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Corals are Nature’s Engineers

September 2, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

Conventional wisdom has long held that corals are passive organisms that rely entirely on ocean currents to deliver dissolved substances, such as nutrients and oxygen. Now, scientists have found that they are far from passive, engineering their environment to sweep water into turbulent patterns that greatly enhance their ability to exchange nutrients and dissolved gases with their environment.

Near-simultaneous Earthquakes Complicate Planning for Italy

September 2, 2014 7:00 am | by Seismological Society of America | News | Comments

Before the shaking from one earthquake ends, shaking from another might begin, amplifying the...

Some Phytoplankton Don't Need to Take Their Vitamins

September 2, 2014 7:00 am | by Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | News | Comments

Some species of marine phytoplankton, such as the prolific bloomer Emiliania huxleyi, can grow...

Image of the Week: Antarctic Sea-level Rising Faster than Average

September 2, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting...

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Study Sheds Light on How Wild Rabbits Became Tamed

August 29, 2014 2:00 pm | by Uppsala Univ. | News | Comments

The genetic changes that transformed wild animals into domesticated forms have long been a mystery. An international team of scientists has now made a breakthrough by showing that many genes controlling the development of the brain and the nervous system were particularly important for rabbit domestication.

Evolution Occurred in Cicada’s Gut

August 29, 2014 2:00 pm | by Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | News | Comments

Organisms in a symbiotic relationship will often shed genes as they come to rely on the other organism for crucial functions. But, researchers have uncovered an unusual event in which a bacterium that lives in a type of cicada split into two species, doubling the number of organisms required for the symbiosis to survive.

Less than $200 M Would Conserve Brazilian Forest

August 29, 2014 2:00 pm | by Imperial College London | News | Comments

The Atlantic Forest is one of the most important and threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world, containing the only living examples of nearly 10,000 species of plant and more bird species than all of Europe. Brazil could conserve its valuable Atlantic Forest by investing just 0.01 percent of its annual GDP.

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'Sailing Stones' of Death Valley Caught in the Act

August 29, 2014 7:00 am | by Scripps Institution of Oceanography | Videos | Comments

Racetrack Playa is home to an enduring Death Valley mystery. Littered across the surface of this dry lake are hundreds of rocks– some weighing as much as 700 pounds– that seem to have been dragged across the ground, leaving synchronized trails that can stretch for hundreds of meters. What powerful force could be moving them? Researchers have investigated this question since the 1940s, but no one has seen the process in action– until now.

Global Warming Won't Stop Snowstorms

August 29, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

If ever there were a silver lining to global warming, it might be the prospect of milder winters. But, a new study suggests that you shouldn’t put your shovels away just yet. While most areas in the Northern Hemisphere will likely experience less snowfall throughout a season, the study concludes that extreme snow events will still occur, even in a future with significant warming.

Feds OK Logging After Californian Wildfire

August 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Scott Smith | News | Comments

U.S. Forest Service officials say they tried to balance competing interests in a plan released this week that allows loggers to remove trees killed in a massive central California wildfire last year, but environmentalists called it a travesty and threaten to sue.

Study Charts Invasion of Crop Pests

August 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Exeter | News | Comments

More than one-in-10 pest types can already be found in around half the countries that grow their host crops. If this spread advances at its current rate, scientists fear that a significant proportion of global crop-producing countries will be overwhelmed by pests within the next 30 years.

Gamblers are Birdbrained

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Warwick | News | Comments

Gamblers are greedy and birdbrained, new research has found. Gamblers show the same tendencies as pigeons when they make risky decisions. Tests have found that both human gamblers and pigeons were 35 percent more likely to gamble for high-value than low-value rewards.

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Old Specimens, Modern Cities Shed Light on Pest's Future

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have found that century-old museum specimens hold clues to how global climate change will affect a common insect pest that can weaken and kill trees– and the news is not good.

Sheepdog Study Could Have Deep Impact

August 27, 2014 7:00 am | by Natural Environment Research Council | News | Comments

Sheepdogs use just two simple rules to round up large herds of sheep, scientists have discovered. The findings could lead to the development of robots that can gather and herd livestock, crowd control techniques, or new methods to clean up the environment.

Genomics Key to Healthier Canola Oil, Tastier Broccoli

August 26, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Arizona | News | Comments

Genomics researchers have unraveled the genetic code of the rapeseed plant, most noted for a variety whose seeds are made into canola oil. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, turnip, collared greens, mustard and canola oil are all different incarnations of the same plant genus, Brassica.

Image of the Week: Goldilocks Growth May Strengthen River Deltas

August 26, 2014 7:00 am | by Indiana Univ. | News | Comments

Research by geologists suggests that an intermediate amount of vegetation— not too little and not too much— is most effective at stabilizing freshwater river deltas. The findings may help guide restoration of river deltas, such as those near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which are under threat as sea levels rise.

Geophysicists Map World’s Tectonic Plate Movement

August 26, 2014 7:00 am | by ScienceNetwork WA | News | Comments

A group of geophysicists is testing the hypothesis that the rate of “supercontinent assembly”— or tectonic plate movement— changes over time.

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Thailand's Farmers Turn to Edible Bugs

August 25, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Denis Gray | News | Comments

Farmers in Thailand are turning to the profitable crisp and crunchy critters in their backyards, satisfying a big domestic appetite for edible insects.

Genome Study Disputes Birthplace of Honeybees

August 25, 2014 7:00 am | by Uppsala Univ. | News | Comments

In a study, researchers have presented the first global analysis of genome variation in honeybees. The findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic diversity in honeybees, and indicate that the species most probably originates from Asia, and not from Africa as previously thought.

Genetic Signatures May Help Predictive Climate Models

August 25, 2014 7:00 am | by DOE/Joint Genome Institute | News | Comments

A recent study offers an in-depth, population-based approach to identifying genetic mechanisms for adaptation in plant, and describes a method that could be harnessed for developing more accurate predictive climate change models.

Citizen Scientists Save Lives

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of East Anglia | News | Comments

Citizen scientists are saving the lives of people living in the shadow of deadly volcanoes, according to new research. A report reveals the success of a volunteer group set up to safeguard communities around the “Throat of Fire” Tungurahua volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes.

GPS Stations See Huge Water Loss in Western U.S.

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

About 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost to drought in the western U.S., enough to blanket the region with four inches of water, according to a study. Researchers arrived at the conclusion by measuring the level of the earth's crust with a network of GPS stations that is normally used to predict earthquakes.

Ibuprofen May Pose Threat to Fish

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of York | News | Comments

Using a new modeling approach, researchers in England estimated the levels of 12 pharmaceutical compounds in rivers across the UK. They found that while most of the compounds were likely to cause only a low risk to aquatic life, ibuprofen might be having an adverse effect in nearly 50 percent of the stretches of river studied.

China's Energy Plan Holds Climate Risks

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jack Chang | News | Comments

China wants to build 60 coal-to-gas plants as part of a controversial energy plan. The country hopes the plants will churn out desperately needed natural gas and electricity while cleaning up the toxic skies above. However, the plants will also release vast amounts of heat-trapping CO2, even as the world struggles to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stave off global warming.

Sunlight Controls Fate of Permafrost's Released Carbon

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Scientists need to understand the mechanisms that control the conversion of organic soil carbon into CO2 gas. Until now, researchers believed that bacteria were largely responsible. But, new research shows that sunlight, not microbial activity, dominates the production of CO2 in Arctic inland waters.

Drones Banned Over Appalachian Trail

August 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail. The Park Service said the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands.

Viruses Can Destroy Massive Algal Blooms

August 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Cell Press | News | Comments

Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Algae also suck up CO2 from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae's blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same.

Neanderthals, Humans had Ample Time to Mix

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

Humans and Neanderthals may have coexisted in Europe for more than 5,000 years, providing ample time for the two species to meet and mix, according to new research.

Tourists Evacuated in Iceland

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Authorities have evacuated tourists from an area north of Iceland's largest glacier amid increased seismic activity around a volcano in the past few days.

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