Earth

Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits

Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits

When the conversation turns to the weather and the climate, most people's thoughts naturally drift upward toward the clouds, but Jessica Oster's sink down into the subterranean world of stalactites and stalagmites.

That is because the assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University is a member of a small group of earth scientists who are pioneering in the use of mineral cave deposits, collectively known as speleothems, as proxies for the prehistoric climate.

Tara Oceans expedition yields treasure trove of plankton data

Tara Oceans expedition yields treasure trove of plankton data

When you mention rich ecosystems that are vital for life on Earth, people tend to think of rainforests, but ocean plankton are actually just as crucial. The microscopic beings that drift on the upper layer of the oceans are globally referred to as "plankton"; together they produce half of our oxygen, act as carbon sinks, influence our weather, and serve as the base of the ocean food web that sustains the larger fish and marine mammals that we depend upon or draw delight from.

How a GM crop can have diminishing success at fighting off insect pest - field study

How a GM crop can have diminishing success at fighting off insect pest - field study

A new study from North Carolina State University and Clemson University finds the toxin in a widely used genetically modified (GM) crop is having little impact on the crop pest corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) - which is consistent with predictions made almost 20 years ago that were largely ignored. The study may be a signal to pay closer attention to warning signs about the development of resistance in agricultural pests to GM crops.

Phages transducing antibiotic resistance detected in chicken meat

Phages transducing antibiotic resistance detected in chicken meat

Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are on the rise. There are different explanations for how resistances are transferred. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna found phages in chicken meat that are able to transfer antimicrobial resistance to bacteria. Phages are viruses that exclusively infect bacteria. They can contribute to the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The findings may also be relevant for clinical settings. The study was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

How forests can effect our climate

A global-scale study has estimated how forest emitted compounds affecting cloud seeds via formation of low-volatility vapours. According to the latest projections, terrestrial vegetation emits several million tons of extremely low-volatility organic compounds (ELVOCs) per year to the atmosphere.

Savannahs slow climate change

Tropical rainforests have long been considered the Earth's lungs, sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby slowing down the increasing greenhouse effect and associated human-made climate change. Scientists in a global research project now show that the vast extensions of semi-arid landscapes occupying the transition zone between rainforest and desert dominate the ongoing increase in carbon sequestration by ecosystems globally, as well as large fluctuations between wet and dry years. This is a major rearrangement of planetary functions.

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

Aitana Lertxundi has conducted her research work within the framework of the INma (Childhood and Environment) programme led by Jesús Ibarluzea of the Department of Health of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community (region). The aim is to assess how exposure to environmental pollution during pregnancy affects health and also to examine the role of diet in physical and neurobehavioural development in infancy. Lertxundi's study focusses on the repercussions on motor and mental development during the first years of life caused by exposure to the PM2.5 and NO2 atmospheric pollutants.

Study uses farm data to aid in slowing evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds

The widespread evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds is costing farmers, especially through decreases in productivity and profitability. Although researchers and industry personnel have made recommendations to slow this evolution, an understanding of the patterns and causes of the resistance has been limited.

Walleye pollock pollock numbers in Alaska look good

Shelikof Strait, in the Gulf of Alaska, is an important spawning area for walleye pollock, the target of the largest--and one of the most valuable--fisheries in the nation. This year, a team of NOAA Fisheries scientists went there to turn their usual view of the fishery upside-down.

New music strategy shows 70 percent increase in exercise adherence

The use of personalized music playlists with tempo-pace synchronization increases adherence to cardiac rehab by almost 70 per cent--according to a study published in Sports Medicine -Open.

"Cardiac rehab has been proven to improve long-term survival for someone who's had a heart event by 20 per cent," said Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network, and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. "Our challenge is there is a high drop-out rate for these programs and suboptimal adherence to the self-management of physical activity."