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Science/Tech / ScienceDaily

Setting controlled fires to avoid wildfires

Despite having proven effective at reducing wildfire risks, prescribed burns have been stymied by perceived and real risks, regulations and resource shortages. A new analysis highlights ways of overcoming those barriers, offering solutions for wildfire-ravaged landscapes.

20 Jan 2020 10:04 pm
Strongly 'handed' squirrels less good at learning

Squirrels that strongly favor their left or right side are less good at learning, new research suggests.

20 Jan 2020 10:04 pm
Local water availability is permanently reduced after planting forests

River flow is reduced in areas where forests have been planted and does not recover over time, a new study has shown. Rivers in some regions can completely disappear within a decade. This highlights the need to consider the impact on regional water availability, as well as the wider climate benefit, of tree-planting plans.

20 Jan 2020 10:04 pm
Male sparrows are less intimidated by the songs of aging rivals

Few singers reach their sunset years with the same voice they had in younger days. Songbirds are no different. New research reveals that elderly swamp sparrows don't sound quite like they used to -- nor do they strike the same fear in other males who may be listening in. Humans are remarkably good at guessing a person's age by their voice. But this is the first time the phenomenon has been demonstrated in wild animals.

18 Jan 2020 4:51 am
What is an endangered species?

What makes for an endangered species classification isn't always obvious.

18 Jan 2020 2:57 am
Human fetal lungs harbor a microbiome signature

The lungs and placentas of fetuses in the womb -- as young as 11 weeks after conception -- already show a bacterial microbiome signature, which suggests that bacteria may colonize the lungs well before birth. This first-time finding deepens the mystery of how the microbes or microbial products reach those organs before birth and what role they play in normal lung and immune system development.

17 Jan 2020 11:09 pm
Not all of nature's layered structures are tough as animal shells and antlers

Engineers looking to nature for inspiration have long assumed that layered structures like those found in mollusk shells enhance a material's toughness, but a study shows that's not always the case. The findings may help engineers avoid 'naive biomimicry, the researchers say.

17 Jan 2020 9:38 pm
Real risks associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy

A new study has definitively shown that regular exposure to THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, during pregnancy has significant impact on placental and fetal development.

17 Jan 2020 9:17 pm
Human ancestors started biodiversity decline millions of years ago

The human-caused biodiversity decline started much earlier than researchers used to believe. According to a new study the process was not started by our own species but by some of our ancestors.

17 Jan 2020 9:17 pm
Microplastics affect sand crabs' mortality and reproduction

Sand crabs, a key species in beach ecosystems, were found to have increased adult mortality and decreased reproductive success when exposed to plastic microfibers, according to a new study.

17 Jan 2020 8:13 pm
Self-assembled artificial microtubules developed

Simple LEGO bricks can be assembled to more complicated structures, which can be further associated into a wide variety of complex architectures, from automobiles, rockets, and ships to gigantic castles and amusement parks. Such an event of multi-step assembly, so-called 'hierarchical self-assembly', also happens in living organisms.

17 Jan 2020 8:13 pm
Human ancestors may have eaten hard plant tissues without damaging teeth

Hard plant foods may have made up a larger part of early human ancestors' diet than currently presumed, according to a new experimental study of modern tooth enamel. The results have implications for reconstructing diet, and for our interpretation of the fossil record of human evolution, researchers said.

17 Jan 2020 6:38 pm
Mix of stress and air pollution may lead to cognitive difficulties in children

Children with elevated exposure to early life stress in the home and elevated prenatal exposure to air pollution exhibited heightened symptoms of attention and thought problems, according to researchers. Early life stress is common in youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who also often live in areas with greater exposure to air pollution.

17 Jan 2020 2:24 am
Efficacy of drugs against pork tapeworm

Taenia solium -- also called pork tapeworm -- is a parasite which causes disease around the world, particularly in very poor communities with deficient sanitation and where pigs roam free. Researchers have now analyzed the efficacy and adverse effects of three chemotherapeutics against T. solium.

17 Jan 2020 12:47 am
Mobile protected areas needed to protect biodiversity in the high seas

As the United Nations rewrites the laws of the high seas, the new document should anticipate emerging technologies that allow protected areas to move as animals migrate or adapt to climate change.

17 Jan 2020 12:47 am
New model shows how crop rotation helps combat plant pests

A new computational model shows how different patterns of crop rotation -- planting different crops at different times in the same field -- can impact long-term yield when the crops are threatened by plant pathogens.

17 Jan 2020 12:47 am
How anti-sprawl policies may be harming water quality

Urban growth boundaries are created by governments in an effort to concentrate urban development -- buildings, roads and the utilities that support them -- within a defined area. These boundaries are intended to decrease negative impacts on people and the environment. However, according to a researcher, policies that aim to reduce urban sprawl may be increasing water pollution.

16 Jan 2020 11:52 pm
The carbon footprint of dinner: How 'green' are fish sticks?

Fish sticks may be a tasty option for dinner, but are they good for the planet? A new study of the climate impacts of seafood products reveals that the processing of Alaskan pollock into fish sticks, imitation crab, and fish fillets generates significant greenhouse gas emissions.

16 Jan 2020 11:52 pm
Whooping cough evolving into a superbug

Whooping cough bacteria are becoming smarter at colonizing and feeding off unwitting hosts -- whether they have been vaccinated or not -- strengthening calls for a new vaccine.

16 Jan 2020 9:55 pm
Cyanobacteria in water and on land identified as source of methane

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are among the most common organisms on Earth. A research team has now shown for the first time that Cyanobacteria produce relevant amounts of methane in oceans, inland waters and on land. Due to climate change, ''Cyanobacteria blooms'' increase in frequency and extent, amplifying the release of methane from inland waters and oceans to the atmosphere.

16 Jan 2020 9:55 pm
Discovery reveals how remora fishes know when to hitch a ride aboard their hosts

Researchers have detailed the discovery of a tactile-sensory system stowed within the suction disc of remora, believed to enable the fish to acutely sense contact pressure with host surfaces and gauge ocean forces in order to determine when to initiate their attachment, as well as adjust their hold on hosts while traversing long distances.

16 Jan 2020 3:31 am
Molecular understanding of drug interactions suggests pathway to better malaria treatments

Researchers have for the first time demonstrated what happens at the molecular level when two compounds known to inhibit crystal growth were combined, yielding new insights into malaria treatments and, more broadly, improving the process of drug development.

16 Jan 2020 3:10 am
New feathered dinosaur shows dinosaurs grew up differently from birds

A new species of feathered dinosaur has been discovered in China. The one-of-a-kind specimen preserves feathers and bones that provide new information about how dinosaurs grew and how they differed from birds.

16 Jan 2020 3:10 am
Glimpses of fatherhood found in non-pair-bonding chimps

Although they have no way of identifying their biological fathers, male chimpanzees form intimate bonds with them, a finding that questions the idea of fatherhood in some of humanity's closest relatives, according to a study of wild chimpanzees in Uganda.

16 Jan 2020 12:35 am
'The blob,' food supply squeeze to blame for largest seabird die-off

When nearly one million common murres died at sea and washed ashore from California to Alaska in 2015 and 2016, it was unprecedented -- both for murres, and across all bird species worldwide. Scientists blame an unexpected squeeze on the ecosystem's food supply, brought on by a severe and long-lasting marine heat wave known as 'the blob.'

16 Jan 2020 12:35 am
Pachacamac Idol of ancient Peru was symbolically painted

The Pachacamac Idol of ancient Peru was a multicolored and emblematic sacred icon worshiped for almost 700 hundred years before Spanish conquest, according to a new study.

16 Jan 2020 12:35 am
Neanderthals went underwater for their tools

Neanderthals collected clam shells and volcanic rock from the beach and coastal waters of Italy during the Middle Paleolithic, according to a new study.

16 Jan 2020 12:34 am
Air pollution from oil and gas production sites visible from space

US and European satellites help scientists measure nitrogen dioxide from drilling, production and flaring.

15 Jan 2020 11:34 pm
NASA, NOAA analyses reveal 2019 second warmest year on record

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth's global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880.

15 Jan 2020 11:34 pm
How cells assemble their skeleton

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A research team recently discovered how the spiral-shaped, modular microtubules are formed and how their formation is controlled. These processes were visualized using state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).

15 Jan 2020 11:34 pm
New assessment of gas locked in ice in European waters

A study has mapped several sites in Europe containing gas hydrate - a relatively clean fuel which could help bridge the gap between fossil fuels and renewables.

15 Jan 2020 11:34 pm
Irrigation temporarily alleviates hot extremes

Researchers found evidence that expanding irrigation has dampened anthropogenic warming during hot days, with particularly strong effects over South Asia.

15 Jan 2020 10:36 pm
Ancient iron-sulfur-based mechanism monitors electron flow in photosynthesis

Scientists know that a particular protein is responsible for regulating gene expression of photosystems in response to perturbations in photosynthetic electron flow, but how it senses the electrons has been an unresolved question -- until now.

15 Jan 2020 8:54 pm
Newly discovered genetic element adjusts coat color in dogs

Why are Irish Setters so red while other breeds can come in different hues? Geneticists now have an answer for why some dogs have more intense coat colors than others.

15 Jan 2020 8:04 pm
Analyzing DNA in soil could be an effective way of tracking animals

Genetic material left behind by animals can provide critical clues to aid conservation and research. New research shows studying DNA in soil samples can be more effective, efficient and affordable than traditional tracking methods, such as camera traps, for assessing biodiversity.

15 Jan 2020 8:04 pm
Global warming to increase violent crime in the United States

A new study predicts millions of additional violent crimes in coming decades.

15 Jan 2020 8:04 pm
Nitrogen-fixing genes could help grow more food using fewer resources

Scientists have transferred a collection of genes into plant-colonizing bacteria that let them draw nitrogen from the air and turn it into ammonia, a natural fertilizer. The work could help farmers around the world use less human-made fertilizers to grow important food crops like wheat, corn, and soybeans.

15 Jan 2020 8:04 pm
Astronomers reveal interstellar thread of one of life's building blocks

Phosphorus is an essential element for life as we know it. But how it arrived on the early Earth is something of a mystery. Astronomers have now traced the journey of phosphorus from star-forming regions to comets using the combined powers of ALMA and the European Space Agency's probe Rosetta. Their research shows where molecules containing phosphorus form, how this element is carried in comets, and how a particular molecule may have played a crucial role in starting life on Earth.

15 Jan 2020 6:26 pm
Deep-sea mining's impact on microbes

The essential roles that microbes play in deep-sea ecosystems are at risk from the potential environmental impacts of mining, a new article reports. The study reviews what is known about microbes in these environments and assesses how mining could impact their important environmental roles.

15 Jan 2020 2:30 am
Including irregular time intervals improves animal movement studies

Studies of animal movement and behavior -- including those addressing disease spread and animal conservation -- should monitor animals at both regular and irregular time points to improve understanding of animal movement behavior, according to a new study by statisticians.

15 Jan 2020 2:29 am
Street network patterns reveal worrying worldwide trend towards urban sprawl

New research has found that the local streets of the world's cities are becoming less connected, a global trend that is driving urban sprawl and discouraging the use of public transportation.

15 Jan 2020 12:06 am
No need to dig too deep to find gold!

Why are some porphyry deposits rich in copper while others contain gold? A researcher investigated how the metals are accumulated over the time duration of a mineralizing event and discover that the depth of the deposits influences the quantity of metals produced and that over 95% of the gold is lost to the atmosphere. The deeper a deposit is, the more copper there will be, while gold-rich deposits are closer to the surface.

14 Jan 2020 9:10 pm
Sand mining is threatening lives along the Mekong River

It's a resource used in global construction and mined from rivers and coasts across the world. Now new research has shown sand mining is causing river beds to lower, leading to riverbank instability and increasing the likelihood of dangerous river bank collapse, damaging infrastructure and housing and putting lives at risk.

14 Jan 2020 9:10 pm
School indoor air quality cannot be reliably assessed based on pupils' symptoms

The association between indoor air quality of the school building and the pupils' symptoms was so weak that it is not possible to reliably assess the quality of the indoor air based on the amount of reported symptoms.

14 Jan 2020 8:47 pm
Historical housing disparities linked with dangerous climate impacts

Extreme heat kills more people in the United States than any other type of hazardous weather and will likely become even deadlier due to climate change. However, extreme heat does not affect all people equally.

14 Jan 2020 8:47 pm
Egg trading between hermaphroditic fish: Why would you give when you can just take?

The sex life of hermaphroditic animals is determined by one fundamental question: Who assumes the female role and produces the costly eggs? Hamlets avoid this dilemma by engaging in reciprocal egg trading. Scientists have now used microeconomic models to analyze the circumstances required for this complex system of trading to work.

14 Jan 2020 8:47 pm
Decoy molecule neutralizes a range of viruses

The molecule points the way toward treating viruses that cross from animals to humans.

14 Jan 2020 7:39 pm
Surprising beauty found in bacterial cultures

Researchers have discovered that when certain microbes pair up, stunning floral patterns emerge.

14 Jan 2020 7:39 pm
Climate change increases the risk of wildfires confirms new review

Human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend, increasing their likelihood -- according to a review of research on global climate change and wildfire risk.

14 Jan 2020 6:10 pm
International movements of Atlantic tarpon, need for protection

The results of an 18-year study of Atlantic tarpon revealed that these large silvery fish take extensive seasonal migrations -- 1,000s of kilometers in distance -- beyond US borders.

14 Jan 2020 4:26 am