Environment News

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 10:04

Species facing widespread and rapid environmental changes can sometimes evolve quickly enough to dodge the extinction bullet. Populations of disease-causing bacteria evolve, for example, as doctors flood their “environment,” the human body, with antibiotics. Insects, animals and plants can make evolutionary adaptations in response to pesticides, heavy metals and overfishing.

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 12:45

Infrasonic waves from the meteor that broke up over Russia’s Ural mountains last week were the largest ever recorded by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System. Infrasound is low frequency sound with a range of less than 10 Hz. The blast was detected by 17 infrasound stations in the CTBTO’s network, which tracks atomic blasts across the planet.  The furthest station to record the sub-audible sound was 15,000km away in Antarctica.

 

Monday, February 18, 2013 - 15:53

Huge quantities of algae are growing on the underside of sea ice in the Central Arctic: in 2012 the ice algae Melosira arctica was responsible for almost half the primary production in this area. When the ice melts, as was the case during the ice minimum in 2012, these algae sink rapidly to the bottom of the sea at a depth of several thousands of metres. Deep sea animals such as sea cucumbers and brittle stars feed on the algae, and bacteria metabolise what’s left, consuming the oxygen in the sea bed.

 

Monday, February 18, 2013 - 11:32

A research team led by ASU senior sustainability scientist Ann Kinzig argues for a novel approach to climate change alleviation: target public values and behavior.

 

Friday, February 15, 2013 - 10:09

Digesting lignin, a highly stable polymer that accounts for up to a third of biomass, is a limiting step to producing a variety of biofuels. Researchers at Brown have figured out the microscopic chemical switch that allows Streptomyces bacteria to get to work, breaking lignin down into its constituent parts.

 

Friday, February 15, 2013 - 10:00

In our ongoing quest for alternative energy sources, researchers are looking more to plants that grow in the wild for use in biofuels, plants such as switchgrass. However, attempts to “domesticate” wild-growing plants have a downside, as it could make the plants more susceptible to any number of plant viruses.