Ecology articlesExplosive growth of life on Earth fueled by early greening of planet
Earth's 4.5-billion-year history is filled with several turning points when temperatures changed dramatically, asteroids bombarded the planet and life forms came and disappeared. But one of the biggest moments in Earth's lifetime is the Cambrian explosion of life, roughly 540 million years ago, when complex, multi-cellular life burst out all over the planet.
Methane-eating microbes can use iron and manganese oxides to 'breathe'
Iron and manganese compounds, in addition to sulfate, may play an important role in converting methane to carbon dioxide and eventually carbonates in the Earth's oceans, according to a team of researchers looking at anaerobic sediments. These same compounds may have been key to methane reduction in the early, oxygenless days of the planet's atmosphere.
Ozone, nitrogen change the way rising CO2 affects Earth's water
Through a recent modeling experiment, a team of NASA-funded researchers have found that future concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone in the atmosphere and of nitrogen in the soil are likely to have an important but overlooked effect on the cycling of water from sky to land to waterways.
Climate change and the mystery of the shrinking sheep
Milder winters are causing Scotland's wild breed of Soay sheep to get smaller, despite the evolutionary benefits of possessing a large body, according to new research published in Science Express.
New Princeton method may help allocate carbon emissions responsibility among nations
Just months before world leaders are scheduled to meet to devise a new international treaty on climate change, a research team led by Princeton University scientists has developed a new way of dividing responsibility for carbon emissions among countries.
Research indicates ocean current shutdown may be gradual
The findings of a major new study are consistent with gradual changes of current systems in the North Atlantic Ocean, rather than a more sudden shutdown that could lead to rapid climate changes in Europe and elsewhere.
Solar cycle linked to global climate
Establishing a key link between the solar cycle and global climate, research led by scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., shows that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts on Earth that resemble La Niņa and El Niņo events in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
NOAA scientists find tsunami shadow visible from space
For the first time, NOAA scientists have demonstrated that tsunamis in the open ocean can change sea surface texture in a way that can be measured by satellite-borne radars. The finding could one day help save lives through improved detection and forecasting of tsunami intensity and direction at the ocean surface.
Global warming: our best guess is likely wrong
No one knows exactly how much Earth's climate will warm due to carbon emissions, but a new study this week suggests scientists' best predictions about global warming might be incorrect.
By manipulating oxygen, scientists coax bacteria into a wave
Bacteria know that they are too small to make an impact individually. So they wait, they multiply, and then they engage in behaviors that are only successful when all cells participate in unison. There are hundreds of behaviors that bacteria carry out in such communities. Now researchers at Rockefeller University have discovered one that has never been observed or described before in a living system.
Consulting with clouds: a clear role in climate change
The role of clouds in climate change has been a major question for decades. As the earth warms under increasing greenhouse gases, it is not known whether clouds will dissipate, letting in more of the sun's heat energy and making the earth warm even faster, or whether cloud cover will increase, blocking the Sun's rays and actually slowing down global warming.
Genetically engineered bacteria compute the route
US researchers have created 'bacterial computers' with the potential to solve complicated mathematics problems. The findings of the research, published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Biological Engineering, demonstrate that computing in living cells is feasible, opening the door to a number of applications. The second-generation bacterial computers illustrate the feasibility of extending the approach to other computationally challenging math problems.
Tiny diamonds on Santa Rosa island give evidence of cosmic impact
Nanosized diamonds found just a few meters below the surface of Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara provide strong evidence of a cosmic impact event in North America approximately 12,900 years ago, according to a new study by scientists. Their hypothesis holds that fragments of a comet struck across North America at that time.
Scientists discover Amazon river is 11 million years old
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have discovered that the Amazon river, and its transcontinental drainage, is around 11 million years old and took its present shape about 2.4 million years ago.
Caltech researchers link tiny sea creatures to large-scale ocean mixing
Using a combination of theoretical modeling, energy calculations, and field observations, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have for the first time described a mechanism that explains how some of the ocean's tiniest swimming animals can have a huge impact on large-scale ocean mixing.
Study predicts maximum sea level rise close to one meter by 2100
A new study of sea level fluctuations over the last 22,000 years is the latest to predict that rising seas could reach close to one meter by the end of this century, consistent with the most recent sea level projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Hydrocarbons in deep Earth?
The oil and gas that fuels our homes and cars started out as living organisms that died, were compressed, and heated under heavy layers of sediments in the Earth's crust. Scientists have debated for years whether some of these hydrocarbons could also have been created deeper in the Earth and formed without organic matter. Now for the first time, scientists have found that ethane and heavier hydrocarbons can be synthesized under the pressure-temperature conditions of the upper mantle -the layer of Earth under the crust and on top of the core.
Researchers to study rebirth of an island after volcanic eruption
When Alaska's Kasatochi Volcano erupted on Aug. 7, 2008, it virtually sterilized Kasatochi Island, covering the small Aleutian island with a layer of ash and other volcanic material several meters thick. The eruption also provided a rare research opportunity: the chance to see how an ecosystem develops from the very first species to colonize the island.
Original source of malaria reported
Researchers have identified what they believe is the original source of malignant malaria: a parasite found in chimpanzees in equatorial Africa.
Extraterrestrial platinum was stirred into the Earth
A research program aimed at using platinum as an exploration guide for nickel has for the first time been able to put a time scale on the planet's large-scale convection processes.