• World Heritage Sites Threatened by Rising Sea Levels

    In the Mediterranean region, there are numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in low-lying coastal areas. These include, for example, the Venetian Lagoon, the Old City of Dubrovnik and the ruins of Carthage. In the course of the 21st century, these sites will increasingly be at risk by storm surges and increasing coastal erosion due to sea-level rise. This is the conclusion of one of the first large-scale studies, carried out by doctoral researcher Lena Reimann from the Department of Geography at Kiel University (CAU), together with Professor Athanasios Vafeidis and international partners. The team published their results in the current issue (Tuesday 16 October) of the renowned journal Nature Communications.

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  • Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility

    With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the Moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant hormone strigolactone could make it possible, plant biologists from the University of Zurich have shown. The hormone supports the symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, thus encouraging plants’ growth – even under the challenging conditions found in space.

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  • Penetrating the Soil’s Surface with Radar

    Ground penetrating radar isn’t something from the latest sci-fi movie. It’s actually a tool used by soil scientists to measure the amount of moisture in soil quickly and easily.

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  • Technique quickly identifies extreme event statistics

    Seafaring vessels and offshore platforms endure a constant battery of waves and currents. Over decades of operation, these structures can, without warning, meet head-on with a rogue wave, freak storm, or some other extreme event, with potentially damaging consequences.

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  • Tropical Storm Tara’s Water Vapor Concentrations Seen by NASA’s Aqua Satellite

    When NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Oct. 16 the MODIS instrument aboard analyzed water vapor within Tropical Storm Tara.

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  • Forest Carbon Stocks Have Been Overestimated for 50 Years

    It may be a small correction, but it is far from negligible as far as forest ecologists and carbon cycle specialists are concerned. The error lay in a formula established almost 50 years ago (in 1971) for calculating basic wood density. Given that basic density is used to assess the amount of carbon stored in a tree, the fact that the formula had to be corrected meant that forest carbon stocks may have been overestimated by 4 to 5%. "This new formula should enable us to determine more accurately the role of forests in the carbon cycle and the impact of deforestation on climate change" , says Ghislain Vieilledent, an ecologist with CIRAD who was the corresponding author of the work published in the journal American Journal of Botany on 16 October.

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  • Can Forests Save Us From Climate Change?

    If you think that sustainable forest management can be a major contributor to mitigating climate change, then you had better not hold your breath. At least not according to the findings in a recent study published in Nature by an international team of scientists led by Vrije University Amsterdam. The team included postdoc Sylvestre Njakou Djomo from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University in Denmark. 

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  • Diets Rich in Fish Oil Could Slow the Spread and Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

    Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those typically contained in fish oil, may suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice. This is according to a new study in the journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis, which is published under the Springer imprint. According to lead author, Saraswoti Khadge of the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in the US, fatty acids stopped further delayed tumors from forming, and blocked the cancerous cells from spreading to other organs in mice. The researchers speculate that this might be because of the way in which omega-3 fatty acids support the body’s immune and anti-inflammatory systems.

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  • How Do Two Types of Flash Drought Evolve across China?

    Flash drought is a rapidly intensifying water deficit process accompanied by high temperatures in a short period of time. Recently, heat extremes have become more frequent in a warming climate, and substantially increased the occurrence of flash drought, which has severely threatened crop yields and water supply.

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  • New Test Rapidly Identifies Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbugs’

    When you get sick, you want the right treatment fast. But certain infectious microbes are experts at evading the very anti-bacterial drugs designed to fight them.

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