Earth

'Divide and rule' -- raven politics

'Divide and rule' -- raven politics

Thomas Bugnyar and his team have been studying the behavior of approximately 300 wild ravens in the Northern Austrian Alps for years. They observed that ravens slowly build alliances through affiliative interactions such as grooming and playing. However, they also observed that these affiliative interactions were regularly interrupted by a third individual. Although in about 50 % of the cases these interventions were successful and broke up the two affiliating ravens, intervening can be potentially risky when the two affiliating ravens team up and chase away the intervening individual.

2014 Antarctic ozone hole holds steady

2014 Antarctic ozone hole holds steady

The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak size on Sept. 11, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The size of this year's hole was 24.1 million square kilometers (9.3 million square miles) — an area roughly the size of North America.

Biology meets geometry

Biology meets geometry

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Architecture imitates life, at least when it comes to those spiral ramps in multistory parking garages. Stacked and connecting parallel levels, the ramps are replications of helical structures found in a ubiquitous membrane structure in the cells of the body.

Twenty-first Eastern Pacific tropical depression born on Oct. 30

Twenty-first Eastern Pacific tropical depression born on Oct. 30

NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of the birth of the Eastern Pacific Ocean's twenty-first tropical depression, located far south of Acapulco, Mexico.

Dartmouth study finds restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions

Dartmouth study finds restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions

Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by Dartmouth College researchers and their colleagues.

The study, which is one of the first to continually measure the fluctuations of both carbon and methane as they cycle through wetlands, appears in the journal by Global Change Biology.

Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals

Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals

MADISON, Wis. — Bigger is better, if you're a leatherback sea turtle.

For the first time, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

A surprising finding: Longer, slender turtles are less efficient swimmers than more rotund turtles, which get better stroke for their buck.

Urban seismic network detects human sounds

Urban seismic network detects human sounds

This particular dataset consists of a 5,300-geophone network—deployed as part of a hydrocarbon industry survey—covering an area of more than 70 km2. Geophone devices are commonly used to record energy waves reflected by the subsurface geology as a way of mapping out geologic structures or track earthquakes.

"By recording vibrations via geophones spaced roughly every 100 meters (300 feet), we were able to look into activity in Long Beach with a resolution below a typical city block," said Riahi.

They know the drill: UW leads the league in boring through ice sheets

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin is famous for its ice fishers — the stalwarts who drill holes through lake ice in the hope of catching a winter dinner. Less well known are the state's big-league ice drillers — specialists who design huge drills and use them to drill deep into ice in Greenland and Antarctica, places where even summer seems like winter.

The quarry at these drills includes some of the biggest catches in science.

Magma pancakes beneath Lake Toba

2014/10/31: The tremendous amounts of lava that are emitted during super-eruptions accumulate over millions of years prior to the event in the Earth's crust. These reservoirs consist of magma that intrudes into the crust in the form of numerous horizontally oriented sheets resting on top of each other like a pile of pancakes.

Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing today (30 October) in the journal Science, Professor Bill Adams of the University's Department of Geography argues that assigning a quantitative value to nature does not automatically lead to the conservation of biodiversity, and may in fact contribute to species loss and conflict.