The Giant hot pink slug

The Hot Pink slugs that emerge after rainy nights have become a conservation symbol for alpine forests on Australia's Mount Kaputar, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The slugs, which measure up to 20 centimeters (8 inches), are only found on Mount Kaputar, a volcano that last erupted 17 million years ago. They spend most of their time buried under leaf litter, but emerge by the hundreds when conditions are right to feed on moss, algae, and fungi. While their fluorescent coloration may seem jarring, it actually helps them blend in with brightly-colored eucalyptus leaves that cover the forest floor.

Uncharted Territory: Scientists Discover New and Incredible Species

It’s every scientist’s dream to travel to a remote, unexplored place looking for as many new and interesting species as they can find. This was a dream come true for the 15 Mozambican and international scientists, led by Piotr Naskrecki, who spent 3 weeks in the Cheringoma Plateau of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. There couldn’t have been a more adventurous setting for this expedition than the sheer limestone cliffs, studded with deep caves, cascading down to the lush riverine forest and rushing streams of the gorges below. The scientists’ mission was to collect and record information on the species of this region to help park managers understand and protect Gorongosa’s biodiversity

Migrating vs. Resident Elk: Who has the best strategy?

Many animals migrate in an effort to find food, a more hospitable climate, and most importantly, a place to breed. However, a herd of elk known as the Clarks Fork herd, made up of nearly 4,000 elk, are coming back from their Yellowstone National Park migration with fewer calves compared to those elks that do not migrate, which are known as resident elk. So why are the resident elk being considered more successful compared to migrating individuals in the same herd?

Staglamites and Climate

A new set of long-term climate records based on cave stalagmites collected from tropical Borneo shows that the western tropical Pacific responded very differently than other regions of the globe to abrupt climate change events. The 100,000-year climate record adds to data on past climate events, and may help scientists assess models designed to predict how the Earth's climate will respond in the future. The new record resulted from oxygen isotope analysis of more than 1,700 calcium carbonate samples taken from four stalagmites found in three different northern Borneo caves. The results suggest that climate feedbacks within the tropical regions may amplify and prolong abrupt climate change events that were first discovered in the North Atlantic.

Denmark’s NOx Tax

Denmark's tax on nitrogen oxide emissions, which was raised during the financial crisis, could be scrapped if it's proven to have a negative impact on jobs and competitiveness. The centre-left Danish government, which was formed in October 2011, decided at the end of that year to raise the tax from 5 to 25 Danish crowns (from €0.7 to 3.4) per kilo of nitrogen oxide NOx emissions. The tax was introduced on 1 July 2012. The increased NOx tax was adopted after long debates in the Danish parliament where opposition parties warned it would be expensive not only for companies emitting NOx, but for all businesses.

The Sturgeon Fossil

Sturgeon like fishes appeared in the fossil record approximately 200 million years ago, around the very end of the Triassic, making them among the most ancient of actinopterygian fishes. True sturgeons appear in the fossil record during the Upper Cretaceous. In that time, sturgeons have undergone remarkably little change, indicating their evolution has been exceptionally slow and earning them an informal status as living fossils. But a new study by University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues reveals that in at least one measure of evolutionary change—changes in body size over time—sturgeon have been one of the fastest-evolving fish on the planet.

Elephant Seals: Data Collectors for Polar Oceans

Most of us turn to the weather channel, or the app on our phones to find out the forecast for the week, but where do these predictions stem from? Many of these forecasts are made possible by the analyses of decades of past climate data. From temperatures, to the amount of rainfall, to wind patterns, climate scientists and weather forecasters use this data to deliver insight to future weather predictions. Understanding climate and weather systems in polar regions also plays a part in predicting these patterns. However, data collection in these extreme temperature regions is difficult and expensive as frozen seas prevent accessible channels for ships or buoys to collect data especially during long winters. So how have scientists and marine biologists been able to collect this polar data? With the help of elephant seals, of course.

Unworldly Life Source

Nowadays Earth is perfectly lovely but once it was a barren rock. So how did life arise on such an unpromising property? In fact, new research shows that life on Earth may have come from out of this world. Lawrence Livermore scientist Nir Goldman and University of Ontario Institute of Technology colleague Isaac Tamblyn (a former LLNL postdoc) found that icy comets that crashed into Earth billions of years ago could have produced life building organic compounds, including the building blocks of proteins and nucleobases pairs of DNA and RNA. Comets contain a variety of simple molecules, such as water, ammonia, methanol and carbon dioxide, and an impact event with a planetary surface would provide an abundant supply of energy to drive chemical reactions.

Small island states told to build wider ocean expertise

With rising concern about ocean degradation and the sustainable use of ocean resources, small island states must build scientific expertise that goes beyond their national needs and that benefits the oceans generally, a meeting of UN scientific experts has heard. Small island developing states (SIDS) are the "custodians" of vast ocean spaces that are important for global food security, biodiversity, natural resources and carbon sequestration, and broader sustainable ocean policies will in turn enhance their own economic development, say experts.

Non-Exhaust Automotive Pollution

Cars are well known for their tail pipe pollution. Great efforts have been made to reduce such. But there are other sources associated with vehicles that are not normally considered. Vehicle exhausts are responsible for only a third of traffic pollution, according to new research. The study, published in Atmospheric Environment, says nearly half of air pollution from road traffic is due to non-exhaust sources such as brake wear, road surface wear, and particles whipped up from the road by passing vehicles. Professor Ranjeet Sokhi, of the University of Hertfordshire, who led the study, is calling for greater control of non-exhaust pollution.