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Obama’s science legacy: uneven progress on scientific integrity

Nature - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 00:00

Obama’s science legacy: uneven progress on scientific integrity

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/536386b

Author: Richard Monastersky

US agencies have adopted stronger policies but have not always followed them.

Categories: Literature

Obama’s science legacy: climate (policy) hots up

Nature - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 00:00

Obama’s science legacy: climate (policy) hots up

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/536387a

Author: Jeff Tollefson

President sidesteps Congress to curb US greenhouse-gas emissions.

Categories: Literature

Expand the frontiers of urban sustainability

Nature - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 00:00

Expand the frontiers of urban sustainability

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). doi:10.1038/536391a

Authors: David Wachsmuth, Daniel Aldana Cohen & Hillary Angelo

Social equity and global impacts are missing from measures of cities' environmental friendliness, write David Wachsmuth, Daniel Aldana Cohen and Hillary Angelo.

Categories: Literature

For China’s Massive Data Centers, A Push to Cut Energy and Water Use

Yale Environment 360 - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 07:45

China’s 1.37 billion people, many of them fully connected to the Internet, use an enormous amount of energy as they email, search the Web, or stream video.

Solar panels atop a green data center in Hangzhou. Indeed, the Chinese government estimates that the country’s data centers alone consume more electricity than all of Hungary and Greece combined. But as Chinese technology and internet businesses look to burnish their environmental credentials and lower costs of operation, many are working to run their massive computing facilities more sustainably. Globally, tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are making rapid progress in this field, as they boost energy efficiency at data centers and seek to completely power their operations using renewable energy.
Read more.

Categories: Environmental News

Obama’s science legacy: betting big on biomedical science

Nature - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 00:00

Obama’s science legacy: betting big on biomedical science

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/536385a

Author: Heidi Ledford

Ambitious bids to map the brain and cure cancer have not boosted overall research funding.

Categories: Literature

Obama’s science legacy: a space race stalls

Nature - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 00:00

Obama’s science legacy: a space race stalls

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/536386a

Author: Alexandra Witze

A crewed trip to Mars is still decades away.

Categories: Literature

Scientists Find 1,075-Year-Old Tree in Northern Greece, Europe’s Oldest

Yale Environment 360 - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:39

Scientists have discovered the oldest known living tree in Europe, dating it at more than 1,075 years old. The Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) — a densely branched, slow-growing tree —

Europe's oldest tree, a Bosnian pine, in Greece. was found in northern Greece, high in the Pindus Mountains. A team of Swedish, German, and U.S. scientists extracted a core of the tree’s one-meter thick trunk, and counted the rings that mark its annual growth—a dating technique known as dendrochronology. They found the tree started its life in 941. "I am impressed, in the context of Western civilization, all the human history that has surrounded this tree, all the empires – the Byzantine, the Ottoman – all the people living in this region,” said University of Stockholm dendrochronologist Paul Krusic, who led the research. “So many things could have led to its demise. Fortunately, this forest has been basically untouched for over a thousand years."

Categories: Environmental News

China, Japan, CERN: Who will host the next LHC?

Nature - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 00:00

China, Japan, CERN: Who will host the next LHC?

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.20453

Author: Elizabeth Gibney

Labs are vying to build ever-bigger colliders against a backdrop of uncertainty about how particle physicists will make the next big discoveries.

Categories: Literature

Urine From Large Fish Critical To Reef Health—And Fishing Is Reducing It

Yale Environment 360 - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 11:07

Studies have shown that large fish such as grouper, snapper, and barracuda release key nutrients essential for healthy coral reefs through their urine and body tissue.

A barracuda swims along a Caribbean coral reef. Now, new research in Nature Communications has found that in areas where fishing occurs, nearly half of these nutrients are missing from the reefs, threatening their well-being. The study was conducted by four U.S. scientists, who surveyed 143 fish species at 110 sites across 43 Caribbean coral reefs, with varying levels of fishing activity, from marine preserves where anglers are banned to heavily fished reefs. “This study is useful to understand alternative ways fishing is affecting coral reef ecosystems,” said Jacob Allgeier, an ecologist at the University of Washington and lead author of the new study. “Simply stated, fish biomass in coral reefs is being reduced by fishing pressure. If biomass is shrinking, there are fewer fish to pee.”

Categories: Environmental News

The Dungeness Crab Faces Uncertain Future on West Coast

Yale Environment 360 - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:44

The winner of the 2016 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest explores how ocean acidification may be putting at risk a prized crustacean that is vital to the fishing industry and the marine ecosystem on the U.S. Pacific Coast.

Categories: Environmental News

NASA Graphic Shows Severity of Rainstorm That Caused Louisiana Flooding

Yale Environment 360 - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 11:33

A new graphic created by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency illustrates the severity of a recent rainstorm that caused widespread flooding in Louisiana this week,

Rainfall totals in the southeastern U.S. killing 11 people and forcing tens of thousands of residents from their homes. As much as 31 inches of rain fell in the southeastern U.S., much of it over a period of just three days, in what forecasters classified a 500-year storm event. An international team of scientists called the flooding “a classic signal of climate change,” and warned that heavy rain events are becoming more frequent as the oceans and atmosphere warm up, feeding more moisture-laden storm systems. The New York Times reports that five others states have experienced deadly flooding in the last 15 months, including Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina.

Categories: Environmental News

Plant and animal DNA suggests first Americans took the coastal route

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 03:00

Plant and animal DNA suggests first Americans took the coastal route

Nature 536, 7615 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/536138a

Author: Ewen Callaway

Life came to ice-free Canadian corridor too late to sustain migrations of Clovis and pre-Clovis people.

Categories: Literature

US personalized-medicine industry takes hit from Supreme Court

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

US personalized-medicine industry takes hit from Supreme Court

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.20436

Author: Heidi Ledford

Recent decisions seem to drive spike in patent rejections.

Categories: Literature

Uncovering Earth’s virome

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

Uncovering Earth’s virome

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature19094

Authors: David Paez-Espino, Emiley A. Eloe-Fadrosh, Georgios A. Pavlopoulos, Alex D. Thomas, Marcel Huntemann, Natalia Mikhailova, Edward Rubin, Natalia N. Ivanova & Nikos C. Kyrpides

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth, but challenges in detecting, isolating, and classifying unknown viruses have prevented exhaustive surveys of the global virome. Here we analysed over 5 Tb of metagenomic sequence data from 3,042 geographically diverse samples to assess the global

Categories: Literature

Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature19092

Authors: Santiago Soliveres, Fons van der Plas, Peter Manning, Daniel Prati, Martin M. Gossner, Swen C. Renner, Fabian Alt, Hartmut Arndt, Vanessa Baumgartner, Julia Binkenstein, Klaus Birkhofer, Stefan Blaser, Nico Blüthgen, Steffen Boch, Stefan Böhm, Carmen Börschig, Francois Buscot, Tim Diekötter, Johannes Heinze, Norbert Hölzel, Kirsten Jung, Valentin H. Klaus, Till Kleinebecker, Sandra Klemmer, Jochen Krauss, Markus Lange, E. Kathryn Morris, Jörg Müller, Yvonne Oelmann, Jörg Overmann, Esther Pašalić, Matthias C. Rillig, H. Martin Schaefer, Michael Schloter, Barbara Schmitt, Ingo Schöning, Marion Schrumpf, Johannes Sikorski, Stephanie A. Socher, Emily F. Solly, Ilja Sonnemann, Elisabeth Sorkau, Juliane Steckel, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Barbara Stempfhuber, Marco Tschapka, Manfred Türke, Paul C. Venter, Christiane N. Weiner, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Michael Werner, Catrin Westphal, Wolfgang Wilcke, Volkmar Wolters, Tesfaye Wubet, Susanne Wurst, Markus Fischer & Eric Allan

Many experiments have shown that loss of biodiversity reduces the capacity of ecosystems to provide the multiple services on which humans depend. However, experiments necessarily simplify the complexity of natural ecosystems and will normally control for other important drivers of ecosystem functioning, such as the environment or land use. In addition, existing studies typically focus on the diversity of single trophic groups, neglecting the fact that biodiversity loss occurs across many taxa and that the functional effects of any trophic group may depend on the abundance and diversity of others. Here we report analysis of the relationships between the species richness and abundance of nine trophic groups, including 4,600 above- and below-ground taxa, and 14 ecosystem services and functions and with their simultaneous provision (or multifunctionality) in 150 grasslands. We show that high species richness in multiple trophic groups (multitrophic richness) had stronger positive effects on ecosystem services than richness in any individual trophic group; this includes plant species richness, the most widely used measure of biodiversity. On average, three trophic groups influenced each ecosystem service, with each trophic group influencing at least one service. Multitrophic richness was particularly beneficial for ‘regulating’ and ‘cultural’ services, and for multifunctionality, whereas a change in the total abundance of species or biomass in multiple trophic groups (the multitrophic abundance) positively affected supporting services. Multitrophic richness and abundance drove ecosystem functioning as strongly as abiotic conditions and land-use intensity, extending previous experimental results to real-world ecosystems. Primary producers, herbivorous insects and microbial decomposers seem to be particularly important drivers of ecosystem functioning, as shown by the strong and frequent positive associations of their richness or abundance with multiple ecosystem services. Our results show that multitrophic richness and abundance support ecosystem functioning, and demonstrate that a focus on single groups has led to researchers to greatly underestimate the functional importance of biodiversity.

Categories: Literature

The TRPM2 ion channel is required for sensitivity to warmth

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

The TRPM2 ion channel is required for sensitivity to warmth

Nature 536, 7617 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature19074

Authors: Chun-Hsiang Tan & Peter A. McNaughton

Thermally activated ion channels are known to detect the entire thermal range from extreme heat (TRPV2), painful heat (TRPV1, TRPM3 and ANO1), non-painful warmth (TRPV3 and TRPV4) and non-painful coolness (TRPM8) through to painful cold (TRPA1). Genetic deletion of each of these ion channels,

Categories: Literature

ExAC project pins down rare gene variants

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

ExAC project pins down rare gene variants

Nature 536, 7616 (2016). doi:10.1038/536249a

Catalogue of genetic information from some 60,000 people reveals unexpected surprises — and highlights the need to make genomic data publicly accessible to aid studies of rare diseases.

Categories: Literature

CRISPR helps evo-devo scientists to unpick the origins of adaptions

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

CRISPR helps evo-devo scientists to unpick the origins of adaptions

Nature 536, 7616 (2016). doi:10.1038/536249b

Modern gene-editing tools are being used to understand the mechanisms of evolution.

Categories: Literature

Define the Anthropocene in terms of the whole Earth

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

Define the Anthropocene in terms of the whole Earth

Nature 536, 7616 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/536251a

Author: Clive Hamilton

Researchers must consider human impacts on entire Earth systems and not get trapped in discipline-specific definitions, says Clive Hamilton.

Categories: Literature

Climate change: Warming drives down lake life

Nature - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 00:00

Climate change: Warming drives down lake life

Nature 536, 7616 (2016). doi:10.1038/536252a

Rising temperatures have lowered fish numbers in one of Africa's great lakes, threatening food sources vital to local people.Andrew Cohen at the University of Arizona in Tucson and his colleagues analysed sediments and fossils from Lake Tanganyika (pictured) to infer water temperatures and estimate

Categories: Literature

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