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Preview: EurekAlert! - Earth Science

EurekAlert! - Earth Science



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



Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:24:02 EDT

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.
 



Bacterial organizational complexities revealed

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Michigan State University) For the first time, scientists have visualized the fine details of bacterial microcompartment shells -- the organisms' submicroscopic nanoreactors, which are comprised completely of protein.



How do genes get new jobs? Wasp venom offers new insights

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Rochester) In a study published in Current Biology on June 22, the lab of Professor John Werren at the University of Rochester describes how four closely related species of parasitic wasps change their venoms rapidly in order to adapt to new hosts, and proposes that co-option of single copy genes may be a common but relatively understudied mechanism of evolution for new gene functions, particularly under conditions of rapid evolutionary change.



Geology rocks the Pacific Northwest: GSA Meeting returns to Seattle

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Geological Society of America) Registration is open for The Geological Society of America's Annual Meeting & Exposition, to be held Oct. 22-25 2017 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, USA.



How pythons regenerate their organs and other secrets of the snake genome

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center) Snakes exhibit incredible evolutionary adaptations, including the ability to rapidly regenerate their organs and produce venom. The Castoe group at the University of Texas at Arlington studied these adaptations using genetic sequencing and advanced computing. Supercomputers of the Texas Advanced Computing Center helped the team identify a number of genes associated with organ growth in Burmese pythons, study secondary contact in related rattlesnake species, and develop tools to recognize evolutionary changes caused by natural selection.



NASA's infrared and radar eyes in space cast on Tropical Storm Cindy

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed Tropical Storm Cindy in infrared light to identify areas of strongest storms and the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM satellite found locations of heaviest rainfall as Cindy was making landfall along the US Gulf Coast states.



How eggs got their shapes

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) The evolution of the amniotic egg -- complete with membrane and shell -- was key to vertebrates leaving the oceans and colonizing the land and air but how bird eggs evolved into so many different shapes and sizes has long been a mystery. Now, an international team of scientists took a quantitative approach to that question and found that adaptations for flight may have been critical drivers of egg-shape variation in birds.



How protons move through a fuel cell

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)) Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals -- a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.



Magnetic memories of a metal world

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(St John's College, University of Cambridge) Research deciphering the hidden magnetic messages encoded in a rare group of meteorites has helped secure nearly half a billion dollars of NASA funding for a journey to their parent asteroid -- the only known place in the solar system where scientists can examine directly what is probably a metallic core.



The 'Star dust' wasp is a new extinct species named after David Bowie's alter ego

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Pensoft Publishers) During her study on fossil insects at China's Capitol Normal University, student Longfeng Li visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA, carrying two unidentified wasp specimens that were exceptionally well-preserved and 100 million years old. Close examination revealed that both were species new to science. Furthermore, one of them was found to belong to a genus of modern wasps. The study is published in the open access Journal of Hymenoptera Research.



Australian origin likely for iconic New Zealand tree

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Adelaide) Ancestors of the iconic New Zealand Christmas Tree, P?hutukawa, may have originated in Australia, new fossil research from the University of Adelaide suggests.



Multifunctional catalyst for poison-resistant hydrogen fuel cells

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Kyushu University, I2CNER) A Kyushu University-led collaboration developed a catalyst that can oxidize both hydrogen and carbon monoxide in fuel cells. As a result, their catalyst is resistant to poisoning by the contaminant carbon monoxide in commercial hydrogen gas, which is a common limitation of current fuel cell catalysts. The action of the multifunctional catalyst resembled that of two enzymes: a hydrogenase and carbon monoxide dehydrogenase. This catalyst is promising for use in high-performance hydrogen fuel cells.



NRL issued patent for solar microbial fuel cell

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Naval Research Laboratory) NRL's Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering has received a US patent for a microbial photoelectrochemical solar cell driven entirely by sunlight and microorganisms.



Ecology insights improve plant biomass degradation by microorganisms

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Groningen) Microbes are widely used to break down plant biomass into sugars, which can be used as sustainable building blocks for novel biocompounds. Getting the right microbial community for this process is still a matter of trial and error. New insights by University of Groningen microbial ecologist Diego Javier Jiménez and colleagues could make a rational design possible. They argue this point in an opinion paper published in the journal Trends in Microbiology on June 22.



Flight ability of birds affects the shape of their eggs

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Association for the Advancement of Science) Many different theories exist as to why the shape of bird eggs varies so much across species, and now, new research yields evidence that variable egg shape is driven by unique flight adaptations.



New efficient, low-temperature catalyst for hydrogen production

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory) Scientists have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO). The discovery could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.



Cracking the mystery of avian egg shape

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Princeton University) According to new research, egg shape in birds is related to adaptations for efficient flight -- and a mechanistic model reveals how different egg shapes may be formed.



Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Emory Health Sciences) The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show.



Fossil holds new insights into how fish evolved onto land

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Calgary) The fossil of an early snake-like animal -- called Lethiscus stocki -- has kept its evolutionary secrets for the last 340-million years.Now, an international team of researchers, led by the University of Calgary, has revealed new insights into the ancient Scottish fossil that dramatically challenge our understanding of the early evolution of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals with backbones.



Trash-picking seagulls poop tons of nutrients

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Duke University) At least 1.4 million seagulls feed at landfills in North America. Aside from the nuisance they pose, a new Duke study finds their nutrient-rich feces may threaten the health of nearby waters. The study estimates North American gulls deposit 240 tons of nitrogen and 39 tons of phosphorus into nearby lakes and reservoirs each year, fertilizing algae and weeds and costing local governments about $100 million in nutrient offset costs.



Reconstruction of ancient chromosomes offers insight into mammalian evolution

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - Davis) Researchers have gone back in time, at least virtually, computationally recreating the chromosomes of the first eutherian mammal, the long-extinct, shrewlike ancestor of all placental mammals.



UTSA Center for Community and Business Research releases Eagle Ford Shale study

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Texas at San Antonio) Commissioned by the South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER), The University of Texas at San Antonio's (UTSA) Center for Community and Business Research (CCBR) completed the latest Eagle Ford Shale (EFS) study in June. The study titled, "Economic Impact of the Eagle Ford Shale, Business Opportunities and the New Normal" provides new trend data and updated economic impact analysis across 2014, 2015 and, 2016.



This week from AGU: Remarkable 2016 storms caused massive Antarctic sea ice loss

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Geophysical Union) Weekly AGU news from Geospace, The Landslide Blog, Eos.org and research spotlights.



NASA sees Tropical Storm Cindy soaking the Gulf Coast

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of Tropical Storm Cindy after it formed and was already affecting the US Gulf Coast states. Cindy continues to crawl toward land and Tropical Storm warnings are in effect for June 21.



No mercury accumulation in fish after fire

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Society of Agronomy) The USDA Forest Service in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCWA) will continue to use controlled burns without worrying about fish health in associated watersheds.



NASA sees Tropical Storm Bret's finale

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Tropical Storm Bret was weakening with NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead on June 20, and within three hours of the overpass, Bret degenerated into a tropical wave.