Earth

HOUSTON -- (Jan. 29, 2019) -- In his free time last summer, Rice University geoscientist Ming Tang made a habit of comparing the niobium content in various rocks in a global minerals database. What he found was worth skipping a few nights out with friends.

In a paper published this month by Nature Communications, Tang, Rice petrologist Cin-Ty Lee and colleagues offered an answer to one of Earth science's fundamental questions: Where do continents form?

Antireflection (AR) coatings on plastics have a multitude of practical applications, including glare reduction on eyeglasses, computer monitors and the display on your smart-phone when outdoors. Now, researchers at Penn State have developed an AR coating that improves on existing coatings to the extent that it can make transparent plastics, such as Plexiglas, virtually invisible.

In the world's temperate regions, proximity to roads usually reduces the reproductive success of birds, thanks to predators that gravitate toward habitat edges. However, the factors affecting bird nest success are much less studied in the tropics--so does this pattern hold true? New research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that interactions between roads, nesting birds, and their predators may unfold differently in Southeast Asia.

A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that certain endangered owls may continue to persist and even flourish after large forest fires.

Throughout western North America, longer, hotter fire seasons and dense fuels are yielding more frequent, larger, and higher-severity wildfires. Spurred by climate change, megafires in the region are often characterized by unusually large, continuous patches of high-severity fire in mature forests.

An international team of researchers has performed molecular analysis on fossil feathers from a small, feathered dinosaur from the Jurassic. Their research could aid scientists in pinpointing when feathers evolved the capacity for flight during the dinosaur-bird transition.

Total release foggers, commonly known as "bug bombs," are ineffective at removing cockroaches from indoor environments, according to a new study from North Carolina State University.

Bug-bomb chemicals fail to reach places where cockroaches congregate the most - on the underside of surfaces and inside cabinets, NC State researchers say. Besides leaving behind numerous cockroaches, bug bombs also leave behind nasty toxic residue in the middle of floors and countertops, areas cockroaches generally avoid but which are heavily used by humans and pets.

Researchers at UT have discovered the largest individual of any cave salamander in North America, a 9.3-inch specimen of Berry Cave salamander. The finding was published in Subterranean Biology.

A species of frog endemic to the Pacific Northwest faces a 50 per cent increase in the probability of extinction by the 2080s due to climate change, according to a new study published by SFU researchers in the Ecological Society of America.

The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions, ranging from dozens of feet of snow in winter to temperatures in excess of 90°F in summer. Cascades frogs are explosive breeders and their role as predators of flying insects is critical to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Much like our fight-or-flight response, our cells also have a stress autopilot mode. An oxygen dropoff, overheating, or an invading toxin can trigger the cellular stress response - a cascade of molecular changes that are the cell's last-ditch effort to survive.

NEW YORK, January 24, 2019 - Solar rays are a plentiful, clean source of energy that is becoming increasingly important as the world works to shift away from power sources that contribute to global warming. But current methods of harvesting solar charges are expensive and inefficient--with a theoretical efficiency limit of 33 percent. New nanomaterials developed by researchers at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) could provide a pathway to more efficient and potentially affordable harvesting of solar energy.