Earth

Researchers have found strong evidence that the risk for armed conflict is higher after a climate-related disaster, but only in vulnerable countries.

Lead author Tobias Ide from the University of Melbourne said the disasters include storms, floods and droughts - the frequency and intensity of which will increase in the future, due to climate change.

The risk for violent clashes increases after weather extremes such as droughts or floods hit people in vulnerable countries, an international team of scientists finds. Vulnerable countries are characterized by a large population, political exclusion of particular ethnic groups, and low development. The study combines global statistical analysis, observation data and regional case study assessments to yield new evidence for policy-makers.

Researchers at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, have found the answer to an enigma that has had geologists scratching their heads for years.

The question is that of how certain magmatic rocks that are formed through crystallisation in magmatic chambers in the Earth's crust, defy the norm, and contain minerals in random proportions.

Normally, magmatic rocks consist of some fixed proportions of various minerals. Geologists know, for instance, that a certain rock will have 90% of one mineral and 10% of another mineral.

Previous research studies have revealed how rising temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic may impact the rest of Earth's climate over seasons, years and even longer. Now, two researchers from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, are making the argument that the effects may actually be felt in a matter of weeks, but more robust, observational-based analysis is needed to fully understand how quickly Arctic events impact the rest of Earth.

The UK's plankton population - microscopic algae and animals which support the entire marine food web - has undergone sweeping changes in the past six decades, according to new research published in Global Change Biology.

Involving leading marine scientists from across the UK, led by the University of Plymouth, the research for the first time combines the findings of UK offshore surveys such as the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) and UK inshore long-term time-series.

Every spring, American robins migrate north from all over the U.S. and Mexico, flying up to 250 miles a day to reach their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. There, they spend the short summer in a mad rush to find a mate, build a nest, raise a family, and fatten up before the long haul back south.

For the first time in more than a century, Vermont and neighboring states are losing forestland to development at a rate of almost 1,500 acres per year. As forest fragmentation gains ground across the New England landscape, where private ownerships and small land parcels are the norm, conserving land for future generations of people, wildlife, and plants becomes more necessary but more difficult.

Neolithic populations have long been credited with bringing about a revolution in farming practices across Europe. However, a new study suggests it was not until the Bronze Age several millennia later that human activity led to significant changes to the continent's landscape.

The species Australopithecus afarensis inhabited East Africa more than three million years ago, and occupies a key position in the hominin family tree, as it is widely accepted to be ancestral to all later hominins, including the human lineage. "Lucy and her kind provide important evidence about early hominin behavior.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A study published in Science Advances on April 1 reveals a new hypothesis that may explain why European cave bears went extinct during past climate change periods. The research was motivated by controversy in the scientific literature as to what the animal (Ursus spelaeus) ate and how that affected their demise.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Cells will ramp up gene expression in response to physical forces alone, a new study finds. Gene activation, the first step of protein production, starts less than one millisecond after a cell is stretched - hundreds of times faster than chemical signals can travel, the researchers report.

The scientists tested forces that are biologically relevant - equivalent to those exerted on human cells by breathing, exercising or vocalizing. They report their findings in the journal Science Advances.

New artifacts uncovered at the Waim archaeological site in the highlands of New Guinea - including a fragment of the earliest symbolic stone carving in Oceania - illustrate a shift in human behavior between 5050 and 4200 years ago in response to the widespread emergence of agriculture, ushering in a regional Neolithic Era similar to the Neolithic in Eurasia.

Human ancestors that lived more than 3 million years ago had brains that were organized like chimpanzee brains, but had prolonged brain growth like humans, new research from the University of Chicago and other leading institutions shows.

That means these hominins -- the species Australopithecus afarensis, made famous by the Lucy and Dikika child fossils found in Ethiopia -- had a mosaic of ape and human features, a hallmark of evolution.

The rich biodiversity of coral reefs even extends to microbial communities within fish, according to new research. The study in Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences reports that several important grazing fish on Caribbean coral reefs each harbor a distinct microbial community within their guts, revealing a new perspective on reef ecology.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A study that included the first-ever winter sampling of phytoplankton in the North Atlantic revealed cells smaller than what scientists expected, meaning a key weapon in the fight against excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may not be as powerful as had been thought.

Thus, commonly used carbon sequestration models might be too optimistic.