Earth

River water, lake water, and seawater contain DNA belonging to organisms such as animals and plants. Ecologists have begun to actively analyze such DNA molecules, called environmental DNA, to assess the distribution of macro-organisms. Challenges yet remain, however, in quantitative applications of environmental DNA.

Spawning fish and embryos are far more vulnerable to Earth's warming waters than fish in other life stages, according to a new study, which uniquely relates fish physiological tolerance to temperature across the lifecycles of nearly 700 fish species. The results reveal a critical bottleneck in the lifecycle of fish and suggest that many ecologically and economically important fish species are threatened by climate warming more than studies based on adult fish thermal tolerance alone have shown.

Researchers have solved the mystery of why a species of bacteria that causes food poisoning can swim faster in stickier liquids, such as within guts.

The findings could potentially help scientists halt the bacteria in its tracks, because they show how the shape of the bacteria's body and the components that help it swim are all dependent on each other to work. This means any disruption to one part could stop the bacteria getting through to the gut.

Because fish that are ready to mate and their young are especially sensitive to changes in temperature, in the future up to 60 percent of all species may be forced to leave their traditional spawning areas

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are advancing gas membrane materials to expand practical technology options for reducing industrial carbon emissions.

Results published in Chem demonstrate a fabrication method for membrane materials that can overcome current bottlenecks in selectivity and permeability, key variables that drive carbon-capturing performance in real environments.

Increases in groundwater levels and volumes after large earthquakes have been observed around the world, but the details of this process have remained unclear due to a lack of groundwater data directly before and after an earthquake strikes.

Most bird species are slow to change their tune, preferring to stick with tried-and-true songs to defend territories and attract females. Now, with the help of citizen scientists, researchers have tracked how one rare sparrow song went "viral" across Canada, traveling over 3,000 kilometers between 2000 and 2019 and wiping out a historic song ending in the process.

Cyanobacteria hardly need any nutrients and use the energy of sunlight. Bathers are familiar with these microorganisms - often incorrectly called "blue-green algae" - as they often occur in waters. A group of researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has discovered that the multicellular species Phormidium lacuna can be genetically modified by natural transformation and could thus produce substances such as ethanol or hydrogen. They present their results in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone. 0234440).

The Earth's crust is under constant stress. Every now and then this stress is discharged in heavy earthquakes, mostly caused by the slow movement of Earth's crustal plates. There is, however, another influencing factor that has received little attention so far: intensive erosion can temporarily change the earthquake activity (seismicity) of a region significantly. This has now been shown for Taiwan by researchers from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in cooperation with international colleagues. They report on this in the journal Scientific Reports.

Better still: living algae can be used as biocatalysts for certain substances, and they bring the co-substrate along, producing it in an environmentally friendly manner through photosynthesis. The team published its report in Algal Research on 17. June 2020.

It's a question of 3D structure

The environmental benefits of taller, shrubbier tundra plants in the Arctic may be overstated, according to new research involving the University of Stirling.

Current ecosystem and climate models suggest that, as the Arctic warms, tundra ecosystems are becoming more productive, with greater photosynthesis resulting in more carbon being removed, or sequestered, from the atmosphere.

A film made of tiny carbon nanotubes (CNT) may be a key material in developing clothing that can heat or cool the wearer on demand. A new North Carolina State University study finds that the CNT film has a combination of thermal, electrical and physical properties that make it an appealing candidate for next-generation smart fabrics.

Studies have shown the Arctic is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the world, and its soil holds twice the amount of carbon dioxide as the atmosphere. New research from San Diego State University finds that water from spring snowmelt infiltrates the soil and triggers fresh carbon dioxide production at higher rates than previously assumed.

This is in addition to trapped carbon escaping from the soil, which means an acceleration in warming that is not quite accounted for in current measurement techniques.

Durham, NC - Plastic pollution is a critical environmental issue facing the world today, yet the impact of all the microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) that have seeped into the food and beverage supply on human health is an "undervalued avenue of research," according to the team behind a revealing new study released today in STEM CELLS. This study outlines the new platform researchers designed that allowed them to investigate the potentially harmful effects of MPs and NPs.

Tropical plants closer to the equator are most at risk from climate change because it is expected to become too hot for many species to germinate in the next 50 years, UNSW researchers have found.

Their study analysed almost 10,000 records for more than 1300 species from the Kew Gardens' global seed germination database.

The research, published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography recently, was the first to look at the big picture impact of climate change on such a large number of plant species worldwide.