Top Environment News -- ScienceDaily

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

08/20/2018 04:42 PM
Healthy diet linked to healthy cellular aging in women
Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in added sugar, sodium and processed meats could help promote healthy cellular aging in women.

08/20/2018 04:42 PM
Natural disasters widen racial wealth gap
Damage caused by natural disasters and recovery efforts launched in their aftermaths have increased wealth inequality between races in the United States, according to new research.

08/20/2018 03:01 PM
Love vine sucks life from wasps, leaving only mummies
An evolutionary biologists have discovered a new trophic interaction -- the first example of a parasitic plant attacking a parasitic insect on a shared host plant. The find could point to new methods for controlling agricultural pests and perhaps fighting cancer.

08/20/2018 12:22 PM
Biological engineers discover new antibiotic candidates
Researchers have found that fragments of the protein pepsinogen, an enzyme used to digest food in the stomach, can kill bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Such peptides could potentially be developed as new antibiotics.

08/20/2018 12:22 PM
Warming waters linked to lobster disease
New findings reveal that earlier springs and hotter summers in the northeastern U.S. are making resident lobsters increasingly susceptible to epizootic shell disease, a condition that has depleted the southern New England population and severely impacted the local lobster fishery.

08/20/2018 11:31 AM
A timescale for the origin and evolution of all of life on Earth
A new study has used a combination of genomic and fossil data to explain the history of life on Earth, from its origin to the present day.

08/20/2018 11:31 AM
California plain shows surprising winners and losers from prolonged drought
A long-term study has tracked how hundreds of species in the Carrizo Plain National Monument fared during the historic drought that struck California from 2012 to 2015.

08/20/2018 11:31 AM
Strategies in US climate litigation
Researchers have analyzed all US climate change lawsuits over a 26-year period.

08/20/2018 11:30 AM
The bright ways forests affect their environment
New study finds volatile gases emitted by forests increase the amount of diffuse light reaching the forests. The study shows that this increased diffuse sunlight enhanced the carbon absorbed by the world's forests by an amount equal to 10 percent of global fossil fuel emissions and industry emissions.

08/20/2018 11:30 AM
Carbon reserves in Central American soils still affected by ancient Mayan deforestation
Deforestation is suspected to have contributed to the mysterious collapse of Mayan civilization more than 1,000 years ago. A new study shows that the forest-clearing also decimated carbon reservoirs in the tropical soils of the Yucatan peninsula region long after ancient cities were abandoned and the forests grew back.

08/20/2018 11:30 AM
Enzyme-powered protocells rise to the top
Researchers have successfully assembled enzyme-powered artificial cells that can float or sink depending on their internal chemical activity. The work provides a new approach to designing complex life-like properties in non-living materials.

08/20/2018 11:30 AM
To float or not to float? Mystery solved as to why algae balls float and sink
Scientists have uncovered the age-old mystery of why marimo algae balls sink at night and float during the day.

08/20/2018 11:30 AM
Near two million acres on fire in the United States
The West Coast of the United States is shrouded in smoke from the 110 large fires (this does not include smaller fires within each complex of fires) that have erupted across the region during this fire season.

08/20/2018 10:42 AM
Supercomputing simulations and machine learning help improve power plants
Researchers are exploring how supercritical carbon dioxide could serve as a cleaner, safer, and more flexible working fluid in power plants than supercritical water by using supercomputing resources and machine learning.

08/20/2018 10:42 AM
DNA analysis of 6,500-year-old human remains with blue eye mutation
Scientists have discovered that waves of migration from Anatolia and the Zagros mountains to the Levant helped develop the Chalcolithic culture that existed in Israel's Upper Galilee region some 6,500 years ago. "Certain characteristics, such as genetic mutations contributing to blue eye color, were not seen in the DNA test results of earlier Levantine human remains," according to one of the researchers.

08/20/2018 09:42 AM
Synthetic DNA-based enzymes
Enzymes perform very specific functions and require only little energy -- which is why the biocatalysts are also of interest to the chemical industry. Biologists have now provided a summary on what is known about the mechanisms of enzymes in nature. Moreover, the authors outline a future vision: artificial biocatalysts that are not protein-based, as they usually are in nature, but which are rather made from DNA.

08/20/2018 09:42 AM
Stone tools reveal modern human-like gripping capabilities 500,000 years ago
Research demonstrates that a technique used to produce stone tools that were first found half a million years ago is likely to have needed a modern human-like hand. This links a stone tool production technique known as 'platform preparation' to the biology of human hands, demonstrating that without the ability to perform highly forceful precision grips, our ancestors would not have been able to produce advanced stone tools like spear points.

08/20/2018 08:52 AM
Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves -- and wildfires: summer weather is stalling
Stalling summer weather as we are experiencing right now in the Northern hemisphere can turn into 'extreme extremes' from heat to drought, from rain to flood.

08/20/2018 08:52 AM
Antidepressant restores youthful flexibility to aging inhibitory neurons in mice
Inhibitory neurons in the aging brain show reduced growth and plasticity, likely contributing to declines in brain function. In a new study in mice researchers show that treatment with fluoxetine restored substantial growth and plasticity.

08/20/2018 08:52 AM
Next-gen insect repellents to combat mosquito-borne diseases
Nearly 700 million people suffer from mosquito-borne diseases -- such as malaria, West Nile, Zika and dengue fever -- each year, resulting in more than 1 million deaths. Today, researchers report a new class of mosquito repellents based on naturally occurring compounds that are effective in repelling the bugs, including those that are resistant to pyrethroid insecticides and repellents.

08/20/2018 08:52 AM
Strawberries could help reduce harmful inflammation in the colon
Inflammatory bowel disease is a set of painful conditions that can cause severe diarrhea and fatigue. Researchers are now reporting that a simple dietary intervention could mitigate colonic inflammation and improve gut health. In this case, a strawberry -- or rather, less than a cupful of strawberries -- a day could help keep the doctor away.

08/20/2018 08:52 AM
Maple leaf extract could nip skin wrinkles in the bud
Maple trees are best known for their maple syrup and lovely fall foliage. But it turns out that the beauty of those leaves could be skin-deep -- and that's a good thing. Today, scientists report that an extract from the leaves may prevent wrinkles.

08/20/2018 08:52 AM
Saliva could influence taste preferences
Saliva is crucial for tasting and digesting food. But scientists have now found that saliva could also be part of a feedback loop that influences how food tastes to people -- and by extension, what foods they're willing to eat. They hope that, one day, the findings could help consumers stick to a healthier diet.

08/20/2018 08:51 AM
Techniques for reducing sugar content in dairy products show promise
Dairy foods are popular among consumers, and sales gross more than $125 billion per year (IDFA, 2017). With dairy product popularity comes new demands from consumers for healthier, low-calorie products that taste the same as their higher calorie counterparts. Researchers now review the options available to the dairy industry to reduce sugar in products such as ice cream, yogurt, and flavored milk without sacrificing flavor.

08/19/2018 04:07 PM
Weaponizing oxygen to kill infections and disease
The life-threatening bacteria MRSA can cripple a medical facility since it is resistant to treatment. But scientists report that they are now making advances in a new technique that avoids antibiotics, instead using light to activate oxygen, which wipes out bacteria. The method also could be used to treat other microbial infections, and possibly even cancer.

08/19/2018 04:07 PM
A paper battery powered by bacteria
In remote areas of the world, everyday items like electrical outlets and batteries are luxuries. Health care workers in these areas often lack electricity to power diagnostic devices, and commercial batteries may be too expensive. Today, researchers report a new type of battery -- made of paper and fueled by bacteria -- that could overcome these challenges.

08/19/2018 04:07 PM
The environmental cost of contact lenses
Many people rely on contact lenses to improve their vision. But these sight-correcting devices don't last forever and they are eventually disposed of in various ways. Now, scientists are reporting that throwing these lenses down the drain at the end of their use could be contributing to microplastic pollution in waterways.

08/18/2018 11:58 AM
Acid coastal seas off US putting common fish species at risk
Scientists have shown that coastal waters and river estuaries can exhibit unique vulnerabilities to acidification than offshore waters. This acidification, detected in waters off the United States West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, can lead to disorientation and cognitive problems in some marine fish species, such as salmon, sharks, and cod.

08/18/2018 11:56 AM
Making aquafeed more sustainable: Scientists develop feeds using a marine microalga co-product
Scientists have created a more sustainable feed for aquaculture by using a marine microalga co-product as a feed ingredient. The study is the first of its kind to evaluate replacing fishmeal with a co-product in feed designed specifically for Nile tilapia.

08/17/2018 03:03 PM
A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional 'protein knockdown' in vertebrates
Researchers have developed a novel synthetic antibody that paves the way for an improved functional analysis of proteins.

08/17/2018 03:03 PM
Ants, acorns and climate change
The relatively swift adaptability of tiny, acorn-dwelling ants to warmer environments could help scientists predict how other species might evolve in the crucible of global climate change, according to biologists.

08/17/2018 03:03 PM
New way to grow blood vessels developed
Formation of new blood vessels, a process also known as angiogenesis, is one of the major clinical challenges in wound healing and tissue implants. To address this issue, researchers have developed a clay-based platform to deliver therapeutic proteins to the body to assist with the formation of blood vessels.

08/17/2018 12:53 PM
Novel nanoparticle-based approach detects and treats oral plaque without drugs
When the good and bad bacteria in our mouth become imbalanced, the bad bacteria form a biofilm (aka plaque), which can cause cavities, and if left untreated over time, can lead to cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases like diabetes and bacterial pneumonia. A team of researchers has recently devised a practical nanotechnology-based method for detecting and treating the harmful bacteria that cause plaque and lead to tooth decay and other detrimental conditions.

08/17/2018 12:53 PM
Invasive plants: Scientists examine the relative impact of proximity to seed sources
A new study tackles an important, unresolved question in the biology of invasive plants. Which is most important to the establishment of new invasive communities -- proximity to seed sources, canopy disturbance, or soil disturbance?

08/17/2018 09:38 AM
Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health, study suggests
A new study has found that diets both low and high in carbohydrates were linked with an increase in mortality, while moderate consumers of carbohydrates had the lowest risk of mortality. The study also found that low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources were associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.

08/17/2018 09:38 AM
Study confirms truth behind 'Darwin's moth'
Scientists have revisited -- and confirmed -- one of the most famous textbook examples of evolution in action.

08/17/2018 09:38 AM
Particulate pollution's impact varies greatly depending on where it originated
Aerosols are tiny particles that are spewed into the atmosphere by human activities, including burning coal and wood. They have negative effects on air quality -- damaging human health and agricultural productivity. New research demonstrates that the impact these fine particles have on the climate varies greatly depending on where they were released.

08/17/2018 09:37 AM
Harnessing energy from algae: Enzyme could help accelerate biofuel production
Researchers have homed in on an enzyme belonging to the glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) family as a promising target for increasing biofuel production from the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae.

08/16/2018 06:31 PM
Microfossils, possibly world's oldest, had biological characteristics
Scientists have confirmed that the 3.4-billion-year-old Strelley Pool microfossils had chemical characteristics similar to modern bacteria. This all but confirms their biological origin and ranks them amongs the world's oldest microfossils.

08/16/2018 03:31 PM
How a 'jellyfish'-shaped structure relieves pressure in your cells
Scientists have solved the structure of a key protein that senses when our cells swell.

08/16/2018 03:31 PM
Human wastewater valuable to global agriculture, economics
It may seem off-putting to some, but human waste is full of nutrients that can be recycled into valuable products that could promote agricultural sustainability and better economic independence for some developing countries, says a new study.

08/16/2018 03:31 PM
Researchers are developing vaccines for human parasites
Researchers outline their lessons learned while creating vaccine candidates for hookworm and schistosomiasis.

08/16/2018 03:31 PM
Genetic differences in trees untouched by mountain pine beetles
A researcher has discovered that mountain pine beetles may avoid certain trees within a population they normally would kill due to genetics in the trees.

08/16/2018 02:32 PM
Tibetan sheep highly susceptible to human plague, originates from marmots
In the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, one of the region's highest risk areas for human plague, Himalayan marmots are the primary carriers of the infectious bacterium Y. pestis. Y. pestis infection can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the marmots' parasitic fleas. Researchers determine that Tibetan sheep, who make up about one-third of China's total sheep population, also carry this disease and can transmit it to humans.

08/16/2018 02:32 PM
Whole blood test for toxoplasmosis is sensitive, specific
Transmission of toxoplasmosis from mother to fetus can lead to severe congenital problems and fetal death, and tests for the parasitic infection during pregnancy are critical. Now, researchers have showed the efficacy of a low-cost whole blood test for toxoplasmosis.

08/16/2018 02:32 PM
99-million-year-old beetle trapped in amber served as pollinator to evergreen cycads
Flowering plants are well known for their special relationship to the insects and other animals that serve as their pollinators. But, before the rise of angiosperms, another group of unusual evergreen gymnosperms, known as cycads, may have been the first insect-pollinated plants. Now, researchers have uncovered the earliest definitive fossil evidence of that intimate relationship between cycads and insects.

08/16/2018 02:32 PM
More workers working might not get more work done, ants (and robots) show
For ants and robots operating in confined spaces like tunnels, having more workers does not necessarily mean getting more work done. Just as too many cooks in a kitchen get in each other's way, having too many robots in tunnels creates clogs that can bring the work to a grinding halt.

08/16/2018 02:32 PM
Reverse osmosis membranes with tunable thickness
Researchers used electrospray technology to create ultra-thin, ultra-smooth polyamide membranes for reverse osmosis. This scalable process allows for better control of a membrane's fundamental properties, avoids the use of chemical baths, and can be applied to a variety of membrane separation processes.

08/16/2018 02:31 PM
Previously grainy wheat genome comes into focus
An international consortium has completed the sequence of wheat's colossal genome.

08/16/2018 02:31 PM
How an herbivore hijacks a nutrient uptake strategy of its host plant
Maize plants release secondary metabolites into the soil that bind to iron and thereby facilitate its uptake by the plant. The Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera), the economically most important maize pest worldwide, is attracted by these complexes, extracts the bound iron from the maize plant and uses it for its own nutrition. With these insights, researchers provide a new explanation for the extraordinary success of the Western corn rootworm as a global maize pest.

08/16/2018 02:31 PM
Scientists create new technology and solve a key puzzle for cellular memory
With a new groundbreaking technique, researchers have managed to identify a protein that is responsible for cellular memory being transmitted when cells divide. The finding is crucial for understanding development from one cell to a whole body.

08/16/2018 02:31 PM
Cells agree: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Brief exposures to stressors can be beneficial by prompting cells to trigger sustained production of antioxidants, molecules that help get rid of toxic cellular buildup related to normal metabolism -- findings with potential relevance for age-related diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease.

08/16/2018 02:30 PM
New approach to fight tuberculosis, a leading cause of death worldwide
A group of researchers used a systematic approach to get an entirely new look at the way tuberculosis infects people. Their study uncovered interactions between tuberculosis and human proteins that could provide new approaches to combat infection.

08/16/2018 02:30 PM
Taking a closer look at unevenly charged biomolecules
Clinicians most often monitor antibodies because these small proteins attach to antigens, or foreign substances, we face every day. Most biomolecules, however, have complicated charge characteristics, and the sensor response from conventional carbon nanotube systems can be erratic. A team recently revealed how these systems work and proposed changes to dramatically improve biomolecule detection.

08/16/2018 02:30 PM
'Abrupt thaw' of permafrost beneath lakes could significantly affect climate change models
Methane released by thawing permafrost from some Arctic lakes could significantly accelerate climate change, according to a new study. Unlike shallow, gradual thawing of terrestrial permafrost, the abrupt thaw beneath thermokarst lakes is irreversible this century. Even climate models that project only moderate warming this century will have to factor in their emissions, according to the researchers.

08/16/2018 11:43 AM
Female mosquitoes get choosy quickly to offset invasions
Certain female mosquitoes quickly evolve more selective mating behavior when faced with existential threats from other invasive mosquito species, with concurrent changes to certain genetic regions, according to new research.

08/16/2018 11:43 AM
A unique combination of catalysts opens doors to making useful compounds
All organisms rely on chemical reactions in order to make various natural products. Chemical reactions can be caused by a number of catalysts, such as enzymatic or chemical catalysts. Researchers have developed a new method that aids in the process of making valuable compounds by using a new catalytic method that combines enzymatic catalysts with photocatalysts.

08/16/2018 10:55 AM
Diagnosing cancer with malaria protein: New method discovered
Researchers have discovered a method of diagnosing a broad range of cancers at their early stages by utilizing a particular malaria protein, which sticks to cancer cells in blood samples. The researchers hope that this method can be used in cancer screenings in the near future.

08/16/2018 10:55 AM
Using mushrooms as a prebiotic may help improve glucose regulation
Eating white button mushrooms can create subtle shifts in the microbial community in the gut, which could improve the regulation of glucose in the liver, according to a team of researchers. They also suggest that better understanding this connection between mushrooms and gut microbes in mice could one day pave the way for new diabetes treatments and prevention strategies for people.

08/16/2018 10:20 AM
Most Americans accept genetic engineering of animals that benefits human health
Americans' views of possible uses of genetic engineering in animals vary depending on the mechanism and intended purpose of the technology, particularly the extent to which it would bring health benefits to humans.