ScienceDaily: Environment - October 27, 2023
Top environment research news
A new process yields 2D halide perovskite crystal layers of ideal thickness and purity through dynamic control of the crystallization process -- a key step toward ensuring device stability for optoelectronics and photovoltaics.
A team of researchers studying the Ngogo community of wild chimpanzees in western Uganda's Kibale National Park for two decades has published a report showing that females in this population can experience menopause and post-reproductive survival.
The researchers used blood metabolite data, which can provide a more direct link between diet and health, to assess the role of red meat on inflammation risk.
The explosion of the underwater volcano Kolumbo in the Aegean Sea in 1650 triggered a destructive tsunami that was described by historical eye witnesses. A group of researchers has now surveyed Kolumbo's underwater crater with modern imaging technology and reconstructed the historical events. They found that the eyewitness accounts of the natural disaster can only be described by a combination of a landslide followed by an explosive eruption.
Special proteins -- known as membrane transporters -- are key to the mobility of sperm cells. A research team has, with the aid of cryo-electron microscopy, succeeded in decoding the structure of such a transporter and its mechanism. These findings will enable a better understanding of the molecular foundations of reproductive capacity and could, in the long term, contribute to developing new approaches to treating fertility disorders and new methods of specific contraception.
Scrape, cluck, lay eggs -- that's it? Anyone involved in chicken farming knows that the animals are capable of much more. Researchers have found evidence that roosters could recognize themselves in a mirror. Whether this is successful, however, depends on the experimental conditions -- a finding that points beyond the experiment with roosters and could also be of importance for other animal species.
Endangered whales and dolphins live year-round in an area of the Mediterranean earmarked for oil and gas exploration, new research shows.
Dyes widely used in the textile, food and pharmaceutical industries pose a pressing threat to plant, animal and human health, as well as natural environments around the world, a new study has found. Billions of tons of dye-containing wastewater enter water systems every year, and a group of researchers say that new sustainable technologies including new membrane-based nano-scale filtration are needed to solve the issue, adding that legislation is needed to compel industrial producers to eliminate colorants before they reach public sewage systems or waterways.
An electric knifefish shimmies in the water for the same reason a dog sniffs or a human glances around a new place -- to make sense of their surroundings. For the first time, scientists demonstrate that a wide range of organisms, even microbes, perform the same pattern of movements in order to sense the world.
Making one small diet change -- chicken instead of beef, plant milk instead of cow's milk -- could significantly curb carbon emissions and increase the healthfulness of your diet, according to a new study.
Venus, may have once had tectonic plate movements similar to those believed to have occurred on early Earth, a new study found. The finding sets up tantalizing scenarios regarding the possibility of early life on Venus, its evolutionary past and the history of the solar system.
The key to bringing global net-zero goals into reach may be algae, say researchers. Studies show impressive success of certain microalgae varieties to remove CO2 from the atmosphere then break it down into useful materials.
Large chunks of the Navajo Nation in the Southwest lack access to clean drinkable water, a trend that has been rising in many parts of the U.S. in recent years. A research team aims to change that.
New research suggests that increasingly severe weather driven by climate change may push oceangoing seabirds to their limits.
In a test of their new analysis tool, researchers show where 'moving up' or 'moving over' may make the most sense for those affected by the 2022 Pakistan flood, and what costs it would entail.
Pair-bonded Java sparrows show enlarged eye rings to signal breeding readiness.
A new study provides evidence that pigeons tackle some problems just as artificial intelligence would -- allowing them to solve difficult tasks that would vex humans.
Researchers report that a single, simplified model can predict population fluctuations in three unrelated realms: urban employment, human gut microbiomes and tropical forests. The model will help economists, ecologists, public health authorities and others predict and respond to variability in multiple domains.
A new report finds that drastic changes are approaching if risks to our fundamental socioecological systems are not addressed. The Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023 warns of six risk tipping points ahead of us: Accelerating extinctions; Groundwater depletion; Mountain glaciers melting; Space debris; Unbearable heat; and an Uninsurable future.
A team of researchers has gained new insights into the respiratory system of fruit flies -- the so-called tracheal system -- which could be important for future research into aneurysms. Scientists carried out genetic, cell biological and biochemical studies on Drosophila embryos. They found that the cells in the fruit fly's tracheal system are connected to the extracellular matrix by the proteins Dumpy and Piopio.
A holistic transformation is needed for the planet to accommodate people's pursuit of well-being. A new study explores a Theory of Planetary Social Pedagogy as a driver of a transformative process based on a learning society.
More than 100,000 tons of diapers are disposed of annually in Germany. Vast amounts of valuable resources, such as diaper liners, end up in the trash. The liners consist of special polymers, so-called superabsorbers. Researchers have now succeeded in considerably improving their complex recycling process. They use UV radiation to degrade the chemical chains that keep the polymers together. No chemicals are needed. Recycling at room temperature is 200 times faster than conventional recycling. The recycled polymers can then be processed to new adhesives and dyes.
Through satellite imaging a new AI driven mapping of biomass and CO2 storage shows that a huge number of trees are overlooked in Europe's urban, rural, and agricultural areas. Across Europe, researchers have discovered a billion tons of hidden biomass.
Consumers would rather pay more for higher-welfare pork than for pork with a reduced climate footprint, according to a new study.
Recently discovered microfossils date back half a billion years. Resembling modern-day algae, they provide insight into early life in our oceans.
Opening a clamshell of berries and seeing them coated in fuzzy mold is a downer. And it's no small problem. Gray mold and other fungi, which cause fruit to rot, lead to significant economic losses and food waste. Now, researchers report that compounds from sunflower crop waste prevented rotting in blueberries. They suggest the food industry could use these natural compounds to protect against post-harvest diseases.
The exciting discovery of three new species of a small Australian marsupial has been tempered by the sad fact that each of the newly identified species of mulgara is likely already extinct.
While governments may take the lead in planning and financing climate change adaptation measures, such as incentivizing green infrastructure, individuals currently are most often the ones implementing actions to adapt to climate change, according to new research.
Scientists have discovered a new route to produce the low-calorie sugar allulose (D-psicose) at lower cost with high yield.
As bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have grown in market share, they've been criticized for their heavy carbon footprint: Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive endeavor. Mining has massive water and land footprints as well, according to a new study that is the first to detail country-by-country environmental impacts of bitcoin mining.
Which sustainability goals do people find more important: Animal welfare? Or environmental protection? Human health is another one of these competing sustainability goals. A team of researchers have now found that consumers surveyed in their study would rather pay more for salami with an 'antibiotic-free' label than for salami with an 'open barn' label that indicates that the product promotes animal welfare.
Researchers have identified buried kimberlite, the rocky home of diamonds, by testing the DNA of microbes in the surface soil. These 'biological fingerprints' can reveal what minerals are buried tens of meters below the earth's surface without having to drill. The researchers believe it is the first use of modern DNA sequencing of microbial communities in the search for buried minerals. The research represents a new tool for mineral exploration, where a full toolbox could save prospectors time and a lot of money,
Adding crushed volcanic rock to farmland can pull carbon dioxide out of the air. In a field test, scientists found that the process works even in dry climates.
New research reveals how the bacteria strain Wolbachia pipientis enhances the fertility of the insects it infects, an insight that could help scientists increase the populations of mosquitoes that do not carry human disease.
Health professionals have long praised the benefits of insoluble fiber for bowel regularity and overall health. New research suggests even more reasons we should be prioritizing fiber in our regular diets. Researchers found that each plant source of insoluble fiber contains unique bioactives -- compounds that have been linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes -- offering potential health benefits beyond those of the fiber itself.
A team has identified several factors to help answer a fundamental ecological question: why is there a ridiculous abundance of species some places on earth and a scarcity in others? What factors, exactly, drive animal diversity? They discovered that what an animal eats (and how that interacts with climate) shapes Earth's diversity.
An international coalition of climate scientists says that the Earth's vital signs have worsened beyond anything humans have yet seen, to the point that life on the planet is imperiled.
Next-generation solar materials are cheaper and more sustainable to produce than traditional silicon solar cells, but hurdles remain in making the devices durable enough to withstand real-world conditions. A new technique could simplify the development of efficient and stable perovskite solar cells, named for their unique crystalline structure that excels at absorbing visible light.
Research has found that bumblebees make foraging choices to collect the most sugar from flowers in the shortest time -- even if that means using more energy in the process -- to provide an immediate energy boost for the colony.
Named after Japanese folklore, two cephalopod species have been discovered in the coastal waters of the Okinawa Islands.
A research team has found that polysulfides are abundant in broccoli sprouts. They found that the amount of polysulfides increased dramatically during growth, by an approximately 20-fold in seeds by the fifth day of germination. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of the polysulfides detected a number of polysulfide candidates whose structures have not yet been determined. The identification of these unknown polysulfides and detailed analysis of their pharmacological activities are expected to enable the development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies and medicines for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, inflammation, and other diseases.
It's viable to produce low-cost, lightweight solar panels that can generate energy in space, according to new research.
In a meta-study, a research team has provided evidence that the consumption of fruit and vegetables contributes positively to bacterial diversity in the human gut.
Scientists studied the genomes of 30 kingfisher species to try to identify the genes that allow kingfishers to dive headfirst into water without huring their brains. The researchers found that the diving birds have unusual mutations to the genes that produce tau: a protein that helps stabilize tiny structures in the brain, but which can build up in humans with traumatic brain injuries or Alzheimer's disease. The researchers suspect that these variations in the kingfishers' tau proteins might protect their brains when they dive.
A bacterium, closely associated with deadly septicaemia, could have caused the deaths of six African elephants in Zimbabwe and possibly more in neighboring countries. The findings place infectious diseases on the list of pressures on African elephants, whose populations continue to be under threat.
Meltwater that runs along the east coast of Greenland, hardly enters the open ocean before reaching the western side of the island. In the changing climate, fresh water from Greenland and the Arctic could disrupt the circulation in the Atlantic Ocean.
A new study has shown that children as young as four years old eat 79% more calories when they are bored, compared to when they are in a neutral mood.
Primatologists are using genetic analysis to determine the geographic origin of ancient mummified baboons found in Egypt. The team finds evidence that the two legendary trading regions of Punt and Adulis may have been the same place separated by a thousand years of history.
Newly published research proves that it's possible to treat high blood pressure by using specially engineered Lactobacillus paracasei to produce a protein called ACE2 in the gut, reducing gut angiotensin II and, in turn, lowering blood pressure. The study, done in lab rats that are predisposed to hypertension and unable to naturally produce ACE2, opens new doors in the pursuit of harnessing our body's own microbiome to regulate blood pressure.
New analysis of data from the Curiosity rover reveals that much of the craters on Mars today could have once been habitable rivers.
Researchers have proposed a new way of using quantum light to 'see' quantum sound. A new paper reveals the quantum-mechanical interplay between vibrations and particles of light, known as photons, in molecules. It is hoped that the discovery may help scientists better understand the interactions between light and matter on molecular scales. And it potentially paves the way for addressing fundamental questions about the importance of quantum effects in applications ranging from new quantum technologies to biological systems.
Researchers have discovered a link between certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and an increased risk for thyroid cancer.
Harnessing new advances in genomic surveillance technology could help detect the rise of deadly 'superbugs'.
Diamonds contain evidence of the mantle rocks that helped buoy and grow the ancient supercontinent Gondwana from below, according to new research. These findings demonstrate that superdeep diamonds can provide a window through space and time into the supercontinent growth and formation process.
An international team re-created molten rock conditions deep within the Earth and measured the spin states of iron atoms within that rock melt. An iron atom's spin state drives its magnetic behavior and reactivity in chemical reactions, and can influence whether iron prefers to be in the molten or solid rock.
Researchers have solved the structure of a novel insecticidal protein that is effective in protecting major crop plants like corn and soybean from pests and is naturally produced by ferns.
A revised method to create hydrophobic surfaces has implications for any technology where water meets a solid surface, from optics and microfluidics to cooking.
As climate change warms the Earth, higher-latitude regions will be at greater risk for toxins produced by algal blooms, according to new research. The findings identify water temperatures of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) as being at the greatest risk for developing dangerous levels of a common algae-produced toxin called microcystin.
What if your house plant could tell you your water isn't safe? Scientists are closer to realizing this vision, having successfully engineered a plant to turn beet red in the presence of a banned, toxic pesticide.