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  • Top Environment News -- ScienceDaily
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Rare earth elements, like neodymium and dysprosium, are a critical component to almost all modern technologies, from smartphones to hard drives, but they are notoriously hard to separate from the Earth's crust and from one another. Scientists have discovered a new mechanism by which bacteria can select between different rare earth elements, using the ability of a bacterial protein to bind to another unit of itself, or 'dimerize,' when it is bound to certain rare earths, but prefer to remain a single unit, or 'monomer,' when bound to others. [...]

According to new research, the amount of oxygen in one of 10 breaths was made possible thanks to a newly identified cellular mechanism that promotes photosynthesis in marine phytoplankton. The new study identifies how a proton pumping enzyme (known as VHA) aids in global oxygen production and carbon fixation from phytoplankton. [...]

Research using the world's most energetic laser has shed light on the properties of highly compressed matter -- essential to understanding the structure of giant planets and stars, and to develop controlled nuclear fusion, a process that could harvest carbon-free energy. [...]

Geneticists have unearthed a major event in the ancient history of sturgeons and paddlefish that has significant implications for the way we understand evolution. They have pinpointed a previously hidden 'whole genome duplication' (WGD) in the common ancestor of these species, which seemingly opened the door to genetic variations that may have conferred an advantage around the time of a major mass extinction some 200 million years ago. [...]

Scientists have identified a key chemical associated with lethal bronzing (LB) infected palm trees. LB is a bacterial disease that kills more than 20 species of palm trees in the Southern United States and Caribbean and has been devastating the Florida green industries for nearly two decades. [...]

Researchers suggest a simple tweak to the first meal of the day might help people living with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) better control their blood sugar levels. Switching from a traditional western-style low-fat breakfast, like oatmeal, toast and fruit, to a low-carb meal higher in protein and fat, like eggs with bacon or cheese, can help people with T2D better manage their blood sugar for most of the day. [...]

In the first-ever 'before and after' assessment of the impact of establishing Mexico's Revillagigedo National Park on the fishing industry, a team of US and Mexican researchers found that Mexico's industrial fishing sector did not incur economic losses five years after the park's creation despite a full ban in fishing activity within the MPA. [...]

The ground beneath Antarctica's most vulnerable glacier has now been mapped, helping scientists to better understand how it is being affected by climate change. Analysis of the geology below the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica shows there is less sedimentary rock than expected -- a finding that could affect how the ice slides and melts in the coming decades. [...]

Chemical and environmental engineering scientists have identified two species of bacteria found in soil that break down a class of stubborn 'forever chemicals'-- per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that have contaminated groundwater below industrial and military sites throughout the nation. The discovery gives hope for low-cost biological cleanup of these pollutants. [...]

Municipal climate action plans often identify equity and justice as goals, but engagement with these concepts is mostly rhetorical. A new study details how planners can bridge the gap and challenge the current state of climate change and social inequity. [...]

Influenza epidemics, caused by influenza A or B viruses, result in acute respiratory infection. They kill half a million people worldwide every year. These viruses can also wreak havoc on animals, as in the case of avian flu. A team has now identified how the influenza A virus manages to penetrate cells to infect them. By attaching itself to a receptor on the cell surface, it hijacks the iron transport mechanism to start its infection cycle. By blocking the receptor involved, the researchers were also able to significantly reduce its ability to invade cells. These results highlight a vulnerability that… [...]

Even without nerves, plants can sense when something touches them and when it lets go, a study has found. In a set of experiments, individual plant cells responded to the touch of a very fine glass rod by sending slow waves of calcium signals to other plant cells, and when that pressure was released, they sent much more rapid waves. While scientists have known that plants can respond to touch, this study shows that plant cells send different signals when touch is initiated and ended. [...]

Consuming nutritious food can improve metabolic health and delay aging. But what are the appropriate quantities of dietary macronutrients that can help achieve this? To answer this, researchers fed isocaloric diets with varying amounts of protein to young and middle-aged male mice. They found that the mice were metabolically healthier when fed moderate-protein diets. These findings could provide valuable insights into developing nutritional interventions and improving metabolic health in people. [...]

A team of researchers has been developing accessible and creative means of communicating sustainability research from the social sciences for policymakers and the wider public. Using fairy tale characters -- mermaids, vampires, and witches -- as metaphors, the team has sought to communicate typically complicated arguments in evocative and engaging terms. [...]

Starting in the 1990s, Island Fox populations began to dwindle due to an outbreak of canine distemper and an increase in attacks by golden eagles. Some islands saw their population drop to as low as 15 individuals, but conservation efforts by the Federal government restored numbers by 2017. A new study reveals a worrying decrease in genetic diversity within the species, signaling a new threat to the Channel Islands foxes' survival. The decrease in genetic diversity reduces the foxes' ability to adapt to future challenges, such as climate change and introduced pathogens, putting their survival at risk once again. Although… [...]

Scientists found the virus strains that arrived in 2021 soon acquired genes from viruses in wild birds in North America. The resulting reassortant viruses have spread across the continent and caused more severe disease. [...]

Scientists have spent years trying to develop an effective HIV vaccine, but none have proven successful. Based on findings from a recently published study, a research team may have put science one step closer to that goal. [...]

Researchers shows how information about the quantity of absorbed light passes from the leaves to the roots. Photosynthetic sucrose not only supplies roots with carbohydrates but also acts as a signal transmitter for light-dependent root architecture. [...]

A group of world leading health and scientific experts are calling on the aviation industry to take action to protect passengers and aircrew from dangerous cabin fumes which they say have led to a new emerging disease. Led by former pilot and aviation health researcher, the specialists have released the first medical protocol of its kind to help treat those effected by contamination of the aircraft cabin breathing air supply and collect data on contamination events. [...]

Researchers are proposing a novel pathway through which coastal ecosystem restoration can permanently capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Seagrass and mangroves -- known as blue carbon ecosystems -- naturally capture carbon through photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide into living tissue. [...]

A team has developed a new catalyst composed of elements abundant in the Earth. It could make possible the low-cost and energy-efficient production of hydrogen for use in transportation and industrial applications. [...]

In a nutritional comparison of plant-based and dairy yogurts, almond milk yogurt came out on top, according to new research. [...]

Insects use odor plumes -- which travel like smoke and form when the wind blows odor molecules from their source -- to track down sources such as flowers or pheromones. But wind tunnels are typically unable to replicate realistic outdoor wind conditions. Researchers decided to explore microscale wind conditions in various outdoor environments to better understand what flying insects might experience while tracking odor plumes. [...]

A detailed plan to transform product packaging and significantly cut plastic production and pollution has been developed by researchers. The study comes as government representatives meet in Paris to negotiate a legally binding global plastics treaty with a mandate to end plastic pollution. [...]

Genetic analysis shows dingo populations have significantly less dog ancestry than previously thought. [...]

The early stages of embryonic development contain many of life's mysteries. Unlocking these mysteries can help us better understand early development and birth defects, and help develop new regenerative medicine treatments. Researchers have now characterized a critical time in mammalian embryonic development using powerful and innovative imaging techniques. [...]

The next generation of sustainable energy technology might be built from some low-tech materials: rocks and the sun. Using a new approach known as concentrated solar power, heat from the sun is stored then used to dry foods or create electricity. A team has found that certain soapstone and granite samples from Tanzania are well suited for storing this solar heat, featuring high energy densities and stability even at high temperatures. [...]

Exhaust fumes probably come to mind when considering vehicle emissions, but they aren't the only source of pollutants released by a daily commute. Researchers report that alcohols in windshield washer fluid account for a larger fraction of real-world vehicle emissions than previous estimates have suggested. Notably, the levels of these non-fuel-derived gases will likely remain unchanged, even as more drivers transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles. [...]

A survey of philosophers finds they broadly agree with economists on the best way of valuing the environment of the future in policy decisions made now -- although for different reasons. [...]

One of Australia's first long-distance walkers has been described after palaeontologists used advanced 3D scans and other technology to take a new look at the partial remains of a 3.5 million year old marsupial from central Australia.   They have named a new genus of diprotodontid Ambulator, meaning walker or wanderer, because the locomotory adaptations of the legs and feet of this quarter-tonne animal would have made it well suited to roam long distances in search of food and water when compared to earlier relatives. [...]

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New Scientist - Earth

Tonga volcano eruption disrupted satellites halfway around the world
Mon, 22 May 2023


A link between volcanic activity and rising bubbles of low pressure in the ionosphere has now been proven, which may... Read more

Prehistoric Planet 2 review: Attenborough returns to ancient Earth
Sun, 14 May 2023


The second series of this show about Earth 66 million years ago is a joy to watch - but it... Read more

These bizarre lights in the sky hint at a way to predict earthquakes
Wed, 03 May 2023


Semi-mythical "earthquake lights" may be accompanied by changes to Earth's magnetic field. Now researchers say these changes could be used... Read more

World's first drilling project to seek natural hydrogen hits a snag
Fri, 14 Apr 2023


A well in Nebraska is the first in the world to have been drilled in search of naturally occurring geologic... Read more

Shiveluch volcano eruption in Russia smothers nearby villages in ash
Tue, 11 Apr 2023


The eruption of the Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia on 11 April sent plumes of volcanic ash... Read more

Next 10,000 years of Greenland ice sheet could be decided this century
Wed, 29 Mar 2023


Carbon emissions within the next 50 years could lead to a tipping point where large parts of the Greenland ice... Read more

Oxygen on early Earth may have come from quartz crushed by earthquakes
Mon, 20 Mar 2023


Billions of years ago, crushed quartz reacting with water could have created the conditions needed for the evolution of the... Read more

Earliest evidence of a meteorite hitting Earth found in Australia
Wed, 15 Mar 2023


Tiny pieces of stone found in a rock formation in Western Australia may be the oldest evidence of a meteorite... Read more

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