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Latest and Breaking Biology News

Study finds way to conserve soil and water in world's driest wheat region
(Washington State University) In the world's driest rainfed wheat region, Washington State University researchers have identified summer fallow management practices that can make all the difference for farmers, water and soil conservation, and air quality.Wheat growers in the Horse Heaven Hills of south-central Washington farm with an average of 6-8 inches of rain a year. Wind erosion has caused blowing dust that exceeded federal air quality standards 20 times in the past 10 years.

CT scans of coral skeletons reveal ocean acidity increases reef erosion
(University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST) For coral reefs to persist, rates of reef construction must exceed reef breakdown. Prior research has largely focused on the negative impacts of ocean acidification on reef growth, but new research this week from scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, based at the University of Hawai'i - Mānoa, demonstrates that lower ocean pH also enhances reef breakdown: a double-whammy for coral reefs in a changing climate.

Boy moms more social in chimpanzees
(Duke University) Four decades of chimpanzee observations reveals the mothers of sons are 25 percent more social than the mothers of daughters, spending about two hours more per day with other chimpanzees than the girl moms did. Researchers from Duke and George Washington University believe mothers are giving young males the opportunity to observe males in social situations to help them develop the social skills they'll need to thrive in adult male competition.

Biology trumps chemistry in open ocean
(Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) Scientists laid out a new framework based on in situ observations that will allow them to describe and understand how phytoplankton assimilate limited concentrations of phosphorus, a key nutrient, in the ocean in ways that better reflect what is actually occurring in the marine environment. This is important because nutrient uptake is a property of ocean biogeochemistry, and in many regions controls carbon dioxide fixation, which ultimately can play a role in mitigating climate change.

How does the brain react to virtual reality? Study by UCLA neuroscientists provides answer
(University of California - Los Angeles) UCLA neurophysicists studying a key brain region where Alzheimer's disease begins have discovered how the brain processes virtual reality. 'The pattern of activity in a brain region involved in spatial learning in the virtual world is completely different than in the real world,' said Mayank Mehta, a UCLA professor of physics, neurology, and neurobiology and senior author. 'We should be cautious before proceeding rapidly with millions of people using virtual reality.'

New NSF-funded platform takes science to the clouds
(University of Arizona) Researchers are working to store, manage, share and analyze their data on virtual computing machines hosted in a cloud-based environment.

Grasshoppers signal slow recovery of post-agricultural woodlands, study finds
(University of Wisconsin-Madison) By comparing grasshoppers found at woodland sites once used for agriculture to similar sites never disturbed by farming, UW-Madison researchers Philip Hahn and John Orrock show that despite decades of recovery, the numbers and types of species found in each differ, as do the understory plants and other ecological variables, like soil properties.

UAlberta researchers stop 'vicious cycle of inflammation' that leads to tumor growth
(University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry) A team of researchers from the University of Alberta has discovered a new approach to fighting breast and thyroid cancers by targeting an enzyme they say is the culprit for the 'vicious cycle' of tumor growth, spread and resistance to treatment.

Scientist gets more support to study Deepwater Horizon spill impact on coast
(University of Tennessee at Knoxville) An associate professor in earth and planetary sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her team have made new discoveries about bacterial diversity and oil degradation processes never before seen in marshes -- and thanks to a new grant, their work can continue.

ORNL researchers Buchanan, Liang, Mayes named AAAS fellows
(DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory) Three staff members from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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