Sixty-six million years ago, the world burned. An asteroid crashed to Earth with a force one million times larger than the largest atomic bomb, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. But dinosaurs weren't the only ones that got hit hard -- in a new study, scientists learned that the planet's forests were decimated, leading to the extinction of tree-dwelling birds.
Depending on the lighting, the surface of appropriately crafted nanoparticles can change its topography. Researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have shown that the molecular mechanism they have designed makes it possible, by the use of light, to effectively uncover or hide catalyst molecules. The technique they present leads to qualitatively new possibilities to control the course of chemical reactions.
The large and small, beautiful and bizarre are among the newly discovered animals, plants and microbes announced by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) as the Top 10 New Species for 2018.
A molecular study carried out on the chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus, has revealed the absence of genetic variability in this invasive species, a chestnut-tree parasite, in Europe. This is due to the fact that the wasp's reproduction is strictly parthenogenetic, the females produce more females without having to be fertilized by a male. The high capacity of reproduction of the females, producing genetically identical daughters, give this insect a high invasive potential.
Smog is a problem. But the knowledge about its constituents -- no longer. Researchers from several leading Warsaw scientific institutions have joined forces and developed a new, extremely precise method for the chemical analysis of suspended particulate matter. The method, easily adaptable in many modern laboratories, not only determines the chemical composition of compounds, but even recognizes changes in the spatial distribution of atoms in molecules.
As chocolate becomes ever more popular, demand for cocoa keeps rising. For production to keep up, agricultural practices have to become more sustainable. ETH researchers tested what shade trees can contribute to solving this problem.
When it comes to timber harvesting, removing the whole tree -- from stump to twigs -- doesn't reduce plant diversity any more than old-fashioned logging, which leaves tree branches behind in the woods.
At a time when countries are pledging to restore millions of hectares of forest, new research argues that recent studies on forest regeneration techniques are flawed. Sites used to evaluate natural regeneration were secondary growth forests, whereas sites chosen to evaluate artificial regeneration ranged from abandoned coal mines to cattle-trampled fields. Authors of the new study suggest elements of both techniques should be considered, depending on the objectives for a site and its current state.
What we think we know about how to restore tropical forests is based on shaky science. Missouri Botanical Garden Scientist Leighton Reid and other researchers reviewed major studies that had found natural regeneration was as good as or better than tree planting, and found those studies to be biased. Natural regeneration was studied in more resilient sites than tree planting, making it an apples to oranges comparison. This means there is no one-size-fits-all solution to forest restoration.
If a whole forest disappears, new research shows, this has ricocheting effects in the atmosphere that affect vegetation on the other side of the country.