Spotlights

Was the Bronze Age plague really spread by flies?
October 23, 2015 08:54 AM - Ann Gibbons, Science/AAAS

When the plague swept through Europe in 1665, no one could figure out how the devastating disease spread. But after a tailor in the small village of Eyam in central England died that September, people eventually put two and two together. He had received a parcel of cloth infested with fleas just 4 days before dying of bubonic plague. Within a month, five other villagers had succumbed, and the local vicar convinced the town to voluntarily put itself under quarantine. It eventually became clear that it was fleas, probably on rats, that spread the plague so far and so quickly.

But now it appears that the plague did not always infect fleas—and the disease may not have always spread so rapidly or been as devastating. A new study of ancient DNA from the teeth of 101 Bronze Age skeletons has found that seven people living 2800 to 5000 years ago in Europe and Asia were infected with Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague. 

Was the Bronze Age plague really spread by flies?
October 23, 2015 08:54 AM - Ann Gibbons, Science/AAAS

When the plague swept through Europe in 1665, no one could figure out how the devastating disease spread. But after a tailor in the small village of Eyam in central England died that September, people eventually put two and two together. He had received a parcel of cloth infested with fleas just 4 days before dying of bubonic plague. Within a month, five other villagers had succumbed, and the local vicar convinced the town to voluntarily put itself under quarantine. It eventually became clear that it was fleas, probably on rats, that spread the plague so far and so quickly.

But now it appears that the plague did not always infect fleas—and the disease may not have always spread so rapidly or been as devastating. A new study of ancient DNA from the teeth of 101 Bronze Age skeletons has found that seven people living 2800 to 5000 years ago in Europe and Asia were infected with Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague. 

Dirty pipeline: Methane from fracking sites can flow to abandoned wells, new study shows
October 21, 2015 09:47 AM - University of Vermont via ScienceDaily

As debate roils over EPA regulations proposed this month limiting the release of the potent greenhouse gas methane during fracking operations, a new University of Vermont study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that abandoned oil and gas wells near fracking sites can be conduits for methane escape not currently being measured.

The study, to be published in Water Resources Research on October 20, demonstrates that fractures in surrounding rock produced by the hydraulic fracturing process are able to connect to preexisting, abandoned oil and gas wells, common in fracking areas, which can provide a pathway to the surface for methane.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that methane release measured at abandoned wells near fracking sites can be significant but did not investigate how the process occurs.

Dirty pipeline: Methane from fracking sites can flow to abandoned wells, new study shows
October 21, 2015 09:47 AM - University of Vermont via ScienceDaily

As debate roils over EPA regulations proposed this month limiting the release of the potent greenhouse gas methane during fracking operations, a new University of Vermont study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that abandoned oil and gas wells near fracking sites can be conduits for methane escape not currently being measured.

The study, to be published in Water Resources Research on October 20, demonstrates that fractures in surrounding rock produced by the hydraulic fracturing process are able to connect to preexisting, abandoned oil and gas wells, common in fracking areas, which can provide a pathway to the surface for methane.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that methane release measured at abandoned wells near fracking sites can be significant but did not investigate how the process occurs.

Dirty pipeline: Methane from fracking sites can flow to abandoned wells, new study shows
October 21, 2015 09:47 AM - University of Vermont via ScienceDaily

As debate roils over EPA regulations proposed this month limiting the release of the potent greenhouse gas methane during fracking operations, a new University of Vermont study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that abandoned oil and gas wells near fracking sites can be conduits for methane escape not currently being measured.

The study, to be published in Water Resources Research on October 20, demonstrates that fractures in surrounding rock produced by the hydraulic fracturing process are able to connect to preexisting, abandoned oil and gas wells, common in fracking areas, which can provide a pathway to the surface for methane.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that methane release measured at abandoned wells near fracking sites can be significant but did not investigate how the process occurs.

Dirty pipeline: Methane from fracking sites can flow to abandoned wells, new study shows
October 21, 2015 09:47 AM - University of Vermont via ScienceDaily

As debate roils over EPA regulations proposed this month limiting the release of the potent greenhouse gas methane during fracking operations, a new University of Vermont study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that abandoned oil and gas wells near fracking sites can be conduits for methane escape not currently being measured.

The study, to be published in Water Resources Research on October 20, demonstrates that fractures in surrounding rock produced by the hydraulic fracturing process are able to connect to preexisting, abandoned oil and gas wells, common in fracking areas, which can provide a pathway to the surface for methane.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that methane release measured at abandoned wells near fracking sites can be significant but did not investigate how the process occurs.

Dirty pipeline: Methane from fracking sites can flow to abandoned wells, new study shows
October 21, 2015 09:47 AM - University of Vermont via ScienceDaily

As debate roils over EPA regulations proposed this month limiting the release of the potent greenhouse gas methane during fracking operations, a new University of Vermont study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that abandoned oil and gas wells near fracking sites can be conduits for methane escape not currently being measured.

The study, to be published in Water Resources Research on October 20, demonstrates that fractures in surrounding rock produced by the hydraulic fracturing process are able to connect to preexisting, abandoned oil and gas wells, common in fracking areas, which can provide a pathway to the surface for methane.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that methane release measured at abandoned wells near fracking sites can be significant but did not investigate how the process occurs.

Dirty pipeline: Methane from fracking sites can flow to abandoned wells, new study shows
October 21, 2015 09:47 AM - University of Vermont via ScienceDaily

As debate roils over EPA regulations proposed this month limiting the release of the potent greenhouse gas methane during fracking operations, a new University of Vermont study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that abandoned oil and gas wells near fracking sites can be conduits for methane escape not currently being measured.

The study, to be published in Water Resources Research on October 20, demonstrates that fractures in surrounding rock produced by the hydraulic fracturing process are able to connect to preexisting, abandoned oil and gas wells, common in fracking areas, which can provide a pathway to the surface for methane.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that methane release measured at abandoned wells near fracking sites can be significant but did not investigate how the process occurs.

Nueva tecnología podría vincular comportamiento animal y la ciencia de la conservación
October 7, 2015 06:39 AM - Caleb O Brien, MONGABAY.COM

Para el salmón rojo silvestre, el viaje río arriba desde el océano a sus lugares de desove está lleno de peligros y dificultades. Pero cuantificar exactamente cómo impacta la supervivencia de los peces los obstáculos del camino, las fluctuaciones de la temperatura del agua y otros factores, ha eludido largamente a los investigadores. Los nuevos avances en los sensores biológicos colocados como etiquetas, están permitiendo a los científicos medir con precisión la energética de los animales, sus interacciones con los seres humanos y sus respuestas a los ambientes rápidamente cambiantes.

En 2014 por ejemplo, Nicholas Burnett y sus colegas usaron acelerómetros para medir qué tan rápido es necesario nadar al salmón con el fin de salvar una presa en la cuenca Seton-Anderson de la Columbia Británica, Canadá y la probabilidad de que iban a sobrevivir el resto de su viaje. Encontraron que cuando el salmón recurre a la natación anaeróbica intensa, fueron significativamente más propensos a morir días o incluso horas después.

New Sensor Tag Technology Could Link Animal Behavior and Conservation Science
October 1, 2015 08:07 PM - Caleb O Brien

For wild sockeye salmon, the trip upriver from the ocean to their spawning grounds is fraught with peril and hardship. But quantifying exactly how obstacles along the way, fluctuations in water temperature and other factors impact fish survival has long eluded researchers. New advances in biological sensor tags are now allowing scientists to precisely measure animals’ energetics, their interactions with humans, and their responses to rapidly changing environments.

In 2014, for example, Nicholas Burnett and colleagues used accelerometer tags to measure how salmon needed to swim in order to traverse a dam in the Seton-Anderson watershed of British Columbia, Canada and how likely they were to survive the remainder of their journey. They found that when salmon resort to strenuous anaerobic swimming, they were significantly more likely to die days or even hours later.

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