Earth

Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain's entire communication system.

The study, published in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry on Oct.17, sets the stage for future research on the debilitating mental illness that, according to the World Health Organization, affects more than 21 million people worldwide.

For the first time ever, using mass spectrometry, researchers have successfully read several bytes[1] of data recorded on a molecular scale using synthetic polymers. Their work, conducted under the aegis of the Institut Charles Sadron (CNRS) in Strasbourg and the Institute of Radical Chemistry (CNRS / Aix-Marseille University), sets a new benchmark for the amount of data -- stored as a sequence of molecular units (monomers) -- that may be read using this routine method. It also sets the stage for data storage on a scale 100 times smaller than that of current hard drives.

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Lund University in Sweden and the University of Hyogo in Japan have retrieved original pigment, beta-keratin and muscle proteins from a 54 million-year-old sea turtle hatchling. The work adds to the growing body of evidence supporting persistence of original molecules over millions of years and also provides direct evidence that a pigment-based survival trait common to modern sea turtles evolved at least 54 million years ago.

Scientists have used cutting-edge DNA technology and museum samples collected over the past two centuries to reveal a new species of diving beetle living in streams around the Mediterranean.

Meladema coriacea is among Europe's largest water beetles and has been considered common across the south of the continent and in North Africa since the early 19th century.

But academics from the University of Plymouth and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona have now shown what was long thought to be one common species is actually two.

When it comes to oysters and their role in reducing nutrient pollution, a new study by researchers at William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science gets right to the guts -- and the shell -- of the matter.

The study, in the September 29 issue of PLoS ONE, is the first to identify and quantify potentially denitrifying bacteria in the oyster gut and shell, and the first to do so using a new computer program that infers bacterial activities based on the sequences of ribosomal RNA genes.

NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Storm Khanun after it had passed over southern China and began dissipating in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The final warning on Tropical Depression Khanun was issued on Oct. 16 at 0300 UTC (11 p.m. EDT, Oct. 15) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Khanun was located near 20.3 degrees north latitude and 109.3 degrees east longitude, in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Gulf is located between Vietnam to the west and Hainan Island, China, to the east.

Super thin photovoltaic devices underpin solar technology and gains in the efficiency of their production are therefore keenly sought. KAUST researchers have combined and rearranged different semiconductors to create so-called lateral p-n heterojunctions--a simpler process they hope will transform the fabrication of solar cells, self-powered nanoelectronics as well as ultrathin, transparent, flexible devices.

Microbes in the atmosphere and the role of the oceans in their movement have been largely overlooked by researchers. Now, an international team shows that the oceans contribute to a large fraction of the microbes found in the global atmosphere.

Bats often get the short end of the stick -- when you look around in October, they're featured in Halloween decorations right up there with unsavory characters like monsters and ghosts. But these animals are key to their environments as pollinators, dispersers of seeds, and insect-eaters. Plus, in the case of flying fox fruit bats, they have faces that even a bat-hating chiroptophobe could love -- they look like German shepherd puppies with wings.

Natural habitat areas exhibit similar abundances and diversity of herpetofauna as citrus orchards and reclaimed orchard forests in Stann Creek, Belize, reports a comparative study by researchers Russell Gray and Dr. Colin Strine of Suranaree University of Technology (SUT), Thailand.