Earth

Samples of sediment taken from the ocean floor of the North Atlantic Ocean have given researchers an unprecedented insight into the reasons why Europe's climate has changed over the past 3000 years.

From the warmer climates of Roman times when vineyards flourished in England and Wales to the colder conditions that led to crop failure, famine and pandemics in early medieval times, Europe's climate has varied over the past three millennia.

Excess carbon dioxide, emitted by burning fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, is one of the most important factors in driving global warming. While the world is focused on controlling global warming by limiting these emissions, less attention has been paid to the capacity of vegetation and soils to take up and store carbon.

The noise levels commuters are exposed to while using public transport or while biking, could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study published in the open access Journal of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. Efforts to control noise should focus on materials and equipment that provide a quieter environment, researchers at the University of Toronto suggest. Hearing protection while using public transport should also be promoted.

Although sutures and staples have been used for decades to close wounds or surgical incisions, both have their drawbacks: suturing can be time-consuming and can lead to extended and costly procedures, while staples are limited to use during open procedures and can cause tissue damage upon insertion, which can lead to infection. Additionally, neither offer a waterproof seal and are much stiffer than tissue, which can cause damage over time.

Trade of wild birds has dropped about 90% globally since the EU banned bird imports in 2005. A study published today in the recognized scientific journal Science Advances demonstrates how the EU's ban decreased the number of birds traded annually from about 1.3 million to 130.000. International trade of wild birds is a root cause of exotic birds spreading worldwide. The study was led by scientists from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen and CIBIO-InBIO Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto.

Aerial drone footage of bowhead whales in Canada's Arctic has revealed that the large mammals molt and use rocks to rub off dead skin.

The footage provides one answer to the mystery of why whales return to Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, every summer, and helps explain some unusual behavior that has been noted historically by Inuit and commercial whalers living and working in the area.

Berry curvature may not be the most well-known scientific concept, but to many physicists, its direct measurement is something akin to a holy grail.

A powerful unifying principle in several branches of classical and quantum physics, Berry curvature is a strange and elusive quantum mechanical property of solids. It governs the dynamics of the motion of charges in semiconductors yet itself cannot be directly measured.

If it could be, the resulting calculation could lead to new materials for quantum computing.

Using a newly developed technique, researchers from Japan, Germany and the U.S. have identified a key step in production of hydrogen gas by a bacterial enzyme. Understanding these reactions could be important in developing a clean-fuel economy powered by hydrogen.

The team studied hydrogenases - enzymes that catalyze production of hydrogen from two widely distributed organisms: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a single-cell algae and Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, a bacterium.

In both cases, their hydrogenase enzymes have an active site with two iron atoms.

A Japanese research group has revealed that elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have a particularly weakened ability to memorize human faces in the short term when compared to healthy elderly people. MCI patients also had a different gaze behavior when trying to memorize a face. This research may lead to the early detection of dementia.

A major study looking at changes in where UK birds have been found over the past 40 years has validated the latest climate change models being used to forecast impacts on birds and other animals.

Led by the University of Adelaide, in collaboration with an international team of researchers, the scientists compared forecasts from ecological models with observed changes to the bird populations - and found the latest models were working well.