Earth

Tropical plants may be more adaptable than commonly thought to changing rainfall patterns expected to accompany a warming climate, new research shows.

According to two international-research studies on the last ice age, studies with the participation of Dr Rainer Zahn, research professor in the ICREA at the UAB Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), before the great ice sheets of the Arctic Ocean began to melt, early sporadic episodes of melting of the old ice sheet which covered the British Isles had already begun to affect the circulation of the ocean currents, which played a key role in the climatic stability of the planet.

A new, highly destructive strain of wheat stem rust is continuing to evolve and has the potential to devastate wheat production worldwide, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory geologists have put out a call for teeth tusks, femurs and any and all other parts of extinct mammoths left by massive Ice Age floods in southeastern Washington.Flood zone: The area of eastern Washington sculpted by the mammoth-killing Ice Age floods. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

A new variety of corn developed and patented by Michigan State University scientists could turn corn leaves and stalks into products that are just as valuable as the golden kernels.

Right now, most U.S. ethanol is made from corn kernels. This is because breaking down the cellulose in corn leaves and stalks into sugars that can be fermented into ethanol is difficult and expensive.

Drought tolerance is a critical determinant of tropical plant distributions, researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama report in the May 3rd issue of Nature. In a novel coupling of experimental measurements and observed plant distributions across a tropical landscape, drought tolerance predicted plant distributions at both local and regional scales. This mechanism to explain a common observation will contribute significantly to models of land use and climate change.

Freeze-dried ice cream looks like the original product, and even tastes pretty good, but "drying" ice cream at room temperature would leave a sour-smelling, sloppy mess. Similarly, diamonds ejected from deep in the Earth can survive the journey intact only if they head toward the surface quickly and under just the right conditions.

A new study shows that although loss of tropical dry forests occurs in southern Madagascar, there are also large areas of forests regenerating.

Researchers in Italy have created an ultrashort light pulse—a single isolated burst of extreme-ultraviolet light that lasts for only 130 attoseconds (billionths of a billionth of a second).

Their achievement currently represents the shortest artificial light pulse that has been reported in a refereed journal. Shining this ultrashort light pulse on atoms and molecules can reveal new details of their inner workings—providing benefits to fundamental science as well as potential industrial applications such as better controlling chemical reactions.

The major carriers, UPS, FedEx and DHL get put to the test every year with the Great Package Race, a contest to see which carrier can get a package to a very challenging locale the fastest and in the best condition.

Aided by new observations from the Coupled Boundary Layer Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) hurricane field program, scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have helped to develop and test a new, high-resolution computer model to better understand how air-sea interactions directly affect hurricane intensity, a factor not yet possible in the current operational forecast models.

After completing a two-year pilot phase, scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center are expanding the scope of the "National Biomass and Carbon Dataset" for the year 2000 (NBCD2000), the first ever inventory of its kind, by moving into the production phase.To date, 5 of the 66 mapping zones have been completed in the NBCD2000 project. The remaining 61 will be completed at an approximate rate of one every seven working days. Credit: Wayne Walker/Greg Fiske. Woods Hole Research Center.

Tungsten began increasing in trees in Fallon, Nev. several years before the town's rise in childhood leukemia cases, according to a new research report.

The amount of tungsten in tree rings from Fallon quadrupled between 1990 and 2002, whereas the amount in tree rings from nearby towns remained the same, according to a research team led by Paul R. Sheppard of The University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

This is the first study that has examined changes in levels of heavy metals in Fallon over time.

What a person says is not necessarily an indication of what that person knows because speech is motivated by social circumstances and the desire to influence the listener. Two researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have applied this principle to local environmental knowledge by indigenous peoples and are urging other scientists to incorporate more observation and skepticism into their studies.

Dinosaur tracks, once neglected, are now considered a key source of scientific information on dinosaur behavior and ecology.