Even as the world gets on the same sustainability page courtesy of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), those very goals can result in significant tradeoffs. Scientists suggest new ways to tackle unexpected or unintended consequences cropping up on the way to a better world at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.
Though separated by a world of ocean, and unrelated to each other, two fish groups - one in the Arctic, the other in the Antarctic - share a surprising survival strategy: They both have evolved the ability to produce the same special brand of antifreeze protein in their tissues. A new study describes in molecular detail how the Arctic fishes built the gene for their antifreeze from tiny fragments of noncoding DNA, regions once considered "junk DNA."
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a mapping tool that identifies sites for re-establishing oyster reefs that maximize their ecological benefits -- such as water filtration. This Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based tool could inform restoration of other vital, sensitive coastal habitats.
A new species of the Brazil-endemic small genus Mcvaughia described as part of a extended revision of this unique group. Mcvaughia is a genus of the plant family Malpighiaceae comprising just three known species, all of which endemic to the unique and recently recognized Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests biome found in the Atlantic Forest and Caatinga domains in northeastern Brazil. The study was published in the open-access journal PhytoKeys.
Small RNAs are key regulators involved in plant growth and development. Two groups of sRNAs are abundant during development of pollen in the anthers. One of these pathways for sRNA production, previously believed present in grasses and related monocots, has now been demonstrated to be present widely in the flowering plants, evolved over 200 million years ago, and is arguably one of the evolutionary innovations that made them so successful.
A team of marine scientists from the National University of Singapore had uncovered toxic bacteria living on the surfaces of microplastics (which are pieces of plastic smaller than 5 millimetres in size) collected from the coastal areas of Singapore. These bacteria are capable of causing coral bleaching, and triggering wound infections in humans. The team also discovered a diversity of bacteria, including useful organisms - such as those that can degrade marine pollutants like hydrocarbons - in the plastic waste.
New research by the University of Washington and US Geological Survey suggests many lakes in the Arctic pose little threat to global carbon levels, at least for now.
Microbiologist Dr. Jason Huntley identified groups of bacteria in Lake Erie that degrade microcystin and can be used to naturally purify water.
A study of woodland star wildflowers in the western United States has found remarkable diversity in the scent compounds produced by their flowers. Every species of woodland star, and even different populations within a species, may produce a unique floral bouquet, sometimes composed of dozens of scent compounds, to attract specialized insect pollinators.
Diatoms are abundant photosynthetic organisms in aquatic environments; they contribute 20 percent of global primary productivity. Their fucoxanthin (Fx) chlorophyll (Chl) a/c-binding proteins (FCPs) have exceptional light harvesting and photoprotection capabilities. However, the structure of the FCP proteins and arrangement of pigments within them remain unknown. A research team from the Key Laboratory of Photobiology, Institute of Botany solved the crystal structure of an FCP protein from a marine pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum.