Friday, December 31, 2010

Growing Atlantic dead zone shrinks habitat for Species

A dead zone off the coast of West Africa is reducing the amount of available habitat for Atlantic tuna and billfish species, reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a study published in Fisheries Oceanography. The zone is growing due to rising water temperatures and is expected to cause over-harvest of tuna and billfish as the fish seek higher levels of oxygen in areas with greater fisheries activity.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

NASA project for irrigation management

To support irrigation management decisions by agricultural producers, NASA has launched a project that uses the Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS), a software application that processes imagery from Earth-observing satellites and delivers new sources of information to California growers.

TOPS combines data from NASA satellites, with local weather observations to provide information about crop water needs. The project is an example of NASA’s efforts to address needs outside the science community, such as water management in California and the western US.
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Animal trafficking flourishes in Brazil



Discovered in Israel, the finding challenges conventional wisdom that Homo sapiens originated in Africa.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Environmental Limit Species Diversity

 New research on lizards in the Caribbean demonstrates that species diversification is limited by the environment. The finding supports and extends the MacArthur-Wilson theory of island biogeography.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New species in Peru

Each year, a new bird is found and every four years a new mammal discovered in the Peruvian Amazon, a haven for biodiversity where conservation and danger often go hand in hand.Skip related content
Although Peru is known for its Andes mountain range, the Amazon actually covers 60 percent of the country's territory. It is a hotbed of bio-activity and is home to 25,000 species of plants -- 10 percent of the world's stock.
Thanks to the Amazon, Peru has the world's second-largest bird population (1,800 species) and is among the top five countries for mammals (515 species) and reptiles (418 species).
This year alone, scientists stumbled upon a previously unknown leech and a new type of mosquito.
The animal population has grown in recent years, namely adding a mini poison dart frog with a fire-red head and blue legs (Ranitomeya amazonica), a purple-throated Sunangel hummingbird (Heliangelus viola) and a "tyrannosaurus leech" with eight teeth (Tyrannobdella reina).
More than 1,200 new species of plants or animals have been discovered in 10 years in the Amazon, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature. But paradoxically, the novel species are often discovered during the very activities that threaten the Amazon the most.Peru, home to one of the biggest forest lands -- 700,000 square kilometers (270,270 square miles) -- is also a magnet for resource extraction.
Gerard Herail of France's IRD research and development institute in Lima noted that "a mining or hydrocarbons firm is not innately destructive. The key is whether or not it is 'clean'," or uses cleaner methods and technologies.
More species are disappearing than are being discovered around the world, noted Ernesto Raez, who heads the Sustainable Development Center at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard causes air travel havoc

The first widespread blizzard of the season slammed the northeastern United States on the heavily traveled Christmas weekend on Sunday, canceling more than 1,500 flights, shutting the Amtrak passenger rail and challenging motorists on icy roads. The Atlantic storm unleashed powerful winds as it moved up the coast, dumping a foot of sideways-blowing snow on some areas with more expected up to the morning commute on Monday. Massachusetts and Maine declared states of emergency with only essential workers asked to work in Boston.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Undersea Quake caused small tsunami in south Pacific

An undersea earthquake on Saturday caused a minor tsunami in the South Pacific but islanders said there were no reports of large-scale fluctuations in sea level or of damage or injuries.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Fossil link to unknown human group

A 30,000-year-old fossil finger bone found in a Siberian cave belonged to a previously unknown strain of human, scientists say.Skip related content
The surprising discovery came after researchers analysed unusually well-preserved DNA from the bone.
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Growth Delaying Hormone Increases Longevity

 A compound which acts in the opposite way as growth hormone can reverse some of the signs of aging, a research team that includes a Saint Louis University physician has shown. The finding may be counter-intuitive to some older adults who take growth hormone, thinking it will help revitalize them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Component in Common Dairy Foods May Cut Diabetes Risk

Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and collaborators from other institutions have identified a natural substance in dairy fat that may substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The compound, trans-palmitoleic acid, is a fatty acid found in milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. It is not produced by the body and so only comes from the diet.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Three Billion-Year-Old Genomic Fossils Deciphered

About 580 million years ago, life on Earth began a rapid period of change called the Cambrian Explosion, a period defined by the birth of new life forms over many millions of years that ultimately helped bring about the modern diversity of animals. Fossils help palaeontologists chronicle the evolution of life since then, but drawing a picture of life during the 3 billion years that preceded the Cambrian Period is challenging, because the soft-bodied Precambrian cells rarely left fossil imprints. However, those early life forms did leave behind one abundant microscopic fossil: DNA.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sweden permits new wolf hunt despite criticism

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said that between January 15 and February 15 licensed hunters will be permitted to shoot 20 wolves, down from the quota of 27 animals this year.
The Swedish parliament decided last year to limit the wolf population to 210 animals, spread out in 20 packs, with 20 new pups per year, for a period of five years by issuing hunting permits in regions where wolves have recently reproduced.
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Cyclone Lasting More Than Five Years Is Detected on Saturn

Researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have been monitoring a cyclone on Saturn for more than five years. This makes it the longest-lasting cyclone detected to date on any of the giant planets of the Solar System. Images from the Cassini probe were used to carry out this study.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Almonds May Lower Risks of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

A new study from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey suggests that an almond-enriched diet can improve insulin sensitivity and lower LDL-cholesterol levels for people with prediabetes.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

City Lights Affects Air Pollution

Excess light at night can contribute to air pollution, according to a study by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. Findings presented at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Monday indicate that uplight from outdoor lighting that contributes to sky glow over cities also interferes with chemical reactions that naturally clean the air during nighttime hours.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Type 1 Diabetes:Can you Grow Your Own Transplant?

Men with type 1 diabetes may be able to grow their own insulin-producing cells from their testicular tissue, say Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers who presented their findings Dec. 12 at the American Society of Cell Biology 50th annual meeting in Philadelphia.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Greenland Ice Sheet Flow Driven by Short-Term Weather Extremes

The ice sheet consists of layers of compressed snow and covers roughly 80 per cent of the surface of Greenland. Since the 1990s, it has been documented to be losing approximately 100 billion tonnes of ice per year -- a process that most scientists agree is accelerating, but has been poorly understood. Some of the loss has been attributed to accelerated glacier flow towards ocean outlets.Now a new study, published in the journal Nature, shows that a steady meltwater supply from gradual warming may in fact slow down glacier flow, while sudden water input could cause glaciers to speed up and spread, resulting in increased melt....
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