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Environment Doesn't Alter Queen Bees' Microbiome

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have characterized the gut microbiome of honey bee queens. This is the first thorough census of the gut microbiome in queen bees. They found that the microbiome changes as the queen matures, but the microbiomes of different queens are very similar– regardless of their environment.

Amazonian Adventure is Just a Click Away

March 2, 2015 8:43 am | by Associated Press, Michael Liedtke | News | Comments

For its next technological trick, Google will show you what it's like to zip through trees in...

Whales Inspire New Fluid Sensor

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by The Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville | News | Comments

How can a humpback whale and a device that works on the same principle as the clicker that...

Genes Show Where Penguins Lived During Ice Age

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

A study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found...

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Algae Key to Coral Survival in the World's Hottest Reefs

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

A new species of algae has been discovered in reef corals of the Persian Gulf where it helps corals to survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 C— temperatures that would kill corals elsewhere.

Pollution Drives Nuisance Algae Growth

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by McGill Univ. | News | Comments

The organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries– and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century.

Mollusks Produce Optical Displays

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Videos | Comments

Scientists have identified two optical structures within the limpet’s shell that give its blue-striped appearance. The structures are configured to reflect blue light while absorbing all other wavelengths of incoming light. The findings represent the first evidence of an organism using mineralized structural components to produce optical displays.

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Cats Prefer Sight Over Scent

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Lincoln | News | Comments

Felines have a tremendous sense of smell and vision, but a new study using a maze test has investigated which sense they prefer to use under test conditions and found that sight may be more important than smell.

Asian Herb May Treat Ebola

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Texas Biomedical Research Institute | News | Comments

A team of scientists has announced that a small molecule called Tetrandrine, derived from an Asian herb, has shown to be a potent small molecule inhibiting infection of human white blood cells in vitro or petri dish experiments and prevented Ebola virus disease in mice.

African Lakes to Answer Human Evolution Questions

February 26, 2015 3:00 pm | by Aberystwyth Univ. | News | Comments

How was human evolution and migration influenced by past changes in climate? This question has led researchers to drill day and night to great depths in a dried up lake in east Africa. The Chew Bahir Drilling Project, in a remote part of south Ethiopia, will provide a sedimentary record of changes in rainfall, temperature and vegetation, spanning the last 500,000 years of human evolution.

Natural Antifreeze in Ticks Fights Frostbite in Mice

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by Yale Univ. | News | Comments

A protein that protects ticks from freezing temperatures also prevents frostbite when introduced in mice, a study has found. The research is the first to demonstrate the protein's ability to boost frostbite resistance in an adult mammal.

Plumbing Loops Cause Geyser Eruptions

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by UC Berkeley | Videos | Comments

The key to geysers is an underground bend or loop that traps steam and then bubbles it out slowly to heat the water column above until it is just short of boiling. Eventually, the steam bubbles trigger sudden boiling from the top of the column, releasing pressure on the water below and allowing it to boil as well.

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Many GMO Crops Aren't Treated as GMOs

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by Cell Press | News | Comments

A survey of rice, wheat, barley, fruit and vegetable crops found that most mutants created by advanced genetic engineering techniques may be out of the scope of current genetically modified organism (GMO) regulations. Now, two bioethicists are proposing new regulatory models for genome-edited crops and call for clarifying the social issues associated with such genetically engineered crops.

First Direct Observation of CO2 Effect at Earth's Surface

February 25, 2015 3:00 pm | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide's greenhouse effect at the Earth's surface for the first time. The researchers measured atmospheric carbon dioxide's increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth's surface over an eleven-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions.

Himalayas Show Chemical Ban is Working

February 25, 2015 10:50 am | by Lancaster Univ. | News | Comments

A unique study of frozen ice cores from the Tibetan Himalayas has shown that international agreements on phasing out the use of toxic persistent organic pollutants are working. Scientists collected and analyzed samples from ice cores that had been laid down over 30 years, to show how residues of Perfluoroalkyl substances in the environment have changed over time.

Saharan Dust Fertilizes Amazon Rainforest

February 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Maryland | News | Comments

The Sahara Desert and the Amazon rainforest seem to inhabit separate worlds. Yet, they are connected: every year, millions of tons of nutrient-rich Saharan dust cross the Atlantic Ocean, bringing vital phosphorus and other fertilizers to depleted Amazon soils.

Mussel Supplement Aids Damaged Muscles

February 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Indiana Univ. | News | Comments

There may be a greater connection between mussels and muscles than previously thought. The study has found that taking a pre-exercise supplement of the omega-3 PCSO-524, a marine oil lipid derived from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, has significant positive effects on post-exercise muscle damage.

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Europe-ravaging Plague Was Driven by Asia's Climate

February 24, 2015 3:00 pm | by The Conversation, Boris Schmid, Nils Stenseth | News | Comments

Plague outbreaks that ravaged Europe were thought to be caused by rodent reservoirs of infected rats. New research questions that theory. If the thesis were correct, we would expect plague outbreaks to be associated with local climate fluctuations. The study found plague outbreaks were associated with climate fluctuations– but in Asia.

Bird Mimics Caterpillar to Avoid Predators

February 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Chicago Press Journals | News | Comments

How can tropical birds cope with the high rates of nest predation that are typical in most tropical habitats? One species does it through a rare example of Batesian mimicry in which the nestling tricks predators into thinking that it is a toxic, spiny caterpillar rather than a highly edible bird.

Image of the Week: Carnivorous Plant Has Incredible, Tiny Genome

February 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

Great, wonderful, wacky things can come in small genomic packages. That’s one lesson to be learned from the carnivorous bladderwort, a plant whose tiny genome turns out to be a jewel box full of evolutionary treasures.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Slowly Damages Plant-microbe Mutualisms

February 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes– the plants they normally serve. In natural areas adjacent to farmland, where fertilizer runoff occurs, or in areas where nitrogen oxides from the burning of fossil fuels settle, a change in the quality of soil rhizobia could have large consequences.

Scientists Resuscitate Dead Fjord

February 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Southern Denmark | News | Comments

Lack of oxygen is a major problem in many of the world's waters. Now, researchers have installed pumps in a Swedish fjord that showed a strong oxygen deficit and are reporting that all the right oxygen-loving organisms have come back to the fjord.

Tiger Count is Flawed, New Approach Needed

February 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Oxford | News | Comments

Flaws in a method commonly used in censuses of tigers and other rare wildlife put the accuracy of such surveys in doubt. A study has exposed inherent shortcomings in the “index-calibration” method. Among recent studies thought to be based on this method is India's national tiger survey, published in January, which claimed a surprising, but welcome, 30 percent rise in tiger numbers in just four years.

Understanding Climate 21,000 Years Ago Key to Predictions

February 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Vanderbilt Univ. | News | Comments

21,000 years ago, at the peak of the last Ice Age, a period known as the Last Glacial Maximum, the Southwest was wetter than it is today— much wetter— and the Northwest was drier— much drier. A team of scientists has created the first comprehensive map of the climate of the period and are using it to test and improve the global climate models that have been developed to predict how precipitation patterns will change in the future.

Ocean Acidification Threatens Costal Communities

February 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Coastal communities in 15 states that depend on the $1 billion shelled mollusk industry— primarily oysters and clams— are at long-term economic risk from the increasing threat of ocean acidification, the first nationwide vulnerability analysis concludes.

Mysterious Antarctica Key to Answering Questions

February 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Luis Andres Henao, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

Earth's past, present and future come together on the northern peninsula of Antarctica, the wildest, most desolate and mysterious of its continents. Clues to answering humanity's most basic questions are locked in a continental freezer the size of the U.S. and half of Canada: Where did we come from? Are we alone in the universe? What's the fate of our warming planet?

Warm Ocean is Sickening Sea Lion Pups

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Unusually warm ocean water along the West Coast is to blame for four times more sick and dying sea lion pups getting stranded on California beaches this year. Officials with the NOAA said about 940 sick and starving young sea lions have washed up on California beaches this year.

Dark Matter May Be Linked to Extinctions, Geologic Upheavals

February 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by New York Univ. | News | Comments

Research by a professor concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. Movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.

Nature's Medicine Cabinet Fights Bee Disease

February 18, 2015 3:00 pm | by Dartmouth College | News | Comments

Naturally occurring chemicals found in flowers of tobacco and other plants could be just the right prescription for ailing bees. Researchers found that chemicals in floral nectar, including the alkaloids anabasine and nicotine, the iridoid glycoside catalpol and the terpenoid thymol, significantly reduce parasite infection in bees.  

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