Top Stories

Melting polar ice, rising sea levels not only climate change dangers

Climate change from political and ecological standpoints is a constant in the media and with good reason, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, but proof of its impact is sometimes found in unlikely places.

>> Read the Full Article

Forests worldwide threatened by drought

Forests around the world are at risk of death due to widespread drought, University of Stirling researchers have found. An analysis, published in the journal Ecology Letters, suggests that forests are at risk globally from the increased frequency and severity of droughts.

>> Read the Full Article

Air pollution may have masked mid-20th century sea ice loss

WASHINGTON, DC — Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century. The new results challenge the perception that Arctic sea ice extent was unperturbed by human-caused climate change until the 1970s.

>> Read the Full Article

Low snowpacks of 2014, 2015 may become increasingly common with warmer conditions

Oregon experienced very low snowpack levels in 2014 and historically low snowpack levels in 2015; now a new study suggests that these occurrences may not be anomalous in the future and could become much more common if average temperatures warm just two degrees (Celsius).

The low snowpack levels were linked to warmer temperatures and not a lack of precipitation, the researchers say. Based on simulations of previous and predicted snowpack, the study suggests that by mid-century, years like 2015 may happen about once a decade, while snowpack levels similar to 2014 will take place every 4-5 years.

>> Read the Full Article

Study Targets Warm Water Rings that Fuel Hurricane Intensification in the Caribbean Sea

Last year’s devastating category-5 hurricane—Matthew—may be one of many past examples of a tropical storm fueled by massive rings of warm water that exist in the upper reaches of the Caribbean Sea.

>> Read the Full Article

Cavefish May Help Humans Evolve to Require Very Little Sleep

We all do it; we all need it – humans and animals alike. Sleep is an essential behavior shared by nearly all animals and disruption of this process is associated with an array of physiological and behavioral deficits. Although there are so many factors contributing to sleep loss, very little is known about the neural basis for interactions between sleep and sensory processing. 

>> Read the Full Article

Sugar's 'tipping point' link to Alzheimer's disease revealed

For the first time a “tipping point” molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer’s disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

>> Read the Full Article

What, You Can't Tell Two Lemurs Apart? Computers Can

The Centre Valbio research station, a modern building of stone and glass set in the jungled hills at the edge of Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, was starting to look like the third season of The Wire. Big tackboards lined the walls, each one covered with dozens of pinned-up photographs. Some images were grouped together in families, while others floated alone, unconnected. It was 2012, and Rachel Jacobs was using Detective McNulty-style tactics to sort out the associations in a very different kind of crew: the park’s population of red-bellied lemurs.

>> Read the Full Article

Oil and Gas Wastewater Spills, including Fracking Wastewater, Alter Microbes in West Virginia Waters

Wastewater from oil and gas operations – including fracking for shale gas – at a West Virginia site altered microbes downstream, according to a Rutgers-led study.

The study, published recently in Science of the Total Environment, showed that wastewater releases, including briny water that contained petroleum and other pollutants, altered the diversity, numbers and functions of microbes. The shifts in the microbial community indicated changes in their respiration and nutrient cycling, along with signs of stress.

>> Read the Full Article

Fishing for bacteria in New Zealand

If you asked Richard Sparling, what he did during his sabbatical early last year, he’d probably say “fishing in New Zealand.”

But this ambiguous answer by the department of microbiology associate professor does not tell the whole story.

>> Read the Full Article