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Latest and Breaking Science Policy News

Non-citizens face harsher sentencing than citizens in US criminal courts
(American Sociological Association) Non-Americans in the US federal court system are more likely to be sentenced to prison and for longer terms compared to US citizens, according to a new study.

Shape up quickly -- applies to fish, too!
(University of Gothenburg) Fish can live in almost any aquatic environment on Earth, but when the climate changes and temperatures go up many species are pushed to the limit. The amount of time needed to adjust to new conditions could prove critical for how different species cope in the future, reveals a new study from researchers at the University of Gothenburg, published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

CWRU researchers receives $2.06 million to study how patients make end-of-life decisions
(Case Western Reserve University) The choice to die at home surrounded by loved ones comes too late for some cancer patients. Why that happens and how to change the process so that more patients may die as they wish is the focus of new research the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University will pursue with a four-year, $2.06 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Plymouth University leads global study examining wave energy transfer on rocky coastlines
(University of Plymouth) Plymouth University is leading a 340,000 international study analyzing the ability of rocky foreshores to absorb the impact of waves on the world's coastlines.

Gender equality leads to more Olympic medals for men and women
(University of British Columbia) Gender equality boosts a country's Olympic medal count for both women and men, shows a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Grouse moor burning causes widespread environmental changes
(University of Leeds) Evidence of the environmental effects of moorland burning is published today in the first authoritative scientific study on the subject, with the aim of relieving tensions on both sides of the grouse moor management debate.

Geneticists solve 40-year-old dilemma to explain why duplicate genes remain in the genome
(Trinity College Dublin) Geneticists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered -- after 40 years of wondering why -- that duplicate genes confer 'mutational robustness' in individuals, which allows them to adapt to novel, potentially dangerous environments.

Smithsonian scientists discover coral's best defender against an army of sea stars
(Smithsonian) Coral reefs face a suite of perilous threats in today's ocean. From overfishing and pollution to coastal development and climate change, fragile coral ecosystems are disappearing at unprecedented rates. Despite this trend, some species of corals surrounding the island of Moorea in French Polynesia have a natural protector in their tropical environment: coral guard-crabs. New research has helped unravel the complex symbiotic relationship between these crabs and the coral reefs they live in and defend.

Laser-guided sea monkeys show how zooplankton migrations may affect global ocean currents
(American Institute of Physics) Sea monkeys have captured the popular attention of both children and aquarium hobbyists because of their easily observable life cycle. Physicists are interested in a shorter-term pattern: Like other zooplankton, brine shrimp vertically migrate in large groups throughout the day in response to changing light conditions. New research suggests that the collective movement of small marine organisms could affect global ocean circulation patterns on a level comparable to the wind and the tides.

Tree killers, yes, fire starters, no: Mountain pine beetles get a bad rap, study says
(University of Wisconsin-Madison) New research led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources provides some of the first rigorous field data to test whether fires that burn in areas impacted by mountain pine beetles are more ecologically severe than in those not attacked by the native bug. In a study published this week, UW-Madison zoology professor Monica Turner and her graduate student, Brian Harvey, show pine beetle outbreaks contributed little to the severity of six wildfires in 2011.

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