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Life Sciences - Environment - 09.10.2012
Picture this: It's life, but not as we knew it
Picture this: It’s life, but not as we knew it
There may be many times more animal species than previously estimated after a new study has identified more reliable ways to predict biodiversity across the planet. Professor Timothy Barraclough, from the Department of Life Sciences, and his former Imperial colleague Diego Fontaneto were among a multinational team that has proposed a new way to measure the number of species of tiny creatures.

Environment - Life Sciences - 09.10.2012
Bristol reachers help reveal the true magic of mushrooms
Bristol reachers help reveal the true magic of mushrooms
The button mushroom occupies a prominent place in our diet and in the grocery store where it boasts a tasty multibillion-dollar niche, while in nature, Agaricus bisporus is known to decay leaf matter on the forest floor. Now, thanks to an international collaboration involving Andy Bailey and Professor Gary Foster from the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, the full repertoire of A. bisporus genes has been determined.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.10.2012
Marine scientists charting the location of North Atlantic deep-sea coral reefs
A team of marine biologists and geologists have unveiled the first-ever set of maps detailing where vulnerable deep-sea habitats including cold water coral reefs and sponge fields are likely to be found in the North East Atlantic. The team from Plymouth University, the Marine Biological Association, and the British Geological Survey, have used complex modelling techniques to chart a surface area more than three times the size of the UKs terrestrial boundaries.

Environment - Chemistry - 05.10.2012
Climate chemistry and the tropics
Climate chemistry and the tropics
New models are being developed to predict how changing land use in the tropics could affect future climate, air quality and crop production. Is this change in land use resulting in unwelcome side-effects on ground-level ozone?" —Professor John Pyle Ozone has a dual personality best described as "good up high, bad nearby": the atmospheric gas is both vital - and potentially fatal - for our health.

Environment - 01.10.2012
Tree rings go with the flow of the Amazon
University of Leeds-led research has used tree rings from eight cedar trees in Bolivia to unlock a 100-year history of rainfall across the Amazon basin, that contains the world's largest river system. The new study shows that the rings in lowland tropical cedar trees provide a natural archive of data closely related to historic rainfall.

Environment - Chemistry - 24.09.2012
Scientific discovery offers ’green’ solution in fight against greenhouse gases
A low-cost new material that could lead to innovative technologies to tackle global warming has been discovered by scientists at The University of Nottingham. The porous material, named NOTT-300, has the potential to reduce fossil fuel emissions through the cheaper and more efficient capture of polluting gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).

Environment - 17.09.2012
Scientists use genetics and climate reconstructions to track the global spread of modern humans out of Africa
Scientists use genetics and climate reconstructions to track the global spread of modern humans out of Africa
Research indicates the out-of-Africa spread of humans was dictated by the appearance of favourable climatic windows. The idea that we can reconstruct climate, and estimate food availability and finally figure out the demographic changes and movements of our ancestors all over the world is simply amazing." —Andrea Manica By integrating genetics with high resolution historical climate reconstructions, scientists have been able to predict the timing and routes taken by modern humans during their expansion out of Africa.

Environment - Life Sciences - 13.09.2012
Multidisciplinary approach unlocks ‘cryptic’ African bat revealing four new species
Multidisciplinary approach unlocks ‘cryptic’ African bat revealing four new species
Latest research has discovered four new species of Horseshoe bat in Africa by piecing together clues such as DNA data and sonar frequency. This innovative approach could be used to tackle mysteries of other 'cryptic' species.

Environment - Life Sciences - 11.09.2012
Little Ice Age led to migration of island hopping arctic foxes
Little Ice Age led to migration of island hopping arctic foxes The Little Ice Age allowed a new wave of arctic foxes to colonise Iceland, according to new research. A "bridge" of sea ice appeared during a dip in temperatures between 200 to 500 years ago allowing arctic foxes to migrate to Iceland from different Arctic regions including Russia, North America and Greenland.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.09.2012
Droughts could profoundly harm river life
Critically low water levels in many rivers could lead to the partial collapse of food webs that support aquatic life, according to a study co-authored by a University of Leeds researcher. In one of the longest experiments on drought ever conducted in freshwaters, the team periodically lowered water flow in artificial streams, mimicking severe drought conditions in natural running water.

Environment - 09.09.2012
Droughts could profoundly harm river life, a study warns
Critically low water levels in many rivers could lead to the partial collapse of food chains that support aquatic life, according to research led by the University of Birmingham published Climate Change today (09 September 12). This is the conclusion of one of the longest experiments on drought ever conducted in freshwaters.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.09.2012
Loss of tropical forests reduces rain
Deforestation can have a significant effect on tropical rainfall, new research confirms. The findings have potentially devastating impacts for people living in and near the Amazon and Congo forests. A team from the University of Leeds and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology found that for the majority of the Earth’s tropical land surface, air passing over extensive forests produces at least twice as much rain as air passing over little vegetation.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 04.09.2012
Contrasting consequences of a warmer Earth
A new study, by scientists from the Universities of York, Glasgow and Leeds, involving analysis of fossil and geological records going back 540 million years, suggests that biodiversity on Earth generally increases as the planet warms. But the research says that the increase in biodiversity depends on the evolution of new species over millions of years, and is normally accompanied by extinctions of existing species.

Environment - Chemistry - 04.09.2012
Organic farms not necessarily better for environment
Organic farming is generally good for wildlife but does not necessarily have lower overall environmental impacts than conventional farming, a new analysis led by Oxford University scientists has shown. The researchers analysed data from 71 studies published in peer-reviewed journals that compared organic and conventional farms in Europe.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.09.2012
Contrasting consequences of a warmer Earth
A new study involving analysis of fossil and geological records going back 540 million years, suggests that biodiversity on Earth generally increases as the planet warms. But the research by scientists from the Universities of York, Glasgow and Leeds says that the increase in biodiversity depends on the evolution of new species over millions of years, and is normally accompanied by extinctions of existing species.

Environment - 30.08.2012
UK summers see moth population boom
UK summers see moth population boom
Moths that spend their summers in the UK experience a population explosion with numbers increasing fourfold, a new study suggests, findings that are changing how we view insect migration. Previously it was thought that the 10-240 million moths that migrate to the UK in the spring every year from southern Europe and Africa see their numbers dwindle and few of their offspring prosper to make the return journey southward when the British autumn arrives.

Environment - 29.08.2012
Biodiversity protects tropical rainforests from drought
Forest carbon stocks in protected West African rainforests increased despite a 40-year drought, due to a dramatic shift in tree species composition. The new study by Ghanaian and UK scientists, led by the University of Leeds, shows that biodiversity can limit the negative impacts of drought on forest carbon storage.

Environment - 24.08.2012
Cloud control could tame hurricanes, study shows
They are one of the most destructive forces of nature on Earth, but now environmental scientists are working to tame the hurricane. In a paper, published in Atmospheric Science Letters, the authors propose using cloud seeding to decrease sea surface temperatures where hurricanes form. Theoretically, the team claims the technique could reduce hurricane intensity by a category.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 24.08.2012
Scientists explain scale of Japanese tsunami
Scientists explain scale of Japanese tsunami
Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes under the seabed. Some tsunamis - including the disaster that hit Japan last year - are unexpectedly large. Cambridge scientists suggest that their severity is caused by a release of gravitational energy as well as elastic energy. We hope that our research represents a step forward in understanding how large tsunamis occur." —Professor James Jackson Scientists at Cambridge University have developed a model that may show why some tsunamis - including the one that devastated Japan in March 2011 - are so much larger than expected.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.08.2012
1.5 million years of climate history revealed after scientists solve mystery of the deep
1.5 million years of climate history revealed after scientists solve mystery of the deep
Study successfully reconstructed temperature from the deep sea to reveal how global ice volume has varied over the glacial-interglacial cycles of the past 1.5 million years. The only way we can work out what the likely effects of the changes we are making to the climate will be is by finding analogues in the geological past.