Goats and sheep learn to avoid eating olive and grape leaves

Researchers from the Research Group on Ruminants led by Elena Albanell, lecturer in Animal and Food Science, have successfully thwarted sheep and goats from eating olive tree and grapevine leaves. By conditioning the species' palettes, researchers redirected their food preferences making them more willing to eat undesirable plants from pastures. Olive trees, grapevines, fruit trees, and other woody plants make up about a quarter of the cultivated cropland in Spain. These cultivation systems allow plants to grow around the trees or vines, however, in order to prevent these plants from choking out the crop, they must be controlled with herbicides and farming equipment. These processes not only cost time and money for farmers, but they can cause environmental impacts due to the residues left behind from the chemicals and the compacted soil produced by farming equipment can lead to reduced rainfall infiltration and poor root penetration.

Wildlife trade bans may be worsening trafficking of some species, argues paper

While founded with good intentions, wildlife trade bans may in some cases be worsening the plight of some endangered species, argues a commentary published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science. Looking at three animals listed under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) — tigers, elephants and rhinos — Kirsten Conrad of AsiaCat argues that a moratorium on legal trade has exacerbated illegal trafficking by boosting prices and moving all commerce to the black market. She says the situation is worsened by poor law enforcement, ambiguous property rights, and demand rooted in "strong traditional affiliation".

Fruit Flies Likely to Fall Victim to Climate Change

Many species are being forced to adapt to slowly rising temperatures around the world. However, some simply do not have the ability to change. They are stuck in a sort of "evolutionary straitjacket." This includes many species of fruit fly, a common bug found in many houses circling overripe or rotting fruit. According to new research from Monash University, these species may face extinction in the near future, given current projects of a 3 degree C increase in mean annual temperature in the next century and even greater temperature extremes.

Iran Blows Past Sanctions with Wind Energy

Determined to stay its unpopular nuclear course, Iran is now turning to wind power and other renewable energy sources to blow past sanctions. Last year Karin reported that the current regime plans to produce 5,000 MW of solar energy by 2015, and in May this year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put aside an additional $620 million to grow the country’s nascent renewable energy program.

Are EV’s really better for climate-changing emissions?

Electric cars are an axiom of clean transport planning - they produce no tailpipe emissions, little localised air pollution and, potentially, no greenhouse gas output. But as their critics point out, they are only as green as the electricity that they use. A power supply dependent on fossil fuels will produce greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles that are less than - but still comparable to - those from automobiles fitted with internal combustion engines (ICE)

Creating catchy names for vegetables leads to increased consumption in schools

With names like "Golden Corn Nuggets" or "Creamy Sweet Corn" do you think you would be more inclined to choose corn as your side dish when going through the cafeteria buffet? What about "Powerful Peas" or "Rainforest Smoothie?" Do they sound more tempting than a bowl full of peas and a glass of vegetable juice? Well, according to new studies, attractive names can compel elementary-aged children to eat more vegetables. Researchers Brian Wansink and David Just from Cornell University, Collin Payne from New Mexico State University, and Matthew Klinger of Half Hollow Hills High School East, conducted various studies to explore whether the simple change of using attractive names would influence a child’s consumption of vegetables.

NCDC: August 2012 Was a Warm One

The latest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's National Climatic Data Center states that August 2012 was one of the warmest months on record.

Sorghum’s Potential as a Bioenergy Crop

Biofuels are mostly produced from grains such as corn. In recent years, various types of wild grasses and other crops have been looked at to produce biofuels, but have yet to break through in a big way. A new study by the United States Department of Agriculture has uncovered a potential breakthrough candidate for biofuel expansion. It is sorghum, a grassy plant grown primarily in the southeastern United States as a source of sugar for syrup and molasses. Its sturdiness and resistance to drought make it ideal for the production of bioenergy.

What might Red Sea mining bring to Saudi Arabia and Sudan?

A Canadian company expects to complete a study, within a year, to gauge the feasibility of extracting metals from hydro-thermal basins some 2,000 metres deep in the Red Sea, which could boost Saudi Arabia and Sudan's access to metals, and create high-paying jobs.

Magnets can help clean up oil spills

Oil spills can have catastrophic impacts on marine ecosystems so it is important for responsible parties to make every effort to help mitigate these damages when they occur. Cleanup efforts have ranged from bioremediation, to controlled burning, to using chemical dispersants, and skimming. However, these clean up methods can take weeks to complete and are often very costly. Researchers at MIT have developed a new technique for magnetically separating oil and water that could be used to clean up oil spills. The new technique will improve efficiency, as the method will allow oil to be collected and sent to a refinery to be reprocessed.