Ecology articlesPhotos reveal first tool usage in wild gorillas
For the first time ever, scientists have observed and photographed wild gorillas using tools, in one instance employing a stick to test the depth of a pool before wading into it, according to a study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations. Up to this point, all other species of great apes, including chimpanzees and orangutans, have been observed using tools in the wild, but never gorillas.
Study casts doubt on 'snowball Earth' theory
A study that applied innovative techniques to previously unexamined rock formations has turned up strong evidence on the "Slushball Earth" side of a decades-long scientific argument.
It's a bug's life
MIT mathematicians have discovered how certain insects can climb what to them are steep, slippery slopes in the water's surface without moving their limbs--and do it at high speed.
Tropical deforestation affects rainfall
Today, scientists estimate that between one-third and one-half of our planet's land surfaces have been transformed by human development. Now, a new study is offering insight into the long-term impacts of these changes, particularly the effects of large-scale deforestation in tropical regions on the global climate.
MELT data sheds light on birth of oceanic plates
In the first joint interpretation of data from the landmark MELT study, a team of scientists including Donald Forsyth of Brown University has found unexpected changes in the patterns of seismic velocity and electrical conductivity near the East Pacific Rise, changes due to dehydration and cooling. Results are published in Nature.
Orderly world found at liquid-solid boundary
A team of researchers at the Technion has discovered a unique, ordered world at the nanometer scale-level boundary between liquids and solids that could forever change scientific understanding of such interfaces.
Sun's direct role in global warming may be underestimated
At least 10 to 30 percent of global warming measured during the past two decades may be due to increased solar output rather than factors such as increased heat-absorbing carbon dioxide gas released by various human activities, two Duke University physicists report.
Climate change more rapid than ever
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology presented on Thursday, September 29, their first model calculations for the future of the climate. According to the calculations, in the next 100 years, the climate will change more than ever. Given particular conditions, it is expected that the sea ice in the North Pole region will completely melt in the summer. Extreme weather events in Europe will increase in frequency and strength.
Finding rewrites the evolutionary history of the origin of potatoes
Humans have cultivated potatoes for millennia, but there has been great controversy about the ubiquitous vegetable's origins. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, a team led by a USDA potato taxonomist stationed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has for the first time demonstrated a single origin in southern Peru for the cultivated potato.
Health of coral reefs detected from orbit
Australian researchers have found Envisat's MERIS sensor can detect coral bleaching down to ten metres deep. This means Envisat could potentially monitor impacted coral reefs worldwide on a twice-weekly basis.
Gulf warm-water eddies intensify hurricane changes
Scientists monitoring ocean heat and circulation in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have a new understanding of how these tropical storms can gain intensity so quickly: The Gulf of Mexico's "Loop Current" is likely intensifying hurricanes that pass over eddies of warm water that spin off the main current.
Earth sinks three inches under weight of flooded Amazon
As the Amazon River floods every year, a sizeable portion of South America sinks several inches because of the extra weight – and then rises again as the waters recede, a study has found.
Fish in ponds benefit flowering plants
Fish and flowering plants would seem to have as much in common as pigs and beauty soap. But ecologists at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Florida have found an amazing relationship between the different species that provides a new direction for understanding how ecosystems "hook up".
Indian eddies supply Atlantic ocean with warm water
Water from the Indian Ocean does not reach the South Atlantic Ocean continuously, but in separate packages. These are called Agulhas eddies, after the current along the east coast of Southern Africa where they originate from. Dutch researcher Astrid van Veldhoven characterised the fate of these rapidly rotating, three hundred kilometres wide and five kilometres deep, warm eddies during their journey to the Atlantic Ocean.
Warmer seas, wetter air make harder rains as greenhouse gases build
Storms will dump heavier rain and snow around the world as Earth's climate warms over the coming century, according to several leading computer models. Now a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) explains how and where warmer oceans and atmosphere will produce more intense precipitation. The findings recently appeared in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.
Forecasting the next great San Francisco earthquake
The San Francisco Bay region has a 25 percent chance of a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake in the next 20 years, and a roughly 1 percent chance of such an earthquake each year, according to the "Virtual California" computer simulation.
North Sea efficient sink for carbon dioxide
A relatively large number of algae grow in the North Sea. These form the basis for a much richer food chain than that found in the Atlantic Ocean. Dutch-sponsored researcher Yann Bozec calculated that coastal seas such as the North Sea remove about three times as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than would be expected on the basis of their small surface area.
Researchers rediscover elusive site of exploding volcanic rocks
Scientists aboard the Scripps research vessel Roger Revelle this week solved a 45-year-old geological mystery.
A warmer world might not be a wetter one
A NASA study is offering new insight into how the Earth's water cycle might be influenced by global change.
Seafloor creatures destroyed by ice action during ice ages
The ice ages made massive changes to the Earth's landscape. But what was happening below the ice in the oceans? Research by marine scientists reveals that it was a time of mass destruction as whole communities of animals were wiped out by ice sheets scouring the sea floor.