Earth

Good news: Animal species in today's oceans most diverse ever

One of the most frustrating claims by people raising money promoting an environmental apocalypse has been that species are about to go extinct or diversity will be lost. It leads to rampant distrust in science because advocates know if their side is spinning facts to suit an agenda, the science side might be too.

There are thriving wildlife populations in Chernobyl

There are thriving wildlife populations in Chernobyl

A team of international researchers, including James Beasley, assistant professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Warnell School Forestry and Natural Resources, has discovered abundant populations of wildlife at Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear accident that released radioactive particles into the environment and forced a massive evacuation of the human population.

Hawaiian fruit flies had multiple ancestors

Hawaiian fruit flies had multiple ancestors

Like African cichlids and the Darwin finches found on the Galapagos Islands, Hawaiian drosophilids are a striking example of a single lineage diversifying by adapting to a wide variety of environments. The Hawaiian drosophilids are broadly divided into two main groups: the Hawaii-endemic genus Idiomyia and the Scaptomyza genus. About 60 percent of Scaptomyza species are unique to the Hawaiian Islands, with the other 40 percent distributed around the world.

The Alps are growing

The Alps are growing

The Alps are steadily "growing" by about one to two millimeters per year. Likewise, the formerly glaciated subcontinents of North America and Scandinavia are also undergoing constant upward movement.

Formaldehyde formed during chemical breakdown of the flavored liquid in E-cigarettes

Atmospheric scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) have turned their attention toward the growing e-cigarette industry and found that toxic aldehydes, such as formaldehyde, are formed during the chemical breakdown of the flavored e-liquid during the rapid heating process (pyrolysis) that occurs inside e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Swimming lizards of the Antarctic seas

Swimming lizards of the Antarctic seas

Kaikaifilu is a new species of giant sea lizard (mosasaur) discovered in 66 million year-old rocks of Antarctica. At about 10 m long, it is the largest known top marine predator from this continent. It lived near the end of the dinosaur age, when Antarctica was a much warmer ecosystem, and fed on filter-feeding marine reptiles.

Evolution from single-celled ancestors to multi-celled organisms, now with less drama

Evolution from single-celled ancestors to multi-celled organisms, now with less drama

The first animals evolved from their single-celled ancestors around 800 million years ago, but a new paper suggests that this leap was a lot less dramatic than scientists have assumed, because the single-celled ancestor of animals likely already had some of the mechanisms that animal cells use today to develop into different tissue types.

Plastic: There's value in marine waste

Plastic: There's value in marine waste

The Biomat research group of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is using marine waste on the Basque coast (squid, fish and algae waste) to obtain new materials. This line of research is offering a fresh take on plastics aligned with the principles of the circular economy, which is based on preserving and improving natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing the flows of renewable resources.

Single-celled fungi multiply, alien-like, by fusing cells in host

Microsporidia cause diarrhea, an illness called microsporidiosis and even death in immune-compromised individuals.

In spite of those widespread medical problems, scientists were uncertain about how these single-celled fungi reproduced in human or animal cells.

But in a study that employed transparent roundworms, biologists at the University of California San Diego succeeded in directly observing how these microorganisms replicate and spread. And what they saw surprised them.

Wetlands and agriculture, not fossil fuels, behind the global rise in methane

A new paper shows that recent rises in levels of methane in our atmosphere is being driven by biological sources, such as swamp gas, cow burps, or rice fields, rather than fossil fuel emissions.

Atmospheric methane is a major greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Its levels have been growing strongly since 2007, and in 2014 the growth rate of methane in the atmosphere was double that of previous years, largely driven by biological sources as opposed to fossil fuel emissions.

Conventional wisdom refuted