Earth

Termites are unwelcome in your home. They can cause structural damage to the wood in frames, floors and other materials. It's nothing personal, though. They are really just looking for food sources.

But, outside, in the natural environment, termites are part of an entire ecological system. Their role is to help turn dead trees into valuable organic matter.

And, a recent study showed that termite activity in the soils of wetlands can help improve soil structure and nutrient content.

Tanzania is home to a very elusive antelope species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. According to the Red List, it can be classified as endangered. The first photograph of one of these antelopes was taken by researches as recently as the year 2003. So far, the distribution of this species on Mt. Kilimanjaro has not been documented. Its scientific name: Abbott's duiker (Cephalophus spadix).

AUSTIN, Texas -- Recent primate research has had a heavy focus on a few charismatic species and nationally protected parks and forests, leaving some lesser known primates and their habitats at risk, according researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Santa Clara University.

The study, which appeared in Evolutionary Anthropology, examined more than 29,000 research articles published between 2011 and 2015 to determine which primate species and locations were most studied and how that focus affects both conservation efforts and risk for species extinction.

Research conducted at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) on a marine sponge in Kāneʻohe Bay, O?ahu revealed a unique feeding strategy, wherein the sponge animal acquires important components of its diet from symbiotic bacteria living within the sponge.

A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications finds that currently-available global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices, previously thought to not alter animal survival rates, can decrease greater sage-grouse survival.

The researchers monitored sage-grouse survival at 14 sites throughout California and Nevada. Between 2012 and 2017, VHF transmitters were attached to 821 female and 52 male sage-grouse. GPS devices were attached to 234 female and 125 male sage-grouse.

Arctic sea ice could disappear completely through September each summer if average global temperatures increase by as little as 2 degrees, according to a new study by the University of Cincinnati.

The study by an international team of researchers was published in Nature Communications.

"The target is the sensitivity of sea ice to temperature," said Won Chang, a study co-author and UC assistant professor of mathematics.

"What is the minimum global temperature change that eliminates all arctic sea ice in September? What's the tipping point?"

The first Americans - humans who crossed onto the North American continent and then dispersed throughout Central and South America - all share common ancestry. But as they settled different areas, the populations diverged and became distinct. A new study from North Carolina State University shows that facial differences resulting from this divergence were due to the complex interaction of environment and evolution on these populations and sheds light on how human diversification occurred after settlement of the New World.

Scientists have discovered how diatoms - a type of alga that produce 20 percent of the Earth's oxygen - harness solar energy for photosynthesis.

The Rutgers University-led discovery, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help lead to more efficient and affordable algae-based biofuels and combat climate change from fossil fuel burning.

Thin, flexible fibers made of carbon nanotubes have now proven able to bridge damaged heart tissues and deliver the electrical signals needed to keep those hearts beating.

Scientists at Texas Heart Institute (THI) report they have used biocompatible fibers invented at Rice University in studies that showed sewing them directly into damaged tissue can restore electrical function to hearts.

LAWRENCE -- Researchers from the University of Kansas have described three genera and 17 new species of water scavenger beetles from the Guiana and Brazilian Shield regions of South America, areas seen as treasure houses of biodiversity. The beetles from the countries of French Guiana, Suriname, Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela were discovered through fieldwork and by combing through entomological collections at the Smithsonian Institution and KU.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and captured a good shot of the wide, ragged center of circulation in Tropical Storm Krosa.

On Aug. 13 at 12:20 a.m. EDT (0420 UTC), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Krosa that showed a large center of circulation, surrounded by fragmented bands of thunderstorms.

Key Takeaways:

Researchers studied users of an online anime platform that provided individual-level data on users' friendship networks, anime watching behaviors, forum posts, and ratings.

Both word-of-mouth and the example of others, (i.e., others' decisions of what to watch or following someone else's lead), are two of the most powerful sources in social learning.

Infrared imagery from NASA's Terra satellite found just a few scattered areas of cold clouds in the Eastern Pacific Ocean's Tropical Depression Henriette on August 13.

NASA's Terra satellite uses infrared light to analyze the strength of storms by providing temperature information about the system's clouds. The strongest thunderstorms that reach high into the atmosphere have the coldest cloud top temperatures.

A team of scientists from the University of Southampton, Bangor University and the National Oceanography Centre have discovered several artificially introduced species in the coastal waters of southern England, using a technique that could help the early detection of non-native species if adopted more widely.

Among the species identified during the study was Cephalothrix simula, a worm, originating from the North West Pacific Ocean, which contains neurotoxins that are potentially fatal if they enter the human body.

The pain-relieving effect of salicylic acid, now sold as Aspirin, has been known for thousands of years. Besides being a useful drug with numerous health applications, it is a stress hormone made by plants which is essential in enabling them to fight off damaging pathogens. What was not known, however, is how plants generated this hormone. Now, an international research team led by the University of Göttingen with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver have at last unravelled the biosynthesis of this crucial hormone. Their results were published in Science.