Ecology articlesBreaks in hibernation help fight bugs
A habit in some animals to periodically wake up while hibernating may be an evolutionary mechanism to fight bacterial infection, according to researchers at Penn State. The finding could offer an insight into the spread and emergence of infectious disease in wildlife, and has potential implications for human health.
Loss of just one species makes big difference in freshwater ecosystem
Researchers at Dartmouth, Cornell University, and the University of Wyoming have learned that the removal of just one important species in a freshwater ecosystem can seriously disrupt how that environment functions. This finding contradicts earlier notions that other species can jump in and compensate for the loss.
Earth's ozone shield shows signs of recovery
Concentrations of atmospheric ozone—which protects Earth from the sun's ultraviolet radiation—are showing signs of recovery in the most important regions of the stratosphere above the mid-latitudes in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, a new study shows.
Greenhouse methane released from ice age ocean
Periods of warming temperatures during the last ice age triggered the release of methane from beneath the ocean, according to U.S. and French researchers. Once in the atmosphere, the methane would have acted as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas.
Canadian diamonds found to be oldest on earth
For the first time, scientists have dated diamonds from the recently discovered diamond fields in Canada's Northwest Territories and have found them to be the oldest precisely dated diamonds on Earth. They formed 3.5 billion years ago in an era called the Archean when the Earth was forming its first continents.
Mountain climate change trends could predict water resources
New research into climate change in the Western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting.
Planet earth may have 'tilted' to keep its balance
Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator. Princeton scientists have now provided the first compelling evidence that this kind of major shift may have happened in our world's distant past.
Descompression-driven crystallization warms pathway for volcanic eruptions
The reason may be counter-intuitive, but the more magma crystallizes, the hotter it gets and the more likely a volcano will erupt, according to a team of scientists that includes a University of Oregon geologist. The knowledge likely will aid monitoring of conditions at Mount St. Helens and other volcanic hot spots around the world.
Siberian lakes burp time-bomb greenhouse gas
Frozen bubbles in Siberian lakes are releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, at rates that appear to be "... five times higher than previously estimated" and acting as a positive feedback to climate warming, said Katey Walter, in a paper published in the journal Nature.
New evidence shows antarctica has warmed in last 150 years
Despite recent indications that Antarctica cooled considerably during the 1990s, new research suggests that the world's iciest continent has been getting gradually warmer for the last 150 years, a trend not identifiable in the short meteorological records and masked at the end of the 20th century by large temperature variations.
Large-scale farming causes substantial forest loss in Amazon
A University of Maryland-led study of Amazon deforestation in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso shows that direct conversion of forest to cropland in the state totaled over 2000 sq. miles (540,000 hectares) during 2001-2004, peaking in 2003 at 23 percent of all deforestation for that year. According to the researchers, the findings signal a shift in deforestation from the historic uses of cattle ranching and small-plot farming toward large-scale agriculture.
High-flying ballons begin tracking emerging hurricanes
In a unique collaboration, U.S. and French researchers are launching large, specialized balloons into the stratosphere to drop nearly 300 instrument packages over wide swaths of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The packages, designed by scientists and technicians at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will gather detailed data over the next month from critical regions of the atmosphere where some of the most dangerous U.S. hurricanes develop.
Urban birds keep cool
Animals colonizing cities are exposed to many novel and potentially stressful situations. Chronic stress, however, can cause deleterious effects. Hence, wild animals would suffer from city life unless they adjusted their stress response to the conditions in a city.
Islands spark accelerated evolution
The notion of islands as natural test beds of evolution is nearly as old as the theory itself. The restricted scale, isolation, and sharp boundaries of islands create unique selective pressures, often to dramatic effect. Following what's known as the "island rule," small animals evolve into outsize versions of their continental counterparts while large animals shrink.
First global connection between Earth and space weather found
Weather on Earth has a surprising connection to space weather occurring high in the electrically-charged upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere, according to new results from NASA satellites.
Stratospheric injections could help cool Earth
A two-pronged approach to stabilizing climate, with cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as well as injections of climate-cooling sulfates, could prove more effective than either approach used separately. This is the finding of a new study by Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), published in the September 14 issue of Science.
Mit team describes unique desert cloud forest
Trees that live in an odd desert forest in Oman have found an unusual way to water themselves by extracting moisture from low-lying clouds, MIT scientists report.
Cloud formation affected by human activity
University of Toronto researchers and their collaborators have discovered that solid ammonium sulphate aerosol – an airborne particle more prevalent in continental areas - can act as a catalyst to the formation of ice clouds, suggesting that cloud formation is another aspect of the global climate system that can be affected by human presence. The findings were published in Science.
New research puts 'killer la palma tsunami' at distant future
The volcanic island of La Palma in the Canaries is much more stable than is generally assumed, Dutch scientists working at the TU Delft have found. The southwestern flank of the island isn't likely to fall into the sea (potentially causing a tsunami) for at least another 10,000 years, professor Jan Nieuwenhuis states in the September edition of the university's science magazine Delft Integraal.
Lucky find off galapagos
During an expedition off the South American coast, an international team of ocean scientists discovered that the gases ethane and propane are widespread, and are being produced by microorganisms in deeply buried sediments.