM
The world's tiniest first responders
Amid the rise of CRISPR and genome editing, scientists are still learning more about DNA repair and its significance in aging and diseases such as cancer.

06/20/2018 05:09 PM
Learning about the Himalayas using Mars technology
he Himalayan Range includes some of the youngest and most spectacular mountains on Earth, but the rugged landscape that lends it the striking beauty for which it is known can also keep scientists from fully understanding how these mountains formed.

06/20/2018 05:09 PM
DNA barcodes that reliably work: A game-changer for biomedical research
Researchers have developed a new method for correcting the errors that creep into DNA barcodes -- labels used in a wide range of biological experiments -- yielding far more accurate results and paving the way for more ambitious medical research in the future.

06/20/2018 04:24 PM
Rewiring plant defense genes to reduce crop waste
Plants could be genetically rewired to better resist disease, helping safeguard crop yields worldwide according to new research. Defensive feedback control system developed enables plants to strengthen their defenses to withstand attack by re-wiring existing gene connections. The system uses same approach as aircraft autopilots use to counteract turbulence.

06/20/2018 04:24 PM
Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle
A team of scientists ran quantum simulations to develop a new model of the behavior of water at extremely high temperatures and pressures. The computational measurements should help scientists understand water's role in the makeup of the mantle and potentially in other planets.

06/20/2018 04:24 PM
Neonics are being ingested by free-ranging animals
University of Guelph researchers found residues of the insecticides in the livers of wild turkeys, providing evidence that this common agrochemical is being ingested by free-ranging animals.

06/20/2018 04:24 PM
Scientists find evidence of 27 new viruses in bees
An international team of researchers has discovered evidence of 27 previously unknown viruses in bees. The finding could help scientists design strategies to prevent the spread of viral pathogens among these important pollinators.

06/20/2018 03:02 PM
The seed that could bring clean water to millions
Scientist are refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations.

06/20/2018 03:02 PM
Stone tools from ancient mummy reveal how Copper Age mountain people lived
Stone tools found with a 5,300-year-old frozen mummy from Northern Italy reveal how alpine Copper Age communities lived.

06/20/2018 03:02 PM
Scientists calculate impact of China's ban on plastic waste imports
Scientists have calculated the potential global impact of China's ban on plastic waste imports and how this policy might affect efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the world's landfills and natural environment.

06/20/2018 03:02 PM
The sounds of climate change
Researchers describe a way to quickly sift through thousands of hours of field recordings to estimate when songbirds arrive at their Arctic breeding grounds. Their research could be applied to any dataset of animal vocalizations to understand how migratory animals are responding to climate change.

06/20/2018 03:01 PM
Zero proof probiotics can ease your anxiety
A study found evidence that probiotics can reduce anxiety in rodents, but not in humans.

06/20/2018 03:01 PM
Compound made inside human body stops viruses from replicating
A team of researchers has identified the mode of action of viperin, a naturally occurring enzyme in humans and other mammals that is known to have antiviral effects on viruses such as West Nile, hepatitis C, rabies, and HIV. This discovery could allow researchers to develop a drug that could act as a broad-spectrum therapy for a range of viruses, including Zika.

06/20/2018 03:01 PM
Gene-edited pigs are resistant to billion-dollar virus
Scientists have produced pigs that can resist one of the world's most costly animal diseases, by changing their genetic code. Tests with the virus -- called Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, or PRRS -- found the pigs do not become infected at all. The animals show no signs that the change in their DNA has had any other impact on their health or wellbeing.

06/20/2018 03:01 PM
The cells that control the formation of fat
A study has revealed a new cell type that resides in the body's fat depots where it can actively suppress fat cell formation. This discovery was made using single-cell transcriptomics and opens entirely new avenues to combat obesity and related diseases such as diabetes.

06/20/2018 03:01 PM
T. Rex couldn't stick out its tongue
Dinosaurs are often depicted as fierce creatures, baring their teeth, with tongues wildly stretching from their mouths like giant, deranged lizards. But new research reveals a major problem with this classic image: Dinosaurs couldn't stick out their tongues like lizards. Instead, their tongues were probably rooted to the bottoms of their mouths in a manner akin to alligators.

06/20/2018 03:00 PM
Fossils show ancient primates had grooming claws as well as nails
Humans and other primates are outliers among mammals for having nails instead of claws. But how, when and why we transitioned from claws to nails has been an evolutionary head-scratcher.

06/20/2018 03:00 PM
Chameleon-inspired nanolaser changes colors
Chameleons change color by controlling the spacing among nanocrystals on their skin. The nanolaser changes color similarly -- by controlling the spacing among metal nanoparticles.

06/20/2018 01:00 PM
Encrypted messages in biological processes
RNA modifications can encrypt the RNA code and are responsible for a very sophisticated control of RNA function. A research team has shown that modified RNA bases have a great impact on the dynamics of gene expression from DNA to functional RNA. The study yields important new insight into how the basis of RNA modifications can affect the function of mature RNA molecules.

06/20/2018 01:00 PM
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
In water-limited landscapes sick animals can have increased contact with healthy individuals, which can facilitate disease transmission.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
Dogs understand what's written all over your face
Dogs are capable of understanding the emotions behind an expression on a human face. This study is the latest to reveal just how connected dogs are with people. The research also provides evidence that dogs use different parts of their brains to process human emotions.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
People who feel threatened by vegetarianism more likely to care less about animals
New research suggests that if people perceive the rise of vegetarianism as a threat to their way of life they are more likely to care less for some animals.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
Planned movements and spontaneous reactions are processed differently in the brain
Scientists have been able to show in their recently published study of two rhesus monkeys that planned and spontaneous gripping movements have the same brain activity during the movement but that the preceded brain activity differs.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
Fetal T cells are first responders to infection in adults
Researchers have discovered there is a division of labor among immune cells that fight invading pathogens in the body.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
Modern laser science brightened by 2,300-year-old technology
Scientists have harnessed a 2,300-year-old water displacement technology to develop a novel laser beam that traps and moves particles in specific directions. It is a significant contribution to the future of both basic and applied science.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
Possible link found between diabetes and common white pigment
In a pilot study, crystalline particles of titanium dioxide -- the most common white pigment in everyday products ranging from paint to candies -- were found in pancreas specimens with Type 2 diabetes, suggesting that exposure to the white pigment is associated with the disease.

06/20/2018 12:59 PM
Short-term responses to climate change-mediated disasters can be maladaptive in long-term
Short-term management responses to climate change-mediated disasters can be maladaptive in the long-term.