Lizard blizzard survivors tell story of natural selection

An unusually cold winter in the U.S. in 2014 took a toll on the green anole lizard, a tree-dwelling creature common to the southeastern United States. A new study offers a rare view of natural selection in this species, showing how the lizard survivors at the southernmost part of their range in Texas came to be more like their cold-adapted counterparts further north.

New dust sources resulting from a shrinking Salton Sea have negative ecological and health impacts

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside investigating the composition of particulate matter(PM) and its sources at the Salton Sea have found that this shrinking lake in Southern California is exposing large areas of dry lakebed, called playa, that are acting as new dust sources with the potential to impact human health.“Playas have a high potential to act as dust sources because playa surfaces often lack vegetation,” said Roya Bahreini, an associate professor of environmental sciences, who led the research project. “Dust emissions from playas increase airborne PM mass, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and mortality.”

Animal coloration research: On the threshold of a new era

In the last 20 years, the field of animal coloration research has experienced explosive growth thanks to numerous technological advances, and it now stands on the threshold of a new era.

Natural compound coupled with specific gut microbes may prevent severe flu

Microbes that live in the gut don’t just digest food. They also have far-reaching effects on the immune system. Now, a new study shows that a particular gut microbe can prevent severe flu infections in mice, likely by breaking down naturally occurring compounds — called flavonoids — commonly found in foods such as black tea, red wine and blueberries.

Study reveals exactly how low-cost fuel cell catalysts work

In order to reduce the cost of next-generation polymer electrolyte fuel cells for vehicles, researchers have been developing alternatives to the prohibitively expensive platinum and platinum-group metal (PGM) catalysts currently used in fuel cell electrodes. New work at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories is resolving difficult fuel-cell performance questions, both in determining efficient new materials and understanding how they work at an atomic level. The research is described this week in the journal Science.

The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada

Known as a nodosaur, this 110 million-year-old, armored plant-eater is the best preserved fossil of its kind ever found.

Study in Nature demonstrates method for repairing genes in human embryos that prevents inherited diseases

Scientists have demonstrated an effective way of using a gene-editing tool to correct a disease-causing gene mutation in human embryos and stop it from passing to future generations.The new technique uses the gene-editing tool CRISPR to target a mutation in nuclear DNA that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common genetic heart disease that can cause sudden cardiac death and heart failure. The research, published Aug. 2 in the journal Nature, demonstrates a new method for repairing a disease-causing mutation and preventing it from being inherited by succeeding generations. This is the first time scientists have successfully tested the method on donated clinical-quality human eggs.

Deadly heat waves could hit South Asia this century

In South Asia, a region of deep poverty where one-fifth of the world’s people live, new research suggests that by the end of this century climate change could lead to summer heat waves with levels of heat and humidity that exceed what humans can survive without protection.There is still time to avert such severe warming if measures are implemented now to reduce the most dire consequences of global warming. However, under business-as-usual scenarios, without significant reductions in carbon emissions, the study shows these deadly heat waves could begin within as little as a few decades to strike regions of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, including the fertile Indus and Ganges river basins that produce much of the region’s food supply.

A Dolphin Diet

The health of dolphin populations worldwide depends on sustained access to robust food sources.A new report by UC Santa Barbara researchers and colleagues at UC San Diego and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looks at three different dolphin species, studying what they eat and how they divide ocean resources and space -- important information for conservation and management. The team's findings appear in the journal PLOS ONE."We used the principle of 'you are what you eat' to unlock some of the secrets of dolphin diet," said lead author Hillary Young, an assistant professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB). "All of the foods that we or any animal eat are incorporated after digestion into body tissues. Most Americans, for example, chemically look like walking corn cobs because the foods we eat contain so much corn syrup."

Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' is the largest ever measured

Scientists have determined this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and marine life, is 8,776 square miles, an area about the size of New Jersey. It is the largest measured since dead zone mapping began there in 1985.The measured size is close to the 8,185 square miles forecast by NOAA in June.