Earth

Every galaxy harbours a supermassive black hole at its center. A new computer model now shows how these gravity monsters influence the large-scale structure of our universe. The research team includes scientists from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), Heidelberg University, the Max-Planck-Institutes for Astronomy (MPIA, Heidelberg) and for Astrophysics (MPA, Garching), US universities Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as the Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York.

As more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, the global ocean soaks up much of the excess, storing roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions coming from human activities.

In this sense, the ocean has acted as a buffer to slow down the greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere and, thus, global warming. However, this process also increases the acidity of seawater and can affect the health of marine organisms and the ocean ecosystem.

In a new report by the European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC), senior scientists from across Europe have evaluated the potential contribution of negative emission technologies (NETs) to allow humanity to meet the Paris Agreement's targets of avoiding dangerous climate change.

Although it's been a tough winter for many people in the U.S., summer is coming. And that means backyard barbeques, fun on the beach and, of course, slathering on sunscreen. But one particular environmentally friendly sunscreen ingredient has been difficult to obtain -- that ingredient, shinorine, could only be harvested from nature. Scientists now report in ACS Synthetic Biology the laboratory production of that compound.

Covering only 3 % of Earth's total land area, four overlapping biodiversity hotspots in South East China - Indo-Burma, Philippines, Sundaland and Wallacea - are estimated to be the home of the astonishing 20 to 25 % of higher plant species in the area.

Sea urchin is a delicacy in Asia, South America, Europe, and increasingly in California, where the uniquely flavored roe, or uni, is used in sushi, gourmet cuisine, and products such as sauces and flavorings. But the urchin species currently harvested off the California coast are vulnerable to increased water temperatures and ocean acidification.

When it comes to sex, frogs, just like in people, exhibit a similar XX (female) and XY (male) sex chromosome pattern of inheritance.

In humans, while the X chromosome maintains a large number of genes similar to all the other non-sex chromosomes, the poor male-associated Y has been shriveling up over eons of time. In frogs however, the Y shows no sign of degeneration, looking just like the X chromosome.

But what keeps this Y chromosome from degeneration?

Salmon from the chalk streams of southern England are genetically unique, researchers have discovered.

The fish are classified as Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), but research by the University of Exeter and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust shows their genes are distinctly different from others of the species.

The researchers studied five chalk streams in Hampshire and Dorset - habitats they said were under "massive pressure" from human activity.

Classifying chalk-stream salmon as a separate sub-species could make it easier to protect them.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Cebile it measured cloud top temperatures and saw its eye circled by an impressive ring of powerful thunderstorms just before it went through eyewall replacement.

Agriculture has a considerable influence on the distribution and prevalence of plant viruses in the environment. In cultivated areas, viral infections are significantly more frequent than in natural areas. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by a team of international scientists in the Camargue (France) and in the Western Cape regions (South Africa), the results of which were published in January in The ISME Journal.