Top Environment News -- ScienceDaily

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

04/19/2018 11:38 PM
Bottlenose dolphins recorded for the first time in Canadian Pacific waters
A large group of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have been spotted in Canadian Pacific waters -- the first confirmed occurrence of the species in this area.

04/19/2018 05:27 PM
Museum researchers rediscover animal not seen in 30 years
Researchers have rediscovered the San Quintin kangaroo rat (Dipodomys gravipes) in Baja California. The Museum is partnering with Terra and local authorities on a conservation plan for the species, which was last seen in 1986, and was listed as endangered by the Mexican government in 1994. It was held as an example of modern extinction due to agricultural conversion.

04/19/2018 02:15 PM
Unprecedented wave of large-mammal extinctions linked to prehistoric humans
Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and other recent human relatives may have begun hunting large mammal species down to size -- by way of extinction -- at least 90,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a new study. The magnitude and scale of the extinction wave surpassed any other recorded during the last 66 million years, according to the study.

04/19/2018 02:15 PM
Great Barrier Reef coral predicted to last at least 100 years before extinction from climate change
A common Great Barrier Reef coral species has enough genetic diversity to survive at least 100 years before succumbing to global warming, researchers predict.

04/19/2018 02:15 PM
Ramped up fight-or-flight response points to history of warfare for humans and chimps
Humans and chimpanzees recently evolved a more active fight-or-flight response compared to other primates, possibly in response to the threat of warfare.

04/19/2018 02:15 PM
Gene-edited stem cells show promise against HIV in non-human primates
Gene editing of bone marrow stem cells in pigtail macaques infected with simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) significantly reduces the size of dormant 'viral reservoirs' that pose a risk of reactivation.

04/19/2018 01:11 PM
Dogs could be more similar to humans than we thought
Dog and human gut microbiomes have more similar genes and responses to diet than we previously thought, according to a new study

04/19/2018 01:11 PM
Natural selection gave a freediving people in Southeast Asia bigger spleens
The Bajau people of Southeast Asia, known as Sea Nomads, spend their whole lives at sea, working eight-hour diving shifts with traditional equipment and short breaks to catch fish and shellfish for their families. Researchers now report that the extraordinary diving abilities of the Bajau may be thanks in part to their unusually large spleens, a rare example of natural selection in modern humans.

04/19/2018 01:11 PM
Using the right plants can reduce indoor pollution and save energy
A plant physiologist concludes that a better knowledge of plant physiology, along with integration of smart-sensor-controlled air cleaning technologies, could improve indoor air quality in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

04/19/2018 01:10 PM
Gene variant increases empathy-driven fear in mice
A small difference in a gene affecting brain circuitry explains variations in empathic fear among different inbred mice strains. As empathy is evolutionarily conserved from rodents to humans, the study brings new insights into the workings of the mammalian brain in social behavior.

04/19/2018 01:10 PM
Study predicts 2018 flu vaccine will likely have 20 percent efficacy
A new study of 6,610 human flu sequences predicts that this fall's flu vaccine will likely have the same reduced efficacy against the dominant circulating strain of influenza A as the vaccine given in 2016 and 2017 due to viral mutations related to vaccine production in eggs.

04/19/2018 01:09 PM
Small changes in rainforests cause big damage to fish ecosystems
Using lasers, researchers have connected, arranged and merged artificial cells, paving the way for networks of artificial cells acting as tissues.

04/19/2018 01:09 PM
Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite
Researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

04/19/2018 10:01 AM
Frog embryos can fully regrow their eyes after injury, debunking a belief that they can't
Scientists have found that frog embryos can fully regrow their eyes after injuries, a breakthrough that may lead one day to the ability to orchestrate tissue regeneration in humans.

04/19/2018 10:01 AM
The bugs in your gut could make you weak in the knees
Scientists have long thought that osteoarthritis in people who are obese was a consequence of excess wear and tear on joints, but a new study suggests that the microbiome is the culprit. The study shows that a high fat diet (like the Western diet) can alter gut microbes, increase inflammation throughout the body, and speed deterioration of joints. An interesting twist: a common dietary supplement overturned these effects in mice.

04/19/2018 10:01 AM
Hurricane Harvey: Most fatalities occurred outside flood zones, Dutch-Texan research shows
Scientists found that most Houston-area drowning deaths from Hurricane Harvey occurred outside the zones designated by government as being at higher risk of flooding: the 100- and 500-year floodplains. Harvey, one of the costliest storms in US history, hit Texas on Aug. 25, 2017, causing unprecedented flooding and killing dozens.

04/18/2018 02:48 PM
Meteorite diamonds tell of a lost planet
Scientists have examined a slice from a meteorite that contains large diamonds formed at high pressure. The study shows that the parent body from which the meteorite came was a planetary embryo of a size between Mercury and Mars.

04/18/2018 02:47 PM
Better species mapping can improve conservation efforts
The scientific models that ecologists and conservation biologists rely on to determine which species and habitats to protect lack critical information to help them make effective decisions, according to a new study.

04/18/2018 02:47 PM
New ancestor of modern sea turtles found in Alabama
A sea turtle discovered in Alabama is a new species from the Late Cretaceous epoch, according to a new study.

04/18/2018 02:15 PM
Study reveals new Antarctic process contributing to sea level rise and climate change
A new study has revealed a previously undocumented process where melting glacial ice sheets change the ocean in a way that further accelerates the rate of ice melt and sea level rise. The research found that glacial meltwater makes the ocean's surface layer less salty and more buoyant, preventing deep mixing in winter and allowing warm water at depth to retain its heat and further melt glaciers from below.

04/18/2018 02:15 PM
Global warming is transforming the Great Barrier Reef
A new study shows that corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef experienced a catastrophic die-off following the extended marine heatwave of 2016.

04/18/2018 02:13 PM
Republicans more persuasive than scientists on climate change
Regardless of political affiliation, people are more likely to believe facts about climate change when they come from Republicans speaking against what has become a partisan interest in this country, according to a new study.

04/18/2018 02:13 PM
Cities and communities in the US losing 36 million trees a year
Nationally, urban/community tree cover declined from 42.9 percent to 42.2 percent between 2009-2014. This translates to losing an estimated 36 million trees or approximately 175,000 acres of tree cover annually.

04/18/2018 11:16 AM
Deep learning predicts drug-drug and drug-food interactions
Scientists have developed a computational framework, DeepDDI, that accurately predicts and generates 86 types of drug-drug and drug-food interactions as outputs of human-readable sentences, which allows in-depth understanding of the drug-drug and drug-food interactions.

04/18/2018 11:16 AM
Unique protein is a vulnerability in the malaria parasite
The malaria parasite is highly dependent on a unique protein for infecting new mosquitoes. This protein could be a target for the development of new drugs.

04/18/2018 10:05 AM
Coho salmon die, chum salmon survive in stormwater runoff research
Scientists found that coho salmon became sick and nearly died, within just a few hours of exposure to polluted stormwater. But chum salmon showed no signs of ill-effects after prolonged exposure to the same water.

04/18/2018 10:05 AM
New new genus and species of extinct baleen whale identified
Paleontologists are rewriting the history of New Zealand's ancient whales by describing a previously unknown genus of baleen whale, alive more than 27.5 million years ago and found in the Hakataramea Valley, South Canterbury.

04/18/2018 09:20 AM
Competition between males improves resilience against climate change
Animal species with males who compete intensively for mates might be more resilient to the effects of climate change, according to new research.

04/18/2018 09:20 AM
Bugged out by climate change
Warmer summer and fall seasons and fewer winter freeze-thaw events have led to changes in the relative numbers of different types of bugs in the Arctic. The study relies on the longest-standing, most comprehensive data set on arctic arthropods in the world today: a catalogue of almost 600,000 flies, wasps, spiders and other creepy-crawlies collected at the Zackenberg field stationĀ on the northeast coast of Greenland from 1996-2014.

04/18/2018 09:20 AM
How to improve habitat conservation for migrating cranes
Every year, endangered whooping cranes travel along a 4,000-kilometer corridor linking their Canadian nesting grounds and their winter home in Texas. Habitat in their path through the northern Great Plains is being lost at an alarming rate, but identifying key spots for protection is a challenge. Now, researchers behind a new study have created a model of whooping crane habitat use with the potential to greatly improve the targeting of conservation efforts during their migration.

04/18/2018 09:20 AM
Root exudates affect soil stability, water repellency
We might think of roots as necessary, but uninteresting, parts of the crop production process. New research, however, focuses on what's going on in the soil with the plant's roots and the chemicals they produce.

04/18/2018 09:19 AM
The 'radical' ways sunlight builds bigger molecules in the atmosphere
With summer approaching, 'sea and sun' might conjure up images of a beach trip. But for scientists, the interactions of the two have big implications for the climate and for the formation of tiny droplets, or aerosols, that lead to clouds. Researchers demonstrate that sunlight can cause certain molecules at the ocean's surface to activate others, resulting in larger molecules that could affect the atmosphere.

04/17/2018 06:11 PM
Adolescents' cooking skills strongly predict future nutritional well-being
Evidence suggests that developing cooking and food preparation skills is important for health and nutrition, yet the practice of home cooking is declining and now rarely taught in school. A new study found that developing cooking skills as a young adult may have long-term benefits for health and nutrition.

04/17/2018 06:11 PM
People who use medical marijuana more likely to use and misuse other prescription drugs
Can medical marijuana help to fight the opioid epidemic? Many believe that it can. But a new study finds that people who use medical marijuana actually have higher rates of medical and non-medical prescription drug use -- including pain relievers.

04/17/2018 03:56 PM
Marine fish won an evolutionary lottery 66 million years ago
Why do the Earth's oceans contain such a staggering diversity of fish of so many different sizes, shapes, colors and ecologies? The answer, biologists report, dates back 66 million years ago, when a six-mile-wide asteroid crashed to Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and approximately 75 percent of animal and plant species worldwide.

04/17/2018 03:56 PM
Smooth dance moves confirm new bird-of-paradise species
Newly publicized audiovisuals support full species status for one of the dancing birds-of-paradise in New Guinea. This new species, called the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, is found only in the island's far-western Bird's Head, or Vogelkop, region.

04/17/2018 01:28 PM
Studying oxygen, scientists discover clues to recovery from mass extinction
A research team is helping to understand why the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event happened and why it took life so long to recover.

04/17/2018 01:01 PM
The 'bread basket' of the tropics? Study explores tropical grain production
Agricultural economists wanted to learn more about the productivity of grain production in the tropics. They examine input and output factors for several large-scale farms located in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.

04/17/2018 01:01 PM
A new Listeria species from Costa Rica
Listeria costaricensis is the official name given to the new bacterial species just described by investigators.

04/17/2018 01:01 PM
Solving the structure of ATP synthase
Scientists have solved the structure of mitochondrial ATP synthase, an enzyme that makes ATP, adenosine triphosphate, the major energy source of cells.

04/17/2018 01:00 PM
Multidisciplinary study provides new insights about French Revolution
New research from experts in history, computer science and cognitive science shines fresh light on the French Revolution, showing how rhetorical and institutional innovations won acceptance for the ideas that built the French republic's foundation and inspired future democracies.

04/17/2018 11:57 AM
Machine learning techniques may reveal cause-effect relationships in protein dynamics data
Machine learning algorithms excel at finding complex patterns within big data, so researchers often use them to make predictions. Researchers are pushing the technology beyond finding correlations to help uncover hidden cause-effect relationships and drive scientific discoveries. Researchers are integrating machine learning techniques into their work studying proteins. One of their challenges has been a lack of methods to identify cause-effect relationships in data obtained from molecular dynamics simulations.

04/17/2018 11:57 AM
Some human cancers are 'evolutionary accidents'
New research has found some type of cancers unique to humans may be a result of evolutionary accidents.

04/17/2018 11:57 AM
New way that HIV evades the immune system
HIV uses our own cellular machinery to disable a signalling pathway (an assembly line of molecules) that produces anti-viral weaponry in the body. The scientists behind the discovery believe It should open the door to a new era of HIV research aiming to cure and eradicate this deadly virus.

04/17/2018 11:57 AM
New type of 'opal' formed by common seaweed
Scientists have discovered a completely new type of opal formed by a common seaweed which harnesses natural technology by self-assembling a nanostructure of oil droplets to control how light reflects from its cells to display a shimmering array of colours that until now, has only been seen in the gem stone.

04/17/2018 11:57 AM
Carbon dioxide as a raw material
Researchers have found a way to turn climate-damaging CO2 into an alcohol that could serve as a raw material for the chemical industry - without producing large amounts of salt waste that usually arise.

04/17/2018 11:57 AM
Honeybees are struggling to get enough good bacteria
Modern monoculture farming, commercial forestry and even well-intentioned gardeners could be making it harder for honeybees to store food and fight off diseases, a new study suggests.

04/17/2018 11:56 AM
More than 12,000 marine creatures uncovered during West Java deep-sea exploration
Scientists who participated in the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018 had collected more than 12,000 creatures during their 14-day voyage to survey the unexplored deep seas off the southern coast of West Java, Indonesia.

04/17/2018 11:56 AM
Bacterial 'gene swapping' sparks disease outbreaks
A new study documents how the ability of bacteria to swap genetic material with each other can directly affect the emergence and spread of globally important infectious diseases.

04/17/2018 11:56 AM
Can your dog predict an earthquake? Evidence is shaky, say researchers
For centuries people have claimed that strange behavior by their cats, dogs and even cows can predict an imminent earthquake, but the first rigorous analysis of the phenomenon concludes that there is no strong evidence behind the claim.

04/17/2018 10:05 AM
Foodborne illness caused by common agricultural practice, casts doubts on biocidal product labeling
Chlorine, commonly used in the agriculture industry to decontaminate fresh produce, can make foodborne pathogens undetectable, according to new research. The study may help explain outbreaks of Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes among produce in recent years.

04/17/2018 10:05 AM
Of mice and disease: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered in NYC house mice
Scientists have found that New York City house mice carry bacteria responsible for mild to life-threatening gastroenteritis in people, and some of these bacteria may be resistant to antibiotics.

04/17/2018 09:40 AM
Giant group of octopus moms discovered in the deep sea
At the bottom of the ocean, scientists discovered hundreds of small pink octopuses and their eggs. The colonies were in warmer water than is healthy for octopuses, which means that they probably won't survive. That makes the scientists think there are probably even bigger colonies thriving in the cool rock crevices nearby.

04/17/2018 09:00 AM
The microbiome of a native plant is much more resilient than expected
The microbiome, which consists of all microorganisms that live on or in plants, animals and also humans, is important for the health and development of these organisms. Scientists investigated how a plant responds to manipulations of its microbial associations. The results indicate that the enormous bacterial diversity residing in natural soils may account for the stability of the plant-microbiome relationship.

04/17/2018 09:00 AM
Invertebrates inspire first fully 3-D printed active materials for robots
To overcome the material rigidity and actuation limitations in current robotic systems, a joint US Army Research Laboratory and University of Minnesota research project sought inspiration from invertebrates.

04/17/2018 08:59 AM
How does plant DNA avoid the ravages of UV radiation?
Plants can't come in from the sun or slather on sunblock; instead they have a super robust DNA repair kit to combat UV radiation. Today, the lab of 2015 Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar published the first repair map of an entire multicellular organism to show how the 'nucleotide excision repair' system works much more efficiently in the active genes of plants as compared to humans. And this efficiency depends on the day/night cycle.

04/16/2018 06:56 PM
Warming climate could speed forest regrowth in eastern US
Warming climate could speed the natural regrowth of forests on undeveloped or abandoned land in the eastern United States, according to a new study. Previous research has shown that the succession from field to forest can happen decades sooner in the southeastern US than in the Northeast. But it wasn't obvious why. A new study points to temperature as the major factor influencing the pace of reforestation.

04/16/2018 06:56 PM
General aviation pilots struggle to interpret weather forecast and observation displays
When tested on their knowledge of 23 types of weather information, from icing forecasts and turbulence reports to radar, 204 general aviation (GA) pilots were stumped by about 42 percent of the questions. The findings are worrisome.

04/16/2018 06:56 PM
Scientists decipher the magma bodies under Yellowstone
Using supercomputer modeling, scientists have unveiled a new explanation for the geology underlying recent seismic imaging of magma bodies below Yellowstone National Park.

04/16/2018 06:56 PM
Malaria: Mosquitoes reveal fatal attraction
Malaria causes the bodies of its human hosts to emit specific odors from the skin that make the hosts even more attractive to mosquitoes, which invites further bites and risks infection of more mosquitoes and wider transmission of the disease. It's a vicious circle but one that has enabled researchers to identify the odors as organic hydrocarbons whose discovery could bring relief to a disease that claimed nearly half a million lives in 2016.