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  • September 30, 2015
  • 12:45 AM

Eukaryote Evolutionary Dynamics Through The Proterozoic

by Suvrat Kher in Rapid Uplift

The Proterozoic fossil record of Eukaryotes is a story of the interplay of geology, ecology and evolution and gives us a broader understanding of the evolution of complexity.... Read more »

Cohen, P., & Macdonald, F. (2015) The Proterozoic Record of Eukaryotes. Paleobiology, 1-23. DOI: 10.1017/pab.2015.25  

  • September 17, 2015
  • 09:00 AM

The Martian: Getting Home Is Just Half The Problem

by Mark Lasbury in The 'Scope

"The Martian" movie opens soon! It's about an astronaut stranded on Mars who is trying to survive and find a way to get back home. But today, we humans here on Earth still have to think of clever ways to survive a trip to the red planet in the first place.... Read more »

  • September 17, 2015
  • 06:00 AM

America’s Largest Earthwork, Cahokia’s Monks Mound, May Have Been Built in Only 20 Years, Study Says

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

The search to determine how native engineers built Monk’s Mound — North America’s biggest prehistoric earthen structure — has turned up some new and crucial, but very small, clues: the seeds and spores of ancient plants.... Read more »

Lopinot, N., Schilling, T., Fritz, G., & Kelly, J. (2015) Implications of Plant Remains from the East Face of Monks Mound. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 40(3), 209-230. DOI: 10.1179/2327427115Y.0000000003  

  • August 28, 2015
  • 12:03 PM

Chickens Help Scientists Study Dinosaur Death Pose

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

To address a long-standing mystery in paleontology, scientists went to the grocery store.

Many dinosaur fossils appear in the same pose, not so much "terrible lizard" as "terrible limbo accident." Their tails are stretched out and their necks thrown back grotesquely. But it's not clear why this is. Researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada got a fresh take on the puzzle—or, at least, a recently killed and frozen take—by using dead chickens.

"Chickens are living dinosaurs, a........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 01:10 PM

A tough bacterium that lives in poisoned soils and pulls gold out of water

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Cupriavidus metallidurans (roughly translated: lover of copper, enduring metal) is a bacterium of the class Betaproteobacteria known for its ability to withstand high concentrations of numerous metals that would be toxic to most other living things. These metals, which include Ag, Au, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sr, Tl, U, and Zn, tend to cause problems for bacterial cells by binding to DNA or proteins, which can disrupt important stuff like obtaining energy or reproducing.The bacterium ........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 12:48 PM

Research investigates whether solar events could trigger birth defects on Earth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. But could these cosmic rays pose hazards even at sea level? In recent years, research has suggested congenital birth defects down on Earth’s surface could be caused by these “solar particle events” — spikes in cosmic rays from the sun that touch off the northern lights and sometimes hamper communications or the electric power grid.... Read more »

  • June 17, 2015
  • 11:11 AM

Using bacteria to look for oil and gas

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

In 1938, a Russian scientist by the name of Mogilewskii published a paper describing the use of methane-oxidizing bacteria as a means of prospecting for natural gas fields. Several patents were subsequently issued to oil companies in the 1940s based on this paper and others by American researchers.The idea is that smaller gaseous hydrocarbons (e.g. methane, propane, butane) tend to escape in small amounts from underground oil and gas deposits and rise to the surface. The continuous seepage of th........ Read more »

Rasheed, M., Hasan, S., Rao, P., Boruah, A., Sudarshan, V., Kumar, B., & Harinarayana, T. (2014) Application of geo-microbial prospecting method for finding oil and gas reservoirs. Frontiers of Earth Science, 9(1), 40-50. DOI: 10.1007/s11707-014-0448-5  

  • June 3, 2015
  • 12:55 PM

Accepting Continental Drift: 50th anniversary of the seminal Bullard et al. map

by Marc in Teaching Biology

Originally written for the Geological Society of London’s History Of Geology Group, where I am web editor. Amidst the many events this year celebrating William Smith and the publication of his 1815 map, comes another, less well-known anniversary. The acceptance of continental drift led to a seismic shift in 20th century geology, the development of the theory … Continue reading Accepting Continental Drift: 50th anniversary of the seminal Bullard et al. map →
The post Accepting........ Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 03:53 AM

30th Anniversary of Farman et al. (1985) – the ozone hole paper

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

It’s been 30 years since Farman et al. published their paper on the ozone “hole”. (Well, I’m a day early but who posts on Saturdays, eh?) It had a huge impact: it’s been cited nearly 3,000 times and accelerated the negotiations that resulted in the Montreal Protocol, which helped phase out the chemicals that were […]... Read more »

  • May 7, 2015
  • 03:17 PM

Nanoparticles in products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nanoparticles, it’s the new buzzword that cosmetics and even consumer “anti-aging” products use to promote their brand. As the word suggests, nanoparticles are small and it shouldn’t be too surprising that these nanoparticles are causing problems in nature because of their prevalence. In that light, it might not be a surprise that there could also be some serious health issues associated with these nanoparticles.... Read more »

  • May 4, 2015
  • 07:22 PM

Fracked, shale-drilling additives in drinking-water taps near leak

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Shale oil has helped the US see lower gas prices and even an opportunity to start exporting. However, it isn’t as great as it might sound, hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — has been scrutinized by environmentalists since it’s inception. As it turns out, for good reason, substances commonly used for drilling or extracting Marcellus shale gas foamed from the drinking water taps of three Pennsylvania homes near a reported well-pad leak, according to new analysis from a team of........ Read more »

Garth T. Llewellyn, Frank Dorman, J. L. Westland, D. Yoxtheimer, Paul Grieve, Todd Sowers, E. Humston-Fulmer, & Susan L. Brantley. (2015) Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1420279112

  • April 20, 2015
  • 04:18 PM

Urban green spaces: Insights from Valencia

by Sarah Stephen in An ecological oratorio"> alt="" src="" style="border:0;"/>Visiting the city of Valencia in Spain for the first time, we were pleasantly greeted by the subtle aroma of orange blossoms in the air and the sight of beautiful oranges dangling from the orange trees that line the street pavements. Whilst many parts of the city are bordered with trees, there are also other green spaces,  ........ Read more »

Searle, S., Turnbull, M., Boelman, N., Schuster, W., Yakir, D., & Griffin, K. (2012) Urban environment of New York City promotes growth in northern red oak seedlings. Tree Physiology, 32(4), 389-400. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tps027  

  • April 3, 2015
  • 02:56 PM

Health risks on the Antarctic Peninsula – what’s happening with the ozone hole, UV exposure, environmental change and funding for Antarctic science?

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

I recently had a paper published in Antarctic Science – I don’t think that it’ll set the world on fire but it was quite interesting in how it came about so I thought I’d write a blogpost about it. The study The measurements for the study were taken by a team who sailed across the […]... Read more »

  • March 31, 2015
  • 04:58 PM

An apple a day may keep the children away: Pesticides and sperm count

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever hear that old saying an apple a day keeps the Doctor away? Well it might have the right idea, just the wrong person. New research investigating the relationship between eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues and the quality of men’s semen has shown a link with lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm. So for people wanting children it may be time to rethink that produce.... Read more »

Y.H. Chiu et al. (2015) Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction. info:/10.1093/humrep/dev064

Hagai Levine, & Shanna H. Swan. (2015) Is dietary pesticide exposure related to semen quality? Positive evidence from men attending a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction. info:/10.1093/humrep/dev065

  • March 31, 2015
  • 08:00 AM

Shields Up! Lay In A Course For Mars

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Deflector shields allowed Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises to have long space battles. Without them, one good strike and everyone was dead – that wouldn’t lend itself to sequels.

We don’t need shields for space battles yet, but we do need them to get to Mars. Cosmic radiation will kill or injure every astronaut unless we can deflect the radiation away from the spacecraft. We’re just about to build real deflectors, and our teachers are the magnetic fields we find ........ Read more »

  • March 29, 2015
  • 02:43 PM

Biofuel, good for the environment if you’re eating less

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When the government first changed policy to require ethanol in gasoline, we were told it would reduce our carbon footprint. Then food prices rose significantly and corn in particular saw the largest price rise. This was because corn is a staple in production of almost any other food from eggs to beef, but the policy made environmental sense. Well it made sense, until you found out that the new government policy also took into account people eating less.... Read more »

Searchinger, T., Edwards, R., Mulligan, D., Heimlich, R., & Plevin, R. (2015) Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?. Science, 347(6229), 1420-1422. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261221  

  • March 29, 2015
  • 08:17 AM

Modeling Life On Titan

by Jeffrey Daniels in United Academics

Lifeforms that live off methane instead of water are possible on Titan’s surface.... Read more »

  • March 20, 2015
  • 03:55 AM

How chemistry affects the evolution of life

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: In this fascinating video, Professor Ros Rickaby from Oxford chats with Professor Simon Conway-Morris at Cambridge about how Earth’s changing chemistry has affected evolution, and how this can sometimes lead to evolutionary convergence... Read more »

  • March 17, 2015
  • 07:25 PM

Hippos are (almost) definitely whales, not pigs

by Isabel Torres in Science in the clouds

Hippos are strange mammals. They lack hairs and sweat glands, and have an unusually thick skin. The only other mammals that share these features with hippos are whales, but they look nothing alike, except they’re also huge and live in water. Coincidence? Traditionally hippos were included in the Suidae (pigs) branch of the mammalian evolutionary tree, but molecular data unambiguously shows that they're closely related to cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). This not only sounds unlikely........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 02:54 AM

Science, climate change and controversy

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: It’s inevitable: as science progresses, controversy happens. But sometimes, the public sees controversy where none exists. How to remedy that? ... Read more »

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