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Agriculture


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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Nature Communications
For legume plants, a new route from shoot to root
A new study shows that legume plants regulate their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria by using cytokinins -- signaling molecules -- that are transmitted through the plant structure from leaves into the roots to control the number of bacteria-holding nodules in the roots.

Contact: Jens Wilkinson
jens.wilkinson@riken.jp
81-048-462-1225
RIKEN

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Journal of Power Sources
Researchers develop unique waste cleanup for rural areas
Washington State University researchers have developed a unique method to use microbes buried in pond sediment to power waste cleanup in rural areas. The first microbe-powered, self-sustaining wastewater treatment system could lead to an inexpensive and quick way to clean up waste from large farming operations and rural sewage treatment plants while reducing pollution.
National Science Foundation, US Office of Naval Research, Washington State University Agricultural Research Center

Contact: Haluk Beyenal
beyenal@wsu.edu
509-335-6607
Washington State University

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Microplastic pollution discovered in St. Lawrence River sediments
A team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government have discovered microplastics widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments. Their research was published this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Contact: Jenny Ryan
jenny.ryan@nrcresearchpress.com
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Agricultural fires in the Ukraine
Numerous fires -- marked with red dots -- are burning in Eastern Europe, likely as a result of regional agricultural practices.
NASA

Contact: Lynn Jenner
lynn.a.jenner@nasa.gov
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Fall foliage season may be later, but longer on warmer Earth
The fall foliage season in some areas of the United States could come much later and possibly last a little longer by the end of the century as climate change causes summer temperatures to linger later into the year, according to Princeton University researchers. The delay could result in a longer growing season that would affect carbon uptake, agriculture, water supplies and animal behavior, among many other areas.

Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
PLOS ONE
Global agriculture: More land, fewer harvests
Most of the Earth's agricultural land resources are already under cultivation. Climate change poses a huge challenge to global agriculture, but a new study by geographers at LMU shows that some regions could benefit from it.

Contact: Florian Zabel
f.zabel@lmu.de
49-089-218-06689
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Journal of Ecology
Tropical fish a threat to Mediterranean Sea ecosystems
The tropical rabbitfish which have devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea pose a major threat to the entire Mediterranean basin if their distribution continues to expand as the climate warms, a new study warns. Researchers surveyed more than 1000 kilometers of coastline in Turkey and Greece, where two species of plant-eating rabbitfish have become dominant, and found regions with abundant rabbitfish had become rocky barrens.

Contact: Deborah Smith
deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au
61-047-849-2060
University of New South Wales

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Public Health Nutrition
Kids eat better if their parents went to college
Children of college-educated parents eat more vegetables and drink less sugar, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia. But it's still not enough, the study goes on to say, as all kids are falling short when it comes to eating healthier at school. The research suggests a parent's educational attainment, an indicator of socioeconomic status, may inform a child's diet.

Contact: Corey Allen
corey.allen@ubc.ca
604-822-2644
University of British Columbia

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Genetics
Want to link genes to complex traits? Start with more diversity
Life is rarely simple. From crop yields to disease risks, the biological characteristics people care most about are considered 'complex traits,' making it hard to identify the genes involved. Standard methods for tracking down such genes usually only implicate a broad genomic region, and the identities of the crucial gene/s remain a mystery. Now, geneticists are embracing a powerful approach that pinpoints more precise areas of the genome.

Contact: Raeka Aiyar
press@genetics-gsa.org
202-412-1120
Genetics Society of America

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Science
Changes in coastal upwelling linked to temporary declines in marine ecosystem
In findings of relevance to both conservationists and the fishing industry, new research links short-term reductions in growth and reproduction of marine animals off the California Coast to increasing variability in the strength of coastal upwelling currents -- currents which historically supply nutrients to the region's diverse ecosystem.
National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Contact: Marc Airhart
mairhart@austin.utexas.edu
512-232-1066
University of Texas at Austin

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Coral growth rate plummets in 30-year comparison
A team of researchers working on a Carnegie expedition in Australia's Great Barrier Reef has documented that coral growth rates have plummeted 40 percent since the mid-1970s. The scientists suggest that ocean acidification may be playing an important role in this perilous slowdown.
Moore Foundation

Contact: Ken Caldeira
kcaldeira@carnegiescience.edu
Carnegie Institution

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry
Rooting out horse-meat fraud in the wake of a recent food scandal
As the United Kingdom forms a new crime unit designed to fight food fraud -- in response to an uproar last year over horse meat being passed off as beef -- scientists from Germany are reporting a technique for detecting meat adulteration. They describe their approach, which represents a vast improvement over current methods, in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
California's King Fire east of Sacramento
California's King Fire tripled in size from Monday, Sept. 15, to Tuesday morning, Sept. 16, and current weather conditions are doing nothing more than helping it along.
NASA

Contact: Lynn Jenner
lynn.a.jenner@nasa.gov
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Biological Conservation
Cape Cod saltmarsh recovery looks good, falls short
In some places Cape Cod's imperiled saltmarsh grasses have been making a comeback, but a new study reports that their ability to protect the coast has not returned nearly as fast as their healthy appearance would suggest.
National Science Foundation

Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Nature Communications
Global change: Trees continue to grow at a faster rate
Trees have been growing significantly faster since the 1960s. The typical development phases of trees and stands have barely changed, but they have accelerated -- by as much as 70 percent. This was the outcome of a study carried out by scientists from Technische Universität München based on long-term data from experimental forest plots that have been continuously observed since 1870. Their findings were published recently in Nature Communications.

Contact: Barbara Wankerl
barbara.wankerl@tum.de
49-892-892-2562
Technische Universitaet Muenchen

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
PLOS ONE
Expedition finds Nemo can travel great distances to connect populations
Clownfish spend their entire lives nestling in the protective tentacles of host anemones, but new research shows that as babies they sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres across the open ocean. Although the process of long-distance dispersal by reef fish has been predicted, this is the first time that the high level exchange of offspring between distant populations has been observed.

Contact: Jo Bowler
j.bowler@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Nature
Gut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance
Weizmann Institute research shows that artificial sweeteners promote glucose intolerance in a surprising way: by changing the composition and function of the gut microbiota.

Contact: Yivsam Azgad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
PLOS ONE
Nemo's epic journey to find a new home
New research has found clownfish larvae can swim up to 400 kilometres in search of a home, which makes them better able to cope with environmental change. It's the furthest distance they've been able to track the dispersal of any coral reef fish and the findings show how connected the marine environment can be.
Natural Environment Research Council, Royal Society, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études, Davis Trust, University of Edinburgh Development Trust, Carnegie Trust, BS-AC Jubilee Trust, Weir Trust

Contact: Hugo Harrison
hugo.harrison@my.jcu.edu.au
61-049-952-3939
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
2nd International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice
Malaysia's 'Smart Villages' and 9 other proven ideas for sustainable development
As nations zero in on final agreement of the UN's post-2015 global Sustainable Development Goals, innovations being successfully pioneered in Malaysia offer several proven tactical ideas for improving the world, says an influential international sustainable development networking organization.

Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
Malaysian Industry‑Government Group for High Technology

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
PLOS ONE
The future of global agriculture may include new land, fewer harvests
Climate change may expand suitable cropland, particularly in the Northern high latitudes, but tropical regions may becoming decreasingly suitable.

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Journal of Experimental Biology
Transparent larvae hide opaque eyes behind reflections
Transparency is almost the perfect form of camouflage, however, transparent animals with compound eyes have a problem. Each eye unit is shielded from the next with opaque pigment to prevent light leakage, making the opaque eyes conspicuous. However, scientists from the University of Maryland Baltimore County have discovered that mantis shrimp larvae camouflage their opaque eyes with reflections that color match the light in their surroundings.
US Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Contact: Kathryn Knight
kathryn@biologists.com
44-012-234-25525
The Company of Biologists

Public Release: 16-Sep-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Counting fish teeth reveals regulatory DNA changes behind rapid evolution, adaptation
Threespine sticklebacks, small fish found around the globe, undergo rapid evolutionary change when they move from the ocean to freshwater lakes, losing their armor and gaining more teeth in as little as 10 years. UC Berkeley biologist Craig Miller shows that this rapid change results not from mutations in functional genes, but changes in regulatory DNA. He pinpoints a gene that could be responsible for teeth, bone or jaw deformities in humans, including cleft palate.
National Institutes of Health

Contact: Robert Sanders
rlsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley

Public Release: 16-Sep-2014
Smoke wafts over the Selway Valley in Idaho
Smoke from the fires in the Selway Complex and the Johnson Bar fire is wafting into the Selway River valley.
NASA

Contact: Rob Gutro
robert.j.gutro@nasa.gov
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Public Release: 16-Sep-2014
36 Pit Fire in Oregon
The 36 Pit Fire began on Sept. 13, 2014. The fire is human-caused and is still under investigation.
NASA

Contact: Rob Gutro
robert.j.gutro@nasa.gov
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Public Release: 16-Sep-2014
Dry conditions and lightning strikes make for a long California fire season
The fire season in California has been anything but cooperative this year. Hot conditions combined with a state-wide drought and dry lightning makes for unpleasant conditions and leads to an abundance of forest fires.
NASA

Contact: Lynn Jenner
lynn.a.jenner@nasa.gov
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center