Earth

What bee-killing mites can teach us about parasite evolution

What bee-killing mites can teach us about parasite evolution

An infestation of speck-sized Varroa destructor mites can wipe out an entire colony of honey bees in 2-3 years if left untreated. Pesticides help beekeepers rid their hives of these parasitic arthropods, which feed on the blood-like liquid inside of their hosts and lay their eggs on larvae, but mite populations become resistant to the chemicals over time.

Rumors of southern pine deaths have been exaggerated

Rumors of southern pine deaths have been exaggerated

Researchers at the University of Georgia have a message for Southern tree farmers worried about unexplainable pine tree deaths: Don't panic.

Donuts, coffee cups and soundproofing with quantum physics

Donuts, coffee cups and soundproofing with quantum physics

Doughnuts, electric current and quantum physics - this will sound like a weird list of words to most people, but for Sebastian Huber it is a job description. ETH-professor Huber is a theoretical physicist who, for several years now, has focused his attention on so-called topological insulators, i.e., materials whose ability to conduct electric current originates in their topology.

Why the seahorse's tail is square

Why the seahorse's tail is square

Why is the seahorse's tail square? An international team of researchers has found the answer and it could lead to building better robots and medical devices. In a nutshell, a tail made of square, overlapping segments makes for better armor than a cylindrical tail. It's also better at gripping and grasping. Researchers describe their findings in the July 3 issue of Science.

Nanospiked bacteria are the brightest hard X-ray emitters

Nanospiked bacteria are the brightest hard X-ray emitters

In a step that they say overturns traditional assumptions and practice, researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai and Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhi Nagar have fashioned bacteria to emit intense, hard x-ray radiation.

When one thinks of hard x-rays and bacteria it is usually that the bacteria are at the receiving end of the x-ray source - being imaged, irradiated for some modification or simply assessed for radiation damage. One hardly thinks of using bacteria as a source of x-rays, far from turning them into the brightest among such sources.

Climate change put mussels off the menu?

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface layer of the sea. Together, these changes would dramatically affect the microscopic communities of bacteria and plankton that inhabit the oceans, impacting species higher up the food chain. Worryingly, future conditions may favour disease-causing bacteria and plankton species which produce toxins, such as the lethal PST (paralytic shellfish toxin).

Environmental attorneys and an oceanographer want EPA to declare CO2 a "toxic substance" like asbestos

Without carbon dioxide, life as we know it on earth would end in sudden, spectacular fashion - but too much of anything can be a bad thing, and that goes for vegan food or a key component in photosynthesis like CO2.

Lawyers at the Center for Biological Diversity and oceanographer Dr. Donn Viviani have petitioned the Obama administration to regulate carbon dioxide under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Early exposure to cat urine makes mice less likely to escape from cats

Mice that are exposed to the powerful smell of cat urine early in life do not escape from cats later in life. Researchers at the A. N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russia, have discovered that mice that smell cat urine early in life, do not avoid the same odour, and therefore do not escape from their feline predators, later in life.

Creating a stopwatch for volcanic eruptions

We've long known that beneath the scenic landscapes of Yellowstone National Park sleeps a supervolcano with a giant chamber of hot, partly molten rock below it.

Though it hasn't risen from slumber in nearly 70,000 years, many wonder when Yellowstone volcano will awaken and erupt again. According to new research at Arizona State University, there may be a way to predict when that happens.

Friction reduction breakthrough is not snake oil

Snake skin inspired surfaces smash records, providing an astonishing 40% friction reduction in tests of high performance materials.