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  • May 21, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 118 views

Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The bacteria in and on our bodies have been shown to be vital for human health, influencing nutrition, obesity and protection from diseases. But science has only recently delved into the importance of the microbiome of plants. Since plants can't move, they are especially reliant on partnerships with microbes to help them get nutrients.

... Read more »

Doty, S., Sher, A., Fleck, N., Khorasani, M., Bumgarner, R., Khan, Z., Ko, A., Kim, S., & DeLuca, T. (2016) Variable Nitrogen Fixation in Wild Populus. PLOS ONE, 11(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155979  

  • May 14, 2016
  • 04:04 PM
  • 165 views

Bacteria are individualists

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

No two bacteria are identical - even when they are genetically the same. A new study from researchers reveals the conditions under which bacteria become individualists and how they help their group grow when times get tough. Whether you are a human or a bacterium, your environment determines how you can develop.

... Read more »

  • April 17, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 296 views

Week 15 In Review: Open-Access Science | 11 to 17 April

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Swarming Red Crabs, 11,000-year-old shaman headdress, 'superfast' wing muscles, slowdown of giant airstreams, and sexually transmitted infections in Neanderthals. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week, ... Read more »

Stadtherr, L., Coumou, D., Petoukhov, V., Petri, S., & Rahmstorf, S. (2016) Record Balkan floods of 2014 linked to planetary wave resonance. Science Advances, 2(4). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501428  

  • April 11, 2016
  • 02:00 AM
  • 174 views

Week 14 In Review: Open-Access Science | 4 to 10 April

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

River flooding boosts carbon emissions, six new species of Chinese dragon millipedes discovered, how ancient animals adapted to climate change, maths tell palaeontologists where to find fossils, and the Arctic Ocean was ice-free ten million years ago. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Stegen, J., Fredrickson, J., Wilkins, M., Konopka, A., Nelson, W., Arntzen, E., Chrisler, W., Chu, R., Danczak, R., Fansler, S.... (2016) Groundwater–surface water mixing shifts ecological assembly processes and stimulates organic carbon turnover. Nature Communications, 11237. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11237  

Botha-Brink, J., Codron, D., Huttenlocker, A., Angielczyk, K., & Ruta, M. (2016) Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction. Scientific Reports, 24053. DOI: 10.1038/srep24053  

Stein, R., Fahl, K., Schreck, M., Knorr, G., Niessen, F., Forwick, M., Gebhardt, C., Jensen, L., Kaminski, M., Kopf, A.... (2016) Evidence for ice-free summers in the late Miocene central Arctic Ocean. Nature Communications, 11148. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11148  

  • March 26, 2016
  • 04:40 PM
  • 291 views

Organic nanowires destroy the competition

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Last month, we spoke of our vision of the future of humanity here at the lab. It makes sense that humanity would one-day step away from the static, non-living computer constructs we have designed. Moving us instead towards an organic alternative, one that can be readily repaired, replaced, or changed. While we cannot pretend to know what the future may hold, a new discovery helps bolster the stance we presented.

... Read more »

Lampa-Pastirk, S., Veazey, J., Walsh, K., Feliciano, G., Steidl, R., Tessmer, S., & Reguera, G. (2016) Thermally activated charge transport in microbial protein nanowires. Scientific Reports, 23517. DOI: 10.1038/srep23517  

  • March 25, 2016
  • 04:48 PM
  • 302 views

Study finds vast diversity among bacteriophages

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Indeed, our oceans, soils and potentially even our bodies would be overrun with bacteria were it not for bacteria-eating viruses, called bacteriophages, that keep the microbial balance of ecological niches in check. Now, a new study suggests that bacteriophages made of RNA — a close chemical cousin of DNA — likely play a much larger role in shaping the bacterial makeup of worldwide habitats than previously ........ Read more »

Krishnamurthy, S., Janowski, A., Zhao, G., Barouch, D., & Wang, D. (2016) Hyperexpansion of RNA Bacteriophage Diversity. PLOS Biology, 14(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002409  

  • March 16, 2016
  • 04:51 PM
  • 311 views

Viruses ‘piggyback’ on hosts success

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the microscopic life that thrives around coral reefs, researchers have discovered an interplay between viruses and microbes that defies conventional wisdom. As the density of microbes rises in an ecosystem, the number of viruses infecting those microbes rises with it. It has generally been assumed that this growing population of viruses, in turn, kills more and more microbes, keeping the microbial population in check. It’s a model known as “kill-the-winner” — the winners being the blo........ Read more »

Knowles, B., Silveira, C., Bailey, B., Barott, K., Cantu, V., Cobián-Güemes, A., Coutinho, F., Dinsdale, E., Felts, B., Furby, K.... (2016) Lytic to temperate switching of viral communities. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17193  

  • March 16, 2016
  • 11:24 AM
  • 305 views

Sedimentation Patterns of Bay of Bengal; Himalaya Evolution and Miocene Ganges

by Suvrat Kher in Rapid Uplift

Sedimentary sequences of Bay of Bengal and the Bengal Basin provide information about Himalayan orogen evolution; plus, is there evidence for a Miocene Ganges?... Read more »

Krishna, K., Ismaiel, M., Srinivas, K., Gopala Rao, D., Mishra, J., & Saha, D. (2016) Sediment Pathways and Emergence of Himalayan Source Material in the Bay of Bengal. Current Science, 110(3), 363. DOI: 10.18520/cs/v110/i3/363-372  

  • March 6, 2016
  • 06:10 PM
  • 308 views

Antibiotic resistance, evolution, and our future

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Without the discovery of antibiotics we could not — and most certainly would not — be living in the world we do today. It was a discovery that would save countless lives, while simultaneously compromising our future. From the use (and unfortunate misuse) of antibiotics, we gave rise to more virulent bacteria that have become resistant to more and more types of antibiotics.

... Read more »

  • March 6, 2016
  • 05:54 PM
  • 283 views

Testing the evolution of resistance by experiment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When the first antibiotics became available 70 years ago, they were often described as miracles of human ingenuity, rather like plastics or bright permanent dyes, which were discovered at roughly the same time. Packaged in vials or pills, they seemed like our inventions rather a chance gift of evolution and one that evolution might also rescind.

... Read more »

  • February 28, 2016
  • 08:35 AM
  • 386 views

Week 8 In Review: Open-Access Science | 22 to 28 Feb

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Sea level rose faster in the 20th century than in any other century of the last 3,000 years, new methods for estimating future sea level rise and heat waves, consumers to blame for their carbon footprint, and new virtual forests predict future impacts of climate change. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Kopp, R., Kemp, A., Bittermann, K., Horton, B., Donnelly, J., Gehrels, W., Hay, C., Mitrovica, J., Morrow, E., & Rahmstorf, S. (2016) Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201517056. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517056113  

Mengel, M., Levermann, A., Frieler, K., Robinson, A., Marzeion, B., & Winkelmann, R. (2016) Future sea level rise constrained by observations and long-term commitment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201500515. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1500515113  

Ivanova, D., Stadler, K., Steen-Olsen, K., Wood, R., Vita, G., Tukker, A., & Hertwich, E. (2015) Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption. Journal of Industrial Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12371  

  • February 17, 2016
  • 01:25 AM
  • 328 views

What Spanish stalagmites can tell us about European climate

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Scientists have been decoding the climate information locked away in 12,000-year-old stalagmites from Spanish caves.... Read more »

  • February 14, 2016
  • 12:25 AM
  • 431 views

Week Six In Review: Open-Access Science | 8 to 14 Feb

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Migrants to ancient Rome, more advanced Mesolithic Swedish communities, delayed transatlantic flights, expanding bird populations, and greener deserts thanks to climate change. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

  • February 11, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 378 views

It's True: The Southwest Is Getting Drier

by Jenny Ludmer in Rooster's Report

Home of tumbleweeds and roadrunners, it’s no surprise that the Southwest is the driest region of the United States. And yet, new research confirms that which many have predicted: it’s getting even dryer. Not only are droughts more common, but they are more intense and longer-lasting too.... Read more »

Prein, A., Holland, G., Rasmussen, R., Clark, M., & Tye, M. (2016) Running dry: The U.S. Southwest's drift into a drier climate state. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066727  

  • February 11, 2016
  • 09:13 AM
  • 468 views

Life amid acidity near a smoldering part of the Arctic

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Way, way up in northwestern Canada (on the lower east side of Cape Bathurst, Northwest Territories), where the mainland meets the Arctic Ocean, a 30 km stretch of seacoast has been smoldering away for hundreds if not thousands of years.The Smoking Hills, named by the explorer John Franklin during one of his early 19th century expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, consist of shale bedrock covered by several meters worth of soil and loose rocks deposited by ancient glaciers and rivers. The land fall........ Read more »

  • February 8, 2016
  • 01:59 PM
  • 466 views

We can build it better: Synthetic biopathway turns agriculture waste into ‘green’ products

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have engineered a new synthetic biopathway that can more efficiently and cost-effectively turn agricultural waste, like corn stover and orange peels, into a variety of useful products ranging from spandex to chicken feed.

... Read more »

Tai, Y., Xiong, M., Jambunathan, P., Wang, J., Wang, J., Stapleton, C., & Zhang, K. (2016) Engineering nonphosphorylative metabolism to generate lignocellulose-derived products. Nature Chemical Biology. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2020  

  • February 8, 2016
  • 12:41 PM
  • 400 views

Why Ask for Directions? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

by Anna Schneider For the iconic monarch butterfly, the shorter days in fall mean it’s time to pack up and head south to a warmer climate! Just like clockwork, the Eastern population of monarch butterflies makes a 2000 mile journey to their winter paradise roosts in central Mexico. The journey in itself is one of the greatest migrations among all animals. But here’s the catch: none of these butterflies has made this trip before. Several generations of monarchs have come and gon........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 463 views

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton. The study found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.

... Read more »

  • February 2, 2016
  • 12:35 PM
  • 457 views

Weird small holes in the woods

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Within the ground beneath our feet lie dark cavities of various shapes and sizes. They're home to pale and eyeless creatures living a midnight existence. Natural holes in the ground, filled with air and/or water, can be roughly categorized into three types based on the particular habitat they provide for subterranean organisms:(1) Caves are large, deep, and tend not to contain much organic matter for organisms to munch on. They're often found in karst and volcanic areas prone to developing big h........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2016
  • 11:36 AM
  • 359 views

Death by a thousand cuts: how antibacterial clays kill

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

Researchers at Arizona State University have demonstrated for the first time the mechanism by which antibacterial clays kill bacteria. Iron and alumninum released from the clays damage the outer membrane through oxidation. Iron also enters the cell where it generates hydroxyl radicals to create oxidative stress.... Read more »

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