ENN: Ecosystems

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Researchers discover new, abundant enzyme that helps bacteria infect animals

Researchers have discovered a new class of enzymes in hundreds of bacterial species, including some that cause disease in humans and animals. The discovery provides new insights into how bacteria invade their hosts. The research appears this week in Nature Communications.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Asteroid that killed dinosaurs may have sped up bird evolution

Human activities could trigger an altered pattern of evolution similar to what occurred 66 million years ago, when a giant asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, leaving birds as their only descendants. 

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
UMN researchers find recipe for forest restoration

To find out what works best for reestablishing tropical dry forests, the researchers planted seedlings of 32 native tree species in degraded soil or degraded soil amended with sand, rice hulls, rice hull ash or hydrogel.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Scientists and Farmers Work Together to Wipe Out African Lovegrass

A partnership between QUT, the NSW Government and farmers could lead to the eventual eradication of the highly invasive African lovegrass which is threatening pastures and native grasslands Australia-wide.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Green Algae Could Hold Clues for Engineering Faster-Growing Crops

Two new studies of green algae — the scourge of swimming pool owners and freshwater ponds — have revealed new insights into how these organisms siphon carbon dioxide from the air for use in photosynthesis, a key factor in their ability to grow so quickly. Understanding this process may someday help researchers improve the growth rate of crops such as wheat and rice.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
When residents take charge of their rainforests, fewer trees die

When the government gives citizens a personal stake in forested land, trees don’t disappear as quickly and environmental harm slows down.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Protected Waters Foster Resurgence of West Coast Rockfish

West Coast rockfish species in deep collapse only 20 years ago have multiplied rapidly in large marine protected areas off Southern California, likely seeding surrounding waters with enough offspring to offer promise of renewed fishing, a new study has found.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Protected Waters Foster Resurgence of West Coast Rockfish

West Coast rockfish species in deep collapse only 20 years ago have multiplied rapidly in large marine protected areas off Southern California, likely seeding surrounding waters with enough offspring to offer promise of renewed fishing, a new study has found.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
New Study Pushes Back Deadline to Act to Limit Warming to 1.5 Degrees

A new study suggests that nations have a bit more time than previously thought if they want to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, finds that the world’s economies can emit an additional 700 billion tons of carbon dioxide before exceeding 1.5 degrees — more than twice previous estimates.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Fly away home? Ice age may have clipped bird migration

The onset of the last ice age may have forced some bird species to abandon their northerly migrations for thousands of years, says new research led by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln ornithologist.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
WSU researchers see popular herbicide affecting health across generations

First, the good news. Washington State University researchers have found that a rat exposed to a popular herbicide while in the womb developed no diseases and showed no apparent health effects aside from lower weight.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Mathematics predicts a sixth mass extinction

In the past 540 million years, the Earth has endured five mass extinction events, each involving processes that upended the normal cycling of carbon through the atmosphere and oceans. These globally fatal perturbations in carbon each unfolded over thousands to millions of years, and are coincident with the widespread extermination of marine species around the world. 

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Forest Fire Pollution Wreaks Havoc on Wildlife

Forest fires in Southeast Asia during the El Niño droughts of 2015 caused considerable disruption to the biodiversity of the region due to the smoke-induced ‘haze’ they created, according to new research led by Benjamin Lee at the University of Kent and the National Parks Board in Singapore.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infection, are linked to frog population declines worldwide. The new study suggests that that SPI is the third most common infectious disease of frogs.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infection, are linked to frog population declines worldwide. The new study suggests that that SPI is the third most common infectious disease of frogs.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
New Method to Estimate Abundance, Detect Trends in North Atlantic Right Whales Confirms Recent Population Decline

NOAA Fisheries researchers and colleagues at the New England Aquarium have developed a new model to improve estimates of abundance and population trends of endangered North Atlantic right whales, which have declined in numbers and productivity in recent years.  The findings were published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
American Oaks Share a Common Northern Ancestor

If you had been in northern Canada 45 million years ago, you might have encountered the distant ancestor of all of the oaks in the Americas. That single species gave rise to 220 more and two distinct lineages—red oaks and white oaks—that moved south through the boreal zone to populate large swaths of the continent all the way into Mexico. These two findings—simultaneous evolutionary diversification in the red and white oaks, each following the same geographic routes; and two relatively recent origins of the Mexican oaks—are a surprise conclusion to a scientific mystery that went unresolved until now. Research published this week in the journal New Phytologist tells this story of the evolutionary history of American oaks for the first time.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
American Oaks Share a Common Northern Ancestor

If you had been in northern Canada 45 million years ago, you might have encountered the distant ancestor of all of the oaks in the Americas. That single species gave rise to 220 more and two distinct lineages—red oaks and white oaks—that moved south through the boreal zone to populate large swaths of the continent all the way into Mexico. These two findings—simultaneous evolutionary diversification in the red and white oaks, each following the same geographic routes; and two relatively recent origins of the Mexican oaks—are a surprise conclusion to a scientific mystery that went unresolved until now. Research published this week in the journal New Phytologist tells this story of the evolutionary history of American oaks for the first time.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Report Suggests Love of the Seas Could be the Key for Plastic Pollution Solution

Tapping into the public’s passion for the ocean environment could be the key to reducing the threats posed to it by plastic pollution, a new report suggests.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Changes in Nonextreme Precipitation May Have Not-So-Subtle Consequences

Major floods and droughts receive a lot of attention in the context of climate change, but University of Illinois researchers analyzed over five decades of precipitation data from North America to find that changes in nonextreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized and larger than those in extreme precipitation. These changes can have a strong effect on ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure design and resource management, and point to a need to examine precipitation in a more nuanced, multifaceted way.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Small-scale fisheries have big impact on oceans

A new UBC study has found that small-scale fisheries may have a much larger impact on ocean ecosystems than previously thought, due to a lack of data on their development over time.

“We found that the influence from small-scale fisheries is far from small,” said Jennifer Selgrath, lead author who completed the research as a PhD student with UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and Project Seahorse. “In our case study in the Philippines, we found that the fisheries have become unsustainable because there are so many people trying to catch a limited number of fish and invertebrates.”

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Secret life may thrive in warm caves under Antarctica's glaciers

A new study led by ANU has found that animals and plants may live in warm caves under Antarctica's glaciers.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Secret life may thrive in warm caves under Antarctica's glaciers

A new study led by ANU has found that animals and plants may live in warm caves under Antarctica's glaciers.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Clouds Like Honeycomb

NOAA-led team uses an innovative network approach to explain polygonal patterns in clouds.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM
Clouds Like Honeycomb

NOAA-led team uses an innovative network approach to explain polygonal patterns in clouds.

09/25/2017 04:20 AM