Ecology articlesThe fragility of the world's coral is revealed through a study of the northwestern hawaiian islands
A new study by researchers from UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) sheds light on how threats to the world's endangered coral reef ecosystems can be more effectively managed.
West african droughts are the norm, not an anomaly
A new study of lake sediments in Ghana suggests that severe droughts lasting several decades, even centuries, were the norm in West Africa over the past 3,000 years.
Origins of sulfur in rocks tells early oxygen story
Sedimentary rocks created more than 2.4 billion years ago sometimes have an unusual sulfur isotope composition thought to be caused by the action of ultra violet light on volcanically produced sulfur dioxide in an oxygen poor atmosphere. Now a team of geochemists can show an alternative origin for this isotopic composition that may point to an early, oxygen-rich atmosphere.
Unusual Antarctic microbes live life on a previously unsuspected edge
An unmapped reservoir of briny liquid chemically similar to sea water, but buried under an inland Antarctic glacier, appears to support unusual microbial life in a place where cold, darkness and lack of oxygen would previously have led scientists to believe nothing could survive, according to newly published research.
Parasite breaks its own DNA to avoid detection
The parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African sleeping sickness, is like a thief donning a disguise. Every time the host's immune cells get close to destroying the parasite, it escapes detection by rearranging its DNA and changing its appearance. Now, in research to appear in the advance online April 15 issue of Nature, two laboratories at Rockefeller University have joined forces to reveal how the parasite initiates its getaway - by cleaving both strands of its DNA.
NASA experiment stirs up hope for forecasting deadliest cyclones
About 15 percent of the world's tropical cyclones occur in the northern Indian Ocean, but because of high population densities along low-lying coastlines, the storms have caused nearly 80 percent of cyclone-related deaths around the world. Incomplete atmospheric data for the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea make it difficult for regional forecasters to provide enough warning for mass evacuations.
In face of global warming, can wilderness remain natural?
For those who think of nature as a wild, unspoiled Eden that preserves the natural flora and fauna free from human interference, global warming has a nasty surprise in store, according to University of California, Berkeley, biologist Anthony Barnosky.
Two-handed marine microbes point to new method for isolating harmful forms of chemicals
Scientists studying how marine bacteria move have discovered that a sharp variation in water current segregates right-handed bacteria from their left-handed brethren, impelling the microbes in opposite directions.
Hemp could be key to zero-carbon houses
Hemp could be used to build carbon-neutral homes of the future to help combat climate change and boost the rural economy, say researchers at the University of Bath.
Plants absorb more carbon under hazy skies
Plants absorbed carbon dioxide more efficiently under the polluted skies of recent decades than they would have done in a cleaner atmosphere, according to new findings published this week in Nature.
Greenland's 'good news' methane finding
Ice core research has revealed that a vast, potential source of the potent greenhouse gas, methane, is more stable in a warming world than previously thought.
Fire is important part of global climate change, report scientists
Fire must be accounted for as an integral part of climate change, according to 22 authors of an article published in the April 24 issue of the journal Science. The authors determined that intentional deforestation fires alone contribute up to one-fifth of the human-caused increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that raises global temperature.
Sugar on bacteria surface serves as base for a web of resistance
The bacteria responsible for chronic infections in cystic fibrosis patients use one of the sugars on the germs' surface to start building a structure that helps the microbes resist efforts to kill them, new research shows.
Findings uncover new details about mysterious mimivirus
An international team of researchers has determined key structural features of the largest known virus, findings that could help scientists studying how the simplest life evolved and whether the unusual virus causes any human diseases.
Contrary to recent hypothesis, 'chevrons' are not evidence of megatsunamis
A persistent school of thought in recent years has held that so-called "chevrons," large U- or V-shaped formations found in some of the world's coastal areas, are evidence of megatsunamis caused by asteroids or comets slamming into the ocean.
New blow for dinosaur-killing asteroid theory
The enduringly popular theory that the Chicxulub crater holds the clue to the demise of the dinosaurs, along with some 65 percent of all species 65 million years ago, is challenged in a paper published in the Journal of the Geological Society on April 27, 2009.
Cyclones spurt water into the stratosphere, feeding global warming
Scientists at Harvard University have found that tropical cyclones readily inject ice far into the stratosphere, possibly feeding global warming.
Microbes thrive under antarctic glacier
A reservoir of briny liquid buried deep beneath an Antarctic glacier supports hardy microbes that have lived in isolation for millions of years, researchers report this week in the journal Science.
Rise of oxygen caused Earth's earliest ice age
An international team of geologists may have uncovered the answer to an age-old question - an ice-age-old question, that is. It appears that Earth's earliest ice age may have been due to the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, which consumed atmospheric greenhouse gases and chilled the earth.
Honeybees are on the rise but demand grows faster
The notion that a decline in pollinators may threaten the human food supply - producing a situation that has been referred to as a "pollination crisis" - can be considered a myth, at least where honey bees are concerned, say researchers reporting online on May 7th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. First of all, most agricultural crop production does not depend on pollinators. On top of that, while honey bees may be dwindling in some parts of the world, the number of domesticated bees world-wide is actually on the rise, their new report shows.