Earth

DURHAM, N.C. - Using a bedroom air filter that traps fine particles of pollution with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometers can significantly improve breathing in asthmatic children, a new study by American and Chinese scientists shows.

It's the first study to document that physiological improvements occur in the childrens' airways when air filters are in use, and it suggests that with consistent use, the filters may help prevent, not just alleviate, asthmatic flare-ups.

Researchers have made a major breakthrough in developing gene-editing tools to improve our understanding of one of the most important ocean microbes on the planet.

The international project, co-led by scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK, unlocks the potential of the largest untapped genetic resource for the development of natural products such as novel antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and antifungal compounds.

In October 2018, the Tunisian Ro-Ro passenger ship "Ulysse" rammed into the hull of the Cyprus-flagged container ship "Virginia", which was anchored in international waters off the northern tip of Corsica, an area known for its pristine waters and beaches. Bunker fuel from Virginia leaked out of her tanks through a breach several meters long, threatening the marine environment and coastal areas. 530 m3 of oil were released, and in 36 hours the slick had lengthened to cover approximately 35 km.

Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s have helped scientists accurately estimate the age of whale sharks, the biggest fish in the seas, according to a Rutgers-led study.

It's the first time the age of this majestic species has been verified. One whale shark was an estimated 50 years old when it died, making it the oldest known of its kind. Another shark was an estimated 35 years old.

Since its accidental introduction in 2003 in France, the yellow-legged Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) is rapidly spreading through Europe. Both experts and citizen scientists keep on identifying the new invader spreading all over the Old Continent in the last decades.

Switzerland's Federal Council has decided that the country should become carbon-neutral by 2050. The governments of many other countries are pursuing similar goals. This may be challenging as far as car traffic and the entire power sector are concerned, but not impossible - with systematic electrification and the exclusive use of carbon-neutral energy sources, for example.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, a new mathematical model could offer insights on how to improve future epidemic predictions based on how information mutates as it is transmitted from person to person and group to group.

The U.S. Army funded this model, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Princeton University, through the Army Research Laboratory's Army Research Office, both elements of the Combat Capabilities Development Command.

We're familiar with how climate change is impacting the ocean's biology, from bleaching events that cause coral die-offs to algae blooms that choke coastal marine ecosystems, but it's becoming clear that a warming planet is also impacting the physics of ocean circulation.

It's the outside that counts: Their charisma has an impact on the introduction and image of alien species and can even hinder their control. An international research team, led by the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), have investigated the influence of charisma on the management of invasive species.

Lead-based perovskites are very promising materials for the production of solar panels. They efficiently turn light into electricity but they also present some major drawbacks: the most efficient materials are not very stable, while lead is a toxic element. University of Groningen scientists are studying alternatives to lead-based perovskites. Two factors that significantly affect the efficiency of these solar cells are the ability to form thin films and the structure of the materials in the solar cells.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The risk of transmitting the virus PPRV, which produces a highly infectious and often fatal disease in sheep and goats, does not appear to vary significantly by an animal's age, unlike its sibling virus measles, which is most prominent in children. Instead, animals in areas where livestock are the sole source of an owner's livelihood are more likely to become infected compared to herds whose owners rely on a mix of livestock and agriculture.

NASA analyzed Tropical Storm Irondro's rainfall and found heaviest rainfall was being pushed far southeast of the center because of strong wind shear.

The Arctic polar night remains one of the last undisturbed dark environments on the planet. But as the climate changes and human activities increase in the Arctic, natural light sources -- such as the moon, the stars and the aurora borealis -- are being masked by much stronger illumination from artificial light.

Bird species that have the capacity to express novel foraging behaviours are less vulnerable to extinction than species that do not, according to a collaborative study involving McGill University and CREAF Barcelona and published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The researchers found that birds that were able to incorporate new foods into their diet or develop new techniques to obtain food were better able to withstand the environmental changes affecting their habitat, which represent their main threat of extinction.

In satellite photos of the Earth, clouds of bright green bloom across the surface of lakes and oceans as algae populations explode in nutrient-rich water. From the air, the algae appear to be the primary players in the ecological drama unfolding below.

But those single-celled organisms we credit for influencing the aquatic environment at the base of the food chain may be under the influence of something else: viruses whose genes can reconfigure their hosts' metabolism.