Earth

New research has revealed the fascinating adaptation of some Australian sea snakes that helps protect their vulnerable paddle-shaped tails from predators.

An international study led by the University of Adelaide shows that several species of Australian sea snakes can sense light on their tail skin, prompting them to withdraw their tails under shelter. The study has also produced new insights into the evolution and genetics of this rare light sense.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have used one of the most advanced microscopes in the world to reveal the structure of a large protein complex crucial to photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into cellular energy.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, will allow scientists to explore for the first time how the complex functions and could have implications for the production of a variety of bioproducts, including plastic alternatives and biofuels.

GOLDEN, Colorado (Feb. 13, 2019) -- Shape memory alloys are well known for their remarkable properties -- superelasticity, shape memory and actuation allow them to be crumpled up and then spring back to a "remembered" original shape.

But the advanced material remains drastically underutilized in commercial applications, uses that could include morphing the shape of airplane structures to make flight more efficient or deploying communication dishes and solar arrays in space.

Chickadees with better learning and memory skills, needed to find numerous food caches, are more likely to survive their first winter, a long-term study of mountain chickadees has found.

Identity formation is a major developmental task in adolescence but continues throughout adulthood. Significant individual differences, however, emerge. The long-term role of personal styles for predicting identity stability and change during midlife at ages 36, 42 and 50 was assessed in a longitudinal study of Finnish women and men.

A team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety in Griffin has developed a machine-learning approach that could lead to quicker identification of the animal source of certain Salmonella outbreaks.

In the research, published in the January 2019 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Xiangyu Deng and his colleagues used more than a thousand genomes to predict the animal sources, especially livestock, of Salmonella Typhimurium.

PUNTARENAS, COSTA RICA - A three week expedition off the coast of Costa Rica has just expanded our knowledge of deep sea ecosystems in the region. Led by Dr. Erik Cordes, Temple University, the scientists aboard research vessel Falkor surveyed the continental margin for seamounts and natural gas seeps, where specialized biological communities are found. The seamounts extending from the mainland to the Cocos Islands National Park provide an important corridor for the animals occupying the area.

Light pollution affects the skies over most of the world's key wildlife areas, new research shows.

The study, by the University of Exeter and Birdlife International, focussed on "skyglow" - light scattered and reflected into the atmosphere that can extend to great distances.

Researchers found less than a third of the world's Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) have completely pristine night skies, and more than half lie entirely under artificially bright skies.

Night-time light has been shown to have wide-ranging effects on individual species and entire ecosystems.

Deaths from heart disease have decreased in recent decades, but these decreases have not occurred in women younger than 50. A new review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) provides guidance for physicians to identify and manage premenopausal women at high risk of heart disease.

Most plants have developed mechanisms to prevent self-fertilization and its detrimental effects of inbreeding depression. Traits promoting selfing in plants have been approached mainly from the perspective of a loss of function, or even only considered as a by-product of non-adaptive evolutionary processes. However, the shift from cross-fertilization to selfing has been identified as one of the most frequent evolutionary transitions. Therefore, adaptive mechanisms actively promoting selfing should be usual in the plant kingdom, but, remarkably, they have not been frequently found.