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Environment - Administration - 25.10.2017
How 14 Billion Dollars Protected Earth’s Species
Billions of dollars of financial investment in global conservation has significantly reduced biodiversity loss, according to a new Oxford University research. Image credit: Shutterstock Billions of dollars of financial investment in global conservation has significantly reduced biodiversity loss, according to a new Oxford University research.

Environment - Life Sciences - 25.10.2017
All hands on deck to understand, predict, prevent abrupt ecological change
In 2011, Lake Erie turned into a toxic pea soup. One-sixth of the lake harbored a thick and deadly algal bloom that killed fish, closed beaches and struck a blow to Toledo, Ohio's tourism industry. The bloom was three times larger than any algal bloom ever recorded there. Then, in 2014, toxic algae suddenly contaminated Toledo's water supply, preventing half a million people from consuming, cooking or bathing with their tap water.

Environment - Materials Science - 24.10.2017
Adhesives and composite materials made from Swiss tree bark
Adhesives and composite materials made from Swiss tree bark
Studies show that tannins extracted from native tree bark can be used to produce adhesives and composite materials. An additional area of application might be 3D printing. The bark of native conifers is known as a waste product in the timber industry. It is mostly burnt or used as garden mulch. A team from the National Research Programme "Resource Wood" (NRP 66) has now developed a new process to extract valuable tannins from tree bark to produce adhesives and composite materials.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.10.2017
Bees feast on fast food
Bees feast on fast food
A study of honey bee bread in Lancashire and Cumbria bee hives showed that in some samples nearly 90 per cent of the pollen came from Himalayan balsam Honey bees love the invasive plant Himalayan balsam and eat it like 'fast food' but, like humans, they thrive better on a varied diet. A study of honey bee bread in Lancashire and Cumbria bee hives showed that in some samples nearly 90 per cent of the pollen came from the invasive plant Himalayan balsam.

Environment - 23.10.2017
Sugarcane could help cut global carbon problem
Sugarcane could help cut global carbon problem
Abandoned sugarcane plantations across the tropics could offer us a realistic, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels - according to new research published this week. Ethanol produced from sugarcane has been one of the most successful short-term strategies to date in decarbonizing energy supply, particularly in Brazil where the sugarcane ethanol system results in just 14% of the CO2 emissions of petroleum.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.10.2017
Reduced impact logging still harms biodiversity in tropical rainforests
A new study finds that even low levels of logging in the Amazon rainforest may lead to great losses in biodiversity. More than 403 million hectares of tropical forests worldwide have been earmarked for timber concessions with selective logging a common economic activity. The Brazilian Amazon alone holds around 4.5 billion m3 of commercial timber volume, and the demand on Amazonian hardwood is increased as African and Asian timber stocks are exhausted.

Environment - 23.10.2017
Unique study: more iron in lakes is making them brown
Unique study: more iron in lakes is making them brown
The iron concentration in lakes is increasing in many parts of northern Europe, including Sweden. This has been shown in a study in which researchers at Lund University in Sweden examined 23 years of data from 10 countries. High iron levels contribute to browner water; furthermore, iron binds environmental toxins such as lead and arsenic.

Life Sciences - Environment - 20.10.2017
British birds adapt their beaks to birdfeeders
Certain British birds have evolved longer beaks than other species, and new research suggests that our fondness for feeding them may be the reason why. Image credit: Dennis Van De Water Certain British birds have evolved longer beaks than other species, and new research suggests that our fondness for feeding them may be the reason why.

Environment - 20.10.2017
Cool Roofs Have Water Saving Benefits Too
Cool Roofs Have Water Saving Benefits Too
The energy and climate benefits of cool roofs have been well established: By reflecting rather than absorbing the sun's energy, light-colored roofs keep buildings, cities, and even the entire planet cooler. Now a new study by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that cool roofs can also save water by reducing how much is needed for urban irrigation.

Environment - Economics / Business - 19.10.2017
A seemingly symbolic action shifted the climate change debate
ANN ARBOR-On the face of it, environmentalist Bill McKibben's international climate campaign to have universities divest fossil fuel assets had limited success. Only a handful of institutions pledged to divest and it didn't affect the stocks of fossil fuel companies. But a new study by University of Michigan sustainable enterprise professor Andy Hoffman and Temple University's Todd Schifeling, a former postdoc with U-M's Erb and Graham institutes, shows McKibben's activism might have been successful in another way.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.10.2017
Hydroelectric power plants have to be adapted for climate change
Hydroelectric power plants have to be adapted for climate change
Of all the electricity produced in Switzerland, 56% comes from hydropower. The life span of hydroelectric plants, which are massive and expensive to build and maintain, is measured in decades, yet the rivers and streams they depend on and the surrounding environment are ever-changing.

Environment - 18.10.2017
Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
When species interact with each other, they do not evolve separately, but do so together. This process is called coevolution. Natural selection favors predators that are better at capturing prey, and it favors prey with better defenses for escaping predators. Among mutualistic biological communities, where two species mutually benefit from their relationship, natural selection favors, for example, plants that are better at being pollinated by insects as well as insects that are better at extracting pollen and nectar from flowers.

Chemistry - Environment - 17.10.2017
Separating methane and COâ‚‚ will become more efficient
To make natural gas and biogas suitable for use, the methane has to be separated from the CO2. This involves the use of membranes: filters that stop the methane and let the CO2 pass through. Researchers at KU Leuven have developed a new membrane that makes the separation process much more effective.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.10.2017
How bees find their way home
How bees find their way home
How can a bee fly straight home in the middle of the night after a complicated route through thick vegetation in search of food? For the first time, researchers have been able to show what happens in the brain of the bee. Bees and many other animals use what is known as optical flow to determine how fast they are going and how far they have moved through their environment.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.10.2017
Hardy corals take to the seas to build new reefs from scratch
Tough species of corals can go mobile and lay the foundations for new reefs in otherwise inhospitable areas, a study shows. Scientists have discovered that the rolling and resilient corals can act as a base upon which other corals attach and build reefs by creating their own stable habitats. The finding sheds new light on the mobile corals - called coralliths - which grow on pebbles or fragments of dead reefs, and can survive being buffeted by waves and ocean currents.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.10.2017
Gutters teem with inconspicuous life
Gutters teem with inconspicuous life
Scientists from the BOREA Biology of Aquatic Organisms and Ecosystems research unit (CNRS / MNHN / IRD / UPMC / University of Caen / Université des Antilles)—together with a colleague from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany—have shown that Parisian street gutters are oases of microscopic life, home to microalgae, fungi, sponges, and mollusks.

Environment - 13.10.2017
New technique tracks plant photosynthesis from space
University of Sydney and NASA researchers have developed a revolutionary new technique to image plant photosynthesis using satellite-based remote-sensing, with potential applications in climate change monitoring. The uptake of carbon dioxide by leaves and it's conversion to sugars by photosynthesis, referred to as gross primary production (GPP), is the fundamental basis of life on Earth and its quantification is vital for research on terrestrial carbon cycle dynamics.

Environment - 13.10.2017
Fanged kangaroo research could shed light on extinction
Fanged kangaroo research could shed light on extinction
Fanged kangaroos - an extinct family of small fanged Australian kangaroos - might have survived at least five million years longer than previously thought. A University of Queensland-led study has found the species might have competed for resources with ancestors of modern kangaroos. Research into species diversity, body size and the timing of extinction found that fanged kangaroos, previously thought to have become extinct about 15 million years ago, persisted to at least 10 million years ago.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.10.2017
Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories
Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories
The recent intense hurricanes in the Atlantic have sharply focused attention on how climate change can exacerbate extreme weather events. Scientific research suggests that global warming causes heavier rainfall because a hotter atmosphere can hold more moisture and warmer oceans evaporate faster feeding the atmosphere with more moisture.

Environment - 12.10.2017
Ground-floor insulation can reduce floor heat loss by up to 92 per cent
Adding insulation to suspended timber ground floors commonly found in homes built before the Second World War can reduce heat-loss by up to 92 per cent, according to research from UCL and the University of Sheffield.  A simple job for the DIY enthusiast, the research team claim that this intervention has the potential to dramatically reduce heating bills and contribute to the UK's CO2 emissions reduction targets.