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About time! Predicting midge seasonality key to reducing livestock diseases
(Centre for Ecology& Hydrology) Ecologists at the UK-based Centre for Ecology& Hydrology (CEH) have led a study which informs optimal strategies for control of devastating midge-borne diseases like bluetongue and Schmallenberg virus that affect cattle and sheep in the UK and beyond. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New report finds EPA's controlled human exposure studies of air pollution are warranted
(National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds these studies are warranted and recommends that they continue under two conditions: when they provide additional knowledge that informs policy decisions and regulation of pollutants that cannot be obtained by other means, and when it is reasonably predictable that the risks for study participants will not exceed biomarker or physiologic responses that are of short duration and reversible. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Forests fight global warming in ways more important than previously understood
(Ohio State University) Trees impact climate by regulating the exchange of water and energy between the Earth's surface and the atmosphere, an important influence that should be considered as policymakers contemplate efforts to conserve forested land, said the authors of an international study that appears in the journal Nature Climate Change. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Discovery of a new regulatory protein provides new tool for stem cell engineering
(University of California - San Diego) Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have discovered a protein that regulates the switch of embryonic stem cells from the least developed 'na ï ve' state to the more developed 'primed' state. This discovery sheds light on stem cell development at a molecular level. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

MSU, Shedd Aquarium partnering to create healthier aquatic homes
(Michigan State University) Viruses are the most abundant living organisms on the planet, yet we know very little about them, especially in aquatic environments. Michigan State University's Joan Rose is partnering with Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to better understand how viruses affect plants, fish and aquatic mammals in human-built and controlled aquariums. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Hair spacing keeps honeybees clean during pollination
(Georgia Institute of Technology) A honeybee can carry up to 30 percent of its body weight in pollen because of the strategic spacing of its nearly three million hairs. The gap between each eye hair is approximately the same size as a grain of dandelion pollen, which is typically collected by bees. This keeps the pollen suspended above the eye and allows the forelegs to comb through and collect the particles. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

It is easier for a DNA knot...
(Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati) How can long DNA filaments, which have convoluted and highly knotted structure, manage to pass through the tiny pores of biological systems? This is the fascinating question addressed by Antonio Suma and Cristian Micheletti, researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste who used computer simulations to investigate the options available to the genetic material in such situations. The study has just been published in PNAS. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Cornering endangered species
(University of California - Santa Barbara) Geographic areas occupied by certain species shrink as they decline in abundance, leaving them more vulnerable to extinction by harvest. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

It's not too late to conserve water resources in rapidly urbanizing areas
(University of Massachusetts at Amherst) As climate change and population pressure intensify in suburbia, a new study by watershed scientist Timothy Randhir at UMass Amherst suggests that threats such as water shortages and poor quality can be met if managers begin to act now. 'A lot of studies in hydrology climate science focus on climate, but very few combine the two, land use and its synergy with climate change.' He modeled how this watershed is going to look in the next 90 years taking both into account. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Dust contributes valuable nutrients to Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems
(National Science Foundation) Dust from as close as California's Central Valley and as far away as Asia's Gobi Desert provides nutrients, especially phosphorus, to vegetation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a team of scientists has found. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Highway to health: WSU findings point way to more nutritious crops
(Washington State University) Washington State University researchers have had the closest look yet at the inner workings of a plant's circulatory system. Their findings show how nutrients get from the leaves, where they are produced through photosynthesis, to 'sinks' that can include the fruits and seeds we eat and the branches we process for biofuels. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Tiny bacterium provides window into whole ecosystems
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) MIT research on Prochlorococcus, the most abundant life form in the oceans, shows the bacteria's metabolism evolved in a way that may have helped trigger the rise of other organisms, to form a more complex marine ecosystem with overall greater biomass. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Fighting world hunger: Robotics aid in the study of corn and drought tolerance
(University of Missouri-Columbia) Developing drought tolerant corn that makes efficient use of available water will be vital to sustain the estimated 9 billion global population by 2050. In March 2014, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the University of Missouri a $20 million grant as part of a multi-institutional consortium to study how corn maintains root growth during drought conditions. Using funding from the NSF, Mizzou engineers on a multidisciplinary team have developed a robotic system that is changing the way scientists study crops and plant composition. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation
(University of Hawaii at Manoa) New research from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa reveals a large part of the heavily urbanized area of Honolulu and Waikiki, Hawai'i is at risk of groundwater inundation--flooding that occurs as groundwater is lifted above the ground surface due to sea level rise. A newly-developed computer model simulates future flood scenarios in the urban core as sea level rises three feet, as is projected for this century under certain climate change scenarios. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
(University of California - Riverside) Dust from as far away as the Gobi Desert in Asia is providing more nutrients than previously thought for plants, including giant sequoias, in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, a team of scientists, including several from the University of California, Riverside, have found. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Study: Dust helps regulate Sierra Nevada ecosystems
(University of California - Merced) A new study released March 28 in the journal Nature Communications indicates it's important to understand how dust helps vegetation thrive, especially in light of the changing climate and land-use intensification. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

'Flying syringes' could detect emerging infectious diseases
(eLife) Blood-sucking flies can act as 'flying syringes' to detect emerging infectious diseases in wild animals before they spread to humans, according to research published in the journal eLife. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 28, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

For the birds: New prediction method sheds brighter light on flight
(Office of Naval Research) Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, researchers at Stanford University found a new way to precisely measure the vortices -- circular patterns of rotating air -- created by birds' wings during flight. The results shed greater light on how these creatures produce enough lift to fly. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Satellites reveal bird habitat loss in California
(Duke University) Reduced seasonal flooding of wetlands and farm fields in California's Sacramento Valley threatens a key stopover site for migratory shorebirds, a Duke-led study shows. Landsat satellite images reveal that flooded habitat is most limited during peak spring migration when the birds urgently need resting and feeding sites. Near the peak of migration, an area of seasonally flooded land twice the size of Washington, D.C. has been lost since 1983. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Nitrogen foraging ability of plants relies on mobile shoot-root hormone signal
(Nagoya University) Nagoya University researchers discovered the molecular mechanisms underlying the shoot-to-root stage of nitrogen-demand signaling in plants. The team found that genes encoding CEPD polypeptides are switched on in the shoots in response to nitrogen starvation in the roots. These polypeptides then descend into the roots, and activate a nitrate transporter gene only if sufficient nitrate is available in the surrounding soil. These findings have implications for maximizing plant nutrient acquisition and improving agricultural productivity. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Patent analysis highlights importance of bioactives of saffron
(Bentham Science Publishers) Increased stress levels, sleep disorders and obesity have become hallmarks of present lifestyle. These conditions are often correlated with serious health problems such as cancer, diabetes, cerebral ischemia, stroke, etc. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Proteomics helps to understand the influence of genetic variations
(Technical University of Munich (TUM)) How does type 2 diabetes develop? A team of researchers headed by the Helmholtz Zentrum M ü nchen and the Technical University of Munich has come closer to finding an answer to this problem. The team examined the functional effects of exemplary genetic variations relevant for type 2 diabetes. Their approach can be applied to many clinical pictures. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Litter is present throughout the world's oceans: 1,220 species affected
(Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research) Where is marine litter concentrated, and which species and ecosystems does it affect? Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have for the first time compiled all scientific data published on marine litter in a single, comprehensive database, now accessible from the online portal AWI Litterbase. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Wall lizard becomes accustomed to humans and stops hiding
(FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology) Habituating to predators or fleeing and hiding are tactics that vary between species. Scientists from two research centers in Italy and Spain have observed that adult male common wall lizards sharing their living spaces with humans become accustomed to them and hide less when humans approach them. Yellow lizards were the most 'daring.' (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Unique wheat passes the test
(Aarhus University) A unique, patented wheat can have significant importance to agriculture, the environment and undernourished people in developing countries. Animal tests recently demonstrated that this special wheat increases P and Ca digestibility. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Hydrogen production: This is how green algae assemble their enzymes
(Ruhr-University Bochum) Researchers at Ruhr-Universit ä t Bochum have analyzed how green algae manufacture complex components of a hydrogen-producing enzyme. The enzyme, known as the hydrogenase, may be relevant for the biotechnological production of hydrogen. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Of Star Trek, Mark Twain and helmets: 15 new species of wasps with curious names
(Pensoft Publishers) Fifteen new species of parasitic wasps have been described from the Neotropics. Apart from being quite distinct with their large and elongated bodies, the new insects also draw attention with their curious formal names. Among them, there are species named after characters from Star Trek and Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, and five wasps bearing names translating to 'helmet' in three different languages. The study is published in the open access journal ZooKeys. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Farming becoming riskier under climate change
(University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) Climate change is predicted to impact agriculture, but a new study puts these changes in terms that are directly applicable to farmers. For Illinois, the corn planting window will be split in two to avoid wet conditions in April and May. Each planting window carries increased risk -- the early planting window could be thwarted by frost or heavy precipitation, and the late window cut short by intense late-summer drought. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Ant-plant symbioses: Adapting to changes in partner abundance
(Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit ä t M ü nchen) Many ant species live in often highly specific symbiotic relationships with plants from which both partners benefit. Researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich now reveal that such selective interactions can break down over the course of evolution. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

A big leap toward tinier lines
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) A new interface control technique for block co-polymer self-assembly developed at MIT could provide long-sought method for making even tinier patterns on microchips with lines just 9 nanometers wide. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

How do some opioids cause severe itching?
(University of North Carolina Health Care) With a more accurate understanding of the characteristics and function of the receptor MRGRPX2, University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers were also able to create chemical probe that will allow them study the receptor more precisely. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 27, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Data security in medical studies: IT researchers break anonymity of gene databases
(Saarland University) DNA profiles can reveal a number of details about individuals. There are laws in place that regulate the trade of gene data. However, these laws do not apply to an equally relevant type of genetic data, so-called microRNAs. This means that anonymity needs to be strictly maintained in microRNA studies as well. Researchers from Saarland University are able to show that a few microRNA molecules are sufficient to draw conclusions about study participants. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Big data approach to predict protein structure
(Karlsruher Institut f ü r Technologie (KIT)) Nothing works without proteins in the body, they are the molecular all-rounders in our cells. If they do not work properly, severe diseases, such as Alzheimer's, may result. To develop methods to repair malfunctioning proteins, their structure has to be known. Using a big data approach, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed a method to predict protein structures. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Why do guillemot chicks leap from the nest before they can fly?
(Aarhus University) It looks like a spooky suicide when small, fluffy guillemot chicks leap from the cliffs and fall several hundred meters towards the sea -- long before they are fully fledged. But researchers have now discovered that there is good reason behind this seeming madness. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Genetics Society of America honors Richard Lewontin with 2017 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal
(Genetics Society of America) The Genetics Society of America is pleased to announce that Richard C. Lewontin, Ph.D., is the 2017 recipient of the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for lifetime achievement in the field of genetics. This award recognizes Lewontin's extensive impact on our understanding of evolution, a broad and deep influence that has shaped the field. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
(Lancaster University) Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK have found a way to detect subtle early warning signs that reveal a frog population is at risk from pollution. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Biodiversity loss shifts flowering phenology at same magnitude as global warming
(Columbia University) Researchers have revealed that declining plant diversity -- from habitat loss, human use, and other environmental pressures -- causes plants to flower earlier, and that the effects of diversity loss on the timing of flowering are similar in magnitude to the effects of global warming. The finding could have a powerful influence on the way scientists study ecosystem changes and measure the effects of global warming. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Scientists make new discovery about bird evolution
(Oxford University Press USA) In a new paper published in National Science Review, a team of scientists from China described the most exceptionally preserved fossil bird discovered to date. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 24, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Big-game jitters: Coyotes no match for wolves' hunting prowess
(University of Nebraska-Lincoln) As wolf populations plummeted, the eastern coyote assumed the role of apex predator in forests along the Atlantic Coast. New research, however, shows that the eastern coyote is no match for the wolf. While the eastern coyote can bring down moose and other large prey, it prefers to attack smaller animals and to scavenge. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

A stem's 'sense of self' contributes to shape
(Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) It is well known that as plants grow, their stems and shoots respond to outside signals like light and gravity. But if plants all have similar stimuli, why are there so many different plant shapes? Using simple mathematical ideas, researchers from the Harvard SEAS constructed a framework that explains and quantifies the different shapes of plant stems. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New Stanford study calls for US solar policy reform
(Stanford University) Stanford researchers suggest reforming US solar policies and encourage closer collaboration between the United States and China on solar energy in a new report. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas
(Rice University) Rice University scientists map out the best materials for either carbon dioxide capture or balancing carbon capture with methane selectivity. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light
(Rice University) Rice University leads a project to create an efficient, simple-to-manufacture oxygen-evolution catalyst that pairs well with semiconductors for advanced solar cells. The technique could lead to unique catalysts for other applications. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Designer proteins fold DNA
(Technical University of Munich (TUM)) Florian Praetorius and Professor Hendrik Dietz of the Technical University of Munich have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins. The method opens new opportunities for fundamental research in cell biology and for applications in biotechnology and medicine. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Scientists use new technology to assemble genome of Zika virus mosquito
(Baylor College of Medicine) A team spanning Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, Texas Children's Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has developed a new way to sequence genomes, which can assemble the genome of an organism, entirely from scratch, dramatically cheaper and faster. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Climate change and an 'overlooked' nutrient: Silica
(Boston University) Sugar maples may have far greater silica pumping power than expected, and also may be more profoundly affected by climate change as warmer winters damage their vulnerable roots. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

SPICY: Discovery of new ginger species spices up African wildlife surveys
(Wildlife Conservation Society) Scientists from WCS have discovered a new species of wild ginger, spicing up a wave of recent wildlife discoveries in the Kabobo Massif -- a rugged, mountainous region in Democratic Republic of Congo. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

How chewing like a cow helped early mammals thrive
(University of Chicago Medical Center) In a paper published March 21, 2017, in Scientific Reports, David Grossnickle, a graduate student in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, proposes that mammal teeth, jaw bones and muscles evolved to produce side-to-side motions of the jaw, or yaw, that allowed our earliest ancestors to grind food with their molars and eat a more diversified diet. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

Save the whales
(University of California - Santa Barbara) Benioff Ocean Initiative announces first project, commits $1.5 million to finding solutions to whale deaths caused by vessel collisions. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news

New CDISC data standard aids development of therapies for Ebola virus
(Infectious Diseases Data Observatory) The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) announce the availability of a new standard to assist in the collection, aggregation and analysis of Ebola virus disease (EVD) research data. This standard is for use in EVD trials, leading to potential treatments and public health surveillance for this disease. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)
Source: EurekAlert! - Biology - March 23, 2017 Category: Biology Source Type: news