Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 25/02/2020

Microplastics are new homes for microbes in the Caribbean

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) looked at how marine microbial communities colonize microplastics in Panama

With 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans, the dynamics of marine environments are shifting in ways that are yet to be discovered. Over time discarded plastics, such as sandwich bags and flip-flops, have degraded into small particles, called microplastics, which are less than 5 mm long. Kassandra Dudek, a former Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) fellow and doctoral student at Arizona State University, looked at how marine microbial communities colonize microplastics in Panama.

 
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Social Sciences Mexico  MÉXICO 25/02/2020

Modern technology reveals old secrets about the great, white Maya road

Using lidar technology to peer through thick vegetation, researchers are learning more about the longest road from ancient Maya civilization

Did a powerful queen of Cobá, one of the greatest cities of the ancient Maya world, build the longest Maya road to invade a smaller, isolated neighbor and gain a foothold against the emerging Chichén Itzá empire? The question has long intrigued Traci Ardren, archaeologist and University of Miami professor of anthropology. Now, she and fellow scholars may be a step closer to an answer, after conducting the first lidar study of the 100-kilometer stone highway that connected the ancient cities of Cobá and Yaxuná on the Yucatan Peninsula 13 centuries ago.

 
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Social Sciences Spain  MADRID 24/02/2020

A study of economic compensation for victims of sexual violence in Europe

FAIRCOM project lead by UC3M

A study carried out by researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) analyses the efficiency of the Spanish system of economically compensating the victims of sexual violence. This work has been undertaken within the framework of FAIRCOM, a European project coordinated by the UC3M.

 
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Environment Mexico  COAHUILA 19/02/2020

Rules of life: From a pond to the beyond

The Cuatro Cienagas Basin is an invaluable place for researchers to study and understand how life may have existed on other planets in our solar system

The Cuatro Cienegas Basin, located in Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, was once a shallow sea that became isolated from the Gulf of Mexico around 43 million years ago. This basin has an unusual characteristic of being particularly nutrient-poor and harboring a 'lost world' of many below-ground and above-ground aquatic microbes of ancient marine ancestry.

 
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Technology Spain  MADRID 19/02/2020

A salary in exchange for our data is the new economic system proposed by a researcher from the IMDEA Networks Institute

The scientific journal IEEE Internet Computing, one of the most important in the sector, publishes Nikolaos Laoutaris’s latest research proposal around the economics of data

Data and the economy stemming from them are the engine for the fourth industrial revolution. However, and according to Nikolaos Laoutaris, there is a very important leading player who currently receives absolutely nothing of the huge profits generated by the activity: the people who provide these data. Only in a very few cases do the humans producing data receive a measly compensation in kind for it: free online services.

 
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Space Chile  CHILE 14/02/2020

ESO telescope sees surface of dim Betelgeuse

The stunning new images of the star's surface show not only the fading red supergiant but also how its apparent shape is changing

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have captured the unprecedented dimming of Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star in the constellation of Orion. The stunning new images of the star's surface show not only the fading red supergiant but also how its apparent shape is changing.

 
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Environment Argentina  ARGENTINA 14/02/2020

Researchers discovered a new species of carnivorous dinosaur that inhabited Patagonia 90 million years ago

The new species, named as Tralkasaurus cuyi, is much smaller than the carnivorous dinosaurs

The new species, named as Tralkasaurus cuyi, is much smaller than the carnivorous dinosaurs from the abelisaurus theropods group known until now. It measured about four meters and it was found at the northwest of Río Negro province.

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 13/02/2020

Nitrogen-fixing trees help tropical forests grow faster and store more carbon

Planting fixers could benefit reforestation and climate mitigation plans

Tropical forests are allies in the fight against climate change. Growing trees absorb carbon emissions and store them as woody biomass. As a result, reforestation of land once cleared for logging, mining, and agriculture is seen as a powerful tool for locking up large amounts of carbon emissions throughout the South American tropics.

 
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Environment Venezuela  VENEZUELA 13/02/2020

Extinct giant turtle had horned shell of up to three meters

Exceptional specimens of the extinct turtle recently found in new locations across Venezuela and Colombia

The tropical region of South America is one of the world's hot spots when it comes to animal diversity. The region's extinct fauna is unique, as documented by fossils of giant rodents and crocodylians -including crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gavials - that inhabited what is today a desert area in Venezuela. Five to ten million years ago, this was a humid swampy region teeming with life. One of its inhabitants was Stupendemys geographicus, a turtle species first described in the mid-1970s.

 
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Environment Perú  PERú 10/02/2020

El Niño contributes to insect collapse in the Amazon

Hotter and drier El Niño events are having an alarming effect on biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest and further add to a disturbing global insect collapse

Hotter and drier El Niño events are having an alarming effect on biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest and further add to a disturbing global insect collapse, scientists show. A new study focusing on the humble, but ecologically key, dung beetle has revealed for the first time that intense droughts and wildfires during the last El Niño climate phenomenon, combined with human disturbance, led to beetle numbers falling by more than half - with effects lasting for at least two years.

 
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Environment Argentina  ARGENTINA 06/02/2020

An invasive flatworm from Argentina found across Europe

Citizen science reveals the presence of the flatworms in gardens in three quarters of metropolitan France

One of the consequences of globalization is the inadvertent human-mediated spread of invasive species. The presence of a new invader, named Obama nungara, is reported in France by an international team led by Jean-Lou Justine of ISYEB (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France). This is the first study of this invasion, reported in an article published in the open-access journal PeerJ.

 
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Environment Brazil  BRASIL 06/02/2020

Trees in the Amazon are time capsules of human history

Tropical trees reveal the impacts of native culture as well as the scars of colonial occupation

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Space Chile  ATACAMA 05/02/2020

ALMA catches beautiful outcome of stellar fight

One star grew so large it engulfed the other which, in turn, spiralled towards its partner provoking it into shedding its outer layers

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which ESO is a partner, have spotted a peculiar gas cloud that resulted from a confrontation between two stars. One star grew so large it engulfed the other which, in turn, spiralled towards its partner provoking it into shedding its outer layers.

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 30/01/2020

Jaguars could prevent a not-so-great American Biotic Exchange

Urban and agricultural development and deforestation along the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor might be generating a new passageway for invasive species adapted to human disturbance

For the first time, coyotes (Canis latrans) and crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous) are occurring together. According to a recent study by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and collaborating institutions, deforestation along the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor may be the reason why canid species from North and South America ended up living side by side in eastern Panama, far from their original ranges.

 
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Technology Spain  ESPAÑA 30/01/2020

AEPD and CNIL award their data protection prizes to a team including researchers from IMDEA Networks

The award-winning article is “An Analysis of Pre-installed Android Software” by Julien Gamba, Mohammed Rashed, Abbas Razaghpanah, Juan Tapiador and Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez

The article, “An Analysis of Pre-installed Android Software” by Julien Gamba, Mohammed Rashed, Abbas Razaghpanah, Juan Tapiador and Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, has received two prestigious awards this month: one from the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) and another from the CNIL (French Data Protection Authority) and Inria. The study has huge social impact as it reveals the privacy and security issues associated with pre-installed software on Android devices and their supply chain.

 
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Health Spain  MADRID 29/01/2020

An international scientific consortium is launched to accelerate the development of comprehensive treatments against tuberculosis

The UC3M is coordinating the ERA4TB project, composed of more than 30 partners from 13 countries

Accelerating the development of antibiotics against all forms of tuberculosis is the objective of ERA4TB (European Regimen Accelerator for Tuberculosis), one of the largest European scientific projects in this area of research. This consortium, which includes a significant number of Spanish researchers, is being coordinated by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), led by GlaxoSmithKline Spain and is under the scientific management of the Pasteur Institute. With a team of more than thirty public and private organisations and a budget over 200 million euro, ERA4TB aims to radically transform the way in which new therapies are developed for the treatment of tuberculosis.

 
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Technology Spain  MADRID 29/01/2020

Helicon plasma thruster for small space platforms

Within the framework of the European research project HIPATIA

Researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and SENER Aeroespacial, alongside French and German scientists and technologists, will validate the performances and operation of a new electric space propulsion technology that could be used in various types of satellites or small space platforms: the Helicon Plasma Thruster (HPT).

 
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Social Sciences Panama  PANAMÁ 14/01/2020

A bee’s-eye-view of Panama in the late 1800’s

Bees and their pollen reveal the environment of the first Cathedral on the American mainland, as do photos by preeminent landscape photographer, Eadweard Muybridge

In anticipation of Pope Francis’ 2018 visit to Panama, restoration workers discovered brittle, brown clusters—miniature chambers covered with gold leaf and paint—above the columns in the altarpiece of Santa Maria la Antigua Basilica Cathedral. Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) identified the clusters as orchid bee nests. Pollen from the nests, and 19th century photos of the city from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, provide complementary views of the crossroads of the continent just after the California gold rush and before the building of the Panama Canal.

 
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Space Chile  ATACAMA 08/01/2020

The turbulent life of two supermassive black holes caught in a galaxy crash

400 million light-years away from Earth, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, two galaxies are crashing into each other and forming a galaxy we know as NGC 6240

An international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 03/01/2020

Why do some male bats have sticky, odorous arms?

The first clues only led to more questions. But now a new sleuth, Mariana Muñoz-Romo, described by a colleague as “probably the world’s expert on chemical communication in a bat species,” is on the case
Mariana Muñoz-Romo uncaps a clear plastic tube and waves it under my nose. The contents, a bit of dry, yellow paste called a forearm crust, collected from a male bat, smells vaguely like incense.

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