Cornell University researchers have found a new species of soil bacteria that is particularly adept at breaking down organic matter, including the cancer-causing chemicals that are released when coal, gas, oil and refuse are burned.
In several new studies, University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researcher Katharine Mach and colleagues explore the importance of learning and knowledge in environmental decision-making and the different ways in which scientific knowledge can become more relevant and useful for societies.
In a new paper, climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution propose that massive amounts of melting sea ice in the Arctic drained into the North Atlantic and disrupted climate-steering currents, thus playing an important role in causing past abrupt climate change after the last Ice Age, from about 8,000 to 13,000 years ago. Details of how they tested this idea for the first time are online now in Geology.
New work shows how using next-generation DNA sequencing on ancient packrat middens--nests made out of plant material, fragments of insects, bones, fecal matter, and urine--could provide ecological snapshots of Earth's past. Published today in the journal Ecology and Evolution, the study may pave the way for scientists to better understand how plant communities--and possibly animals, bacteria, and fungi as well--will respond to human-caused climate change.
By measuring iron isotopes, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have shown that our planet originally formed much faster than previously thought. This finding provides new insights on both planetary formation and the likelihood of water and life elsewhere in the universe.
The atmospheric release of ancient stores of methane in thawing permafrost or from beneath Arctic ice may not impact future climate warming as strongly as previously believed, a new study finds.
As global temperatures rise, permafrost and methane hydrates -- large reservoirs of ancient carbon -- have the potential to break down, releasing enormous quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane. But would this methane actually reach the atmosphere? University of Rochester researchers and their collaborators found that even if methane is released from these natural stores in response to warming, very little reaches the atmosphere; therefore, anthropogenic emissions should be more concerning than these natural feedbacks.
A growing body of research shows that birds' spring migration has been getting earlier and earlier in recent decades. New research from The Auk: Ornithological Advances on Black-throated Blue Warblers, a common songbird that migrates from Canada and the eastern US to Central America and back every year, uses fifty years of bird-banding data to add another piece to the puzzle, showing that little-studied fall migration patterns have been shifting over time as well.
Employing a game theory model, University of Pennsylvania researchers demonstrate how strategic decisions influence the environment in which those decisions are made, alterations which in turn influence strategy. Their analysis, which identifies how incentives can tip a strategy from one extreme to another, applies to fields as diverse as fisheries dynamics to climate change policy.
A study has found that the water quality of a home can differ in each room and change between seasons, challenging the assumption that the water in a public water system is the same as the water that passes through a building's plumbing at any time of the year.