Earth

A New Zealand-led international study of the crabeater seal population in Antarctica aims to understand environmental impacts on one of the southern-most mammals in the world.

With funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, University of Canterbury (UC) scientists have been using satellite images of Antarctica and the power of citizen science to uncover the secret lives of crabeater seals in the largest ever survey of the Weddell Sea--one of Earth's last wildernesses.

An international team led by the chemist Heinz Langhals of LMU Munich succeeded in molecular deflection of light radiation by means of Diamantane. Novel applications such as efficient light collectors or broadband light absorbers are promising.

The programme is funded by the German-Argentinean University Centre (DAHZ-CUAA). Dr. Regina Mencia from Argentina was the first doctoral student to complete her doctorate under this programme at the beginning of this year. The success of her German-Argentinean cooperation has now been crowned by a joint publication in the renowned journal "Plant Physiology".

Researchers in South Africa's Border Cave, a well-known archaeological site perched on a cliff between eSwatini (Swaziland) and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, have found evidence that people have been using grass bedding to create comfortable areas for sleeping and working on at least 200 000 years ago.

To get a better look at the world around them, animals constantly are in motion. Primates and people use complex eye movements to focus their vision (as humans do when reading, for instance); birds, insects, and rodents do the same by moving their heads, and can even estimate distances that way. Yet how these movements play out in the elaborate circuitry of neurons that the brain uses to "see" is largely unknown. And it could be a potential problem area as scientists create artificial neural networks that mimic how vision works in self-driving cars.

URBANA, Ill. ­- Bird biodiversity is rapidly declining in the U.S. The overall bird population decreased by 29% since 1970, while grassland birds declined by an alarming 53%.

Valuable for so much more than flight and song, birds hold a key place in ecosystems worldwide. When bird numbers and varieties dwindle, pest populations increase and much-needed pollination decreases. Those examples alone negatively impact food production and human health.

The dynamics of the current COVID-19 pandemic could offer valuable insights for the efforts to mitigate climate change. Highlighting the parallels between the global health and the climate emergency, a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has analyzed what policy makers and citizens can learn from the corona outbreak and how to apply it to the global effort of reducing CO2 emissions. Their proposal: A Climate Corona Contract that unites the younger and the older generations.

BOZEMAN -- A Montana State University researcher contributed to a novel project with scientists from around the country and world that sheds light on one of Earth's most important reptile species.

Chris Organ, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Earth Sciences in MSU's College of Letters and Science, worked with a team from 10 countries and six U.S. states along with Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution to sequence the genome of the tuatara, a reptile Organ refers to as a "living fossil."

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of Tropical Storm Josephine east of the Lesser Antilles island chain. Suomi NPP revealed that Josephine was being affected by wind shear.

The Lesser Antilles is a group of islands that form the boundary of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (to the west). They are a long, partly volcanic island arc stretching between the Greater Antilles to the north-west and South America.

If you could dive down to the ocean floor nearly 540 million years ago just past the point where waves begin to break, you would find an explosion of life--scores of worm-like animals and other sea creatures tunneling complex holes and structures in the mud and sand--where before the environment had been mostly barren.

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of a struggling Tropical Depression 10E in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Wind shear is preventing the storm from intensifying into a tropical storm.

On Aug. 13, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard Suomi NPP revealed northeasterly wind shear had exposed the center of circulation and pushed the bulk of clouds and precipitation to the southwest of the center. The depression has maintained a small ragged band of convection in its southwest quadrant.

Almost all life on Earth, in particular our food and our health, depend on metabolism in plants. In order to understand how these metabolic processes function, researchers at the Institute of the Biology and Biotechnology of Plants at the University of Münster with the participation of the University of Bonn are studying key mechanisms in the regulation of energy metabolism.

Even as studies have shown that the uneven distribution of urban heat islands, urban tree canopy cover, and urban environmental hazards, for example, are strongly dictated by structural racism and classism in cities, relatively few studies have addressed the varied contributions of social factors like race to ecological heterogeneity in cities. Here, Christopher J. Schell and colleagues integrate findings from ecology, evolution, and the social sciences to underscore such relationships.

Social inequalities, specifically racism and classism, are impacting the biodiversity, evolutionary shifts and ecological health of plants and animals in our cities.

New research by Dr Camilla Whittington and her team at the University of Sydney has found male seahorses transport nutrients to their developing babies during pregnancy. This discovery provides an opportunity for further comparative evolutionary research.