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March 18, 2013
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  Top Story 
  • Study: Water in fault lines leaves gold in its place
    Scientists have discovered that water in the Earth's faults is rich in carbon dioxide, silica and elements such as gold, which gets left behind when the water evaporates during an earthquake. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the amount of gold left behind from one earthquake is minute, but an active fault line -- like New Zealand's Alpine Fault -- is capable of building a sizable mineral deposit in just 100,000 years. Our Amazing Planet (3/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Research: Disease outbreaks threaten fish farming industry
    Rampant fish and shellfish diseases could present challenges for the fish farming industry in developing tropical areas, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Aquaculture is the world's fastest growing food industry and presents a viable alternative for food sources in areas where climate change and declining wild fish populations have adversely affected food production. However, the warmer temperatures and excessive use of antibiotics may have led to higher instances of disease. Scientists are calling for improved disease monitoring and training to foresee potential outbreaks. (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Could coral's light be an indication of its health?
    The levels of fluorescence in a coral reef could be an easier way for scientists to monitor its health, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Researchers say this method of analysis, which looks at fluorescence and fluorescent protein levels in the coral, could be a less invasive means of measuring a coral reef's health, which is particularly susceptible to stress from climate change and other issues. Our Amazing Planet (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Scientists lobby for a Mars mission to bring back rock samples
    Analysis of rock samples on Mars have led NASA officials to conclude that the red planet was capable of sustaining primitive life, a discovery that they say warrants future missions to further study the planet's environment. One crucial focus of a future mission should be bringing Mars rock samples back to Earth, where they can be more deeply analyzed, scientists say. "On the one hand, it shows what we can do with instruments on the surface of Mars," said Bruce Betts, the Planetary Society's projects director. "We'll always be able to do more with our labs on Earth than what we can do on Mars." (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study's findings complicate the origins of the polar bear
    Bears living on the Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof Islands in Alaska are the result of mating between brown and polar bears just several thousand years ago, complicating attempts to determine the origins of polar bears, according to a study published in the journal PLoS Genetics. The findings contradict past studies that found the two species diverged 4 million years ago. "If we really want to understand the evolution of brown bears and polar bears, we should ignore" the Alaskan islands' bears, said Beth Shapiro, co-author of the study. "They are a special case and they're not going to tell us anything about the origin of the polar bear." (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Spiders that prey on bats are more frequent than you think
    Bat-eating spiders are more common in the world than once believed, according to a study published in PLoS ONE. These spiders are found on all continents except Antarctica. Almost 90% of the web-building spider and tarantula species live in warmer climates, and can capture bats both with and without a web. (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New saber-tooth cat genus surfaces in Fla.
    Researchers in Florida have identified a new genus and species of saber-tooth cat that's related to the well-known Smilodon fatalis. A collection of 5-million-year-old fossils led to the identification of the big cat, which is believed to have evolved in North America. "When people think of saber-toothed cats, they think of it as just one thing, as if the famous tar pit saber-toothed cat was the only species, when in fact, it was an almost worldwide radiation of cats that lasted over 10 million years and probably had a total of about 20 valid species," said Richard Hulbert of the University of Florida. ScienceDaily (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers: Knight's tomb found under Scottish parking lot
    A carved sandstone slab and an adult skeleton discovered under a parking lot during a construction project in Edinburgh, Scotland, could be the grave site of a knight from the 13th century, archeologists say. The gravestone featured carvings, including a Calvary cross and a sword, denoting signs of nobility. Researchers hope to further investigate the bones and teeth of the skeleton. "This find has the potential to be one of the most significant and exciting archaeological discoveries in the city for many years, providing us with yet more clues as to what life was like in medieval Edinburgh," said Richard Lewis, a City of Edinburgh Council member. (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • Keck telescope officials look to 20th anniversary to raise funds
    Officials with the W.M. Keck Observatory hope its upcoming 20th anniversary will spur renewed interest in the telescope in the form of additional funding. The sequestration in Washington, D.C., could threaten $6.5 million -- a quarter of the telescope's budget -- that the observatory receives from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Keck advocates hope its philanthropists will make up some of the expected shortfall. "We are hoping that this anniversary will put a clarion call that says this is something of value in our world," said Debbie Godwin, director of advancement for Keck's foundation. (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sigma Xi News 
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