Earth

Sauropod dinosaurs could in principle have produced enough of the greenhouse gas methane to warm the climate many millions of years ago, at a time when the Earth was warm and wet. That's according to calculations reported in the May 8th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

The hulking sauropods, distinctive for their enormous size and unusually long necks, were widespread about 150 million years ago. As in cows, methane-producing microbes aided the sauropods' digestion by fermenting their plant food.

CHICAGO --- Fibroid uterine tumors affect an estimated 15 million women in the United States, causing irregular bleeding, anemia, pain and infertility. Despite the high prevalence of the tumors, which occur in 60 percent of women by age 45, the molecular cause has been unknown.

New Northwestern Medicine preclinical research has for the first time identified the molecular trigger of the tumor --- a single stem cell that develops a mutation, starts to grow uncontrollably and activates other cells to join its frenzied expansion.

NOAA scientists and their colleagues have discovered a biological marker in the blood of laboratory zebrafish and marine mammals that shows when they have been repeatedly exposed to low levels of domoic acid, which is potentially toxic at high levels.

The reappearance of long-forgotten habitats and the resurgence of species unseen for years may not be among the expected effects of a natural disaster.

Yet that's exactly what researchers found in a study of the sandy beaches of south central Chile, after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami in 2010.

Their study also revealed a preview of the problems wrought by sea level rise--a major symptom of climate change.

UPTON, NY — With dimensions measuring billionths of a meter, nanoparticles are way too small to see with the naked eye. Yet it is becoming possible for today's scientists not only to see them, but also to look inside at how the atoms are arranged in three dimensions using a technique called nanocrystallography. Trouble is, the powerful machines that make this possible, such as x-ray synchrotrons, are only available at a handful of facilities around the world. The U.S.

A team led by Johns Hopkins engineers has discovered some previously unknown properties of a common memory material, paving the way for development of new forms of memory drives, movie discs and computer systems that retain data more quickly, last longer and allow far more capacity than current data storage media.

The work was reported April 16 in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Changes in the speed that ice travels in more than 200 outlet glaciers indicates that Greenland's contribution to rising sea level in the 21st century might be significantly less than the upper limits some scientists thought possible, a new study shows.

"So far, on average we're seeing about a 30 percent speedup in 10 years," said Twila Moon, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and lead author of a paper documenting the observations published May 4 in Science.

PASADENA, Calif.—There is an old trick for remembering the difference between stalactites and stalagmites in a cave: Stalactites hold tight to the ceiling while stalagmites might one day grow to reach the ceiling. Now, it seems, stalagmites might also fill a hole in our understanding of Earth's climate system and how that system is likely to respond to the rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since preindustrial times.

University of California, Berkeley, scientists are drilling into ancient sediments at the bottom of Northern California's Clear Lake for clues that could help them better predict how today's plants and animals will adapt to climate change and increasing population.

The lake sediments are among the world's oldest, containing records of biological change stretching back as far as 500,000 years.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—More than 60 percent of young adults between the ages of 19 and 22 received some financial help from mom and dad, according to a new University of Michigan study. The average amount they received – including help with college tuition, rent, and transportation – was roughly $7,500 a year.

DURHAM, N.C. – If you don't like the taste of pork, the reason may be that your genes cause you to smell the meat more intensely, according to a new study.

Duke University Medical Center scientists, working with colleagues in Norway, found that about 70 percent of people have two functional copies of a gene linked to an odor receptor that detects a compound in male mammals called androstenone, which is common in pork. People with one or no functional copies of the gene can tolerate the scent of androstenone much better than those with two, the researchers said.

Science Ph.D. students' interest in a faculty job wanes after they have spent more years in school, while other careers become more attractive, according to a study published May 2 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The results are based on a survey of over 4,000 U.S. Ph.D. students in life sciences, chemistry, and physics conducted by a research team led by Henry Sauermann of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis are expected to have substantial ecological effects, but if researchers don't have enough data about the environment before the disaster strikes, as is usually the case, it is difficult to quantify these repercussions. The 2010 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Chile is a rare exception to this trend, and researchers were able to conduct an unprecedented report of its ecological implications based on data collected on coastal ecosystems shortly before and after the event.

Big trees three or more feet in diameter accounted for nearly half the biomass measured at a Yosemite National Park site, yet represented only one percent of the trees growing there.