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Ecology: Pesticides linked to bird declines

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Ecology: Pesticides linked to bird declines

Nature 511, 7509 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13642

Authors: Dave Goulson

Decreases in bird numbers are most rapid in areas that are most heavily polluted with neonicotinoids, suggesting that the environmental damage inflicted by these insecticides may be much broader than previously thought. See Letter p.341

Categories: Literature

Astrophysics: Survival of the largest

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Astrophysics: Survival of the largest

Nature 511, 7509 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13640

Authors: Haley Gomez

Whether supernovae create most of the dust in the cosmos is a controversial question. Observations of a distant supernova have revealed signs of freshly formed dust, but the properties of the dust are unexpected. See Letter p.326

Categories: Literature

Neurobiology: Keeping a lid on it

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Neurobiology: Keeping a lid on it

Nature 511, 7509 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13641

Authors: Gina Turrigiano

The protein Npas4 dampens activated excitatory brain circuits by recruiting inhibitory signals to excitatory neurons. It emerges that this protein has the opposite role in some inhibitory neurons, promoting their activity.

Categories: Literature

Rapid formation of large dust grains in the luminous supernova 2010jl

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Rapid formation of large dust grains in the luminous supernova 2010jl

Nature 511, 7509 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13558

Authors: Christa Gall, Jens Hjorth, Darach Watson, Eli Dwek, Justyn R. Maund, Ori Fox, Giorgos Leloudas, Daniele Malesani & Avril C. Day-Jones

The origin of dust in galaxies is still a mystery. The majority of the refractory elements are produced in supernova explosions, but it is unclear how and where dust grains condense and grow, and how they avoid destruction in the harsh environments of star-forming galaxies. The recent detection of 0.1 to 0.5 solar masses of dust in nearby supernova remnants suggests in situ dust formation, while other observations reveal very little dust in supernovae in the first few years after explosion. Observations of the spectral evolution of the bright SN 2010jl have been interpreted as pre-existing dust, dust formation or no dust at all. Here we report the rapid (40 to 240 days) formation of dust in its dense circumstellar medium. The wavelength-dependent extinction of this dust reveals the presence of very large (exceeding one micrometre) grains, which resist destruction. At later times (500 to 900 days), the near-infrared thermal emission shows an accelerated growth in dust mass, marking the transition of the dust source from the circumstellar medium to the ejecta. This provides the link between the early and late dust mass evolution in supernovae with dense circumstellar media.

Categories: Literature

Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

Nature 511, 7509 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13531

Authors: Caspar A. Hallmann, Ruud P. B. Foppen, Chris A. M. van Turnhout, Hans de Kroon & Eelke Jongejans

Recent studies have shown that neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on non-target invertebrate species. Invertebrates constitute a substantial part of the diet of many bird species during the breeding season and are indispensable for raising offspring. We investigated the hypothesis that the most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, has a negative impact on insectivorous bird populations. Here we show that, in the Netherlands, local population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid. At imidacloprid concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per litre, bird populations tended to decline by 3.5 per cent on average annually. Additional analyses revealed that this spatial pattern of decline appeared only after the introduction of imidacloprid to the Netherlands, in the mid-1990s. We further show that the recent negative relationship remains after correcting for spatial differences in land-use changes that are known to affect bird populations in farmland. Our results suggest that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent insecticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystems.

Categories: Literature

Barriers to trust

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Barriers to trust

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511126a

An outbreak of Ebola highlights the difficulties of implementing public-health measures.

Categories: Literature

Be concerned

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Be concerned

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511126b

A possible link between neonicotinoid pesticide use and a decline in bird numbers is worrying.

Categories: Literature

Not all plagiarism requires a retraction

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Not all plagiarism requires a retraction

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/511127a

Author: Praveen Chaddah

Papers that plagiarize only text can still contribute to the literature, but any errors or omissions should be prominently corrected, says Praveen Chaddah.

Categories: Literature

Complexity: Urban social networks remain tight

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Complexity: Urban social networks remain tight

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511128a

People living in big cities maintain a close network of social connections, and one that is larger than those in smaller urban areas.A team led by Markus Schläpfer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge used a database of billions of telephone calls

Categories: Literature

Astronomy: The exoplanets that were not

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Astronomy: The exoplanets that were not

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511128b

Some of the first exoplanets identified as candidates for habitable worlds turn out to be mirages conjured up by magnetism on their host star.Earlier studies looked at tiny changes in the motion of the star Gliese 581 and concluded that at least five planets

Categories: Literature

Biomechanics: Kangaroos' tail-powered walk

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Biomechanics: Kangaroos' tail-powered walk

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511128c

When kangaroos move slowly, their muscular tails work as a fifth leg.Despite their reputation for bouncing, kangaroos spend much of their day walking on all four legs while they munch on grass. To determine the tail's role in this gait, Max Donelan at the

Categories: Literature

Climate science: Fly farther for climate benefits

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Climate science: Fly farther for climate benefits

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511128d

Aircraft could be diverted hundreds of kilometres to avoid creating artificial clouds, providing climate benefits.These clouds, called contrails, can form when planes fly through very cold and humid atmospheric regions, and can contribute to global warming. Emma Irvine and her colleagues at the University

Categories: Literature

Zoology: Wasps build charnel houses

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Zoology: Wasps build charnel houses

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511129a

A newly described species of wasp protects its nest with the corpses of dead ants.Michael Staab of the University of Freiburg in Germany and his colleagues placed artificial nests for solitary wasps in the Zhejiang region of China. Of the 829 nests they later

Categories: Literature

Chemistry: Water-repellent chemical sponges

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Chemistry: Water-repellent chemical sponges

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511129b

Researchers in Japan have created sponge-like crystals that soak up gases and liquids, but repel water.Compounds known as porous coordination polymers can store or separate different molecules from a mixture, and produce catalytic reactions within their pores. But the polymers often break down in

Categories: Literature

Planetary Science: Hit-and-run origin for Mercury

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Planetary Science: Hit-and-run origin for Mercury

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511129c

Mercury may have formed as the result of one or more 'hit-and-run' collisions between the many protoplanets in the early Solar System.Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is unusual because its large metallic core lacks a massive rocky mantle like the ones that

Categories: Literature

Metabolism: Obesity without diabetes

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Metabolism: Obesity without diabetes

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511129d

A protein that breaks down iron compounds in the blood could be the key to why some people who are obese can maintain healthy metabolisms and do not develop diabetes.Andrew Pospisilik of the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, Harald

Categories: Literature

Botany: Bellows blow plant pollen

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Botany: Bellows blow plant pollen

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511129e

Plants in Ecuador and Costa Rica have evolved a remarkable 'bellows' system for blowing pollen onto feeding birds.Agnes Dellinger and Jürg Schönenberger at the University of Vienna and their colleagues found that the flowers of the tropical genus Axinaea contain stamens with bulbous

Categories: Literature

Republished paper draws fire

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Republished paper draws fire

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). doi:10.1038/511129f

Author: Chris Woolston

Nature's roundup of the papers and issues gaining traction on social media.Three papers that highlight key controversies in the modern practice of science have set off lively discussions on social media. The return of a once-retracted study raised questions about peer review and

Categories: Literature

Seven days: 4–10 July 2014

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Seven days: 4–10 July 2014

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/511130a

The week in science: NASA launches carbon-tracking satellite; European particle accelerators funded; and gloom over Caribbean coral reefs.

Categories: Literature

Malaria control: The great mosquito hunt

Nature - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 00:00

Malaria control: The great mosquito hunt

Nature 511, 7508 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/511144a

Author: Emily Sohn

From dogs to balloons, researchers are using unorthodox ways to find out where malaria vectors hide during a long dry season.

Categories: Literature

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