Supergene defines butterfly patterns
March 11, 2014 10:58 AM - Aathira Perinchery, MONGABAY.COM
Scientists have discovered the gene enabling multiple female morphs that give the Common Mormon butterfly its very tongue-in-cheek name. Doublesex, the gene that controls gender in insects, is also a mimicry supergene that determines diverse wing patterns in this butterfly, according to a recent study published in Nature. The study also shows that the supergene is not a cluster of closely linked genes as postulated for nearly half a century, but a single gene controlling all the variations exhibited by the butterfly's wings.
Bright colors in nature a sure sign of toxicity—or is it?
March 11, 2014 10:29 AM - Editor, ENN
Brightly colored prey generally signify danger in the form of toxins for the predator. Predators instinctively know that a brightly colored prey is a sign of bad news and not a suitable meal. Researchers at Michigan State University however are exploring how this evolved and in the process found some animals have actually only imitated the trait in an effort to survive event though they are not poisonous.
Many small glaciers make up the whole in Greenland
March 11, 2014 09:59 AM - George Hale, NASA
Research using NASA data is giving new insight into one of the processes causing Greenland's ice sheet to lose mass. A team of scientists used satellite observations and ice thickness measurements gathered by NASA's Operation IceBridge to calculate the rate at which ice flows through Greenland's glaciers into the ocean. The findings of this research give a clearer picture of how glacier flow affects the Greenland Ice Sheet and shows that this dynamic process is dominated by a small number of glaciers.
Stonehenge, acoustically speaking
March 10, 2014 04:46 PM - University of Bristol newsroom
Why did the builders of Stonehenge choose to transport giant bluestones hundreds of kilometers from Wales to Salisbury Plain? Dr. George Nash from Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is involved in research, which is taking a novel approach to solving the mystery.
COLLEGIATE CORNER: Trash talk: Ocean Dumping
March 10, 2014 11:01 AM - McKaylee Reavis, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
Remember the excitement that filled your body when your parents told you the family was going to go to the beach? Remember the excitement slowly leaving your body when you witnessed the trash that covered the beach for miles? Ocean dumping has become a major problem for marine life and the people who enjoy its many benefits. Many marine animals have suffered from the trash in the water and people have suffered from the sight of trash filling the ocean and cluttering the beaches ruining their supposed beautiful day. Industries, cities, and militaries have been dumping their waste into the ocean for years now. One solution to prevent this problem is to impose stricter restrictions on ocean dumping that range from pedestrian waste to toxic nuclear hazard.
Warming up all over, even in the Arctic
March 10, 2014 09:55 AM - Tim Radford, Ecologist
It's long been established that Arctic Ocean sea ice is on the retreat, writes Tim Radford. But it's the pace of change that's surprising scientists: latest studies show that the ice-free period is increasing by 5 days / decade. Ice in the Arctic continues to retreat. The season without ice is getting longer by an average of five days every 10 years.
Protecting species in Canada
March 10, 2014 09:24 AM - Dr. David Suzuki, Care2
Of 345 species at risk in Canada, more than 160 have waited far too long for recovery strategies. Thanks to a recent federal court decision, four luckier ones are finally getting overdue plans detailing steps needed to save and protect them, including identifying habitat they need to survive. But to make it happen, environmental groups including the David Suzuki Foundation, with the help of Ecojustice lawyers, had to take the federal government to court. It wasn't the first time we’ve gone to court to protect wildlife.
Clear through the haze for marine ecosystems in Southeast Asia
March 7, 2014 11:51 AM - Kimberly Wang, National University of Singapore
The unprecedented high levels of transboundary haze in Southeast Asia last year prompted Dr. Zeehan Jaafar, a lecturer at the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Science, and Dr. Tse-Lynn Loh, a postdoctoral research associate at the Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research, John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, USA), to critically evaluate the potential impacts of biomass burning and haze to marine ecosystems in the Southeast Asian region.
Arctic sea ice melting one warm river at a time
March 7, 2014 09:32 AM - Maria-Jose Vinas, NASA Earth Science News Team
A new NASA study finds that warmer than normal waters from rivers draining into the Arctic Ocean each summer are eating away at the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Led by Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the research team used satellite data to measure the surface temperature of the waters discharging from Canada's McKenzie River into the Beaufort Sea during the summer of 2012 and noticed surface waters being warmed suddenly due to the sudden influx of warm river water This warmed the surface layers of the ocean, which in turn increased the melting of sea ice.
How much water do YOU use each day?
March 6, 2014 09:22 AM - Indiana University Newsroom, Indiana University Bloomington
Many Americans are confused about the best ways to conserve water and have a slippery grasp on how much water different activities use, according to a national online survey conducted by Indiana University Assistant Professor, Shahzeen Attari. Experts say the best strategy for conserving water is to focus on efficiency improvements such as replacing toilets and retrofitting washing machines. However, the largest group of the participants, nearly 43 percent, cited taking shorter showers, which does save water but may not be the most effective action. Very few participants cited replacing toilets or flushing less, even though toilets use the most volume of water daily.