Top Stories

The Produce is Alive!

The fruits and vegetables we buy in the grocery store are actually still alive and according to new research from Rice University and the University of California at Davis, produce may be healthier for us depending on the time of day. "Vegetables and fruits don't die the moment they are harvested," said Rice biologist Janet Braam, lead researcher of the study. Once picked, produce can continue to metabolize and survive independently for some time. Even when they are cut, their cells remain active and alive. >> Read the Full Article

New study tests Red Queen Hypothesis

In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," the Red Queen described her country as a place where "it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." From this, the Red Queen hypothesis has been formed. Also referred to as the Red Queen Effect, this evolutionary hypothesis proposes that organisms must constantly adapt, and evolve not only to reproduce, but also to survive against all opposing organisms that are evolving in an ever-changing environment. >> Read the Full Article

A Catalyst to Convert CO2 to Fuel

Carbon dioxide is the result of burning fuel to make things like cars work. Plants slowly convert that CO2 back to something organic to begin the process again. Working in his lab in the University of Delaware's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Joel Rosenthal and doctoral student John DiMeglio have developed an inexpensive catalyst that uses the electricity generated from solar energy to convert carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into synthetic fuels in a far faster manner for powering cars, homes and businesses. >> Read the Full Article

Wildlife in the firing line in global war against bovine TB

Where there are cattle, there is the threat of bovine Tuberculosis (TB). The farming methods may differ greatly, but from the dairy farms of Ethiopia to the beef herds of Canada the race is on to find the best way to tackle the disease. In the 1920s control measures began in developed parts of the world. According to the World Organization for Animal Health, many countries have reduced or eliminated bovine TB from their cattle population; but infections remain in the UK, Western Europe, North America and New Zealand. >> Read the Full Article

Plastic Bag Ban Passes in LA

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, June 18 to approve a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The Coucil voted 11 to 1 in favor of the ordinance, and a final vote is scheduled for next week. Last year, the Council voted 13 to 1 to move forward on banning single use plastic shopping bags. The ban will go into effect for large stores on January 1, 2014, and for smaller stores on July 1, 2014. Paper bags will not be included in the ban, but stores now have to charge 10 cents per paper bag. When the ban goes into affect, one in four Californians will live in a city that bans single-use plastic shoppings bags, according to the environmental group, Heal the Bay. There is good financial reasoning behind the ban. Only five percent of single use plastic bags are recycled every year across the state and California municipalities spend almost $25 million a year to collect and throw away plastic bags that litter the streets and clog storm drains. Currently there are almost two billion plastic shopping bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed every year in Los Angeles. >> Read the Full Article

Cleaner Power from Innovation: Creative Approaches to Renewable Energy

Innovation is the key to the future and central to the expansion of renewable sources of energy. There are a number of innovations that could radically transform the clean energy equation. Although renewable energy is growing exponentially around the world these sources of power have a number of shortcoming that make it difficult to scale-up so that they can replace dirty energy sources like fossil fuels. However, those who doubt that renewable energy will be able to replace fossil fuels lack imagination. We need to get outside the box to envision a future powered entirely by clean energy. >> Read the Full Article

Increased Monsoon Rainfall Expected with Global Warming

When we hear about monsoons, we often think about the rainy phase of a season usually occurring in tropical climates. Even though monsoons are associated with much more than just rainfall, as global warming occurs, these complex systems will have several repercussions for precipitation. For example, with warming air, there is potential for a higher holding capacity for rain. In addition, any cooling in the higher atmosphere can change current air pressures thus affecting rainfall patterns. This has consequences of increased flooding, implications to national water supply, and a potential loss of agricultural productivity due to crop failure for countries across the globe. >> Read the Full Article

Conserving Top Predators Results in Less CO2 in the Air

While scientists have long-known that predators lead to carbon storage by reducing herbivore populations, a new study reveals a novel way in which top predators cause an ecosystem to store more carbon >> Read the Full Article

Crop Yields

According to the Malthusian theory of population, population increases in a geometrical ratio, whereas food supply increases in an arithmetic ratio. He was wrong because technology pushed improvements in yield at a far faster pace than population could grow. Still the idea is simple: There is only so much food that can be produced and if population grows then some one will starve Crop yields worldwide are not increasing quickly enough to support estimated global needs in 2050, according to a study published June 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Deepak Ray and colleagues from the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota. >> Read the Full Article

Seabirds face big problems as sea levels rise

Migratory shorebird populations are at great risk from rising sea levels due to global climate change, warns a recent paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. These birds play an important role in the distribution of nutrients within wetland and coastal ecosystems, and their loss could have unknown consequences for the rest of the world. Many scientists have documented the accelerated melting of land ice that had led to higher sea levels, but until now researchers have not known how this would impact shorebirds. But utilizing a mathematical technique that models flow of water through a pipeline, scientists have developed an innovative method to measure the effect habitat loss on shorebirds. >> Read the Full Article