Earth

ROCKVILLE, MD - The remarkable genetic scissors called CRISPR/Cas9, the discovery that won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sometimes cut in places that they are not designed to target. Though CRISPR has completely changed the pace of basic research by allowing scientists to quickly edit genetic sequences, it works so fast that it is hard for scientists to see what sometimes goes wrong and figure out how to improve it.

The use of the polymeric flame retardant PolyFR in "eco-friendly" foam plastic building insulation may be harmful to human health and the environment, according to a new commentary in Environmental Science & Technology. The authors' analysis identifies several points during the lifecycle of foam insulation that may expose workers, communities, and ecosystems to PolyFR and its potentially toxic breakdown products.

DURHAM, N.C. -- Younger, smaller trees that comprise much of North America's eastern forests have increased their seed production under climate change, but older, larger trees that dominate forests in much of the West have been less responsive, a new Duke University-led study finds.

Declines in these trees' seed production, or fecundity, could limit western forests' ability to regenerate following the large-scale diebacks linked to rising temperatures and intensifying droughts that are now occurring in many states and provinces.

Its muscular body shape and large pectoral fins are perfect for long-distance travel, yet movement patterns of the whitespotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) remain a mystery. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, are the first to conduct a multiyear study examining large-scale movements of whitespotted eagle rays in United States waters.

A new study has for the first time explored the rate at which the world's largest fish, the endangered whale shark, can recover from its injuries. The findings reveal that lacerations and abrasions, increasingly caused through collisions with boats, can heal in a matter of weeks and researchers found evidence of partially removed dorsal fins re-growing.

Home gardens are by far the biggest source of food for pollinating insects, including bees and wasps, in cities and towns, according to new research.

The study, led by the University of Bristol and published today in the Journal of Ecology, measured for the first time how much nectar is produced in urban areas and discovered residential gardens accounted for the vast majority - some 85 per cent on average.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the most energetic naturally occurring year-to-year variation of ocean temperature and rainfall on our planet. The irregular swings between warm and wet "El Niño" conditions in the equatorial Pacific and the cold and dry "La Niña" state influence weather conditions worldwide, with impacts on ecosystems, agriculture and economies.

BINGHAMTON, NY -- There are millions of unplugged oil wells in the United States, which pose a serious threat to the environment. Using drones, researchers from Binghamton University, State University of New York have developed a new method to locate these hard-to-locate and dangerous wells.

Extreme rainfall has devastating consequences for societies and economies. Locations around the Mediterranean are frequently affected by such events, leading to landslides and floods. "It is, however, extremely challenging to forecast many days in advance when and where exactly heavy rainfall will occur.

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Loss of biodiversity in the face of climate change is a growing worldwide concern. Another major factor driving the loss of biodiversity is the establishment of invasive species, which often displace native species. A new study shows that species can adapt rapidly to an invader and that this evolutionary change can affect how they deal with a stressful climate.

Coral within the family Acropora are fast growers and thus important for reef growth, island formation, and coastal protection but, due to global environmental pressures, are in decline

A species within this family has three different color morphs - brown, yellow-green, and purple, which appear to respond differently to high temperatures

Researchers looked at the different proteins expressed by the different color morphs, to see whether these were related to their resilience to a changing environment

Mitochondria are organelles that act as the powerhouses in our body. They use oxygen which we inhale and food we eat to produce energy that supports our life. This molecular activity is performed by bioenergetic nano-factories incorporated in specialized mitochondrial membranes. The nano-factories consist of proteins cooperatively transporting ions and electrons to generate chemical energy. Those have to be constantly maintained, replaced and duplicated during cell division. To address this, mitochondria have their own bioenergy protein-making machine called the mitoribosome.

What The Study Did: Using data from completed interventional vaccine trials from 2011 to 2020, researchers examined whether racial/ethnic minority groups, females and older adults were underrepresented in U.S.-based vaccine clinical trials.

Authors: Steven A. Pergam, M.D., M.P.H., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and Julie K. Silver, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, are the corresponding authors.

Recreational hunting -- especially hunting of charismatic species for their trophies --raises ethical and moral concerns. Yet recreational hunting is frequently suggested as a way to conserve nature and support local people's livelihoods.

Since Charles Darwin's day, the abundance of life on coral reefs has been puzzling, given that most oceanic surface waters in the tropics are low in nutrients and unproductive.

But now research, led by Newcastle University and published in in the journal Science Advances, has confirmed that the food web of a coral reef in the Maldives relies heavily on what comes in from the open ocean.

The team found that these offshore resources contribute to more than 70% of reef predator diets, the rest being derived from reef associated sources.