Earth

Life has been discovered in the barren depths of Rome's ancient tombs, proving catacombs are not just a resting place for the dead. The two new species of bacteria found growing on the walls of the Roman tombs may help protect our cultural heritage monuments, according to research published in the September issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

A little-used grain-drying technique can help farmers control energy costs, according to an Ohio State University agricultural engineer.

Robert Hansen, of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, is reacquainting farmers with natural-air grain drying, a low-energy system that typically results in higher grain quality. In some circumstances, the technique has the potential to cut energy costs by as much as two-thirds, compared to more commonly used high-temperature drying systems.

Pine bark beetles appear to be doing more than killing large swaths of forests in the Rocky Mountains. Scientists suspect they are also altering local weather patterns and air quality.

A new international field project, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., is exploring how trees and other vegetation influence rainfall, temperatures, smog and other aspects of the atmosphere.

BOULDER--Mountain pine beetles appear to be doing more than killing large swaths of forests in the Rocky Mountains. Scientists suspect they are also altering local weather patterns and air quality.

Dessau. Extreme flood events in floodplain grasslands affect carabid beetles and molluscs more than plants. This is the finding of a study by biologists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), TU Berlin, the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), ÖKON Kallmünz and the ILN Bühl, following several years of observations before and after the Elbe floods of August 2002. Flow variations are known to be most important drivers in structuring riverine communities.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – River floods and storms that send water surging through swamps and marshes near rivers and coastal areas might cut in half the average greenhouse gas emissions from those affected wetlands, according to recent research at Ohio State University.

A study suggests that pulses of water through wetlands result in lower average emissions of greenhouse gases over the course of the year compared to the emissions from wetlands that receive a steady flow of water.

Scientists at the University of York have discovered a 'Chemical Equator' that divides the polluted air of the Northern Hemisphere from the largely uncontaminated atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere.

Researchers from the University's Department of Chemistry found evidence for an atmospheric chemical equator around 50 km wide in cloudless skies in the Western Pacific. Their findings show for the first time that the chemical and meteorological boundaries between the two air masses are not necessarily the same.

Amsterdam, September 23, 2008 – Ammonia emissions from seabirds have been shown to be a significant source of nitrogen in remote coastal ecosystems, contributing to nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) and acidification in ecosystems. While most ammonia emissions originate from domesticated animals such as poultry and pigs, seabirds are the most significant emitters of ammonia to the atmosphere in remote regions.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Two species of giraffe, several rhinos and five elephant relatives, along with multitudes of rodents, bush pigs, horses, antelope and apes, once inhabited what is now northern Pakistan.

But when climate shifted dramatically there some 8 million years ago, precipitating a major change in vegetation, most species became locally extinct rather than adapting to the new ecosystem, according to an extensive, long-term study of mammal fossils spanning a 5-million-year period.

Stanford, CA—How much carbon dioxide is too much? According to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) greenhouse gases in the atmosphere need to be stabilized at levels low enough to "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." But scientists have come to realize that an even more acute danger than climate change is lurking in the world's oceans—one that is likely to be triggered by CO2 levels that are modest by climate standards.