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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 30-Oct-2014
Environmental Health
Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites
Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrogen sulfide and formaldehyde were found. The study is the first to be based on community sampling by people who live near production sites and could be used to supplement official air-quality monitoring programs.

Contact: Ruth Francis
ruth.francis@biomedcentral.com
BioMed Central

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Report: 93 percent of mining, oil & gas, logging, agriculture developments involve inhabited land
In an analysis of almost 73,000 concessions in eight tropical forested countries, more than 93 percent of these developments were found to involve land inhabited by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. According to the research, conducted by The Munden Project, the total amount of land handed over by governments to the private sector for mining, logging, oil & gas drilling, and large-scale agriculture includes at least 40 percent of Peru and 30 percent of Indonesia.

Contact: Coimbra Sirica
csirica@burnesscommunications.com
Burness Communications

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Nilofar being affected by wind shear
Wind shear has kicked in and has been pushing clouds and showers away from Tropical Cyclone Nilofar's center. NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image that showed the effects of the shear on Oct. 29.
NASA

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

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Researchers track ammonium source in open ocean
To understand the extent to which human activities are polluting Earth's atmosphere and oceans, it's important to distinguish human-made pollutants from compounds that occur naturally. A new study finds that deposition of ammonium, a source of nitrogen pollution, over the open ocean comes mostly from natural marine sources, and not from human activity.
National Science Foundation, NOAA Climate and Global Change Fellowship Program

Contact: Kevin Stacey
kevin_stacey@brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Optica
NIST 'combs' the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases
By remotely 'combing' the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, NIST researchers have developed a new technique that can accurately measure -- over a sizeable distance -- amounts of several of the major 'greenhouse' gases implicated in climate change.

Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Applied Optics
Supersonic laser-propelled rockets
Today in Applied Optics, researchers describe a new system that integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft which can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Contact: Lyndsay Meyer
lmeyer@osa.org
202-416-1435
The Optical Society

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Journal of American Chemical Society
Why plants don't get sunburn
Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now, in an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, one team reports on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work.

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

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Smoke and haze over China
Smoke and haze hang over a large portion of eastern China in this image captured by the Aqua satellite on Oct. 29, 2014.
NASA

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

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature Communications
Evolution of competitiveness
Virtually all organisms in the living world compete with members of their own species. However, individuals differ strongly in how much they invest into their competitive ability. Some individuals are highly competitive and eager to get access to high-quality resources, while others seem to avoid competition, instead making prudent use of the lower-quality resources that are left over for them. A theoretical study published in 'Nature Communications' sheds some new light on these findings.

Contact: Dr. Sebastian A. Baldauf
sbaldauf@evolution.uni-bonn.de
49-022-873-5749
University of Bonn

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
New study shows 3 abrupt pulse of CO2 during last deglaciation
A new study shows that the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three 'pulses' in which C02 rose abruptly.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Ed Brook
brooke@geo.oregonstate.edu
541-737-8197
Oregon State University

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Nature
Scripps Research Institute scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life
Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth. Aside from illuminating one possible path for life's beginnings, the achievement is likely to yield a powerful tool for evolving new and useful molecules.
NASA, The Simons Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
madms@scripps.edu
858-784-9254
Scripps Research Institute

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
New frog discovered inhabiting I-95 corridor from Connecticut to North Carolina
More than a half century after claims that a new frog species existed in New York and New Jersey were dismissed, a Rutgers researcher and team of scientists have proven that the frog is living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina and are naming it after the ecologist who first noticed it.

Contact: Robin Lally
rlally@ucm.rutgers.edu
732-932-0557
Rutgers University

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
New leopard frog species discovered in New York
Scientists discover a new species of leopard frog from New York City and surrounding region.

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Why some butterflies sound like ants
Ant nests can offer a lot to organisms other than just ants. They are well-protected, environmentally-stable and resource-rich spaces -- in many ways everything a tiny creature could ask for in a home. For the insects that squat inside ant nests, though, survival means finding ways to live with the ants -- by foiling the chemical cues ants use to distinguish friend from foe, for instance.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Urban seismic network detects human sounds
When listening to the Earth, what clues can seismic data reveal about the impact of urban life? Although naturally occurring vibrations have proven useful to seismologists, until now the vibrations caused by humans haven't been explored in any real depth. Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers Nima Riahi and Peter Gerstoft will describe their efforts to tap into an urban seismic network to monitor the traffic of trains, planes, automobiles and other modes of human transport.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Nestling birds struggle in noisy environments
Unable to fly, nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection: vocal communication between parents and offspring helps young birds to determine when they should beg for food and when they should crouch in the nest to avoid a predator seeking an easy meal. A group of researchers has found that ambient, anthropomorphic noise -- from traffic, construction and other human activities -- can break this vital communications link, leaving nestlings vulnerable or hungry.

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
Acoustical Society of America

Public Release: 29-Oct-2014
Journal of Experimental Biology
Running robots of future may learn from world's best 2-legged runners: Birds
With an eye toward making better running robots, researchers have made surprising new findings about some of nature's most energy efficient bipeds -- running birds. Their skills may have evolved from the time of the dinosaurs and they may now be superior to any other bipedal runners -- including humans.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Human Frontier Science Program

Contact: Jonathan Hurst
jonathan.hurst@oregonstate.edu
541-737-7010
Oregon State University

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
Nano Energy
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat
A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.
US Department of Energy

Contact: Catherine Hockmuth
chockmuth@ucsd.edu
858-822-1359
University of California - San Diego

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers
CU Denver study says upgrading infrastructure could reduce flood damage
The severe flooding that devastated a wide swath of Colorado last year might have been less destructive if the bridges, roads and other infrastructure had been upgraded or modernized, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Denver.

Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-315-6374
University of Colorado Denver

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
Geology
Glacier song
Mountain glaciers represent one of the largest repositories of fresh water in alpine regions. However, little is known about the processes by which water moves through these systems. In this study published in Geology on 24 Oct. 2014, David S. Heeszel and colleagues use seismic recordings collected near Lake Gornersee in the Swiss Alps to look for signs of water moving through fractures near the glacier bed.

Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
NASA gets a stare from Cyclone Nilofar's 14 mile-wide eye
Tropical Cyclone Nilofar developed an eye on Oct. 28 that seemed to stare at NASA's Terra satellite as it passed overhead in space. Warnings are already in effect from the India Meteorological Department as Nilofar is forecast to make landfall in northwestern India.
NASA

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

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
A battle for ant sperm
In a discovery new to science, research from the University of Vermont shows that sexual conflict between two ant species can drive an evolutionary battle, leading to competing adaptations in which female ants of one species manhandle sperm away from the unwitting males of a different species.

Contact: Joshua Brown
joshua.e.brown@uvm.edu
802-656-3039
University of Vermont

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
2014 American Phsyical Society Division of Plasma Physics Meeting
Postcards from the plasma edge
Scientists shed new light on how lithium conditions the volatile edge of fusion plasmas.

Contact: Saralyn Stewart
stewart@physics.utexas.edu
512-694-2320
American Physical Society

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
2014 American Phsyical Society Division of Plasma Physics Meeting
Laser experiments mimic cosmic explosions and planetary cores
Scientists bring plasma tsunamis and crushing pressures into the lab.

Contact: Saralyn Stewart
stewart@physics.utexas.edu
512-694-2320
American Physical Society

Public Release: 28-Oct-2014
2014 American Phsyical Society Division of Plasma Physics Meeting
Helping general electric upgrade the US power grid
PPPL lends GE a hand in developing an advanced power-conversion switch.

Contact: James Riordon
riordon@aps.org
301-209-3238
American Physical Society