Earth

Global warming not fueling pine beetle outbreaks in western U.S.

Global warming not fueling pine beetle outbreaks in western U.S.

Warming winters have allowed mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the coldest areas of the western United States, but milder winters can't be blamed for the full extent of recent outbreaks in the region, a Dartmouth College and U.S. Forest Service study finds.

As high-tech products increase, metals face future supply risks

As high-tech products increase, metals face future supply risks

In a new paper, a team of Yale researchers assesses the "criticality" of all 62 metals on the Periodic Table of Elements, providing key insights into which materials might become more difficult to find in the coming decades, which ones will exact the highest environmental costs -- and which ones simply cannot be replaced as components of vital technologies.

Spring plankton bloom hitches a ride on ocean eddies

Spring plankton bloom hitches a ride on ocean eddies

Just as crocus and daffodil blossoms signal the start of a warmer season on land, a similar "greening" event--a massive bloom of microscopic plants, or phytoplankton--unfolds each spring in the North Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to the Arctic.

New lobster-like predator found in 508 million-year-old fossil-rich site

New lobster-like predator found in 508 million-year-old fossil-rich site

What do butterflies, spiders and lobsters have in common? They are all surviving relatives of a newly identified species called Yawunik kootenayi, a marine creature with two pairs of eyes and prominent grasping appendages that lived as much as 508 million years ago - more than 250 million years before the first dinosaur.

How immune cells facilitate the spread of breast cancer

The body's immune system fights disease, infections and even cancer, acting like foot soldiers to protect against invaders and dissenters. But it turns out the immune system has traitors amongst their ranks. Dr. Karin de Visser and her team at the Netherlands Cancer Institute discovered that certain immune cells are persuaded by breast tumors to facilitate the spread of cancer cells. Their findings are published advanced online on March 30 in the journal Nature.

Illegal cocoa farms threaten Ivory Coast primates

Researchers surveying for endangered primates in national parks and forest reserves of Ivory Coast found, to their surprise, that most of these protected areas had been turned into illegal cocoa farms, a new study reports.

The researchers surveyed 23 protected areas in the West African nation between 2010 and 2013 and found that about three-quarters of the land in them had been transformed into cocoa production.

The Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa beans, providing more than one-third of the world's supply. Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate.

Japan quake and tsunami spurred global warming and ozone loss

Buildings destroyed by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake released thousands of tons of climate-warming and ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere, according to a new study. New research suggests that the thousands of buildings destroyed and damaged during the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan four years ago released 6,600 metric tons (7,275 U.S. tons) of gases stored in insulation, appliances and other equipment into the atmosphere.

Hack photosynthesis, feed the world

Using high-performance computing and genetic engineering to boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields and feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in the journal Cell.

Recipe for antibacterial plastic: Plastic plus egg whites

Bioplastics made from protein sources such as albumin and whey have shown significant antibacterial properties, findings that could eventually lead to their use in plastics used in medical applications such as wound healing dressings, sutures, catheter tubes and drug delivery, according to a recent study by the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The bioplastic materials could also be used for food packaging.

Food kinetics: Color of lettuce linked to antioxidant effect

Antioxidants provide long-term protection against the chain reactions of free radical processes, in other words, of the molecules that are capable of causing cell damage and generating various diseases. Free radicals harm our body by causing, in the best of cases, ageing and, in the worse, serious diseases. Lettuce is rich in antioxidants, as it contains compounds like phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and vitamins A and C, among other things.

Green, semi-red and red leaves