Earth

Geneva, 15th April 2021 - When it was shown launching out of the sea to snatch birds from the air in the first episode of the BBC's Blue Planet II, the Seychelles giant trevally, or 'karang ledan' as it is called in Creole, became world-famous. Typically eating fish, not birds, this reef predator is critical for maintaining healthy balanced ecosystems. 'The giant trevally is a popular, sought-after prize fish in Seychelles, particularly in the big-game sportfishing industry. Seychelles has a reputation for being one of the best trevally destinations in the world.

PHILADELPHIA-- Humans have a uniquely high density of sweat glands embedded in their skin--10 times the density of chimpanzees and macaques. Now, researchers at Penn Medicine have discovered how this distinctive, hyper-cooling trait evolved in the human genome.

In a new study, Dr. LU Xiankai and his colleagues from the South China Botanical Garden (SCBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) found that tropical forests can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) into soils and thus reduce emitted CO2. But how exactly do tropical forest soils capture atmospheric CO2?

Current knowledge of forest soil carbon sequestration mainly focuses on temperate and boreal forests, where most ecosystems are nitrogen-limited, and an increase in nitrogen supply can enhance net primary productivity (NPP) and subsequent soil carbon sequestration.

Oakland, CA-In the first study to report on the health effects of exposure to a toxic environmental chemical over three human generations, a new study has found that granddaughters whose grandmothers were exposed to the pesticide DDT have higher rates of obesity and earlier first menstrual periods. This may increase the granddaughters' risk for breast cancer as well as high blood pressure, diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases.

Little is known about azhdarchid pterosaurs, gigantic flying reptiles with impressive wingspans of up to 12 meters. Cousins of dinosaurs and the largest animals ever to fly, they first appeared in the fossil record in the Late Triassic about 225 million years ago and disappeared again at the end of the Cretaceous period about 66 million years ago. One of their most notable features for such a large flighted animal was a neck longer than that of a giraffe.

If global warming continues unchecked, summer monsoon rainfall in India will become stronger and more erratic. This is the central finding of an analysis by a team of German researchers that compared more than 30 state-of-the-art climate models from all around the world. The study predicts more extremely wet years in the future - with potentially grave consequences for more than one billion people's well-being, economy, food systems and agriculture.

Describing the genetic diversity of human populations is essential to improve our understanding of human diseases and their geographical distribution. However, the vast majority of genetic studies have been focused on populations of European ancestry, which represent only 16% of the global population.

Chestnut Hill, Mass. (4/14/2021) -- Using abundant cobalt and a unique experimental approach to probe ways to speed a sluggish catalytic reaction to harvest hydrogen from water, researchers from Boston College and Yale University discovered a mechanistic switch in the oxygen evolution reaction, a significant step towards optimizing electrocatalysts for water splitting to produce clean energy.

If you were to visit the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau a thousand years ago, you'd find conditions remarkably familiar to the present. The climate was warm, but drier than today. There were large populations of Indigenous people known as the Fremont, a who hunted and grew crops in the area. With similar climate and moderate human activity, you might expect to see the types of wildfires that are now common to the American West: infrequent, gigantic and devastating. But you'd be wrong.

When people are asked to draw the flower of a sunflower plant, almost everyone draws a large circle encircled by yellow petals.

"Actually, that structure is the flower head, or the capitulum, which may be composed of hundreds of flowers, also known as florets. The surrounding 'petals' are florets different in structure and function to those closer to the centre," says Professor of Horticulture Paula Elomaa from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Common ragweed is an annual plant native to parts of the United States and southern Canada. It's an invasive species that has spread to Europe. An important agricultural weed, this plant is particularly well-adapted to living at roadsides, and there are several theories why.

Though noise may change moment by moment for humans, it has a more lasting effect on trees and plants.

A new Cal Poly study reveals that human noise pollution affects the diversity of plant life in an ecosystem even after the noise has been removed. This is the first study that explores the long-term effects of noise on plant communities. It was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

As the Rhode Island legislature considers designating the Northern Star Coral an official state emblem, researchers are finding that studying this local creature's recovery from a laboratory-induced stressor could help better understand how to protect endangered tropical corals.

A group of researchers led by Brazilians has used an innovative model to map gaps in the Amazon rainforest and identify factors that contribute to tree mortality.  Water stress, soil fertility, and anthropic forest degradation have the most influence on gap dynamics in the world's largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest, according to an article on the study published in Scientific Reports.

Slow down. Baby on board.

So says UBC Okanagan researcher and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hadi Mohammadi. His new research, conducted in collaboration with Sharif University of Technology, determines that accelerating over speed bumps poses a danger for pregnant women and their fetuses.

"There is lots of research about the importance of movement for women during pregnancy," explains Mohammadi, who teaches in the School of Engineering. "Our latest research looked specifically at the impacts of sudden acceleration on a pregnant woman."