Earth

Permafrost in the soil and methane hydrates deep in the ocean are large reservoirs of ancient carbon. As soil and ocean temperatures rise, the reservoirs have the potential to break down, releasing enormous quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane. But would this methane actually make it to the atmosphere?

Demonstrating an unprecedented degree of cognitive complexity in an insect, researchers report that bumblebees are capable of recognizing objects across senses. While cross-modal object recognition was previously thought to be a highly complex cognitive capacity capable by few animals outside humans, the results suggest that the bumblebee - with a brain with fewer than one million neurons - can create mental images of objects using information from multiple senses and form sophisticated mental representations of their surrounding world.

The atmospheric release of ancient stores of methane in thawing permafrost or from beneath Arctic ice may not impact future climate warming as strongly as previously believed, a new study finds. Rather, emissions of the greenhouse gas from current activities are more important for our immediate future. Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Currently, natural emissions account for nearly 40% of total CH4 emissions.

New York, NY--February 20, 2020--Two-dimensional materials from layered van der Waals (vdW) crystals hold great promise for electronic, optoelectronic, and quantum devices, but making/manufacturing them has been limited by the lack of high-throughput techniques for exfoliating single-crystal monolayers with sufficient size and high quality.

MIAMI--In several new studies, University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researcher Katharine Mach and colleagues explore the importance of learning and knowledge in environmental decision-making and the different ways in which scientific knowledge can become more relevant and useful for societies.

ITHACA, N.Y. - Cornell University researchers have found a new species of soil bacteria that is particularly adept at breaking down organic matter, including the cancer-causing chemicals that are released when coal, gas, oil and refuse are burned.

Dan Buckley, professor of microbial ecology and five other Cornell researchers, along with colleagues from Lycoming College, described the new bacterium in a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

A new study from UCLA professor of anthropology Brooke Scelza invites geneticists and sociologists to think more broadly about human fidelity and paternity.

The discovery of a new species of prehistoric reptile from Germany is reported this week in Scientific Reports. The anatomical features of the species, named Vellbergia bartholomaei, add to our understanding of the early evolution of lepidosauromorphs.

Lepidosauromorphs are one of the largest and most diverse tetrapod lineages with over 10,500 species. Ancestors to modern-day lizards, snakes and reptiles known as tuataras, lepidosauromorph specimens have only been found across a few Triassic sites and their early evolution remains largely unknown.

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 20th of February 2020. While the genome editing tool CRISPR/Cas9, developed in 2012, cuts a mutation out of a gene and replaces it with a gene-piece, a newer type of CRISPR, called base-editing, can repair a mutation without cutting the DNA. Therefore, genome editing using base-editor is considered safer. Scientists from the research groups of Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute) and Jeffrey Beekman (UMC Utrecht) show for the first time that this base-editing can safely cure cystic fibrosis in stem cells derived from patients.

A new to science species of land snail was discovered by a group of citizen scientists working together with scientists from Taxon Expeditions, a company that organises scientific field trips for teams consisting of both scientists and laypeople. Having conducted a vote on how to name the species, the expedition participants and the local staff of the National Park together decided to name the mollusc Craspedotropis gretathunbergae.

New surprising knowledge on endothelial cells in a dozen different murine tissues is now available in an open access, user-friendly, database for professionals. This is the result of a new ground-breaking research study, published in the journal Cell. A study that may help to explain why there are, for instance, more severe graft rejections of lung transplants compared to other organs.

Researchers led by Prof. WANG Feng at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have reported that photocatalytic decarboxylation is an efficient alternate pathway for converting biomass-derived fatty acids into alkanes under mild conditions of ambient temperature and pressure. This finding was published in Nature Catalysis on Feb. 19.

The precursor of our planet, the proto-Earth, formed within a time span of approximately five million years, shows a new study from the Centre for Star and Planet Formation (StarPlan) at the Globe Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

On an astronomical scale, this is extremely fast, the researchers explain.

If you compare the solar system's estimated 4.6 billion years of existence with a 24-hour period, the new results indicate that the proto-Earth formed in what corresponds to about a minute and a half.

AMHERST, Mass. ¬- In a new paper, climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution propose that massive amounts of melting sea ice in the Arctic drained into the North Atlantic and disrupted climate-steering currents, thus playing an important role in causing past abrupt climate change after the last Ice Age, from about 8,000 to 13,000 years ago. Details of how they tested this idea for the first time are online now in Geology.

Climate change, with more and more storms and heat waves, also has consequences for our energy supply. An international research team has now developed a new method for calculating how extreme weather affects energy systems.

Climate change is often described in terms of average temperature changes. But it is mainly extreme weather events, like cold snaps, autumn storms and summer heat waves, that have the greatest impact on the economy and society.