Top Stories

Track down water pollution through DNA of algae
April 18, 2017 05:08 PM - University of Geneva

Diatoms are a group of unicellular algae particularly sensitive to changes that affect their aquatic environment. This is why they are used as bioindicators for the biological monitoring of water quality. However, their microscopic identification in river samples requires a lot of time and skills. Biologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have succeeded in establishing a water quality index based solely on the DNA sequences of the diatoms present in the samples, without needing to identify each species visually. This study, published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources, presents a revolutionary tool to process a very large number of samples in parallel, allowing wide coverage of the monitored sites in a reduced time and at a lower cost.

Landslides on Ceres Reflect Hidden Ice
April 18, 2017 11:00 AM - Georgia Institute of Technology

Massive landslides, similar to those found on Earth, are occurring on the asteroid Ceres. That’s according to a new study led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding to the growing evidence that Ceres retains a significant amount of water ice.

NREL Establishes World Record for Solar Hydrogen Production
April 18, 2017 10:56 AM - DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recaptured the record for highest efficiency in solar hydrogen production via a photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting process.

Mechanism behind the electric charges generated by photosynthesis -A step towards artificial photosynthesis
April 18, 2017 10:53 AM - Kobe University

Photosynthesis requires a mechanism to produce large amounts of chemical energy without losing the oxidative power needed to break down water. A Japanese research team has clarified part of this mechanism, marking another step towards the potential development of artificial photosynthesis. The findings were published on February 27 in the online edition of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Busy city living makes some house finches more savvy than others
April 18, 2017 10:36 AM - Springer

House finches that frequent North American cities and towns are better at solving new problems than their rural counterparts. They are able to solve new problems even when humans are around, says Meghan Cook of Arizona State University in the US, lead author of a study in Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The study investigated how increased urbanization and human presence affects the behavior and foraging habits of wildlife, and how birds, in particular, cope.

Arctic River Ice Deposits Rapidly Disappearing
April 18, 2017 10:32 AM - American Geophysical Union

Climate change is causing thick ice deposits that form along Arctic rivers to melt nearly a month earlier than they did 15 years ago, a new study finds.

Air Pollution May Directly Cause Those Year-Round Runny Noses, According to a Mouse Study
April 18, 2017 10:07 AM - Johns Hopkins Medicine

Although human population studies have linked air pollution to chronic inflammation of nasal and sinus tissues, direct biological and molecular evidence for cause and effect has been scant. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers report that experiments in mice continually exposed to dirty air have revealed that direct biological effect.

Researchers have long known that smog, ash and other particulates from industrial smokestacks and other sources that pollute air quality exacerbate and raise rates of asthma symptoms, but had little evidence of similar damage from those pollutants to the upper respiratory system.

Cracking the code of a long-distance swimmer
April 18, 2017 08:32 AM - NOAA

Born in the Sargasso Sea, that Atlantic Ocean gyre east of Bermuda, baby European eels will travel 4,000 miles to the freshwater rivers of Europe. Now scientists might have answered a century-old question of how these young eels accomplish such vast oceanic migrations.

UBC researcher sees future for flax and hemp as particleboard alternative
April 18, 2017 08:32 AM - University of British Columbia

Wood scientist Solace Sam-Brew envisions a future where Canadian homes are furnished with products made from flax and hemp.

“Both flax and hemp are widely available in Canada, especially in the West,” said Sam-Brew, a recent PhD graduate from the University of British Columbia’s faculty of forestry. “It’s worth considering their viability as alternative raw materials to wood for particleboard production.”

Lyme Disease Imposes Large Cost On the Northeast United States
April 18, 2017 06:14 AM - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

As people across the northeastern U.S. begin venturing back into the outdoors with the arrival of spring, they will make 1 billion fewer trips than they otherwise would have if Lyme disease didn’t exist, a new Yale study concludes.

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