Earth

WASHINGTON -- A team of NASA and university scientists has achieved the first definitive detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. This discovery indicates the planet is either biologically or geologically active.

Research published today reveals the major influence of fish on maintaining the delicate pH balance of our oceans, vital for the health of coral reefs and other marine life.

The discovery, made by a team of scientists from the UK, US and Canada, could help solve a mystery that has puzzled marine chemists for decades. Published today (16 January 2009) in Science, the study provides new insights into the marine carbon cycle, which is undergoing rapid change as a result of global CO2 emissions.

Are there really plenty of fish in the sea? University of British Columbia fisheries researcher Villy Christensen gives the first-ever estimate of total fish biomass in our oceans: Two billion tonnes.

And fish play a previously unrecognized but significant role in mitigating climate change by maintaining the delicate pH balance of the oceans, according to a study published in tomorrow's edition of the journal Science, co-authored by Christensen and a team of international scientists.

TORONTO, ON – University of Toronto quantum physicists Jeff Lundeen and Aephraim Steinberg have shown that Hardy's paradox, a proposal that has confounded physicists for over a decade, can be confirmed and ultimately resolved, a task which had seemingly been impossible to perform.

Recent sequence stratigraphy, facies distribution, and tectonic study of 92 remnant basins in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau reveals the Cenozoic evolutionary history of the plateau. During the Paleocene-Eocene (65-34 million years BP), the southern Tibet and the Yecheng area in Xinjiang were parts of the Neo-Tethys remnant sea where coastal plain fluvial facies dominated the hinterland of the plateau. The Sunpa-Ganzi and eastern Tibet uplifting zone shrank easterly, and tectonic uplifting took place primarily along the Bangor and the Kunlun- Altyn Tagh zone on the NE margin of the plateau.

University of Oklahoma researchers believe newer, more environmentally friendly fuels produced from biomass could create alternative energy solutions and alleviate dependence on foreign oil without requiring changes to current fuel infrastructure systems. According to Lance Lobban, director of the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, the development of "green" fuels is an important part of the world's, and Oklahoma's, energy future.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The job of one University of Missouri researcher could chill to the bone, but his research could make weather predicting more accurate. Patrick Market, associate professor of atmospheric science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is chasing storms in the dead of winter in order to release weather balloons that will produce data about the little-known phenomenon of thundersnow.

"One of the things we don't understand is how the cloud becomes electrified," Market said. "We hope to determine how the atmosphere is becoming unstable."

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – January 13, 2009 – The water level in the Great Lakes has varied by only about two meters during the last century, helping them to play a vital role in the region's shipping, fishing, recreation and power generation industries.

But new evidence by scientists from the University of Rhode Island and colleagues in the U.S. and Canada, published last month in the journal Eos, indicates that the water level in the lake system is highly sensitive to climate changes.

Auburn, AL – U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Ecologist Jim Miller, Ph.D., one of the foremost authorities on nonnative plants in the South, today identified the invasive plant species he believes pose the biggest threats to southern forest ecosystems in 2009.

Stanford, CA— Human impact on tropical forest ecosystems has reached a "tsunami" stage, say scientists, and will require a new generation of sophisticated remote-sensing technology to monitor the changes. Speaking at a January 12, 2009 symposium "Will the Rainforests Survive?