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Preview: EurekAlert! - Agriculture

EurekAlert! - Agriculture



The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Last Build Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:03:01 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.
 



Prospective birth control pill for men has its origin in an arrow poison

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(American Chemical Society) Women have many options for oral contraceptives that are safe, effective and reversible, but despite decades of research, men have none. Now, scientists report a rat study in ACS' Journal of Medicinal Chemistry that shows they finally have a good lead for a male birth control pill. It's based on ouabain, a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.



The Golden Forest

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of California - Santa Barbara) Marine biologists author a children's book that explores connections between diverse life in California kelp and on sandy beaches.



Fort McMurray researchers find simple key to risk of severe peat fires

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(McMaster University) The scrawny black spruce trees that push up through the peat bogs of Canada's boreal forest are valuable indicators of fire risk, say researchers who studied a burned-over area just outside Fort McMurray, Alberta, where a devastating wildfire struck in 2016.



MDI Biological Laboratory develops Anecdata citizen science mobile app

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory) The MDI Biological Laboratory is riding the growing wave of interest in citizen science with the development of a new, easily accessible mobile phone app to help community organizations track and analyze crowd-sourced data from citizen volunteers on critical environmental questions.The free app is an outgrowth of Anecdata.org, an online citizen science portal for collecting and sharing environmental data that is now home to about 60 projects.



Aid for oceans and fisheries in developing world drops by 30 percent

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of British Columbia) Financial aid to fisheries in developing countries has declined by 30 percent, finds a new study from UBC and Stockholm Resilience Centre researchers, published in Marine Policy. Projects focusing on climate issues in fisheries had a 77 percent decline over the five years studied.



Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Washington) A small group of fishes -- possibly the world's cleverest carnivorous grazers -- feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. A team led by biologists at the University of Washington is trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.



New research to help reduce number of algae blooms that form annually

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Brigham Young University) The study shows that sampling headwaters where streams form can identify which landscapes are resilient enough to handle the rigors of farming and which are vulnerable to leaching toxic residue into waterways.



Coping with climate stress in Antarctica

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of California - Davis) Some Antarctic fish living in the planet's coldest waters are able to cope with the stress of rising carbon dioxide levels the ocean. They can even tolerate slightly warmer waters. But they can't deal with both climate change stressors at the same time, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.



California sea lion population rebounded to new highs

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region) California sea lions have fully rebounded under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, with their population on the West Coast reaching carrying capacity in 2008 before unusually warm ocean conditions reduced their numbers, according to the first comprehensive population assessment of the species.



Mantis shrimp size each other up before ceding a fight

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Duke University) To a mantis shrimp, walking away from a fight doesn't mean being a wimp. It means recognizing who they're up against and knowing when to bail rather than drag out a doomed battle, Duke University researchers say. Mantis shrimp use sparring matches to decide when to fight and when to fold, finds a study published Jan. 17 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.



To maximize sugarcane harvesting, use the right blade

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) You wouldn't use the same knife to cut through a thick steak as you would to slice an angel food cake, right? Although that may be a ridiculous comparison, the same principle holds true when harvesting various crops. One blade doesn't slice all. Researchers at the University of Illinois tested four blades to find the one that most efficiently cuts sugarcane.



Clean and green: A moss that removes lead from water

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(RIKEN) Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have demonstrated that that moss can be a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil. Published in PLOS ONE, the study shows that in particular, the moss Funaria hygrometrica tolerates and absorbs an impressive amount of lead (Pb) from water.



New 'Buck' naked barley: Food, feed, brew

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(American Society of Agronomy) Researchers are giving an ancient grain a new life: 'Buck' barley is naked, but not in an indecent way. Naked barley does not require pearling, allowing it to hold onto the bran and whole grain status.



Light-splitting greenhouse film could improve photosynthetic efficiency

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Colorado at Boulder) University of Colorado Boulder engineers have received a $2.45 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a scalable, cost-effective greenhouse material that splits sunlight into photosynthetically efficient light and repurposes inefficient infrared light to aid in water purification.



Michigan's sugar maples will struggle in a warmer, drier future despite help from nitrogen pollution

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Michigan) Though Michigan's sugar maples benefit from the growth-promoting effects of nitrogen compounds in the environment, those gains will not fully offset the added stresses of growing under a drier climate in the future, according to a new University of Michigan-led study.



Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Sydney) Biofouling costs shipping billions in increased fuel costs and affects aquaculture. A nanostructured surface inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plant could slash those costs.



New study suggests shark declines can lead to changes in reef fish body shapes

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science) Scientists studying nearly identical coral reef systems off Australia discovered something unusual on the reefs subjected to nearly exclusive fishing of sharks--fish with significantly smaller eyes and tails. The study is the first field evidence of body shape changes in fish due to human-driven shark declines from overfishing. These findings shed new light on the cascading effects the loss of the ocean's top predators is having on marine ecosystems.



Drones confirm importance of Costa Rican waters for sea turtles

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Duke University) A new drone-enabled population survey -- the first ever on sea turtles -- shows that larger-than-anticipated numbers of turtles aggregate in waters off Costa Rica's Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Scientists from Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill estimate turtle densities may reach up to 2,086 animals per square kilometer. The study underscores the importance of the Ostional habitat; it also confirms that drones are a reliable tool for surveying sea turtle abundance.



New process could slash energy demands of fertilizer, nitrogen-based chemicals

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Princeton University, Engineering School) Nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizer forms the backbone of the world food supply, but its manufacture requires a tremendous amount of energy. Now, computer modeling at Princeton University points to a method that could drastically cut the energy needed by using sunlight in the manufacturing process.



In sweet corn, workhorses win

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) When deciding which sweet corn hybrids to plant, vegetable processors need to consider whether they want their contract growers using a workhorse or a racehorse. Is it better to choose a hybrid with exceptional yields under ideal growing conditions (i.e., the racehorse) or one that performs consistently well across ideal and less-than-ideal conditions (i.e., the workhorse)? New research from the University of Illinois suggests the workhorse is the winner in processing sweet corn.



NIH invests in collaborative research to understand mechanisms controlling cell division

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Donald Danforth Plant Science Center) A three-year, $675,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to understand cell-size control in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas).



New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) A new multi-institution report provides practical agronomic data for five cellulosic feedstocks, which could improve adoption and increase production across the country.



Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants force fish to work much harder to survive

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(McMaster University) Pharmaceuticals and other man-made contaminants are forcing fish that live downstream from a typical sewage treatment plant to work at least 30 percent harder just to survive, McMaster researchers have found.



Europe's lost forests -- study shows coverage has halved over 6,000 years

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Plymouth) Research led by the University of Plymouth shows more than half of the forests across Europe have been lost over the past 6,000 years.



Quick quick slow is no-go in crab courtship dance

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Anglia Ruskin University) Female fiddler crabs are sensitive to changes in the speed of a male's courtship display, significantly preferring displays that accelerate to those that are performed at a constant speed or slow down.