Myanmar’s extensive forests are declining rapidly due to political and economic change

The loss of intact forest cover in Myanmar has accelerated over the last decade, according to a new study.

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When birds of a feather poop together: Excessive birds feces and algal blooms

Algal blooms deplete oxygen in lakes, produce toxins, and end up killing aquatic life in the lake. Researchers are tracing the role of bird feces, which are rich in phosphorus and nitrogen.

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Monarch butterfles: The problem with herbicides

Monarch butterfly populations are shrinking. New research makes a strong case that the reasons for this decline go far beyond what’s happening on the wintering grounds and addresses a current controversy about the primary causes of the specie’s decline.

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Earth’s atmosphere more chemically reactive in cold climates

A Greenland ice core providing a first glimpse at the history of reactive oxidants shows that for big temperature swings in the past 100,000 years, reactive oxidants are actually higher in cold climates. This means that new mechanisms — not just water vapor, plant and soil emissions — must affect the concentration of ozone and other oxidants in the atmosphere.

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Climate change refuge for corals discovered (and how we can protect it right now)

Scientists have discovered a refuge for corals where the environment protects otherwise sensitive species to the increasing severity of climate change.

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Tea-time means leopard-time in India

A new study finds that leopards are abundant in tea-garden landscapes in north-eastern India, but that their mere presence does not lead to conflicts with people.

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Shared genetic heritage from Sicily to Cyprus

The Mediterranean shores stretching between Sicily, Southern Italy and the Southern Balkans witnessed a long series of migration processes and cultural exchanges. Despite this complex history there is a shared genetic continuity, extending from Sicily to Cyprus, where the populations of certain Greek-speaking islands appear genetically closer to Southern Italian populations than to populations from continental Greece.

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Autonomous ‘soaring with solar’ concept

Scientists are building on the proven concept of autonomous cooperative soaring of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which enables long endurance flights of unmanned sailplanes that use the power of the Sun.

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Large volcanic eruption may have caused the first mass extinction

Researchers say they may have found the cause of the first mass extinction of life.

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During heat waves, urban trees can increase ground-level ozone

Planting trees is a popular strategy to help make cities ‘greener,’ both literally and figuratively. But scientists have found a counterintuitive effect of urban vegetation: during heat waves, it can increase air pollution levels and the formation of ozone.

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Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity

Transporting methane from gas wellheads to market provides multiple opportunities for this greenhouse gas to leak into the atmosphere. Now, an international team of researchers has taken the first step in converting methane directly to electricity using bacteria, in a way that could be done near the drilling sites.

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Dams are major driver of global environmental change

Water reservoirs created by damming rivers could have significant impacts on the world’s carbon cycle and climate system that aren’t being accounted for, a new study concludes.

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Aftermath of supereruption shows Toba magma system’s great size

The rare but spectacular eruptions of supervolcanoes can cause massive destruction and affect climate patterns on a global scale for decades — and a new study has found that these sites also may experience ongoing, albeit smaller eruptions for tens of thousands of years after.

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Refining the ocean’s thermometer

The chemistry of shells of plankton called foraminifera are a record of past climate. Recent experiments show magnesium levels vary in foram shells due to different growth rates during daily light/dark cycles.

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‘Narco-deforestation’ study links loss of Central American tropical forests to cocaine

Central American tropical forests are beginning to disappear at an alarming rate, threatening the livelihood of indigenous peoples there and endangering some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. The culprit? Cocaine.

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Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is often very difficult, in part because they are extremely water-repellent. Scientists have now been able to show how such biofilms adapt their surface texture to repel water — similar to leaves.

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Fishing can lead to rapid evolutionary changes in exploited fish populations

Cohort after cohort, fishing typically removes large fish from the population and can lead to rapid evolutionary changes in exploited fish populations.

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Extreme weather has greater impact on nature than expected

An oystercatcher nest is washed away in a storm surge. Australian passerine birds die during a heatwave. A late frost in their breeding area kills off a group of American cliff swallows. Small tragedies that may seem unrelated, but point to the underlying long-term impact of extreme climatic events.

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From where will the next big earthquake hit the city of Istanbul?

Scientists reckon with an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or greater in this region in the coming years. The extent of such seismic threat to this Turkish city of Istanbul actually depends on how strongly the tectonic plates are entangled and on the exact nucleation point of the earthquake. A team of researchers now presents a study indicating that the next major earthquake is more likely to originate in Istanbul’s eastern Marmara Sea.

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Porewater salinity: Key to reconstructing 250,000 years of Lake Van’s history

The sediments of Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) are a valuable climate archive. Now, using the salinity measured in sediment porewater, scientists have reconstructed the huge lake-level fluctuations that occurred over the past 250,000 years. This approach – based on simple physical concepts – is likely to be more widely applied in the future.

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How atmospheric waves radiate out of hurricanes

Researchers believe they have found a new way to monitor the intensity and location of hurricanes from hundreds of miles away by detecting atmospheric waves radiating from the centers of these powerful storms.

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New Zealand’s mainland yellow-eyed penguins face extinction unless urgent action taken

Scientists have modeled factors driving mainland yellow-eyed penguin population decline and are calling for action to reduce regional threats. According to the researchers’ prediction models, breeding success of the penguins will continue to decline to extinction by 2060 largely due to rising ocean temperatures.

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Rise of aggressive reef predator may impede sea urchin recovery, study finds

A new study suggests that an aggressive reef competitor — the Threespot Damselfish — may have impeded the recovery of Caribbean long-spined sea urchin populations after a mysterious disease outbreak caused a massive die-off of these animals over three decades ago.

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Rare Earth element mineral potential in the southeastern US coastal plain

Rare Earth elements have become increasingly important for advanced technologies, from cell phones to renewable energy to defense systems. Mineral resources hosted in heavy mineral sand deposits are especially attractive because they can be recovered using well-established mechanical methods, making extraction, processing, and remediation relatively simple.

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Code of conduct needed for ocean conservation, study says

A diverse group of the world’s leading experts in marine conservation is calling for a Hippocratic Oath for ocean conservation — not unlike the pledge physicians take to uphold specific ethical standards when practicing medicine.

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NASA’s EPIC view spots flashes on Earth

One million miles from Earth, a NASA camera is capturing unexpected flashes of light reflecting off our planet.

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Key differences in solar wind models

The challenge of predicting space weather, which can cause issues with telecommunications and other satellite operations on Earth, requires a detailed understanding of the solar wind (a stream of charged particles released from the sun) and sophisticated computer simulations. New research has found that when choosing the right model to describe the solar wind, using the one that takes longer to calculate does not make it the most accurate.

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