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Latest and Breaking Earth Science News

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future
(University of Wisconsin-Madison) In a move that could improve the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel X-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride.

Study: Soil nutrients may limit ability of plants to slow climate change
(The University of Montana) Many scientists assume that the growing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will accelerate plant growth. However, a new study co-written by University of Montana researchers suggests much of this growth will be curtailed by limited soil nutrients.

Necessity at the roots of innovation: The scramble for nutrients intensifies as soils age
(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Working among venomous snakes in Australia's Jurien Dunes, researchers ask how biodiverse plants survive in some of the world's worst soils. Their discoveries may help to develop agriculture on poor soils elsewhere.

Decreasing biodiversity affects productivity of remaining plants
(University of Alaska Fairbanks) When plant biodiversity declines, the remaining plants face diminishing productivity, say scientists in study published April 20 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Darwin convinced the world, but was he the first to describe evolution?
(Wiley) A new review of the ideas and work of Patrick Matthew, a little-known antecedent of Charles Darwin, argues that Matthew is under-appreciated even though he described the idea of large-scale evolution by natural selection decades before Darwin did. Some of his ideas were different from Darwin's but are equally valid.

A better grasp of primate grip
(Yale University) Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history. In a new study, a research team led by Yale University found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools.

Let it snow
(University of California - Santa Barbara) Before Deepwater Horizon, scientists didn't know that oil and marine snow had anything to do with each other.

Uranium isotopes carry the fingerprint of ancient bacterial activity
(Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne) The oceans contain billions of tons of dissolved uranium. Over the planet's history, some of this uranium was transformed into an insoluble form, causing it to precipitate and accumulate in sediments. This can occur through the action of live organisms or by interacting with certain minerals. Knowing which pathway was taken can provide insight into ancient bacterial activity. Publishing in PNAS, a team of researchers describes a new method to distinguish between the pathways.

Down to 3 wolves on Isle Royale
(Michigan Technological University) Only three wolves seem to remain in Isle Royale National Park. Researchers from Michigan Technological University observed the wolves during their annual Winter Study, and the lone group, at an unprecedented low, is a sharp decline from nine wolves observed last winter.

As US assumes Arctic Council chairmanship, new report emphasizes cooperation over conflict
(Dartmouth College) Although the media often portray the Arctic as a new 'Great Game' ripe for conflict, a group of international Arctic experts co-chaired by Dartmouth College released recommendations today aimed at preserving the polar north as an area for political and military cooperation, sustainable development and scientific research.

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