Breaking Waves: Ocean News

Fossil of rare armor-plated worm-like creature discovered in Canada's capital
03/15/2010 - 23:00
Scientists have unearthed the remains of one of the world's rarest fossils -- in downtown Ottawa, Canada. The 450-million-year-old fossil preserves the complete skeleton of a plumulitid machaeridian, one of only 8 such specimens known. Plumulitids were annelid worms -- the group including earthworms, bristleworms and leeches, today found everywhere from the deepest sea to the soil in your yard -- and although plumulitids were small they reveal important evidence of how this major group of organisms evolved.
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Mastery of rare-earth elements vital to America's security
03/15/2010 - 23:00
Used in everything from batteries to electric motors, rare earth elements are vital to America's security, a senior metallurgist at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, told members of the Investigations & Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Yet, the great majority of rare earth mining and production currently takes place in China.
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Environmental and social impact of the 'livestock revolution'
03/15/2010 - 23:00
Global meat production has tripled in the past three decades and could double its present level by 2050, according to a major report on the livestock industry. The impact of this "livestock revolution" is likely to have significant consequences for human health, the environment and the global economy, the authors conclude.
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From international harbor to native habitat: Detecting exotic pests before forest and agricultural invasion
03/15/2010 - 23:00
In the 1930s, soil used as ballast to weigh down cargo ships from South America to Mobile, Alabama introduced the red imported fire ant to the southern United States. Since then, the ants have been found as far north as Maryland and as far west as California, shorting out streetlights and eating through crops and native plants in the process. Since pests like the fire ant primarily enter the U.S. through international hubs like Mobile and then spread to nearby ecosystems, the early detection of exotic pests should start at the most vulnerable urban areas, researchers say.
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Environmental refugees and global warming
03/15/2010 - 23:00
Climate change and environmental degradation are likely to trigger increased migration in Sub-Saharan Africa with potentially devastating effects on the hundreds of millions of especially poor people, according to a new article.
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African bird discovery proves there is something new under the sun
03/15/2010 - 23:00
"Four and 20 black birds baked in a pie" -- but wait, one has blue-gray eyes. That discovery, backed by DNA analysis, means scientists now know there is one more species of black shrike in the Albertine Rift of Africa than was previously thought. And if Dr. Gary Voelker has his way, he'll soon be studying the bird's habits to determine its susceptibility to the deforestation now occurring across its native habitat.
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Urban CO2 domes increase deaths, poke hole in cap-and-trade proposal
03/14/2010 - 23:00
In the first study ever done on the local health effects of the domes of carbon dioxide that develop above cities, researchers found that the domes increase the local death rate. The result provides a scientific basis for regulating CO2 emissions at the local level and points out a significant oversight in the carbon dioxide "cap-and-trade" proposal that was passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009.
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Grass, fungus combination affects ecology
03/14/2010 - 23:00
Fescue grass covers an area equivalent to 12 million football fields in the US, and a new study by ecologists shows that the grass and a symbiotic fungus can affect local ecosystems in significant ways. Study results show that the genetic identity of an invisible fungus living symbiotically in fescue can alter the surrounding composition and diversity of the plant community.
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Flowering plants may be considerably older than previously thought
03/14/2010 - 23:00
Flowering plants may be considerably older than previously thought, says a new analysis of the plant family tree. Previous studies suggest that flowering plants, or angiosperms, first arose 140 to 190 million years ago. Now, a new article pushes back the age of angiosperms to 215 million years ago, some 25 to 75 million years earlier than either the fossil record or previous molecular studies suggest.
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Southern Ocean winds open window to the deep sea
03/14/2010 - 23:00
Scientists have discovered how changes in winds blowing on the Southern Ocean drive variations in the depth of the surface layer of sea water responsible for regulating exchanges of heat and carbon dioxide between the ocean and the atmosphere.
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