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Small species back-up giant marsupial climate change extinction claim

Thinking small in a time when everything was big has helped Queensland researchers to unearth new evidence that climate change, instead of humans, was responsible for wiping out Australian giant marsupials or megafauna 40,000 years ago. .. . Reported in the journal Memoirs of the Queensland Museum tom...

Man-made wetland's effectiveness similar to natural marsh

Researchers who studied a man-made wetland in Ohio for two years concluded that the created wetland filtered and cleaned water as well as or better than would a natural marsh. .. . High levels of these nutrients can cause algae to flourish, often to the detriment of fish and other animals that depend on waterways for survival. Algae essentially rob oxygen from wate...

Life detection instrument passes key test on road to Mars

The dry, dusty, treeless expanse of Chile's Atacama Desert is the most lifeless spot on the face of the Earth, and that's why Alison Skelley and Richard Mathies joined a team of NASA scientists there earlier this month. .. . In a place that hadn't seen a blade of grass or a bug for ages, and contending with dust and temperature extremes that left her ei...

Map of life on Earth could be used on Mars

A geologist from Washington University in St. Louis is developing new techniques to render a more coherent story of how primitive life arose and diverged on Earth ?with implications for Mars. Carrine Blank Ph.D., Washington University assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, has some insight concerning terrestrial microbes that could lead to provocative conclusi...

Prozac for future Plants on Mars

Two peas in a pod may not be so friendly when planted in the ground and even two parts of the same plant, once separated may treat the former conjoined twin as an alien "enemy," according to a Penn State researcher. . .. The question was, do plants recognize their own roots and avoid competing with them and how do they do this? Worki...

NC State researchers redesign life for Mars and beyond

Researchers at North Carolina State University are looking deep under water for clues on how to redesign plants for life deep in outer space. . .. So Dr. Wendy Boss, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Botany, and Dr.Amy Grunden, assistant professor of microbiology, have combined their expertise to transfer beneficial characteristics from a sea-dwelling, single-celled organism called...

Research: Snails were overlooked contributors to marsh destruction

Buoyed by the effects of an intense drought, otherwise harmless snails likely killed off thousands of acres of salt marsh in the Southeast in recent years. . Periwinkle snails, known to science as Littoraria irrorata, normally coexist happily with salt marsh. But the drought, which lasted from 1999 to 2001, weakened and killed marsh grasses such as cordgrass, or Spartina alterniflora, so extensiv...

Microbes under Greenland Ice may be preview of what scientists find under Mars' surface

A University of California, Berkeley, study of methane-producing bacteria frozen at the bottom of Greenland's two-mile thick ice sheet could help guide scientists searching for similar bacterial life on Mars. . Methane is a greenhouse gas present in the atmospheres of both Earth and Mars. If a class of ancient microbes called Archaea are the source of Mars' methane, as some scientists have propos...

Marsupial genome reveals insights into mammalian evolution

The genetic code of marsupials has now been documented for the first time. An international team led by Kathy Belov from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Veterinary Science published an analysis of the marsupial genome in the open access journal PLoS Biology. The paper details the evolution of an important cluster of immune genes known as the MHC using available genome sequences of the gray...

Behavioral studies show UV contributes to marsupial color vision

Work reported this week provides new evidence that marsupials, like primates, have functional color vision based on three different types of color photoreceptor cones--but unlike primates, a component of marsupial color vision includes sensitivity to ultraviolet wavelengths. . In the study, researchers employed behavioral tests to show that at least one type of marsupial uses its detection of UV...

Inside rocks, implications for finding life on Mars

UCLA paleobiologist J. William Schopf and colleagues have produced 3-D images of ancient fossils -- 650 million to 850 million years old -- preserved in rocks, an achievement that has never been done before. . .. "It's astounding to see an organi...

Iraq's marshes show progress toward recovery

Reflooding of Iraq's destroyed Mesopotamian marshes since 2003 has resulted in a "remarkable rate of reestablishment" of native invertebrates, plants, fish, and birds, according to an article in the June issue of BioScience. . Curtis J. Richardson of Duke University and Najah A. Hussain of the University of Basrah, writing about fieldwork conducted over the past two years in four large marshes i...

How healthy is that marsh? Biologists count parasites

Is that salt marsh healthy? To answer this, Sea Grant biologists are cracking open common marsh snails and counting parasitic worms. Their claim: the more parasites, the healthier the marsh. . .. For one, these worms, known as trematodes, must sequentially infect certain hosts to complete their lifecycle. Snails to crabs to birds might be a typical se...

Species unique to tidal marshes face threats

Tidal marshes cover only about 45,000 square kilometers worldwide--about the area of Denmark. In comparison with other habitats, tidal marshes support few nonaquatic vertebrate species, but their unique characteristics have led to the evolution of species and subspecies that are endemic (found nowhere else). These endemic species and subspecies, which seem to be largely restricted to North Americ...

Mars mission Risk 29: Scientists research ways to reduce radiation-induced brain damage

Among the gravest risks of a manned flight to Mars ranks the possibility that massive amounts of solar and cosmic radiation will decimate the brains of astronauts, leaving them in a vegetative state, if they survive at all. . .. Now, medical scientists have been tasked to determine the human brain's maximum safe cosmic radiation dose and to deciphe...

Researchers publish first marsupial genome sequence

An international team, led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the publication of the first genome of a marsupial, belonging to a South American species of opossum. In a comparison of the marsupial genome to genomes of non-marsupials, including human, published in the May 10 issue of the journal Nature...
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