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Chemical warfare on the reef: How certain seaweed species harm corals

Scientists for the first time have identified and mapped the chemical structure of molecules used by certain species of marine seaweed to kill or inhibit the growth of reef-building coral. Chemicals found on the surfaces of several species of seaweed have been shown to harm coral, suggesting that competition with these macroalgae could be a factor in the worldwide decline – and lack of recovery – of coral reefs.

Turning Forest Refuse into Biochar

Students at the University of Washington have teamed up on a startup that promises to turn slash piles of forest refuse into biochar, a crumbly charcoal-like product for farmers that helps their soil hold water and nutrients. Biochar is not technically a fertilizer, but often improves yield for farmers.

Ecosystem Management Must Consider Human Impact

For a long time, ecologists have believed—and others accepted—that when it comes to whether a land mass is covered with forests or grasslands, climate controls the show. They thought that the amount of rain, temperature and frequency of wildfires determine whether the ground will be covered with trees or grasses.

Pesticides Pollute European Waterbodies More Than Previously Thought

Pesticides are a bigger problem than had long been assumed. This is the conclusion of a study in which scientists analysed data on 500 organic substances in the basins of four major European rivers. It was revealed that 38 percent of these chemicals are present in concentrations which could potentially have an effect on organisms.

Biologists Urge Caution for Congressional Supercommittee

Recently, the nation's largest professional organization of biologists and biological science organizations sent a letter to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction urging lawmakers to use great caution in considering any proposals that would cut federal investments in scientific research and education.

New Record Achieved with PV Cells

Molecular Solar Ltd has achieved a significant breakthrough in the performance of solar photovoltaic cells.

Laboratory on Wheels Researches Electromobility

In "Fraunhofer's System Research for Electromobility" researchers are coming up with solutions for tomorrow's mobility.

Hybrid Construction Vehicle Emissions to be Analyzed

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside's Center for Environmental Research and Technology have received a $2 million contract for a first-of-its-kind study of hybrid construction vehicles.



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Improving Grocery Store Display Cases to Save Energy

Shoppers don't usually give a second thought as they reach into a cooler to grab milk, cheese or prepackaged lunches. Open-front refrigerated display cases, which make up roughly 60 percent of the refrigerated cases in grocery stores and supermarkets, provide quick access to chilled products such as dairy, meat, fish and produce.

Does Converting Cow Manure to Electricity Pay Off?

Studies have estimated that converting manure from the 95 million animal units in the United States would produce renewable energy equal to eight billion gallons of gasoline, or one percent of the total energy consumption in the nation. Because more and more farmers and communities are interested in generating renewable energy from farm waste, there is a growing need for information on the economic feasibility and sustainability of such programs.

Researchers Explore Plankton's Shifting Role in Deep Sea Carbon Storage

In a study published in the journal Global Change Biology, SF State Assistant Professor of Biology Jonathon Stillman and colleagues show how climate-driven changes in nitrogen sources and carbon dioxide levels in seawater could work together to make Emiliania huxleyi a less effective agent of carbon storage in the deep ocean, the world's largest carbon sink.

Dust Particles Can Form Cloud Droplets That Affect Climates

New information on the role of insoluble dust particles in forming cloud droplets could improve the accuracy of regional climate models, especially in areas of the world that have significant amounts of mineral aerosols in the atmosphere. A more accurate accounting for the role of these particles could also have implications for global climate models.

Severe Drought, Other Changes Can Cause Permanent Ecosystem Disruption

An eight-year study has concluded that increasingly frequent and severe drought, dropping water tables and dried-up springs have pushed some aquatic desert ecosystems into “catastrophic regime change,” from which many species will not recover.

Future Forests May Soak Up More Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Believed

North American forests appear to have a greater capacity to soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas than researchers had previously anticipated.

Polar Bears Ill from Environmental Toxins

New doctoral thesis documents that industrial chemicals are transported from the industrialized world to the Arctic via air and sea currents. Here, the cocktail of environmental toxins is absorbed by the sea's food chains which are so rich in fats and of which the polar bear is the top predator.

Oil Company Pleads Guilty to Clean Air Act and Obstruction Crimes in Louisiana

Pelican Refining Company LLC could potentially pay $12 million in criminal penalties in a plea agreement, marking the largest criminal fine in Louisiana for violations of the Clean Air Act.

Cold War Nuclear Wastes Pose Challenges to Science, Engineering, Society

Seven papers published in the current issue of Technology and Innovation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors report on efforts by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure continued safe and secure storage and disposition of 50 years worth of spent nuclear fuel, surplus nuclear materials, and high-level wastes at DOE facilities.

Feeding the World while Protecting the Planet

The problem is stark: One billion people on earth don't have enough food right now. It's estimated that by 2050 there will be more than nine billion people living on the planet.

"Nanosheets" Could Make Fuel, Plastics Production More Energy Efficient and Cost-Effective

A University of Minnesota team of researchers has overcome a major hurdle in the quest to design a specialized type of molecular sieve that could make the production of gasoline, plastics and various chemicals more cost effective and energy efficient.

Protein Plays Role in Helping Plants See Light

Plants do not have eyes or legs, yet they are able to "see" and move toward and away from light. This ability, called phototropism, is controlled by a series of molecular-level signals between proteins inside and between plant cells. In a paper published in The Plant Cell, University of Missouri scientists report for the first time the elusive role a critical protein plays in this molecular signaling pathway that regulates phototropism in plants.

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