Science Panama  PANAMÁ 21/01/2019

Surfer’s ear points to ancient pearl divers in Panama

A small bump in the ear canal of skulls from burials near the Gulf of Panama, may indicate that ancient coastal residents dove in icy waters to recover pearls and valuable orange Spondylus shells

While examining a skull from an ancient burial ground in a pre-Columbian village in Panama, Nicole Smith-Guzmán, bioarchaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), was surprised to discover an example of surfers’ ear: a small, bony bump in the ear canal common among surfers, kayakers and free divers in cold climates. After inspecting more skulls, she concluded that a select group of male divers—perhaps looking for pearls and oyster shells coveted for jewelry making, may have lived along Panama’s Pacific coast long ago.

 
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Science Spain  ALICANTE 18/01/2019

The uncontrolled expansion of blue crabs as an invasive species in the Mediterranean

Spread of this species is faster than research activity and efforts of management agencies

The American blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is an invasive voracious alien species, with no known predators and with high fecundity and survival rates, that has spread throughout the Mediterranean. Since it appeared in the Ebro Delta in 2012, this crab native to the American Atlantic has expanded by sea, rivers and wetlands all over the region of Valencia. Its recurrence and continuous presence is a fact in our coasts.

 
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Science Chile  ATACAMA 14/01/2019

What 100,000 Star Factories in 74 Galaxies Tell Us about Star Formation across the Universe

PHANGS-ALMA given astronomers a much clearer understanding of how the cycle of star formation changes, depending on the size, age, and internal dynamics of each individual galaxy

Galaxies come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the most significant differences among galaxies, however, relate to where and how they form new stars. Compelling research to explain these differences has been elusive, but that is about to change. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is conducting an unprecedented survey of nearby disk galaxies to study their stellar nurseries. With it, astronomers are beginning to unravel the complex and as-yet poorly understood relationship between star-forming clouds and their host galaxies.

 
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Science Uruguay  URUGUAY 10/01/2019

Female penguins are getting stranded along the South American coast

During the wintering period, the tracking data show that females reached more northern areas than males did

Every year, thousands of Magellanic penguins are stranded along the South American coast--from northern Argentina to southern Brazil--1,000 kilometers away from their breeding ground in northern Patagonia. Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on January 7 have new evidence to explain the observation that the stranded birds are most often female: female penguins venture farther north than males do, where they are apparently more likely to run into trouble.

 
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Science Ecuador  ECUADOR 08/01/2019

Extraordinary treefrog discovered in the Andes of Ecuador

Despite being newly described, Hyloscirtus hillisi is already at risk of extinction

A new treefrog species was discovered during a two-week expedition to a remote tabletop mountain at Cordillera del Cóndor, a largely unexplored range in the eastern Andes.

 
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Science Chile  ATACAMA 04/01/2019

ALMA discover early protostar with a warped disk

This implies that the misalignment of planetary orbits in many planetary systems, including our own, may be caused by distortions in the planet-forming disk early in their existence

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers have observed, for the first time, a warped disk around an infant protostar that formed just several tens of thousands of years ago. This implies that the misalignment of planetary orbits in many planetary systems, including our own, may be caused by distortions in the planet-forming disk early in their existence.

 
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Science Brazil  SãO PAULO 02/01/2019

Study may reveal how Zika causes brain damage

In a presentation on their Zika vaccine to the São Paulo School of Advanced Science in Vaccines, researchers described how it protected pregnant mice and fetuses

Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) in Brazil have found a molecule in pregnant mice that, when inhibited, causes a reduction in the effects of Zika virus on the nervous system of their offspring, including microcephaly.

 
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Science Chile  ATACAMA 21/12/2018

ALMA gives christmas comet its close-up

This and previous observations of comets confirm that they are rich in organic molecules and may therefore have seeded the early Earth with the chemical building blocks of life

As comet 46P/Wirtanen neared Earth on December 2, astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) took a remarkably close look at its innermost regions. ALMA imaged the comet when it was approximately 16.5 million kilometers from Earth. At its closet on December 16, the comet – one of the brightest in years — was approximately 11.4 million kilometers from Earth, or 30 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

 
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Science Portugal  PORTUGAL 21/12/2018

Warming warning over turtle feminization

Up to 93% of green turtle hatchlings could be female by 2100, as climate change causes "feminisation" of the species, new research suggests

The sex of turtle hatchlings is determined by temperature, and at present about 52% of hatching green turtles - one of seven species of sea turtle - are female. But a study by the University of Exeter and the Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (Portugal) shows that in warmer temperatures predicted by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios, 76-93% of hatchlings would be female.

 
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Science Brazil  BRASIL 19/12/2018

Study may reveal how Zika causes brain damage

In a presentation on their Zika vaccine to the São Paulo School of Advanced Science in Vaccines, researchers described how it protected pregnant mice and fetuses

Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) in Brazil have found a molecule in pregnant mice that, when inhibited, causes a reduction in the effects of Zika virus on the nervous system of their offspring, including microcephaly.

 
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Science Bolivia  BOLIVIA 14/12/2018

3D-printed reconstructions provide clues to ancient site

The 3D reconstruction of Pumapunku not only shows possible configurations of what the site may have looked like, but also gives clues about the purpose of the building

Part of the ancient archaeological site of Tiwanaku, Bolivia, believed by Incans to be where the world was created has been reconstructed using 3D printed models of fragments of an ancient building. The results are presented in a study published in the open access journal Heritage Science.

 
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Science Chile  ATACAMA 13/12/2018

ALMA Campaign Provides Unprecedented Views of the Birth of Planets

A team of astronomers has conducted one of the deepest surveys ever of protoplanetary disks

Astronomers have already cataloged nearly 4,000 exoplanets in orbit around distant stars. Though we have learned much about these newfound worlds, there is still much we do not know about the steps of planet formation and the precise cosmic recipes that spawn the wide array of planetary bodies we have already uncovered, including so-called hot Jupiters, massive rocky worlds, icy dwarf planets, and – hopefully someday soon – distant analogs of Earth.

 
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Science Spain  MADRID 12/12/2018

A new algorithm improves flight safety and reduce delays

Developed as part of the European TBO-Met project

The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) has taken part in a European research project named TBO-Met which has developed an algorithm that maximises the predictability of flights and reduces the risk of running into (potentially dangerous) storms. Thanks to this, safety can be improved, the abilities of air traffic can be increased and delays can be reduced.

 
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Science Nicaragua  NICARAGUA 12/12/2018

Simple steps to climate-proof farms have big potential upside for tropical farmers

A study in Central America, Africa, and Asia points to profitable opportunities for farmers and the environment

Cacao farmers in Nicaragua lose their crop, the main ingredient for chocolate, to fungal blight and degrading soils. Yields drop in Vietnam’s rice paddies because of higher temperatures and increased salinity. Bean and maize growers in Uganda see their plants die during severe dry spells during what should be the rainy season.

 
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Science Panama  PANAMÁ 11/12/2018

Urban tungara frogs are sexier than forest frogs

How do animals adapt to urban environments? In the case of the Tungara frog, city males put on a more elaborate display than males in forested areas

 

By 2050, almost 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban environments, according to the United Nations. But as cities spread, wild animals will also have to adapt. In Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) report that male tungara frogs in Panama City put on sexier mating displays than frogs living in nearby tropical forests.

 
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Science Spain  MADRID 10/12/2018

SMOOTH transitioning to GDPR compliance for MEnts

SMOOTH project will provide expertise and resources to micro-enterprises having to adopt the strict rules imposed by the GDPR

A new European innovation action under the H2020 Cibersecurity-PPP funding program is assisting micro enterprises, also known as MEnts, to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was launched in 2018 to enhance privacy protection for all European citizens. The SMOOTH project, in which IMDEA Networks Institute participates, aims to become the reference platform for MEnts transitioning to GDPR compliance, whilst safeguarding the interests of EU citizenry on data privacy and security.

 
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Science Panama  PANAMÁ 30/11/2018

The shedding of a body part reveals the hidden cost of conflict

Not only does it take energy to make weapons, it may take even more energy to maintain them

Animal weapons such as antlers, tusks and limbs specialized for fighting require a large energy expenditure to produce and may cost even more to maintain. Because the leaf-footed bug sheds its large hind limbs, used as weapons in male-male battles, scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama could measure energy use of live bugs with and without hind legs to calculate the hidden energetic cost of weapons’ maintenance.

 
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Science Panama  PANAMÁ 21/11/2018

First study of humpback whale survivors of killer whale attacks in the Southeastern Pacific

Attacks on humpback whales may be on the rise, according to an analysis of scars on humpback whales published in 'Endangered Species Research'

Humpback whales bear stark battle scars from violent encounters with orcas, also known as killer whales. Analysis of rake marks on more than 3000 humpback whale tails or flukes suggest that attacks on these undersea giants may be on the rise, according to a new study in 'Endangered Species Research'.

 
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Science Spain  MADRID 19/11/2018

Targeted Facebook advertising on the elections increased the number of Trump voters by 10% in 2016

A study analyses the impact of targeted Facebook advertising on the elections

Research from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), the University of Warwick and ETH Zurich has studied the effectiveness of micro-targeted political advertising on social media such as Facebook in the United States. The research concludes that it may have increased the number of Donald Trump voters by ten per cent in the 2016 presidential elections.

 
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Science Nicaragua  NICARAGUA 19/11/2018

Clams and cockles, sentinels of the environmental status of Nicaraguan coasts

Researchers from the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country are seeking the best bivalves in the Nicaraguan mangroves for the purpose of monitoring pollution

 

In collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, a research group from the UPV/EHU’s Plentzia Marine Station has studied the bivalves in the mangroves on both coasts of Nicaragua in order to analyse how they are affected by the pollution brought down by the rivers. That way, it will be possible to use them as sentinels or indicators of environmental changes. The research has been published by the journal Science of the Total Environment.

 
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