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This week from AGU: Water tables, 3D rock formations, wind speed maps & hydrothermal vents

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High water tables can be a boon to crop yields

A high water table - usually a bane to crop yields - can provide much-needed water during drought and to crops planted in coarse-grained soils, found a new study published online in Water Resources Research.

3-D maps illustrate formation of the Hangai Dome in central Mongolia

Scientists used 1.7 million seismic wave measurements from 227 earthquakes across East Asia to create animated 3-D images of subsurface rock formations under the Hangai Dome in central Mongolia as part of their recent study accepted in Geophysical Research Letters.

A weather eye on coastal winds

New satellite radar image-processing system provides wind speed maps with an unprecedented degree of precision. Such maps will help coastal communities prepare for wind-related hazards.


Hydrothermal vents discovered in Southern Ocean

Researchers have discovered 20 underwater hydrothermal plumes along the Australian-Antarctic Ridge, an underwater mountain range that sits between Tasmania, New Zealand, and Antarctica. They are the first hydrothermal vents discovered on the Australian-Antarctic Ridge, according to a new study in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.


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Saving coral reefs depends more on protecting fish than safeguarding locations

Saving coral reefs depends more on protecting fish than safeguarding locations
A new study by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has found that coral reef diversity 'hotspots' in the southwestern Indian Ocean rely more on the biomass of fish than where they are located, a conclusion that has major implications for management decisions to protect coral reef ecosystems. Using data gathered over a 12-year period from nearly 270 coral reefs across the southwestern Indian Ocean, the WCS study found that the highest conservation priorities in the region should be reef systems where fish biomass exceeds 600 kilograms per hectare. This finding conflicts ...

Stanford soil sleuths solve mystery of arsenic-contaminated water

Can water ever be too clean? If the intent is to store it underground, the answer, surprisingly, is yes. In a new study, Stanford scientists have shown that recycled water percolating into underground storage aquifers in Southern California picked up trace amounts of arsenic because the water was too pure. The research, published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, sheds light on a poorly understood aspect of groundwater recharge with purified recycled water, namely the potential mobilization of arsenic. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that ...

Prophylactic surgery nearly doubles in men with breast cancer

ATLANTA - Sept. 2, 2015 - The number of men with breast cancer who undergo surgery to remove the unaffected breast has risen sharply, according to a new report by American Cancer Society and Dana Farber Cancer Institute researchers. The report, appearing in JAMA Surgery, is the first to identify the trend, which mirrors a trend seen in U.S. women over the past two decades. Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for only about 1 percent of all cases in the United States. In women (particularly younger women), the use of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) surgery ...

Tracking down the causes of Alzheimer's

Tracking down the causes of Alzheimers
Genes are not only important for regular memory performance, but also for the development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the University of Basel now identified a specific group of genes that plays a central role in both processes. This group of molecules controls the concentration of calcium ions inside the cell. Their results appear in the current issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Intact memory capacity is crucial for everyday life. This fact becomes apparent once a memory disorder has developed. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of age-associated ...

Study shows how fracking documentary influenced public perception and political change

WASHINGTON, DC, September 2, 2015 -- Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change. But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking. By measuring an uptick in online searches as well as social media chatter and mass media coverage, Ion Bogdan Vasi, an associate professor of sociology at the UI and corresponding author of a new ...

Exposure to phthalates could be linked to pregnancy loss

A new study of more than 300 women suggests that exposure to certain phthalates -- substances commonly used in food packaging, personal-care and other everyday products -- could be associated with miscarriage, mostly between 5 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. The research, appearing in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first epidemiological study on non-work-related exposure to phthalates to provide evidence for the possible link among a general population. Out of concern over the potential health effects of phthalates, the U.S. has banned six of these ...

New research discovers immune system protein can fix cystic fibrosis cells

Scientific experiments examining what happens to the faulty channel protein that causes cystic fibrosis during inflammation have yielded unexpected and exciting results. The study, conducted by Sara Bitam and her colleagues at INSERM in France, has just passed peer review on open science publishing platform F1000Research. Cystic fibrosis is a life-limiting auto¬somal recessive monogenic disorder that affects 1 in every 2000 - 3500 newborns in the EU and US per year. It is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes the CFTR protein, an epithelial ion channel involved ...

Blueberry extract could help fight gum disease and reduce antibiotic use

Gum disease is a common condition among adults that occurs when bacteria form biofilms or plaques on teeth, and consequently the gums become inflamed. Some severe cases, called periodontitis, call for antibiotics. But now scientists have discovered that wild blueberry extract could help prevent dental plaque formation. Their report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry could lead to a new therapy for periodontitis and a reduced need for antibiotics. Many people have had some degree of gum inflammation, or gingivitis, caused by dental plaque. The gums get ...

Evidence that Earth's first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions. But the world's first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself. "People have been slow to recognize that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction," said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University. "But our comparative study of several communities of Ediacarans, ...

New study reveals how changes in lifestyle are contributing to dramatic rise in obesity

New research from Royal Holloway, University of London has found that changes in lifestyle over the past 30 years have led to a sharp reduction in the strenuousness of daily life, which researchers say may explain why there has been a dramatic rise in obesity. The study, carried out by Dr Melanie Luhrmann from the Department of Economics along with Professor Rachel Griffith and Dr Rodrigo Lluberas, revealed that while obesity rates have almost trebled, surprisingly, our actual calorie intake has fallen by around 20 per cent compared to 30 years ago. The researchers found ...


How your brain decides blame and punishment -- and how it can be changed

Uniquely human brain region enables punishment decisions

Pinpointing punishment

Chapman University publishes research on attractiveness and mating

E-cigarettes: Special issue from Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Placental problems in early pregnancy associated with 5-fold increased risk of OB & fetal disorders

UT study: Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species

Criminals acquire guns through social connections

Restoring ocean health

Report: Cancer remains leading cause of death in US Hispanics

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in adults

To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?

International team discovers natural defense against HIV

Bolivian biodiversity observatory takes its first steps

Choice of college major influences lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Dominant strain of drug-resistant MRSA decreases in hospitals, but persists in community

Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application

US defense agencies increase investment in federal synthetic biology research

Robots help to map England's only deep-water Marine Conservation Zone

Mayo researchers identify protein -- may predict who will respond to PD-1 immunotherapy for melanoma

How much water do US fracking operations really use?

New approach to mammograms could improve reliability

The influence of citizen science grows despite some resistance

Unlocking secrets of how fossils form

What happens on the molecular level when smog gets into the lungs?

Using ultrasound to clean medical instruments

Platinum and iron oxide working together get the job done

Tiny silica particles could be used to repair damaged teeth, research shows

A quantum lab for everyone

No way? Charity's logo may influence perception of food in package

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