The downward trajectory of plant and animal diversity constitutes a key issue of the Anthropocene. Whether diversity is changing also in the world of microbes is unknown, however -- a "profound ignorance" -- because the importance of these microorganisms maintain Earth's habitability. A paper published today frames the rate of change of microbial biodiversity as an important question on which progress is possible.
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University and Hosei University have discovered a new species of large, tropical centipede of genus Scolopendra in Okinawa and Taiwan. It is only the third amphibious centipede identified in the world, and is the largest in the region, 20 cm long and nearly 2 cm thick. It is also the first new centipede to be identified in Japan in 143 years, testament to the incredible biodiversity of the Ryukyu Archipelago.
A new publication offers a comprehensive guide to help plant scientists communicate their work to the world. An Iowa State University scientist who contributed to the multi-institutional effort says it's critical that plant scientists emphasize outreach to make sure plant science is able to meet the demands of climate change and population growth.
Tarantulas are among the most notorious spiders, due in part to their size, vibrant colors and prevalence throughout the world. But one thing most people don't know is that tarantulas are homebodies. Females and their young rarely leave their burrows and only mature males will wander to seek out a mate. How then did such a sedentary spider come to inhabit six out of seven continents?
Volcanologists' ability to estimate eruption risks is largely reliant on knowing where pools of magma are stored, deep in the Earth's crust. But what happens if the magma can't be spotted?
Research in the Peruvian Andes highlights critical climate threats to montane forests and urges for current conservation plans to take climate projections into account.
Underground pipelines that transport oil and gas are very important engineering communications worldwide. Some of these underground communications are built and operated in earthquake-prone areas. The research shows that current methods used for calculating stress received by the underground pipelines during an earthquake are incorrect.
According to a new study published today in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the oxygen content in the oceans will continue to decrease for centuries even if all CO2 emissions would be stopped immediately. According to the author, Prof. Dr. Andreas Oschlies, from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the slowdown of ocean circulation and the progressive warming of deeper water layers are responsible for this process.
Snow cover in the Alps has been melting almost three days earlier per decade since the 1960s. This trend is temperature-related and cannot be compensated by heavier snowfall. By the end of the century, snow cover at 2,500 meters could disappear a month earlier than today, as simulations by environmental scientists at the University of Basel demonstrate.
The first photosynthetic oxygen-producing organisms on Earth were cyanobacteria. Their evolution dramatically changed the Earth allowing oxygen to accumulate into the atmosphere for the first time and further allowing the evolution of oxygen-utilizing organisms including eukaryotes. Eukaryotes include animals, but also algae, a broad group of photosynthetic oxygen-producing organisms that now dominate photosynthesis in the modern oceans. When, however, did algae begin to occupy marine ecosystems and compete with cyanobacteria as important phototrophic organisms?