Earth

The ozone layer protects life on earth from high-energy radiation. In the 20th century, when excessive quantities of ozone-depleting chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons (e.g. CFCs) were released into the atmosphere, the ozone layer in the stratosphere - i.e. at altitudes of 15 to 50 km - thinned out globally. The Montreal Protocol introduced a ban on these long-lasting substances in 1989.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A novel research approach by Oregon State University has resulted in a key step toward better protecting the fisher, an important forest predator that findings show is the dominant small carnivore when present.

The study by OSU's Institute for Natural Resources focused on how three carnivores - ringtails, foxes, and fishers - affect each other's population numbers and colonization behavior. Findings were published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

A recent study published in the Journal of Mammalogy, at Oxford University Press, highlights that over 1000 new species of mammals have been described globally during the last dozen years, a finding that contradicts the notion that our mammalian relatives are well known. This rate of species discovery parallels that seen in global amphibians, and is driven by advances in DNA analysis methods and field exploration.

URBANA, Ill. - Deer infected with chronic wasting disease are doomed to a slow and certain death, eventually wasting away as they lose the ability to eat and drink. There is no cure and no vaccine, and the number of infected deer continues to rise every year. But University of Illinois scientists recently published a new study that could help explain the movement of the disease across the landscape.

Move over, lithium-ion; now, there's a better battery on the horizon.

A multi-institution team of scientists led by Texas A&M University chemist Sarbajit Banerjee has discovered an exceptional metal-oxide magnesium battery cathode material, moving researchers one step closer to delivering batteries that promise higher density of energy storage on top of transformative advances in safety, cost and performance in comparison to their ubiquitous lithium-ion (Li-ion) counterparts.

Tiny plastic particles also present a threat to creatures on land and may have damaging effects similar or even more problematic than in our oceans. Researchers from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and their Berlin colleagues warn: the impact of microplastics in soils, sediments and the freshwaters could have a long-term negative effect on terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world.

Perfluoalkyl substances (PFAS) is shorthand for a group of fluorinated compounds that have been used extensively in household products such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpeting and upholstery. They can also be found in things from clothing to adhesives, and even in some cosmetics. PFAS use is being phased out because they have been shown to target the immune system in humans and rodents.

Flowering plants likely originated between 149 and 256 million years ago according to new UCL-led research.

The study, published today in New Phytologist by researchers from the UK and China, shows that flowering plants are neither as old as suggested by previous molecular studies, nor as young as a literal interpretation of their fossil record.

Tropical Cyclone Cebile held onto its status as a major hurricane in the Southern Indian Ocean when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead.

On Feb. 2, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible-light image of Tropical Cyclone Cebile. The storm maintained its rounded appearance and visible eye.

Some of the smallest creatures on the planet -- zooplankton -- make the most widespread vertical migration of biomass on Earth. Billions of these animals move deeper into the ocean and away from the light during the day to avoid predators, and migrate up again in the dark of night to feed.