Many Cambrian fossils are simply spines and sclerites unassociated with any body. Few of the exceptionally-preserved Cambrian freaks come with spines attached, and some of the most prominent of these are the chancelloriids. Originally described as sponges by Charles Doolittle Walcott back in 1920 (Walcott, 1920), modern researchers have found that the spines are very similar to those […]
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Stefan Bengtson, & Desmond Collins. (2015) Chancelloriids of the Cambrian Burgess Shale. Palaeontologia Electronica. info:other/
Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of researchers suggests we are being too closed minded about life.... Read more »
James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine,, & Paulette Clancy. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400067
Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," at least 13 of which are named Clear. But some of these lakes are clearer and cleaner than others. Does that matter to the tourists who visit them? Researchers found an easy way to answer this question by taking a deep dive into Flickr.
Bonnie Keeler, a scientist at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, explains that it's important to measure how the public is using various lakes, rivers and streams. Agencies that are trying........ Read more »
Keeler, B., Wood, S., Polasky, S., Kling, C., Filstrup, C., & Downing, J. (2015) Recreational demand for clean water: evidence from geotagged photographs by visitors to lakes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/140124
The 2010 floods were among the worst that Pakistan has experienced in recent decades. Sadly, the country is prone to recurrent flooding which means that in any given year, Pakistani farmers hope and pray that the floods will not be as bad as those in 2010. It would be natural to assume that recurring flood disasters force Pakistani farmers to give up farming and migrate to the cities in order to make ends meet. But a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Valerie Mueller ........ Read more »
Mueller V, Gray C, & Kosec K. (2014) Heat Stress Increases Long-term Human Migration in Rural Pakistan. Nature Climate Change, 182-185. PMID: 25132865
Now happily living on land, our Devonian ancestors tried many ways to get out of the murky waters. Jenny Clack has been studying the water-to-land transition of vertebrates for many decades. Her discoveries broke dogmas and rewrote textbooks. Jenny Clack's passion for palaeontology began at a young age, but unlike most children, Clack found dinosaurs “rather boring” and was instead fascinated with weird older creatures from the Devonian era, over 360 million years ago......... Read more »
Initial harder learning might make for better longterm retrieval. A lot of the discussions at my university on how to improve learning focus on how to make it easier for students to learn. That never sat quite right with me … Continue reading →... Read more »
Diemand-Yauman C, Oppenheimer DM, & Vaughan EB. (2011) Fortune favors the bold (and the Italicized): effects of disfluency on educational outcomes. Cognition, 118(1), 111-5. PMID: 21040910
You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »
Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112
The popular phrase is, “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Many organisms get to have both. We can learn a lot from studying old organisms, but perhaps the biggest question to answer is what constitutes a single life. Many living things seem to cheat; they have more than one life.... Read more »
Munro D, Pichaud N, Paquin F, Kemeid V, & Blier PU. (2013) Low hydrogen peroxide production in mitochondria of the long-lived Arctica islandica: underlying mechanisms for slow aging. Aging cell, 12(4), 584-92. PMID: 23566066
Seim I, Ma S, Zhou X, Gerashchenko MV, Lee SG, Suydam R, George JC, Bickham JW, & Gladyshev VN. (2014) The transcriptome of the bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus reveals adaptations of the longest-lived mammal. Aging, 6(10), 879-99. PMID: 25411232
Holland, H., Schöne, B., Marali, S., & Jochum, K. (2014) History of bioavailable lead and iron in the Greater North Sea and Iceland during the last millennium – A bivalve sclerochronological reconstruction. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 87(1-2), 104-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.08.005
In the summer of 2010, over 20 million people were affected by the summer floods in Pakistan. Millions lost access to shelter and clean water, and became dependent on aid in the form of food, drinking water, tents, clothes and medical supplies in order to survive this humanitarian disaster. It is estimated that at least $1.5 billion to $2 billion were provided as aid by governments, NGOs, charity organizations and private individuals from all around the world, and helped contain the devastating ........ Read more »
Mueller V, Gray C, & Kosec K. (2014) Heat Stress Increases Long-term Human Migration in Rural Pakistan. Nature climate change, 182-185. PMID: 25132865
Miralles, D., Teuling, A., van Heerwaarden, C., & Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J. (2014) Mega-heatwave temperatures due to combined soil desiccation and atmospheric heat accumulation. Nature Geoscience, 7(5), 345-349. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2141
Inundation of nitrogen into the atmosphere and terrestrial environments, through fossil fuel combustion and extensive fertilization, has risen tenfold since preindustrial times according to research published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Excess nitrogen can infiltrate water tables and can trigger extensive algal blooms that deplete aquatic environments of oxygen, among other damaging effects.
Although scientists have extensively studied the effects of excess nitrogen in terrestrial habita........ Read more »
Altieri, K., Hastings, M., Peters, A., Oleynik, S., & Sigman, D. (2014) Isotopic evidence for a marine ammonium source in rainwater at Bermuda. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004809
How much does global warming really cost the world? Determining the Social Cost of Carbon helps put a actual dollar value on the climate damages per ton of CO2 released, and is used by -- among others -- policymakers to help determine the costs and benefits of climate policies. Remember, even on a global scale, the bottom line will always be profit. But now a group of economists and lawyers urge several improvements to the government's Social Cost of Carbon figure that would impose a regular, tr........ Read more »
Global warming, it’s a bigger deal than some people seem to realize. For years science has pointed to the increased carbon dioxide output as the main reason for man-made global warming. However, there has been no evidence to directly link CO2 output to global warming, well until now. Research has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted.... Read more »
Goodwin, P., Williams, R., & Ridgwell, A. (2014) Sensitivity of climate to cumulative carbon emissions due to compensation of ocean heat and carbon uptake. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2304
While everyone (but seemingly the media) is on basically the same page with the fact that global warming is a human caused problem — and one we need to fix the effects of this change are still coming to light. Human-induced changes to Earth’s carbon cycle – for example, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean acidification – have been observed for decades. However, a new study showed human activities, in particular industrial and agricultural processes, have also had significant impa........ Read more »
Kim IN, Lee K, Gruber N, Karl DM, Bullister JL, Yang S, & Kim TW. (2014) Chemical oceanography. Increasing anthropogenic nitrogen in the North Pacific Ocean. Science (New York, N.Y.), 346(6213), 1102-6. PMID: 25430767
Despite the established scientific consensus on global climate change, a substantial number of people, specifically Americans, deny its effects or its taking place. Why does this form of denialism persist so feverishly? What can mitigate this gap between the scientific community and the public?... Read more »
Egan, P., & Mullin, M. (2012) Turning Personal Experience into Political Attitudes: The Effect of Local Weather on Americans’ Perceptions about Global Warming. The Journal of Politics, 74(03), 796-809. DOI: 10.1017/S0022381612000448
Finucane, M., Slovic, P., Mertz, C., Flynn, J., & Satterfield, T. (2000) Gender, race, and perceived risk: The 'white male' effect. Health, Risk , 2(2), 159-172. DOI: 10.1080/713670162
Hamilton, L., & Keim, B. (2009) Regional variation in perceptions about climate change. International Journal of Climatology, 29(15), 2348-2352. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1930
Kahan, D., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012) The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nature Climate Change, 2(10), 732-735. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1547
Lewandowsky, S., Gignac, G., & Oberauer, K. (2013) The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science. PLoS ONE, 8(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075637
McCright, A., & Dunlap, R. (2010) Anti-reflexivity: The American Conservative Movement's Success in Undermining Climate Science and Policy. Theory, Culture , 27(2-3), 100-133. DOI: 10.1177/0263276409356001
McCright, A., & Dunlap, R. (2011) THE POLITICIZATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLARIZATION IN THE AMERICAN PUBLIC'S VIEWS OF GLOBAL WARMING, 2001-2010. Sociological Quarterly, 52(2), 155-194. DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2011.01198.x
McCright, A., Dunlap, R., & Xiao, C. (2014) The impacts of temperature anomalies and political orientation on perceived winter warming. Nature Climate Change, 4(12), 1077-1081. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2443
Oreskes, N. (2004) Beyond The Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Science, 306(5702), 1686-1686. DOI: 10.1126/science.1103618
Stevenson, K., Peterson, M., Bondell, H., Moore, S., & Carrier, S. (2014) Overcoming skepticism with education: interacting influences of worldview and climate change knowledge on perceived climate change risk among adolescents. Climatic Change, 126(3-4), 293-304. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1228-7
Mankind is about to take a huge step in understanding himself and his universe. The Rosetta orbiter has traveled 3.8 billion miles to catch comet 67P/C-G. Traveling at more than 24,000 miles per hour, the Philae Lander is now going to land on the comet. A visitor from deep space and from deep time, 67P/C-G contains clues about the solar system, water, and perhaps life itself.... Read more »
Evans, A., Meinert, C., Giri, C., Goesmann, F., & Meierhenrich, U. (2012) Chirality, photochemistry and the detection of amino acids in interstellar ice analogues and comets. Chemical Society Reviews, 41(16), 5447. DOI: 10.1039/c2cs35051c
Global warming, nothing new with that and it’s here to stay for now. But while computer models churn out bleak forecasts for the planet’s future, we also have a more conceptual understanding of what is happening as humans pump carbon dioxide into the air. Unfortunately the traditional conceptual understanding of carbon dioxide wrapping the planet in a sort of blanket that traps more heat is not quite right.... Read more »
Donohoe Aaron , Armour Kyle C. , Pendergrass Angeline G., & Battisti David S. (2014) Shortwave and longwave radiative contributions to global warming under increasing CO2 . PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412190111
Can we stop cheap, climate-friendly fertiliser via the STEP process being like transport by jetpack – a promise destined to remain unkept? ... Read more »
Licht, S., Cui, B., Wang, B., Li, F., Lau, J., & Liu, S. (2014) Ammonia synthesis by N2 and steam electrolysis in molten hydroxide suspensions of nanoscale Fe2O3. Science, 345(6197), 637-640. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254234
Subduction is just the beginning. Stuck on the surface of the earth as we are, it’s easy to think that when oceanic lithosphere is destroyed when it vanishes into the mantle. But this is wrong. The more we manage to peer … Continue reading →... Read more »
Dobson David P. (2005) Subducted banded iron formations as a source of ultralow-velocity zones at the core–mantle boundary. Nature, 434(7031), 371-374. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature03430
Our recent study on maerl sediment dynamics has found that the settling velocity of maerl is primarily governed by the grain shape properties of maerl. A grain shape parameter known as the convexity has been linked to the settling velocity via the Ferguson and Church model (Ferguson and Church, 2004). Due to the grain shape of maerl and roughness, it experiences a greater drag than the natural quartz grain. Detailed measurements of maërl grain shape using microscopic image analysis confirm ........ Read more »
Ferguson, R., & Church, M. (2004) A Simple Universal Equation for Grain Settling Velocity. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 74(6), 933-937. DOI: 10.1306/051204740933
Joshi, S., Duffy, G., & Brown, C. (2014) Settling Velocity and Grain Shape of Maerl Biogenic Gravel. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 84(8), 718-727. DOI: 10.2110/jsr.2014.51
Hold on to your hats folks, we can all agree that most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. But in a new study a group of researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth’s climate. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a man-made problem, please.... Read more »
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