Environment News

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 11:00

Nearly every body of water, from a puddle or a pond to a vast ocean, contains microscopic organisms that live attached to rocks, plants, and animals. These so-called sessile suspension feeders are critical to aquatic ecosystems and play an important role in cleaning up environmental contaminants by consuming bacteria. A study published by Cell Press on October 15 in the Biophysical Journal reveals that by actively changing the angle of their bodies relative to the surfaces, these feeders overcome the physical constraints presented by underwater surfaces, maximize their access to fresh, nutrient-rich water, and filter the surrounding water.

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 13:05

Blowing bubbles in the backyard is one thing and quite another when searching for oil. That distinction is at the root of new research by Rice University scientists who describe in greater detail than ever precisely how those bubbles form, evolve and act.

 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 10:27

The song of songbirds is a learned, complex behavior and subject to strong selective forces. However, it is difficult to tease apart the influence of the genetic background and the environment on the expression of individual variation in song. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen in collaboration with international researchers now compared song and brain structure of parents and offspring in zebra finches that have been raised either with their genetic or foster parents. They also varied the amount of food during breeding. Remarkably, both song and the underlying brain structure had a low heritability and were strongly influenced by environmental factors.

 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 09:19

University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial. The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make 'carbon nanotube membranes' ‒ highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations.

 

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 10:25

Earthworms are a welcomed sight in many gardens and yards since they can improve soil structure and mixing. But they are hard to find in the drier soils of eastern Colorado where water and organic matter is limited. Adding earthworms to fields where they are not currently found could help enhance the health and productivity of the soil. In areas where droughts are common, though, can earthworms survive? A new study suggests that they can.

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 11:13

A team of international climate scientists including University of Adelaide's Professor Tom Wigley has today reported further strong evidence of the human influence on climate change.