Earth

To satisfy the protein demands of an anticipated nearly 10 billion people by 2050, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and researchers around the world estimate current animal production will need to grow by an average of 52 percent. Meeting this need without pushing the environment to the brink will be critical.

Irvine, Calif., April 27, 2018 - Climate models predict that an increase in greenhouse gases will dry out the Amazon rainforest in the future while causing wetter conditions in the woodlands of Africa and Indonesia. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions have identified an unexpected but major factor in this worldwide precipitation shift: the direct response of the forests themselves to higher levels of carbon dioxide.

Cocaine and other drugs of abuse hijack the natural reward circuits in the brain. In part, that's why it's so hard to quit using these substances. Moreover, relapse rates hover between 40 and 60 percent, similar to rates for other chronic conditions like hypertension and Type 1 diabetes.

The research group of Alex Schier, Director of the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has investigated more closely how a single embryonic cell develops into a heart, nerve or blood cell. For the first time, the researchers have been able to reconstruct the developmental trajectories of individual embryonic cells. Their results also suggest that cells can change their path during their maturation process. The results of the study with around 40,000 cells have now been published in Science.

The first study to spring from a Rice University-led 2013 international expedition to map the sea floor off the coast of Spain has revealed details about the evolution of the fault that separates the continental and oceanic plates.

A paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters by Rice graduate student Nur Schuba describes the internal structure of a large three-dimensional section of the Galicia, a non-volcanic passive margin between Europe and the Atlantic basin that shows no signs of past volcanic activity and where the crust is remarkably thin.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A new way of taking images in the mid-infrared part of the spectrum, developed by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, could enable a wide variety of applications, including thermal imaging, biomedical sensing, and free-space communication.

Little is known about the world's largest living fish, gentle giants reaching 12 meters (40 feet) in length. Researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and colleagues tracked a female whale shark from the eastern Pacific to the western Indo-Pacific for 20,142 kilometers (more than 12,000 miles), the longest whale shark migration route ever recorded.

Where do seabirds go when their nesting colony is buried by a volcano? In 2008, the eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutian archipelago provided a rare opportunity to track how the island's Crested and Least auklet populations responded when their nesting colony was abruptly destroyed. As a new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows, the birds were surprisingly adaptable, establishing a new colony on freshly created habitat nearby in only four years.

Today's shifting environmental conditions are creating an uncertain future for many top predators in marine ecosystems, but to protect the key habitat of a species, you first have to know where that habitat is and what threats might be affecting it. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications looks at where New Zealand's endangered Westland Petrel forages during its breeding season and shows that its range overlaps more with trawl fishing activity than conservationists realized.

By tracing the use of the word and hashtag 'shithole' on Twitter, researchers have examined who is engaged in the stigmatizing discourse of denigration, the types of place that are stigmatized, and the responses to stigmatized places.