Ecosystems

Senate oks energy bill to cut vehicle fuel use
December 13, 2007 08:09 PM - By Tom Doggett, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate late on Thursday approved a broad energy bill to increase the fuel efficiency of U.S. cars and trucks by Congress for the first time since 1975 and significantly boost production of renewable motor fuels like ethanol.

Lice from fish farms threaten Canadian wild salmon
December 13, 2007 05:13 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Infestations of sea lice at salmon farms on Canada's west coast are threatening local wild pink salmon populations and could result in their extinction in another four years, Canadian researchers said on Thursday.

Scientists uncover how plants invaded the land, learned to survive heat, drought
December 13, 2007 04:21 PM - UC Berkeley Newswire

Berkeley -- Some 400 million years ago, on a lifeless lakeshore lapped by waves, floating algae learned to survive in the open air and launched an invasion that transformed the Earth into a green paradise. The secrets of these first steps onto land are now being revealed thanks to the sequencing of a modern descendent of these first land dwellers, a dainty moss called Physcomitrella patens that sprouts on recently exposed shorelines, quickly fruits, and then dies.

 

Scientists unlock secret of emerging chikungunya virus's spread
December 13, 2007 03:54 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

University of Texas  -  A simple protein change in the chikungunya virus enables it to adapt to new mosquito hosts and spread to more regions, new research shows. Studies at the US-based University of Texas Medical Branch have found that a single amino acid change in the protein of the virus's outer shell helps it adapt to a new mosquito host, Aedes albopictus. The findings were published last in PLoS Pathogens.

Native American astronomer reaches out to native students
December 13, 2007 03:40 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Dennis Lamenti believes he is the only Native American astronomer in the U.S. with -- or working on -- a graduate degree. He now has another goal: to re-introduce astronomy to thousands of Native American students nationwide.

The IU graduate student is planning a spring Bloomington campus visit, and later a retreat for Native American students at a national observatory. It's a nation-wide event,designed to bring more Native Americans to the field of astronomy while introducing his culture's astronomic heritage to the world.

Clarity in muddy debate over mud
December 13, 2007 03:20 PM - Indiana University Bloomington Newswire

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Geologists have long thought muds will only settle when waters are quiet, but new research by Indiana University Bloomington and Massachusetts Institute of Technology geologists shows muds will accumulate even when currents move swiftly. Their findings appear in this week's Science.

This may seem a trifling matter at first, but understanding the deposition of mud could significantly impact a number of public and private endeavors, from harbor and canal engineering to oil reservoir management and fossil fuel prospecting.

Acid seas huge threat to coral reefs: study
December 13, 2007 02:15 PM - By Jim Loney, Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - In less than 50 years, oceans may be too acidic for coral reefs to grow because of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels by humans, according to research released on Thursday.

Contrarian fishing could mean more fish
December 13, 2007 01:40 PM - Sandra Hines, University of Washington

Seattle, Washington - Managing fisheries to maximize profits got a bad name in the 1970s after an economist concluded that overexploitation, even to the point of causing a stock to go extinct, is a definite possibility when fishers are pitted against each other and are attempting to maximize profits. The seminal 1973 article in Science was not a study of how fishers actually behave but was a mathematical exercise weighing the profit advantages and disadvantages of overexploitation.

Without insulating ice, Arctic waters warm 5 C
December 13, 2007 01:34 PM - Sandra Hines, University of Washington

Seattle, Washington - Record-breaking amounts of ice-free water have deprived the Arctic of more of its natural "sunscreen" than ever in recent summers. The effect is so pronounced that sea surface temperatures rose to 5 C above average in one place this year, a high never before observed, says the oceanographer who has compiled the first-ever look at average sea surface temperatures for the region.

Fund targets emissions cuts in peatlands conservation
December 13, 2007 12:54 PM - Catherine Hornby, Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch company BioX Group and environment body Wetlands International launched a fund at a U.N climate meeting in Bali this week that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by investing in restoration of peatlands.

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