Scientists discover hormone that helps plants sense drought

The Japan Times

They can't move to find food or water, or to escape a predator. But that doesn't mean they are helpless -- far from it. They don't have eyes, ears, a nose or mouth, but they can sense the world remarkably well -- in some cases better than we can. For example, as you might expect, plants are highly sensitive to light. Humans have three different kinds of light-receptors in their eyes to sense light; plants have 15.


Mystery of how birds navigate is solved: Scientists discover proteins in birds' eyes

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Scientists learned the aviation secrets of migrating birds after attaching tiny logging devices to a flock of 14 northern bald ibises that not only tracked their position and speed by satellite but measured every flap of their wings. The 14 birds used in the study were hand-reared at Vienna Zoo in Austria by the Waldrappteam, an Austrian conservation group that is re-introducing northern bald ibeses to Europe. The birds were studied as they flew alongside a microlight on their migration route from Austria to their winter home in Tuscany, Italy. Lead researcher Dr Steve Portugal, from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, said: 'The distinctive V-formation of bird flocks has long intrigued researchers and continues to attract both scientific and popular attention, however a definitive account of the aerodynamic implications of these formations has remained elusive until now. 'The intricate mechanisms involved in V-formation flight indicate remarkable awareness and ability of birds to respond to the wingpath of nearby flock-mates.


Scientists Discover Clean Water Ice Just Below Mars' Surface

WIRED

Locked away beneath the surface of Mars are vast quantities of water ice. But the properties of that ice--how pure it is, how deep it goes, what shape it takes--remain a mystery to planetary geologists. Those things matter to mission planners, too: Future visitors to Mars, be they short-term sojourners or long-term settlers, will need to understand the planet's subsurface ice reserves if they want to mine it for drinking, growing crops, or converting into hydrogen for fuel.


Scientists discover magma buildup under, around New Zealand town

The Japan Times

WELLINGTON – Scientists have discovered a magma buildup near a New Zealand town that explains a spate of recent earthquakes and could signal the beginnings of a new volcano -- although they're not expecting an eruption anytime soon. Geophysicist Ian Hamling said that since 1950, enough magma to fill 80,000 Olympic-size swimming pools has squeezed up beneath the surface near the coastal town of Matata, about 200 km (120 miles) southeast of Auckland. A paper published Saturday in the online journal Science Advances outlined the findings. Hamling, the paper's lead author, said that while other parts of New Zealand have active volcanoes, there have been none near Matata for at least 400,000 years. Using GPS data and satellite images, the scientists say they discovered an area of land about 400 sq.


Glowing Puffin Beaks? Scientists Discover Bio-Fluorescence Under UV Light

International Business Times

A student from the University of Nottingham, U.K., discovered that the large parrot-like beaks of puffins, birds native to the seas, glow brightly under ultraviolet (UV) light. Working on a dead specimen of an Atlantic Puffin, endemic to the Atlantic, Jamie Dunning wondered if the black and white feathers of the seabird were also bio-fluorescent like that of crested auklets, their close relatives. He shined UV light on the specimen and found that the beak of the creature, not feathers, glows in orange, just like a bright Christmas tree. "I was so excited," Dunning told National Geographic. As the phenomenon was never observed in an Atlantic puffin before, the Ph.D. student was quick to document and submit the observation for peer review.