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Latest and Breaking Earth Science News

Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits
(Vanderbilt University) Jessica Oster and her colleagues have shown that the analysis of a stalagmite from a cave in north east India can detect the link between El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian monsoon.

Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones
(Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology and Evolution at Seoul National University) A study carried out in Arizona by an international research team from Poland and Korea revealed that the Mexican Jays (Aphelocoma wollweberi) distinguish between heavier and lighter peanuts without opening the nuts. The birds do it by shaking the nuts in their beaks, which allows them to 'feel' nut heaviness and to listen to sounds produced by peanuts during handling.

DNA samples from Purdue, Kew fungi collections provide key to mushroom 'tree of life'
(Purdue University) Genetic material from fungi collections at Purdue University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, helped a team of researchers resolve the mushroom 'tree of life,' a map of the relationships between key mushroom species and their evolutionary history that scientists have struggled to piece together for more than 200 years.

Building expertise to protect the Serengeti
(Norwegian University of Science and Technology) Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is under severe pressure from human population growth and climate change. A new 10 million grant from the European Union will help unite scientists from Europe and Africa to develop innovative and practical (on the ground) solutions for the continued delivery of ecosystem services provided by the park.

Disaster investigations, relief may benefit from explosion-sizing innovation
(American Geophysical Union) Disaster investigators and emergency personnel may find themselves better able to assess and respond to terrorist attacks and industrial accidents with the aid of a new computational tool that determines the energy from explosions near the Earth's surface.

An evolutionary heads-up
(University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna) Animals with large brains are considered to be more intelligent and more successful than those with smaller brains. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna and Stockholm University have provided the first experimental evidence that large brains provide an evolutionary advantage. Large-brained female fish have a higher survival rate than those with small brains when faced with a predator, although brain size surprisingly did not influence male survival. The results were published in Ecology Letters.

Enhancing knowledge crucial to improving energy-saving behaviors, study shows
(University of Plymouth) Increasing public knowledge and understanding about energy issues is vital if improved energy-saving behaviors are to be encouraged among individuals and organizations, a study conducted at Plymouth University suggests.

Visualizing how radiation bombardment boosts superconductivity
(DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory) Study shows how heavy-ion induced atomic-scale defects in iron-based superconductors 'pin' potentially disruptive quantum vortices, enabling high currents to flow unimpeded. The study opens a new way forward for designing and understanding superconductors that can operate in demanding high-current, high magnetic field applications, such as zero-energy-loss power transmission lines and energy-generating turbines.

NOAA's GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing
(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) The GOES-R satellite, slated to launch in 2016, is ready for environmental testing. Environmental testing simulates the harsh conditions of launch and the space environment once the satellite is in orbit.

Seven projects to make progress on ethics and global food security in five years
(Johns Hopkins Medicine) Johns Hopkins experts lead an international group that has issued an ambitious five-year agenda to tackle some of the most complex ethical issues involved in ensuring the global population has enough sustainably produced safe and nutritious food.

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