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Science/Tech / ScienceDaily

Study of threatened desert tortoises offers new conservation strategy

A new study supports a new conservation strategy. Climate change increasingly makes relocating threatened species necessary, despite the frequently low success rate. The study found tortoises with lots of genetic variation were much more likely to survive after their relocation. The research supports this fast, inexpensive conservation tool, and upends the conventional wisdom suggesting that tortoises from areas moved from close by would fare best.

27 Nov 2020 7:24 pm
Effect of odor on helpfulness in rats

Despite their reputation, rats are surprisingly sociable and regularly help each other out. Researchers have shown that a rat just has to smell another rat that is engaged in helpful behavior to increase their own helpfulness. This is the first study to show that just the smell of a cooperating rat is enough to trigger a helpful response.

26 Nov 2020 3:14 am
Plants: Scientists solve the mystery behind an enigmatic organelle, the pyrenoid

Researchers have discovered how Rubisco holoenzymes assemble to form the fluid-like matrix of the algal pyrenoid, an organelle that mediates the incorporation of carbon dioxide into sugars.

26 Nov 2020 2:18 am
Specific bacterium in the gut linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Researchers have detected a connection between Brachyspira, a genus of bacteria in the intestines, and IBS -- especially the form that causes diarrhea. Although the discovery needs confirmation in larger studies, there is hope that it might lead to new remedies for many people with irritable bowel syndrome.

26 Nov 2020 12:21 am
Community conservation reserves protect fish diversity in tropical rivers

Small, community-based reserves in Thailand's Salween River Basin are serving as critical refuges for fish diversity in a region whose subsistence fisheries have suffered from decades of over-harvesting.

26 Nov 2020 12:21 am
Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

New research sheds light on the production of an 800-year-old turkey feather blanket and explores the economic and cultural aspects of raising turkeys to supply feathers in the ancient Southwest.

26 Nov 2020 12:21 am
Ice sheets on the move: How north and south poles connect

Over the past 40,000 years, ice sheets thousands of kilometers apart have influenced one another through sea level changes, according to new research. New modelling of ice sheet changes during the most recent glacial cycle demonstrates, for the first time, that during this period, changes in the Antarctic ice sheet were driven by the melting ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere.

25 Nov 2020 10:14 pm
Landmark study generates first genomic atlas for global wheat improvement

In a landmark discovery for global wheat production, a team has sequenced the genomes for 15 wheat varieties representing breeding programs around the world, enabling scientists and breeders to much more quickly identify influential genes for improved yield, pest resistance and other important crop traits.

25 Nov 2020 10:14 pm
Ghost fishing threatens endangered river dolphins, critically endangered turtles, otters

Waste fishing gear in the River Ganges poses a threat to wildlife including otters, turtles and dolphins, new research shows.

25 Nov 2020 7:45 pm
Research creates hydrogen-producing living droplets, paving way for alternative future energy source

Scientists have built tiny droplet-based microbial factories that produce hydrogen, instead of oxygen, when exposed to daylight in air.

25 Nov 2020 7:44 pm
To push or to pull? How many-limbed marine organisms swim

Couinter-intuitively, small marine animals don't use their limbs or propulsors to push themselves through the water while swimming. Instead, their appendages create negative pressure behind them that pulls the animal through the water, scientists report.

25 Nov 2020 1:58 am
Can we harness a plant's ability to synthesize medicinal compounds?

Anthraquinones are a class of naturally occurring compounds prized for their medicinal properties, as well as for other applications, including ecologically friendly dyes. Despite wide interest, the mechanism by which plants produce them has remained shrouded in mystery until now. New work reveals a gene responsible for anthraquinone synthesis in plants. Their findings could help scientists cultivate a plant-based mechanism for harvesting these useful compounds in bulk quantities.

25 Nov 2020 1:58 am
Stable catalysts for new energy

Looking for the perfect catalyst is not only about finding the right material, but also about its orientation. Depending on the direction in which a crystal is cut and which of its atoms it thus presents to the outside world on its surface, its behavior can change dramatically.

24 Nov 2020 11:06 pm
Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adults

The brains of healthy adults recovered faster from a mild vascular challenge and performed better on complex tests if the participants consumed cocoa flavanols beforehand, researchers report. In the study, 14 of 18 participants saw these improvements after ingesting the flavanols.

24 Nov 2020 7:51 pm
Supersized wind turbines generate clean energy--and surprising physics

As wind energy scales up, researchers study the fluid dynamics challenges.

24 Nov 2020 4:04 am
Tracking and fighting fires on earth and beyond

Scientists demonstrate how fires burn and spread under different environmental conditions.

24 Nov 2020 4:04 am
The science of windy cities

Researchers model urban airflows to help improve the design of drones, skyscrapers, and natural ventilation systems.

24 Nov 2020 4:04 am
Ancient people relied on coastal environments to survive the Last Glacial Maximum

Excavations on the south coast of South Africa have uncovered evidence of human occupations from the end of the last ice age, approximately 35,000 years ago, through the complex transition to the modern time, known as the Holocene and adaptions that were key to our species ability to survive wide climate and environmental fluctuations.

24 Nov 2020 4:04 am
Indonesian wildfires a 'fixable problem'

Indonesian wildfires that cause widespread air pollution and vast carbon emissions are a 'fixable problem', according to the leader of a project set up to help tackle the issue.

24 Nov 2020 4:04 am
Genetics behind deadly oat blight

A multi-institution team has identified the genetic mechanisms that enable the production of a deadly toxin called Victorin - the causal agent for Victoria blight of oats, a disease that wiped out oat crops in the U.S. in the 1940s.

24 Nov 2020 4:04 am
Coppery titi monkeys do not deceive their partners

Since methods for genetic paternity analyses were introduced it became clear that many pair-living animal species, including humans, do not take partnership fidelity that seriously. In most species there is some proportion of offspring that is not sired by their social father. Coppery titi monkeys living in the Amazon lowland rainforest seem to be an exception. Scientists could not find evidence for extra-pair paternity in their study population in Peru. Mate choice seems to be so successful tha

23 Nov 2020 7:23 pm
Breaking the ice on melting and freezing

Researchers have shared new insights into melting icebergs and lake ice formation.

22 Nov 2020 8:16 pm
U.S.-European mission launches to monitor the world's oceans

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will extend a nearly 30-year continuous dataset on sea level collected by an ongoing collaboration of U.S. and European satellites while enhancing weather forecasts and providing detailed information on large-scale ocean currents to support ship navigation near coastlines.

22 Nov 2020 8:10 pm
Science reveals secrets of a mummy's portrait

How much information can you get from a speck of purple pigment, no bigger than the diameter of a hair, plucked from an Egyptian portrait that's nearly 2,000 years old? Plenty, according to a new study. Analysis of that speck can teach us about how the pigment was made, what it's made of - and maybe even a little about the people who made it.

21 Nov 2020 9:13 pm
Zebra finches amazing at unmasking the bird behind the song

Like humans who can instantly tell which friend or relative is calling by the timbre of the person's voice, zebra finches have a near-human capacity for language mapping.

21 Nov 2020 9:13 pm
Polar climate affects trade wind strength in tropics

The impact of sea surface temperature variations in the tropical Pacific on global climate has long been recognized. For instance, the episodic warming of the tropical Pacific during El Nio events causes melt of sea ice in far-reaching parts of the Southern Ocean via its effect on the global atmospheric circulation. A new study demonstrates that the opposite pathway exists as well.

21 Nov 2020 12:51 am
Discovery illuminates how cell growth pathway responds to signals

A basic science discovery reveals a fundamental way cells interpret signals from their environment and may eventually pave the way for potential new therapies.

20 Nov 2020 11:56 pm
Biophysics: Geometry supersedes simulations

Physicists have introduced a new method that allows biological pattern-forming systems to be systematically characterized with the aid of mathematical analysis. The trick lies in the use of geometry to characterize the dynamics.

20 Nov 2020 11:56 pm
Ribosome assembly: The final trimming step

Ribosomes synthesize all the proteins in cells. Studies mainly done on yeast have revealed much about how ribosomes are put together, but a team now reports that ribosome assembly in human cells requires factors that have no counterparts in simpler model organisms.

20 Nov 2020 11:56 pm
New report projects severe coral bleaching globally in this century

The United Nations recently released a new report projecting future coral reef bleaching globally.

20 Nov 2020 11:56 pm
Rare species of small cats inadequately protected

The Indian subcontinent is a hotspot for wild felines. A new study now shows that only 6-11 per cent of the areas where three rare cat species have their habitat are protected. Lack of knowledge about these species has been an obstacle to understanding their needs for reserves.

20 Nov 2020 10:08 pm
Plant research seals importance of microbes for survival and growth

Scientists have revealed that plants have a 'sealing' mechanism supported by microbes in the root that are vital for the intake of nutrients for survival and growth.

20 Nov 2020 8:29 pm
Glyphosate may affect human gut microbiota

More than half of bacterial species in the core of the human gut microbiome are potentially sensitive to glyphosate, shows new research. Researchers introduced the first bioinformatics resource to determine and test the potential sensitivity of organisms to glyphosate.

20 Nov 2020 8:28 pm
How tissue geometry influences the movement of cells through the body

Cells move constantly throughout our bodies, performing myriad operations critical to tissue development, immune responses and general wellbeing. This bustle is guided by chemical cues long studied by scientists interested in cellular migration.

20 Nov 2020 7:41 pm
Alternative gene control mechanism based on organization of DNA within nucleus

Researchers have identified how the architecture of the cell nucleus can change gene activity in plants. This discovery reveals fundamental knowledge about genome regulation and points towards future methods for potentially manipulating the expression of many genes simultaneously.

20 Nov 2020 7:41 pm
Climate change and 'atmospheric thirst' to increase fire danger and drought in NV and CA

Climate change and a 'thirsty atmosphere' will bring more extreme wildfire danger and multi-year droughts to Nevada and California by the end of this century, according to new research.

20 Nov 2020 3:24 am
Could kelp help relieve ocean acidification?

A new analysis of California's Monterey Bay evaluates kelp's potential to reduce ocean acidification, the harmful fallout from climate change on marine ecosystems and the food they produce for human populations.

20 Nov 2020 1:15 am
Very hungry and angry, caterpillars head-butt to get what they want

When food is scarce, monarch butterfly caterpillars go from docile to domineering. The results look something like a combination of boxing and 'bumper' cars. The less food, the more likely caterpillars were to try to head-butt each other out of the way to get their fill, lunging and knocking aside other caterpillars to ensure their own survival. And, they are most aggressive right before the final stages of their metamorphosis.

20 Nov 2020 12:47 am
Vibrations of coronavirus proteins may play a role in infection

New research finds vibrations of the protein spikes on coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, play a crucial part in allowing the virus to penetrate human cells. The findings could help determine how dangerous different strains or mutations of coronaviruses may be, and might point to a new approach to developing treatments.

19 Nov 2020 11:40 pm
Blue whales return to sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia after near local extinction

Scientists have revealed the return of critically endangered Antarctic blue whales to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, 50 years after whaling all but wiped them out. The new study follows recent research that humpback whales are also returning to the region.

19 Nov 2020 9:00 pm
Small finlets on owl feathers point the way to less aircraft noise

Researchers reveals how the microstructure of small finlets on owl feathers enable silent flight.

19 Nov 2020 12:49 am
Cichlid fishes from African Lake Tanganyika shed light on how organismal diversity arises

Lake Tanganyika in Africa is a true hotspot of organismal diversity. Approximately 240 species of cichlid fishes have evolved in this lake in less than 10 million years. A research team has investigated this phenomenon of 'explosive speciation' and provides new insights into the origins of biological diversity.

19 Nov 2020 12:48 am
Vertebrate biodiversity: A glimmer of hope

A team of biologists found that the picture of dramatically declining vertebrate populations of all kinds is driven by a small number of outlier populations whose numbers are dropping at extreme rates. Once these outliers are separated from the mix, a very different and far more hopeful picture of global biodiversity emerges.

19 Nov 2020 12:48 am
Lurking in genomic shadows: How giant viruses fuel the evolution of algae

Biologists have recently discovered that endogenous viral elements that originate from giant viruses are much more common in chlorophyte green algae than previously thought.

19 Nov 2020 12:48 am
Gut microbiome manipulation could result from virus discovery

Scientists have discovered how a common virus in the human gut infects and takes over bacterial cells - a finding that could be used to control the composition of the gut microbiome, which is important for human health. The research could aid efforts to engineer beneficial bacteria that produce medicines and fuels and clean up pollutants.

19 Nov 2020 12:48 am
Prehistoric shark hid its largest teeth

Some, if not all, early sharks that lived 300 to 400 million years ago not only dropped their lower jaws downward but rotated them outwards when opening their mouths. This enabled them to make the best of their largest, sharpest and inward-facing teeth when catching prey, paleontologists have now shown using CT scanning and 3D printing.

19 Nov 2020 12:47 am
Which particulate air pollution poses the greatest health risk?

Researchers have investigated whether particulate matter from certain sources can be especially harmful to human health. They found evidence that the amount of particulate matter alone is not the greatest health risk. Rather, it could be the so-called oxidative potential that makes particulate pollution so harmful.

19 Nov 2020 12:46 am
COVID-19 highlights risks of wildlife trade

Researchers say that more epidemics resulting from animal hosts are inevitable unless urgent action is taken. To protect against future pandemics, they call for governments to establish effective legislation addressing wildlife trade, protection of habitats and reduction of interaction between people, wildlife and livestock.

18 Nov 2020 12:09 am
Abundance of prey species is key to bird diversity in cities

A team of scientists collaborated to analyze breeding bird data gathered by citizen scientists. They found that the abundance of invertebrates such as insects or spiders as prey is a key factor affecting bird diversity in the city. The more prey is available, the more diverse the urban bird communities are.

17 Nov 2020 10:00 pm
Study highlights sex-specific variability in mouse features

Scientists have shown that sex-specific differences in variability depend on individual physical and physiological features in mice, debunking competing theories that either males or females are more variable.

17 Nov 2020 10:00 pm