Top Stories

How the Gecko keeps itself so clean in a dusty habitat
March 16, 2015 07:54 AM - JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert.

In a world first, a research team including James Cook University scientists has discovered how geckos manage to stay clean, even in dusty deserts. 

The process, described in Interface, the prestigious journal of the Royal Society, may also turn out to have important human applications. 

JCU's Professor Lin Schwarzkopf said the group found that tiny droplets of water on geckos, for instance from condensing dew, come into contact with hundreds of thousands of extremely small hair-like spines that cover the animals' bodies. 

Renewable energy sources really making a difference!
March 15, 2015 07:12 AM - Click Green staff, ClickGreen

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn, according to new data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

"This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director.
 

The link between diesel exhaust and lung irritation
March 14, 2015 08:07 AM - European Lung Foundation via EurekAlert

Estoril, Portugal: Researchers in the UK have, for the first time, shown how exhaust pollution from diesel engines is able to affect nerves within the lung. Air pollution is a significant threat to health, they say, and identifying potential mechanisms linking exposure to diesel exhaust and the exacerbation of respiratory diseases may lead to treatments for those affected.

Mr. Ryan Robinson, a PhD student at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK, will tell the 13th European Respiratory Society Lung Science Conference today (Saturday) about his work studying diesel exhaust particles and airway sensory nerves. The news comes as the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign, launched by the European Respiratory Society and European Lung Foundation, takes places this year aiming to raise awareness of the importance of breathing clean air. 

Invasive Carp Look for Love in all the Right Places
March 13, 2015 03:53 PM - Victoria Van Cappellen, University of Waterloo

If you’re looking for love and there are ten bars in town, your chance of meeting someone is 10 per cent.  In a town with only one bar, your odds are 100 per cent. The same thing happens in nature and is called landmarking. Butterflies and other species find mates by gathering at easily identifiable locations such as the tallest tree or mountain.

Success Story: Baby Tortoises Return to Pinzón
March 13, 2015 08:58 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

Wonderful news! Ten baby tortoises have been spotted on the Galapagos island of Pinzón, in Ecuador. This might not seem like such a big deal–after all, aren’t the Galapagos famous for their tortoises? But in this case, it’s been more than 100 years since the last baby tortoise was seen on Pinzón. Sadly, it was human activity that brought these cute animals to the brink of extinction. Sailors first arrived on Pinzón Island in the mid-18th century, bringing with them on their boats numerous rats that quickly gained a foothold in the fragile ecosystem, feasting on the eggs and hatchlings of the island’s tortoises who, up until then, had few natural predators.

What Lake Tahoe tells us about a changing climate
March 13, 2015 07:37 AM - University of Hawaii.

A recently published study on how natural and man-made sources of nitrogen are recycled through the Lake Tahoe ecosystem provides new information on how global change may affect the iconic blue lake.

“High-elevation lakes, such as Lake Tahoe, are sentinels of climate change,” said Lihini Aluwihare, associate professor of geosciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at UC San Diego and co-author of the study. “Small changes in the lake's chemistry can have big impacts on the entire ecosystem.”

Lake Tahoe's nitrogen concentration is one of several factors that helps maintain its crystal clear waters. To keep Tahoe blue in the future, the researchers say it's important to keep a close eye on the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem over time.

Princeton University geologists mapping the Earth's mantle in 3D
March 12, 2015 02:04 PM - Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research, Princeton University

When a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck central China's Sichuan province in 2008, seismic waves rippled through the region, toppling apartment houses in the city of Chengdu and swaying office buildings 1,000 miles away in Shanghai.

Though destructive, earthquakes provide benefit in one respect: they help researchers learn about the structure of the Earth, which in turn could lead to more accurate predictions of damage from future quakes and volcanic activity. By eavesdropping on the seismic vibrations of quakes as they rumble through the Earth, researchers can detect the existence of structures such as mineral deposits, subterranean lakes, and upwellings of magma. Thanks to a growing earthquake detection network and superfast computers, geoscientists are now able to explore the Earth's interior, a region that has been more inaccessible than the deepest ocean or the farthest planet in our solar system. 

Why post-fire logging is important
March 12, 2015 09:21 AM - US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Harvesting fire-killed trees is an effective way to reduce woody fuels for up to four decades following wildfire in dry coniferous forests, a U.S. Forest Service study has found.

Bristol University sheds new light on early terrestrial vertebrate
March 12, 2015 06:54 AM - University of Bristol

The first 3D reconstruction of the skull of a 360 million-year-old near-ancestor of land vertebrates has been created by scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge. 

The 3D skull, which differs from earlier 2D reconstructions, suggests such creatures, which lived their lives primarily in shallow water environments, were more like modern crocodiles than previously thought. 

Saturn's moon Enceladus is spewing tiny silica grains, new study finds
March 11, 2015 04:28 PM - Universtiy of Colorado

A new study by a team of Cassini mission scientists led by the University of Colorado Boulder have found that microscopic grains of rock detected near Saturn imply hydrothermal activity is taking place within the moon Enceladus.

The grains are the first clear indication of an icy moon having hydrothermal activity, in which seawater infiltrates and reacts with a rocky crust, emerging as a heated, mineral-laden solution. The finding adds to the tantalizing possibility that Enceladus, one of at least 60 Saturn moons or moonlets and which displays remarkable geologic activity including geysers, could contain environments suitable for living organisms.

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