Late-nesting birds, bees face habitat threat

Bird and bumblebee species that nest late in the year are suffering more from the destruction of habitats, new research suggests. With habitats such as hedgerows and hay meadows in decline in many countries, fewer nest sites are available — leading to more competition.

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Iqaluit could start running out of fresh water by 2024

Without action, the supply of fresh water in Iqaluit will begin to dwindle by 2024 due to climate change and increased demand, new research has found.

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Volcanic ‘plumerang’ could impact human health

A new study has found a previously undetected potential health risk from the high concentration of small particles found in a boomerang-like return of a volcanic plume. 

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Lianas stifle tree fruit and seed production in tropical forests

Vines compete intensely with trees. Their numbers are on the rise in many tropical forests around the world. A new study shows that lianas prevent canopy trees from producing fruit, with potentially far-reaching consequences for rainforest animals.

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Demo plant produces renewable fuel from carbon dioxide captured from the air

The unique Soletair demo plant developed in Finland uses carbon dioxide to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the technical performance of the overall process and produce 200 liters of fuels and other hydrocarbons for research purposes. This concerns a one-of-a-kind demo plant in which the entire process chain, from solar power generation to hydrocarbon production, is in the same place.

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Why microplastic debris may be the next big threat to our seas

More than five trillion pieces of plastic debris are estimated to be in our oceans, though many are impossible to see with the naked eye.

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Wind turbines: The strength test

Wind turbines rise into the sky on enormous feet. To ensure these giants can reliably generate electricity for many years to come, the iron processing industry must manufacture their massive components in a stable, resource-saving and yet cost-effective way. However, material inclusions such as dross are often unavoidable while casting. Researchers are currently working to detect and analyze such material defects.

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Lost ecosystem found buried in mud of southern California coastal waters

Paleontologists investigating the sea bed off California have discovered a lost ecosystem that for thousands of years had nurtured communities of scallops and shelled marine organisms called brachiopods. They had died off by the early 20th century, replaced by the mud-dwellling burrowing clams that inhabit this seabed today.

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To slow climate change, India joins the renewable energy revolution

On June 3, two days after President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged a hug with French President Emmanuel Macron during an official visit to Paris. Modi and Macron pledged to achieve emissions reductions beyond their nations’ commitments under the Paris Agreement, and Macron announced he will visit India later this year for a summit on solar…

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Nanoparticles and magnets offer new, efficient method of removing oil from water

Engineering researchers used magnetic nanoparticles to separate oil from water through a simple process that relies on electrostatic force and a magnet. The engineers believe their new technique could improve water treatment for oil and gas production, more efficiently clean up oil spills and potentially remove lead from drinking water.

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Extinct early whales listened like their relatives on land, fossil evidence shows

Whales show surprisingly vast differences in hearing ability. Baleen whales tune into infrasonic sounds to communicate over long distances. Toothed whales do just the opposite, relying on ultrasonic frequencies too high for humans to hear. Now researchers have fossil evidence from extinct early whale species to suggest that those differences in hearing arose only after whales evolved into the fully aquatic animals we know today.

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The mysterious bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor chain

The volcanic islands of Hawaii represent the youngest end of a 80 million years old and roughly 6,000 kilometers long mountain chain on the ground of the Pacific Ocean. The so-called Hawaiian-Emperor chain consisting of dozens of volcanoes is well known for its peculiar 60 degrees bend. The cause for this bend has been heavily debated for decades. Scientists now offer an explanation in a new study.

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US exit from Paris climate accord makes discussing how and whether to engineer the planet even harder

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement has invoked condemnation and consternation from many commentators, including many of the United States’ strongest allies. While the withdrawal undoubtedly will impede efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions – and very regrettably so – it may have a negative effect on another area of global climate negotiation: geoengineering. Geoengineering, in the form of deflecting the sun’s energy, has been…

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Biodegradable microbeads made from cellulose

On World Ocean Day, researchers announce they have developed biodegradable cellulose microbeads from a sustainable source that could potentially replace harmful plastic ones that contribute to ocean pollution.

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Small climb in mean temperatures linked to far higher chance of deadly heat waves

An increase in mean temperature of 0.5 degrees Celsius over half a century may not seem all that serious, but it’s enough to have more than doubled the probability of a heat wave killing in excess of 100 people in India, according to researchers.

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Finding new homes won’t help emperor penguins cope with climate change

Unlike other species that migrate successfully to escape the wrath of climate change, a new study shows that dispersal may help sustain global Emperor penguin populations for a limited time, but, as sea ice conditions continue to deteriorate, the 54 colonies that exist today will face devastating declines by the end of this century.

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Seismic CT scan points to rapid uplift of Southern Tibet

Geophysicists have conducted a three-year seismic CT scan of the upper mantle beneath the Tibetan Plateau and concluded that the southern half of the ‘Roof of the World’ formed within 10 million years, or less than one-quarter of the time since the beginning of the India-Eurasia continental collision.

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Waste not, want not: Byproduct of ethanol industry makes suitable cattle feed supplement

Nutritious feed for cattle is complex. As the summer season progresses, grass can become harder to digest. However, researchers found by supplementing with dried distillers’ grains, this effect can be minimized. Dried distillers’ grains are left over after ethanol production. They are what remains of the ground corn used for fermentation.

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New-generation material removes iodine from water

New material scrubs iodine from water for the first time and could hold the key to cleaning nuclear accidents.

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Geology, biology agree on Pangaea supercontinent breakup dates

Independent estimates from geology and biology agree on the timing of the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent into today’s continents, scientists have found.

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Newly discovered methane consumers in lakes

When decaying organic matter sinks to the bottom of a lake or ocean, methane is produced as the biomass is broken down. Some of the methane is released from the surface into the atmosphere, where it acts as a potent greenhouse gas, while some is broken down by microorganisms in the water column. In a new study, an international research group reports that, as well as the “classical” methane consumers, filamentous bacteria of the genus Crenothrix – previously little studied in the environment – are also involved in the methane removal process.

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The other reason to shift away from coal: Air pollution that kills thousands every year

When President Donald Trump announced on June 1 that he had decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, he asserted that staying in the pact would prevent our nation from further developing its fossil fuel reserves. Critics understandably have called this a setback for global efforts to curb greenhouse gas pollution. But there is another, equally important argument for transitioning to clean fuels. Tens of thousands…

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Motor-boat noise makes fish bad parents, leading to the death of their babies

The sound of motorboat engines disturbed coral reef fish so acutely it changed the behavior of parents, and stopped male fish properly guarding their young, feeding and interacting with their offspring, new research has found.

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New evidence reveals source of 1586 Sanriku, Japan tsunami

A team of researchers re-examined historical evidence around the Pacific and discovered the origin of the tsunami that hit Sanriku, Japan in 1586 — a mega-earthquake from the Aleutian Islands that broadly impacted the north Pacific. Until now, this was considered an orphan tsunami, a historical tsunami without an obvious local earthquake source, likely originating far away.

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Guts to glory? Newly discovered enzyme complexes in herbivore digestive tracts show promise for sustainable fuels, medicines

A newly discovered enzyme complexes in herbivore digestive tracts show promise for sustainable fuels and medicines, report scientists.

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El Niño and global warming combine to cause record-breaking heat in Southeast Asia

A devastating combination of global warming and El Niño is responsible for causing extreme temperatures in April 2016 in Southeast Asia, scientists have found.

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How the Arctic Ocean became saline

The Arctic Ocean was once a gigantic freshwater lake. Only after the land bridge between Greenland and Scotland had submerged far enough did vast quantities of salt water pour in from the Atlantic.

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