Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


Tree Rings Reveal Forest Fires from Hundreds of Years Ago

Trees can reveal key information about fire events, and some trees have a lot to tell — one tree researchers examined endured 14 separate fires through its lifetime.

Study Suggests Switching from Coal to Natural Gas Would do Little for Global Climate

Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study appears this week in the Springer journal Climatic Change Letters.

Google Carbon Offset

Hog Waste Producing Electricity and Carbon Offsets

A pilot waste-to-energy system recently constructed by Duke University and Duke Energy garnered the endorsement of Google Inc., which invests in high-quality carbon offsets from across the nation to fulfill its own carbon neutrality goals.

Lithium Battery Performance May Get a Boost from Algae

By looking to Mother Nature for solutions, researchers have identified a promising new binder material for lithium-ion battery electrodes that could not only boost energy storage, but also eliminate the use of toxic compounds now used in manufacturing the components.

Army Corps of Engineers Study Finds Trees' Effect on Levees is 'Highly Variable and Unquantifiable'

The research, conducted by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), focused primarily on the gathering of root characterization and site conditions through fieldwork, and modeling of single, living trees for both slope stability analyses and seepage analyses.

Climate Policy Initiative Study Finds U.S. Building Energy Codes Work

In the first U.S. study to measure the real impact of building energy codes on total household energy consumption, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) found that U.S. building energy codes have reduced household energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

Study Reveals that National Forests can Provide Public Health Benefits

Each year, more than 170 million people visit national forests for recreation. And the physical activity associated with these visits burns 290 billion food calories. That equals enough french fries laid end to end to reach the Moon and back -- twice -- according to a recent study in the Journal of Forestry.

World's Smallest Electric Motor Made From a Single Molecule

Chemists at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences have developed the world's first single molecule electric motor, a development that may potentially create a new class of devices that could be used in applications ranging from medicine to engineering.

New USGS Database Provides Models on Excessive Nutrients in Rivers

The USGS has released an online, interactive decision support system that provides easy access to six newly-developed regional models describing how rivers receive and transport nutrients from natural and human sources to sensitive waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Texas A&M Study Shows Clouds Don't Cause Climate Change

Clouds only amplify climate change, says a Texas A&M University professor in a study that rebuts recent claims that clouds are actually the root cause of climate change.

Recycling Fat Might Help Worms Live Longer

At Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), a team led by Malene Hansen, Ph.D., uses a type of worm called Caenorhabditis elegans to work out the molecular underpinnings of the aging process. In a study appearing online Sept. 8 in Current Biology, they found that two cellular processes—lipid metabolism and autophagy -- work together to influence worms' lifespan.

Breakthrough in Protecting Global Crops from Disease

A new form of resistance to fungal disease has been discovered in oilseed rape, one of the world’s most important crops, which could hold the key to developing disease resistant crops.

New Synthetic Crystals First Step Toward Making High-Performance, Eco-Friendly Materials

Scientists have successfully created synthetic crystals whose structures and properties mimic those of naturally occurring biominerals such as seashells. The findings, published in the journal Nature Materials, could be an important step in the development of high-performance materials, which could be manufactured under environmentally-friendly conditions

Climate Change Seems Unfavorable for Toxic Blue Algae

The earth is warming up due to rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. NWO-funded researchers have discovered that the increase in carbon dioxide can reduce the nuisance caused by toxic blue algae, a bacterium commonly found in swimming water throughout the Netherlands in the summer

Researchers Deploy a Shocking Method of Fish Collection

A group of fisheries scientists from Tennessee Tech University are busy monitoring the health of the Caney Fork River by pumping electricity into the water.

Air-Quality Researchers Find Troubling Health Implications for Ultrafine Particles

Three studies by a University of California, Davis, air-quality research group are adding to the growing body of data suggesting that very fine and ultra-fine airborne metal particles are closely linked to serious human-health problems, including heart disease.

NASA's Aquarius Makes First Ocean Salt Measurements

NASA's Aquarius instrument has successfully completed its commissioning phase and is now "tasting" the saltiness of Earth's ocean surface, making measurements from its perch in near-polar orbit.

Manipulating Plants' Circadian Clocks May Make All-Season Crops Possible

Yale University researchers have identified a key genetic gear that keeps the circadian clock of plants ticking, a finding that could have broad implications for global agriculture.

Tree-Killing Pathogen Traced Back to California

Genetic detective work by an international group of researchers may have solved a decades-long mystery of the source of a devastating tree-killing fungus that has hit six of the world's seven continents.

Artificial Light Harvesting Method Achieves 100 Percent Energy Transfer Efficiency

In an attempt to mimic the photosynthetic systems found in plants and some bacteria, scientists have taken a step toward developing an artificial light-harvesting system (LHS) that meets one of the crucial requirements for such systems: an approximately 100 percent energy transfer efficiency.

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