Newly Discovered Modifier Protein Could Stimulate Plant Growth Under Environmental Stress

Whether or not you have a green thumb, if a plant is not completely happy with the right about of water, sunlight, or even the right make-up of soil, plants will slow their growth or even stop growing altogether in order to save energy. But according to new research led by scientists at Durham University, plants contain a natural mechanism that could stimulate their growth even under stress, which could potentially lead to better crop yields.

Economic benefits of reducing nitrogen pollution

Falling levels of nitrogen in the atmosphere across Europe may be much more economically beneficial than previously believed, according to a recent study. Indeed, scientists think the UK alone benefits by around £65 million a year. Levels of atmospheric nitrogen have fallen by around a quarter in Europe since 1990, mostly because of tighter rules on emissions from engines and industry. Scientists are still working to understand the consequences. This is difficult, because excess nitrogen affects the benefits that nature gives us (known as 'ecosystem services') in many different ways – some positive and some harmful. For example, nitrogen is an important plant nutrient, which means services that depend on plant growth, such as crops and timber from woodlands, will benefit from more of it in the atmosphere. Conversely, falling nitrogen levels will harm these services - so cutting pollution costs the economy money.

New Research Uses Popular Literature to Study Climate Change

Walden Pond isn't just the site of Henry David Thoreau's two-year stint in which he documented a more simple, natural life, it is now the subject of a climate change study that shows how leaf-out times of trees and shrubs have changed since the 1850s. As a result of Thoreau's observations, researchers at Boston University have revealed that the leaf-out times of trees and shrubs at Walden Pond are an average of 18 days earlier than observed by Thoreau in the mid 1800s.

Popularity of plug-in vehicles on the rise

Good news for those living at the intersection of manufacturing and environmentalism. Here in the U.S., sales of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles almost doubled between 2012 and 2013 with an 84 percent jump to 96,600 of the vehicles sold. That’s 49,000 plug-in hybrids (like the Volt) and 47,600 pure battery powered plug-in vehicles sold.

West Virginia Chemical Spill Still Disrupting Local Infrastructure

Think of it as another practice run for local and federal crisis management. The chemical spill into the Elk River that breached the containment walls of one of Charleston, W.Va's largest industries last week has closed schools, stopped commercial flights and converted the state capitol's downtown core to a "ghost town." It's also painted an unnervingly clear picture of what can happen to a city's infrastructure when a chemical spill shuts down its main commercial facilities. After evidence of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), a foaming agent that is used to clean coal of impurities, was picked up by local water distribution plant West Virginia American Water last Thursday, state and county officials went into high drive to alert some 300,0000 residents of the pollution and to close access to drinking water.

Pine Island Glacier is shrinking

Pine Island Glacier, the largest single contributor to sea-level rise in Antarctica, has started shrinking, say scientists. The work, published in Nature Climate Change, shows the glacier's retreat may have begun an irreversible process that could see the amount of water it is adding to the ocean increase five-fold. 'At the Pine Island Glacier we have seen that not only is more ice flowing from the glacier into the ocean, but it's also flowing faster across the grounding line - the boundary between the grounded ice and the floating ice. We also can see this boundary is migrating further inland,' says Dr G. Hilmar Gudmundsson from NERC's British Antarctic Survey, a researcher on the project.

How plants respond to climate change

Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, as scientists from the University of Basel write in the online journal PLoS One. Climate warming is changing the distribution of plants and animals worldwide. Recently it was shown that in the past two decades, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.

State Officials Warn Climate Impact Predictions may be Worsening

The situation looks grim for Rhode Island and the rest of the East Coast when it come to climate change. In fact, the outlook is getting worse, according to state officials. Grover Fugate, head of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and the face of the state’s climate research and planning, recently said climate change is happening faster than scientists can model it.

Tree Island restoration

Worldwide, large swaths of land lay barren in the wake of agricultural expansion, and as global forest cover continues to decline, carbon and water cycles, biodiversity, and human health are impacted. But efforts to restore abandoned pastures and agricultural plots back into functioning forest ecosystems are often hindered by high costs and time requirements. Fortunately, scientists have developed a new method for a more cost effective solution to forest restoration, the establishment of "tree islands."

West African Lion Faces Extinction

To many, the mighty lion is the face of African wildlife and one of the most recognized predators across the world. But despite sitting on top of the food chain, the lion is a vulnerable species and a new report concludes that the African lion is facing extinction across the entire West African region. The new study reveals that the West African lion is down to a population estimated at 250, and these individuals are restricted to four isolated populations.