Top Stories

Methane Hydrate is not a Smoking Gun in the Arctic Ocean
August 22, 2017 10:03 AM - CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

Clathrate (hydrate) gun hypothesis stirred quite the controversy when it was posed in 2003. It stated that methane hydrates – frozen water cages containing methane gas found below the ocean floor – can melt due to increasing ocean temperatures.

Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
August 21, 2017 06:03 PM - University at Buffalo

The recent discovery of E. coli carrying mcr-1 and ndm-5 — genes that make the bacterium immune to last-resort antibiotics — has left clinicians without an effective means of treatment for the superbug.

But in a new study, University at Buffalo researchers have assembled a team of three antibiotics that, together, are capable of eradicating the deadly bacterium. The groundbreaking research was recently published in mBio, a journal for the American Society of Microbiology.

How cytoplasm ''feels'' to a cell's components
August 21, 2017 05:52 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Under a microscope, a cell’s cytoplasm can resemble a tiny underwater version of New York’s Times Square: Thousands of proteins swarm through a cytoplasm’s watery environment, coming together and breaking apart like a cytoskeletal flash mob.

Organelles such as mitochondria and lysosomes must traverse this crowded, ever-changing cytoplasmic space to deliver materials to various parts of a cell.

Now engineers at MIT have found that these organelles and other intracellular components may experience the surrounding cytoplasm as very different environments as they travel. For instance, a cell’s nucleus may “feel” the cytoplasm as a fluid, honey-like material, while mitochondria may experience it more like toothpaste.

Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice
August 21, 2017 05:46 PM - Rice University

Antarctic researchers from Rice University have discovered one of nature’s supreme ironies: On Earth’s driest, coldest continent, where surface water rarely exists, flowing liquid water below the ice appears to play a pivotal role in determining the fate of Antarctic ice streams.

The finding, which appears online this week in Nature Geoscience, follows a two-year analysis of sediment cores and precise seafloor maps covering 2,700 square miles of the western Ross Sea. As recently as 15,000 years ago, the area was covered by thick ice that later retreated hundreds of miles inland to its current location. The maps, which were created from state-of-the-art sonar data collected by the National Science Foundation research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, revealed how the ice retreated during a period of global warming after Earth’s last ice age. In several places, the maps show ancient water courses — not just a river system, but also the subglacial lakes that fed it.

How high is air pollution in your city and how does it compare to the most polluted cities in the world?
August 21, 2017 02:59 PM - Ashley Kirk and Patrick Scott

Pollution is a greater global threat than Ebola and HIV, according to warnings by the World Health Organisation. 

According to its recent report, one in four deaths among children aged under five are now due to environmental hazards such as air pollution and contaminated water.

Previously this year, air pollution levels in London were worse than those in Beijing for a brief period - with the UK capital's pollutants frequently breaking UK limits. 

The World Eyes Yet Another Unconventional Source of Fossil Fuels
August 21, 2017 08:02 AM - Yale Environment 360

In May of this year, China claimed a breakthrough in tapping an obscure fossil fuel resource: Researchers there managed to suck a steady flow of methane gas out of frozen mud on the seafloor. That same month, Japan did the same. And in the United States, researchers pulled a core of muddy, methane-soaked ice from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

The idea of exploiting this quirky fuel source would have been considered madness a couple of decades ago — both wildly expensive and dangerous. Until recently, methane-soaked ice was considered explosively unstable. In the Gulf of Mexico, traditional oil rigs have been tiptoeing around these icy deposits for years, trying to avoid them.

The World Eyes Yet Another Unconventional Source of Fossil Fuels
August 21, 2017 08:02 AM - Yale Environment 360

In May of this year, China claimed a breakthrough in tapping an obscure fossil fuel resource: Researchers there managed to suck a steady flow of methane gas out of frozen mud on the seafloor. That same month, Japan did the same. And in the United States, researchers pulled a core of muddy, methane-soaked ice from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

The idea of exploiting this quirky fuel source would have been considered madness a couple of decades ago — both wildly expensive and dangerous. Until recently, methane-soaked ice was considered explosively unstable. In the Gulf of Mexico, traditional oil rigs have been tiptoeing around these icy deposits for years, trying to avoid them.

Hot spot at Hawaii? Not so fast
August 18, 2017 02:01 PM - Rice University

Through analysis of volcanic tracks, Rice University geophysicists have concluded that hot spots like those that formed the Hawaiian Islands aren’t moving as fast as recently thought.

Hot spots are areas where magma pushes up from deep Earth to form volcanoes. New results from geophysicist Richard Gordon and his team confirm that groups of hot spots around the globe can be used to determine how fast tectonic plates move.

Gordon, lead author Chengzu Wang and co-author Tuo Zhang developed a method to analyze the relative motion of 56 hot spots grouped by tectonic plates. They concluded that the hot-spot groups move slowly enough to be used as a global reference frame for how plates move relative to the deep mantle. This confirmed the method is useful for viewing not only current plate motion but also plate motion in the geologic past.

Destruction of small wetlands directly linked to algal blooms in Great Lakes
August 18, 2017 01:54 PM - University of Waterloo

Canada’s current wetland protection efforts have overlooked how the environment naturally protects fresh-water resources from agricultural fertilizer contaminants, researchers from the University of Waterloo have found.

In a recent study, researchers at Waterloo’s Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering found that small wetlands have a more significant role to play than larger ones in preventing excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer from reaching waterbodies such as the Great Lakes.

Slippery liquid surfaces confuse mussels to stop them from sticking to underwater structures
August 18, 2017 01:51 PM - Lindsay Brownell, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

Non-toxic, lubricant-infused coatings deter mussels and prevent their attachment by disrupting their mechanosensory and adhesive systems.

First | Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Next | Last