According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides. The situation is not as simple as it seems, however, as ecologists at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) have now discovered. Under certain environmental conditions, increased biodiversity can also lead to an ecosystem becoming more unstable.
A study led by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has shown that carbon fibers can work as battery electrodes, storing energy directly. This opens up new opportunities for structural batteries, where the carbon fiber becomes part of the energy system. The use of this type of multifunctional material can contribute to a significant weight-reduction in the aircraft and vehicles of the future -- a key challenge for electrification.
Stars, triangles and pentagons demonstrate the adaptability and robustness of bacterial cell division machinery.
A drug first identified 150 years ago and used as a smooth-muscle relaxant might make tumors more sensitive to radiation therapy. Researchers found that the drug papaverine inhibits the respiration of mitochondria, the oxygen-consuming and energy-making components of cells, and sensitizes model tumors to radiation. They found that the drug does not affect the radiation sensitivity of well-oxygenated normal tissues.
To be able to reproduce and become effective disease carriers, mosquitoes must first attain optimal body size and nutritional status. A pair of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have succeeded in using CRISPR-Cas9, a powerful tool for altering DNA sequences and modifying gene function, to decrease mosquito body size, moving the research one step closer to eliminating mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and Zika virus.
A new collaborative study has investigated Arctic shrub-snow interactions to obtain a better understanding of the far north's tundra and vast permafrost system. Incorporating extensive in situ observations, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists tested their theories with a novel 3D computer model and confirmed that shrubs can lead to significant degradation of the permafrost layer that has remained frozen for tens of thousands of years. These interactions are driving increases in discharges of fresh water into rivers, lakes and oceans.
Samples of ancient sediments from a lake basin in East Africa have revealed that arid conditions developed in the area around half a million years ago, an environmental change that could have played a major role in human evolution and influenced advances in stone technology, according to an international research team that includes geologists from Georgia State University.
Scientists who performed the largest-ever genetic study of a puzzling type of adult-onset diabetes have uncovered new connections to the two major types of diabetes, offering intriguing insights into more accurate diagnosis and better treatment. Latent automimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is a relatively common disorder that shares features of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The architecture of each person's brain is unique, and differences may influence how quickly people can complete various cognitive tasks. But how neuroanatomy impacts performance is largely an open question. To learn more, scientists are developing a new tool -- computational models of the brain -- to simulate how the structure of the brain may impact brain activity and, ultimately, human behavior.
Scientists at Scripps Research have successfully tested a potential new smoking-cessation treatment in rodents.