Ecology articlesWhat you don't know can kill you
Something remarkable happened on the island closest to the epicenter of the great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake last December: Only seven of the island's 78,000 inhabitants died. This is despite the fact tsunamis hit the island only eight minutes after the quake, despite the destruction of many Simuelue villages, and despite the lack of an official tsunami warning system and little in the way of telecommunications.
Coastal retreat in face of rising sea levels found to be influenced by wildfires
The retreat of coastlines due to rising sea levels may be accelerated by wildfires, a Duke University researcher has discovered. In the absence of such fires, forests can slow the encroachment, he found.
Scientists detect 'milky sea' phenomena
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory's Marine Meteorology Division in Monterey, CA, (NRL-Monterey), working with researchers from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the National Geophysical Data Center, presented the first satellite detection of a phenomenon known as the "milky sea." The satellite observations were corroborated by a ship-based account.
Selective logging causes widespread destruction of Brazil's Amazon rainforest
Selective logging--the practice of removing one or two trees and leaving the rest intact--is often considered a sustainable alternative to clear-cutting, in which a large swath of forest is cut down, leaving little behind except wood debris and a denuded landscape. But a new satellite survey of the Amazon Basin in Brazil reveals that every year unregulated selective logging of mahogany and other hardwoods destroys an area of pristine rainforest big enough to cover the state of Connecticut.
Mountain winds may create atmospheric hotspots
Rapidly fluctuating wind gusts blowing over mountains and hills can create "hotspots" high in the atmosphere and significantly affect regional air temperatures.
More males chimps means more territorial patrols
A new study of wild chimpanzees shows that the biggest predictor of territorial boundary patrols is the number of males in the group. The more males in the group, the more often they will patrol their territory.
For two primates, patience takes different forms, shaped by ecology
Across the animal kingdom, individuals face choices between patience and impulsivity. A classic case, confronted by all animals--humans included--is that between a small, immediate food reward and a delayed, but larger, reward. In such cases, impulsivity typically trumps patience as individuals fail to delay gratification. But what factors influence these decisions? Researchers have gained new insight into this question by showing that the particular ways in which animals exhibit patience and impulsivity differ from one context to another and may be closely related to the animals' ecological niches and their everyday interactions with the natural world.
Heavy rains can make more dust in Earth's driest spots
Typically we think of rainfall as cleaning the air by removing dust as it falls through the atmosphere and helping plants grow that protect and hold the soil. But a new NASA-funded study looking at some of the world's dustiest areas shows that heavy downpours can eventually lead to more dust being released into the atmosphere.
Tropical cloud 'dust' could hold the key to climate change
Scientists at the University of Manchester will set off for Australia to undertake an in-depth study of tropical clouds and the particles sucked up into them to gain further insight into climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer.
Seeing the forest and the trees
With human emissions of carbon dioxide on the rise, there is growing interest in maintaining the Earth's natural mechanisms that absorb and store carbon. A new study suggests that tree diversity in tropical forests plays a crucial role in determining how much carbon these natural storehouses are able to hold, as well as their ability to provide other crucial ecosystem services such as preventing erosion.
Research analysis explains wide variations in animal sleep habits
An extensive research analysis by a neuroscientist at UCLA's Semel Institute and the Veterans Affairs' Neurobiology Research Laboratory concludes that environment and diet largely determine sleep needs.
Lineage trees for cells
Some fundamental outstanding questions in science – "Where do stem cells originate?" "How does cancer develop?" "When do cell types split off from each other in the embryo?" – might be answered if scientists had a way to map the history of the body's cells going back to the fertilized egg. Now, a multidisciplinary team at the Weizmann Institute of Science has developed an analytical method that can trace the lineage trees of cells.
Accurate method to date oceanic crust
Scientists from the University of Wyoming, the United States Geological Survey and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reveal in the Oct. 28 issue of "Science" the most accurate method ever discovered to determine the age of oceanic crust.
Picky female frogs drive evolution of new species in less than 8,000 years
Picky female frogs in a tiny rainforest outpost of Australia have driven the evolution of a new species in 8,000 years or less, according to scientists from the University of Queensland, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Microfossils show promise in prospecting climate history
In 2004 and now in 2005, the hurricane seasons have been horrifyingly intense – so how bad is the long-range forecast? Based on a century of data, meteorologists currently believe that a 30-year lull in hurricane activity is over and we are at the beginning of a new multi-decade period of larger and more frequent storms. However, there is other data that suggests we may also be coming to the end of a thousand year period of greatly diminished hurricane activity, making the outlook even worse.
Rainforest conservation worth the cost
The economic benefits of protecting a rainforest reserve outweigh the costs of preserving it, says University of Alberta research--the first of its kind to have conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the conservation of species diversity.
Study uses stream fish as indicators of water quality
For many years, regulatory agencies have used chemical standards to assess water quality. Now, researchers are discovering how biological criteria can complement chemical standards to assess the status of water bodies, including streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
Newly recognized gene mutation may reduce seeds, resurrect plants
A mutated plant that seems to return from the dead may hold the secret to how some flora protect their progeny during yield-limiting drought and other stresses, according to Purdue University scientists whose study of the plant led to discovery of a gene.
Modeling of long-term fossil fuel consumption shows 14.5 degree hike in temperature
If humans continue to use fossil fuels in a business as usual manner for the next several centuries, the polar ice caps will be depleted, ocean sea levels will rise by seven meters and median air temperatures will soar 14.5 degrees warmer than current day.
Scientists gain new insights into 'frozen' methane beneath ocean floor
An international team of scientists supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) has completed a unique research expedition aimed at recovering samples of gas hydrate, an ice-like substance hidden beneath the seafloor off Canada's western coast.