Flames flicker in the hills above Goleta, California. Invasion by non-native grasses sharply increases fire risk in a variety of ecosystems across the continental United States, from deciduous forest in the east to the deserts of the southwest. Emily Fusco at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her colleagues used government records, satellite fire data and computer models to analyse the impact of 12 species of non-native grasses on fire trends in 29 US ecological regions. The researchers then compared these patterns in invaded and uninvaded landscapes.
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The results showed that fire had burned more of a habitat riddled with one of eight weed species than the same type of habitat without the invader. For example, flames had torched 2. Of the eight fire-promoting weeds, six increased fire frequency in the ecosystems that they had invaded. The authors suggest that the presence of invasive grasses should be considered more prominently in future land-management plans. Natl Acad. USA Researchers have modelled the motions of the fault involved in the quake. The great Cascadia earthquake of shook the coasts of what are now British Columbia, Washington and Oregon so violently that afterwards, entire forests stood below sea level.
Now scientists have found similarities between the Cascadia event and other huge quakes that help to illuminate the seismic danger facing the region. Erin Wirth and Arthur Frankel at the US Geological Survey in Seattle, Washington, developed a model to describe ground movement during the Cascadia quake, which is estimated to have been a magnitude 9 — as large as a earthquake in Tohoku, Japan that killed roughly 20, people.
The most accurate scenario exhibited features of the Japanese quake and a magnitude During both, parts of the Earth deep within the fault zone trembled at high frequencies, radiating energy that shook the ground above. If the Cascadia fault were to generate a quake similar to the one in , then officials might want to prepare for high-energy shaking in some areas near the fault. Predators such as grey wolves tend to roam greater distances than their prey, according to a broad study of terrestrial mammals.
Which land animal has the longest migration? Biologists have long suspected that caribou journey the farthest on their annual round trip, but hard evidence was lacking. They found that caribou Rangifer tarandus do indeed migrate the farthest between their summer and winter ranges, with some herds covering more than 1, kilometres in a round trip. But the prize for most kilometres covered in a year went to another mammal: the grey wolf Canis lupus. The absolute champion was a male from Mongolia that covered a jaw-dropping 7, km in a single year. In general, predators covered more ground than their prey.
Sadly, human manipulation of landscapes has broken or truncated many ancient migrations. The researchers call for the conservation of these epic animal journeys, as well as the species that undertake them. A night of inadequate sleep can trigger not only an overwhelming urge to nap, but also a rise in anxiety. In fact, when sleep-deprived, half of the study participants reported anxiety levels typically seen in people with clinical anxiety disorders. And online surveys completed by a larger number of volunteers showed that ordinary fluctuations in nightly sleep quality predict next-day anxiety levels.
The team also imaged the brains of the sleep-lab participants as they watched video clips designed to conjure up negative emotions. People who watched these videos after sleep deprivation showed less activity in the prefrontal cortex PFC , an area involved in emotional control, than they did when they were well-rested.
Those with the greatest drops in PFC activity reported the largest spikes in anxiety after an all-nighter.
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More and higher-quality non-REM slow-wave sleep — often referred to as deep sleep — correlated with greater recovery of PFC activity and greater reductions in next-day anxiety. Nature Hum. Cargo ships berth in Qingdao, China. Ship traffic between China and the United States accounts for 2. Air pollution created by ocean freight shipping between the United States and China causes health problems in multiple countries around the northern Pacific Ocean — not just in the two trade partners.
A team led by Huan Liu and her colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing analysed goods shipped by sea between the two countries in , including US soya beans shipped to China and Chinese electronics shipped to the United States.
The scientists also counted the number of ship journeys to calculate the amounts of greenhouse gases and air pollution emitted by the transportation of this cargo. Finally, the researchers modelled the path of particulates as they spread from ships through the atmosphere. The scientists calculated that in , US—China trade accounted for 2.
Air pollution from the shipping also harmed the health of people in many countries, including Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Nations can take these findings into account when deciding how to share responsibility for cutting emissions from shipping, the authors say. Nature Sust.
A scanning tunnelling microscope. By sensing slight fluctuations in the current, an STM can map surfaces with single-atom resolution. Each nickelocene molecule contains one nickel atom. The STM could detect this change as fluctuations in the current. Any laboratory that owns an atomic-resolution STM can easily employ the technique, Ternes says, and it could help to image exotic spin arrangements such as those called skyrmions.
Science A common vampire bat wearing a lightweight sensor that allows researchers to track its social contacts. Credit: Sherri and Brock Fenton. Much like many primates, vampire bats can form strong bonds with each other and often maintain these friendships even after being uprooted. To document this behaviour, Gerald Carter at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Simon Ripperger at the Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science in Berlin and their colleagues captured 17 female common vampire bats Desmodus rotundus from a colony living in a tree in Panama.
The animals were kept in a lab and repeatedly denied food. This caused the bats to groom each other and share snacks of regurgitated blood, behaviours that signal cooperation and social bonding. After 22 months, the 17 bats and their 6 captive-born daughters were equipped with sensors and released back to the original colony. The researchers observed that the females that had befriended one another in captivity generally preferred to roost closer to each other than to bats that had not been in the captive group.
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Not all of the relationships survived, however. And all of the lab-born bats left the original colony a few days after release, perhaps because they failed to integrate with the group. Such batteries can be quickly replenished if heated to a toasty temperature. Credit: Chao-Yang Wang. Lithium batteries, which use lithium ions to create a current, charge slowly at room temperature.
Charging can take two to three hours, making for a road trip that lasts far too long. But pre-heating the battery allows fast charging without plating. A battery charged at room temperature could only handle the fast charging for 60 cycles before its electrode became plated. Joule Credit: Q. Fan et al.
The most acclaimed 2D carbon compound is the wonder material graphene, which consists of a sheet of carbon atoms just one atom thick. These atoms are linked together in hexagonal structures called rings, and researchers have predicted the existence of other 2D carbon compounds made of a mixture of hexagonal and nonhexagonal rings.
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But such compounds have eluded synthesis because they are prone to rearranging their bonds to form the more stable hexagonal configuration. Michael Gottfried at Philipps University Marburg in Germany and his colleagues made ribbons of two 2D carbon compounds with nonhexagonal rings: one compound whose rings had 5, 6 or 7 carbon atoms, and another whose rings had 4, 5, or 7 carbon atoms. The team achieved this by coupling building blocks atop a gold surface. The authors suggest that the materials could have quantum applications and that the coupling process could be used to synthesize undiscovered forms of 2D carbon.
Bacterial TALE proteins could no longer activate the edited genes, and the team found that rice plants with these engineered genes were resistant to at least 95 Xoo strains. Nature Biotechnol. HIV red infects an immune cell blue. Custom-designed immune cells can vanquish pockets of HIV hidden in the cells of people infected with the virus. Antiretroviral therapies keep HIV in check, but virus-laden cells persist in the body — forcing people with the virus to take the drugs for life. Such a therapy could allow patients to safely stop taking medication.
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The researchers opted to use CAR-T cells — immune cells that are engineered to home in on and destroy specific targets such as cancer cells. In tests on blood cells taken from people infected with HIV, the convertible CAR-T cells cut the amount of latent virus by more than half in just two days. Cell Lightning puts on a show in Oklahoma in A lightning bolt that split the skies above the state in covered a distance of more than kilometres.
A lightning-mapping instrument aboard one of the newest US weather satellites has spotted record-breaking electrical flashes in the sky — including a behemoth lightning bolt more than kilometres long that blazed above Oklahoma two years ago. The researchers identified a lightning flash that travelled more than kilometres — from Texas, across Oklahoma and into Kansas — in October It illuminated an area of 67, square kilometres. But records will continue to be broken thanks to data from the GOES lightning mapper and a twin mapper on the GOES satellite, which was launched in Other scientists have already spotted a kilometre-long flash in GOES data..
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