Climate change could cause Australia’s rainforest trees to die faster
According to a new international study published in Nature. Research points to the impacts of climate change as the culprit, as global warming increases the drying power of the atmosphere.
Tropical ecologists have analyzed a 49-year-old record of tree dynamics from 24 plots of old-growth forest across a wide climatic gradient in Australia’s humid tropics. They found that the average tree mortality rate has doubled over the past four decades and that trees live about half as long – a consistent trend across all species and sites in the region.
Looking at the climate ranges of tree species with the highest mortality rates, the team suggests that as the atmosphere warms, it draws more moisture from plants, leading to increased stress. water in the trees and, ultimately, an increased risk of death.
They also showed that the loss of biomass due to this increase in mortality was not offset by the gains in biomass from tree growth and recruitment of new trees, which may have resulted in a net decrease in the potential of these forests to offset carbon emissions.
Ancient excrement reveals evidence of parasitic worm eggs near Stonehenge
A new analysis of ancient human and canine excrement at the site of Durrington Walls, a Neolithic settlement just 2.8 kilometers from Stonehenge, has revealed evidence of parasitic worm eggs.
Archaeologists investigated 19 pieces of ancient feces, known as coprolite, which had been preserved for more than 4,500 years and found that five of them – one human and four dogs – contained capillariid worm eggs , identified in part by their lemon shape.
This indicates that the person had eaten raw or undercooked lungs or liver from an infected animal, likely a cow, causing the parasite eggs to pass directly through the body. The remains were likely fed to the person’s dogs.
“The type of pests we find are consistent with previous evidence of winter feasting by animals during the construction of Stonehenge,” says lead author Dr Piers Mitchell from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archeology, UK.
The research is published in the journal Parasitology.
Faster, cheaper and more accurate 3D mapping
3D mapping is a useful tool – from monitoring construction sites to tracking the effects of climate change on ecosystems, to verifying the safety of roads and bridges – but the current technology used to automate the process is limited, making it a time-consuming and costly undertaking. .
It relies on LIDAR laser scanners that beam millions of pulses of laser light onto surfaces to create high-resolution computer replicas of objects or landscapes. But the accuracy of LIDAR is often lost when mounted on drones, especially in places with many obstacles, resulting in gaps and misalignments in data points that need to be corrected manually.
Now scientists have reported a new way to make 3D mapping faster, cheaper and more accurate, using artificial intelligence to detect when an object has accidentally been scanned multiple times from different angles. This solves the problem directly at the scanner, where the measurements are taken.
“With our method, surveyors can send laser scanners up to five kilometers while maintaining accuracy,” says Jan Skaloud, senior researcher at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and lead author of the new study published in ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.
Komodo National Park is home to some of the largest aggregations of manta rays in the world
The waters of Komodo National Park, Indonesia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, are home to large numbers of reef manta rays (Mobula Alfredi) and the region may hold the key to the regional recovery of this endangered species, according to a new study in PeerJ.
Growing up to five meters, reef mantas tend to live and feed in shallow coastal habitats. Conservation biologists teamed up with Komodo National Park’s dive operator community to obtain photographs of mantas and submit them to MantaMatcher.org, a crowdsourced online database for manta rays and others.
They were able to identify more than 1,000 individual manta rays from more than 4,000 photographs by their unique and sometimes striking abdominal patterns, and analyze their movements with statistical models.
The study makes recommendations to improve manta ray conservation in the park, which can also serve as guidelines for manta ray habitats elsewhere in the world.
Key mechanism used to transport zinc in all living things identified
All living things need zinc to survive. The trace element helps many proteins bend into the correct shapes, and in enzymes it helps catalyze chemical reactions, many of which are important for providing energy to cells.
Biologists have now discovered a ‘chaperone’ protein (ZNG1) that delivers zinc where it’s needed, which could be particularly important when access to zinc is limited, according to a new study in Cell reports.
Such a chaperone has long been suspected to have existed, but this research provides the first definitive proof of his existence by identifying a “destination” for his deliveries. That destination is a zinc-dependent protein — methionine aminopeptidase, or MAP1 — that researchers have found cannot function properly without the chaperone protein.
Through a series of experiments, they also demonstrated that ZNG1 must be activated by an energy molecule known as GTP to deliver its cargo of zinc.
MAP1 exists in all species, so these findings are relevant to human health, where zinc deficiency leads to impaired growth and development.