Hexbyte Glen Cove Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport; new vent emerges thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport; new vent emerges

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Two people walk as lava spews from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 25, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands is keeping nerves on edge several days since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties but scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Roca

The airport on the Spanish island of La Palma shut down Saturday because of an ash cloud spewing out of a volcano that has been erupting for a week, and scientists said another volcanic vent opened up, exposing islanders to possible new dangers.

The intensity of the eruption that began Sept. 19 has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three additional villages on the island, part of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest Africa. Almost 7,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes.

The recent volcanic eruption is the first since 1971 on La Palma, which has a population of 85,000.

La Palma Airport operator Aena said the was “inoperative” due to the accumulation of ash. Other airports in the Canary Islands were still operating Saturday but some airlines were suspending flights, Aena said.

Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area. The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said another vent opened early Saturday.

Rivers of lava have been sliding down the mountainside toward the southwestern coast of the island, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes. The speed of the flow has slowed down considerably, however, and the lava is now barely moving forward, with about 2 kilometers left to reach the sea, said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, head of the Canary Island Volcanic Emergency Plan.

  • Vehicles are covered by ashes from a volcano eruption at the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Lava spews from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 25, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands is keeping nerves on edge several days since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties but scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Roca
  • Lava flows in an eruption on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on the small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the eruption and its aftermath could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Residents look from a hill as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Lava spews from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 25, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands is keeping nerves on edge several days since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties but scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Roca
  • Lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption surrounds a house on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption engulfs houses on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool

“I don’t dare to tell you when it’s going to get there, nor do I dare to make a forecast,” Morcuende told reporters in a news conference.

A more immediate concern for the residents of La Palma is the huge that is rising from the volcano and being carried by the wind to other parts of the island. In addition to being a significant danger to aviation, he said volcanic ash can cause damage to people’s airways, lungs and eyes. The local government has urged residents in affected areas to avoid going outside and only do so wearing masks and goggles.



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Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport; new vent emerges (2021, September 25)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Zoo Miami: Orangutan dies following dental surgery thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Zoo Miami: Orangutan dies following dental surgery

Hexbyte Glen Cove

This photo provided by Zoo Miami shows orangutan Kumang. Kumang, a 44-year-old Bornean orangutan, died Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, during recovery from anesthesia. Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami via AP

An orangutan has died at Zoo Miami following a dental surgery, officials said.

Kumang, a 44-year-old Bornean , died Thursday during recovery from anesthesia, according to a statement from the South Florida zoo.

“We at Zoo Miami are heartbroken over this terrible loss and our deepest condolences go out to the staff that provided Kumang with such great care over the years,” the statement said.

The had been anesthetized for the removal of two teeth, which were damaged and causing an infection in her gums, official’s said. The anesthesia, examination and went as planned. Kumang was closely monitored by veterinarians, veterinary technicians and a human cardiologist. Her vitals remained stable, said.

After the procedure, Kumang was returned to her enclosure, where she began to recover. Zoo workers said she was able to sit up and climb to her platform bed. But then for unknown reasons, she lied down and stopped breathing, officials said. Efforts to resuscitate Kumang, including CPR, were unsuccessful. Officials said a thorough necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

This photo provided by Zoo Miami shows orangutan Kumang, left. Kumang, a 44-year-old Bornean orangutan, died Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, during recovery from anesthesia. Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami via AP

Kumang leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter named Bella, who continues to reside at Zoo Miami.

Bornean orangutans are considered endangered, with a global population of just over 100,000. They can be found in the wild in Malaysia and Indonesia on the Asian island of Borneo.



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Zoo Miami: Orangutan dies following dental surgery (2021, September 25)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Flights scrapped as new  volcanic eruptions hit Canaries thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Flights scrapped as new volcanic eruptions hit Canaries

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The Cumbre Vieja volcano keeps spewing out lava and smoke.

Fresh volcanic eruptions in Spain’s Canary Islands prompted the cancellation of flights, airport authorities said Friday, the first since the Cumbre Vieja volcano came to life again.

New evacuations were also ordered as large explosions and new openings were reported at the volcano on La Palma island on Friday.

A large cloud of thick, black ash spewed into the air, forcing several airlines to call off flights.

La Palma had six inter-island flights scheduled for Friday operated by Binter, Canaryfly and Air Europa, while the national carrier Iberia had a single service from Madrid to the mainland. All were scrapped.

They were the first flights to be cancelled since the volcano erupted on Sunday.

“It is not yet possible to say when we can resume flights,” Spanish carrier Binter said on Twitter.

Authorities also ordered new evacuations, adding to the 6,100 people already forced to leave to area this week, including 400 tourists.

The compulsory evacuation order was issued in parts of El Paso town on La Palma island “given the for the population due to the current eruptive episode”, the regional government said.

According to the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Obervation Programme, the lava has so far destroyed 390 buildings and covered more than 180 hectares (445 acres) of land.

More than 6,100 people have already been evacuated, including 400 tourists.

Video footage from the civil guard showed a garden in the area completely covered in thick ash.

Visiting the island, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced La Palma would be declared a zone affected by a catastrophe” which opens financial aid to residents.

Toxic gas fears

The speed of the lava flowing from the mouth of the volcano has steadily slowed in recent days, and experts are hoping it will not reach the coast.

If the molten lava pours into the sea, experts fear it will generate clouds of toxic gas into the air, also affecting the marine environment.

The flow of lava now covers more than 180 hectares of La Palma island.

Authorities set up a no-go zone this week to head off curious onlookers.

No casualties have been reported so far but the damage to land and property has been enormous, with the Canaries regional head Angel Victor Torres estimating the cost at well over 400 million euros ($470 million).

Some 390 buildings have already been destroyed by the lava on La Palma.

The eruption on La Palma, home to 85,000 people, was the first in 50 years.

The last eruption on the island came in 1971 when another part of the same volcanic range—a vent known as Teneguia—erupted on the southern side of the island.

Two decades earlier, the Nambroque vent erupted in 1949.



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Flights scrapped as new volcanic eruptions hit Canaries (2021, September 25)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove The origin and legacy of the Etruscans thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove The origin and legacy of the Etruscans

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Sleep and Death Carrying off the Slain Sarpedon (cista handle), 400-380 BC, Etruscan, bronze – Cleveland Museum of Art. Credit: Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Etruscan civilization, which flourished during the Iron Age in central Italy, has intrigued scholars for millennia. With remarkable metallurgical skills and a now-extinct, non-Indo-European language, the Etruscans stood out from their contemporary neighbors, leading to intense debate from the likes of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus on their geographical origins.

Now, a new study by a team of scholars from Germany, Italy, U.S., Denmark and the U.K., sheds light on the origin and legacy of the enigmatic Etruscans with genome-wide data from 82 ancient individuals from central and southern Italy, spanning 800 BCE to 1000 CE. Their results show that the Etruscans, despite their unique cultural expressions, were closely related to their italic neighbors, and reveal major genetic transformations associated with historical events.

An intriguing phenomenon

With an that is only partly understood, much of what was initially known about Etruscan civilization comes from the commentary of later Greek and Roman writers. One hypothesis about their origins, the one favored by Herodotus, points to the influence of ancient Greek cultural elements to argue that the Etruscans descended from migrating Anatolian or Aegean groups. Another, championed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, proposes that the Etruscans originated and developed locally from the Bronze Age Villanovan culture and were therefore an autochthonous population.

Although the current consensus among archaeologists supports a local origin for the Etruscans, a lack of ancient DNA from the region has made genetic investigations inconsistent. The current study, with a time transect of ancient genomic information spanning almost 2000 years collected from 12 archaeological sites, resolves lingering questions about Etruscan origins, showing no evidence for a recent population movement from Anatolia. In fact, the Etruscans shared the genetic profile of the Latins living in nearby Rome, with a large proportion of their genetic profiles coming from steppe-related ancestry that arrived in the region during the Bronze Age.

Considering that steppe-related groups were likely responsible for the spread of Indo-European languages, now spoken around the world by billions of people, the persistence of a non-Indo-European Etruscan language is an intriguing and still unexplained phenomenon that will require further archaeological, historical, linguistic and genetic investigation.

“This linguistic persistence, combined with a genetic turnover, challenges simple assumptions that genes equal languages and suggests a more complex scenario that may have involved the assimilation of early Italic speakers by the Etruscan speech community, possibly during a prolonged period of admixture over the second millennium BCE,” says David Caramelli, Professor at the University of Florence.

Geographic map of the Italian peninsula (right) including a zoom-in (left) indicating the maximum extension of Etruscan territories and the location and number of individuals for each archeological site newly analyzed in this study. Credit: Michelle O’Reilly, MPI SHH

Periods of change

Despite a few individuals of eastern Mediterranean, northern African, and central European origins, the Etruscan-related gene pool remained stable for at least 800 years, spanning the Iron Age and Roman Republic period. The study finds, however, that during the subsequent Roman Imperial period, central Italy experienced a large scale genetic shift, resulting from admixture with eastern Mediterranean populations, which likely included slaves and soldiers relocated across the Roman Empire.

“This genetic shift clearly depicts the role of the Roman Empire in the large-scale displacement of people in a time of enhanced upward or downward socioeconomic and geographic mobility,” says Johannes Krause, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Looking at the more recent Early Middle Ages, the researchers identified northern European ancestries spreading across the Italian peninsula following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. These results suggest that Germanic migrants, including individuals associated with the newly established Longobard Kingdom, might have left a traceable impact on the genetic landscape of central Italy.

In the regions of Tuscany, Lazio, and Basilicata the population’s ancestry remained largely continuous between the Early Medieval times and today, suggesting that the main gene pool of present-day people from central and southern Italy was largely formed at least 1000 years ago.

Although more ancient DNA from across Italy is needed to support the above conclusions, ancestry shifts in Tuscany and northern Lazio similar to those reported for the city of Rome and its surroundings suggests that historical events during the first millennium CE had a major impact on the genetic transformations over much of the Italian peninsula.

“The Roman Empire appears to have left a long-lasting contribution to the genetic profile of southern Europeans, bridging the gap between European and eastern Mediterranean populations on the genetic map of western Eurasia,” says Cosimo Posth, Professor at the University of Tübingen and Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment.



More information:
The origin and legacy of the Etruscans through a 2000-year archeogenomic time transect, Science Advances (2021). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi7673

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Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

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The origin and legacy of the Etruscans (2021, September 24)
retrieved 25 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-legacy-etruscans.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove In a gene tied to growth, scientists see glimmers of human history thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove In a gene tied to growth, scientists see glimmers of human history

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Infographic showing that some modern humans have the GHRd3 deletion, while all four archaic hominins studied — three Neanderthals and one Denisovan — had the deletion. Credit: Credit: Rebecca Farnham / Marie Saitou / University at Buffalo. Genome assembly diagrams generated by the Integrative Genomics Viewer (IGV, https://igv.org/doc/IGVdesktop).

A new study delves into the evolution and function of the human growth hormone receptor gene, and asks what forces in humanity’s past may have driven changes to this vital piece of DNA.

The research shows, through multiple avenues, that a shortened version of the gene—a known as GHRd3—may help people survive in situations where resources are scarce or unpredictable.

Findings will be published on Sept. 24 in Science Advances.

Here’s the story the study tells: GHRd3 emerged about 1-2 million years ago, and was likely the overwhelmingly predominant version of the gene in the ancestors of modern humans, as well as in Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Then, “In the last 50,000 years or so, this variant becomes less prevalent, and you have a massive decrease in the frequency of this variant among East Asian populations we studied, where we see the estimated allele frequency drop from 85% to 15% during the last 30,000 years,” says University at Buffalo evolutionary biologist Omer Gokcumen. “So the question becomes: Why? Was this variant favored in the past, and it fell out of evolutionary favor recently? Or is what we are observing just a blip among the complexity of genomes?”

The research provides new insights into the function of GHRd3 that may help explain why these evolutionary changes occurred, demonstrating that the variant may be useful in coping with nutritional stress.

“We think that this variant is beneficial where there are periods of starvation, which was the case for most of human evolution,” says Gokcumen, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. With regard to GHRd3’s waning prominence in recent human history, he speculates that, “Maybe the rapid technological and cultural advances over the past 50,000 years have created a buffer against some of the fluctuations in resources that made GHRd3 so advantageous in the past.”

“GHRd3 is interesting because it is a very common deletion that is variable between you and me among humans,” says Marie Saitou, Ph.D., tenure-track investigator at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a former postdoctoral researcher in Gokcumen’s lab at UB. “Normally, these kinds of important fundamental genes do not change between human to human, and are highly conserved in other animals even.”

The work was led by Saitou; Skyler Resendez, Ph.D., a recent UB graduate in biological sciences who is now a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB; Xiuqian Mu, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School at UB and at the Ross Eye Institute; and Gokcumen. An international team of collaborators contributed perspectives in this study, which integrated advanced population genetics methods with research in a to understand the complicated history and function of a genetic variant.

A close look at possible functions of GHRd3

The growth hormone receptor gene plays a major role in controlling the body’s response to growth hormone, helping to activate processes that lead to growth.

To study the gene’s evolutionary history, scientists looked at the genomes of many modern humans, as well as those of four archaic hominins—three Neanderthals from different parts of the world, and one Denisovan. (All four had the GHRd3 variant.)

The team also investigated GHRd3’s modern functions. For example, the researchers found that the GHRd3 variant was associated with better outcomes in a group of children who had endured and survived severe malnutrition.

Additionally, studies on mice supported the idea that GHRd3 helps to regulate the body’s response to food scarcity. Male mice with the variant had some biological similarities to mice that had reduced access to food—traits that may be beneficial in surviving nutritional stress, the study found.

And when scientists placed with GHRd3 on a low-calorie diet, the animals were smaller at 2 months old than counterparts without the variant. This may be beneficial in times of nutritional stress, as smaller bodies need less food. Because the effects of GHRd3 were not as prominent in females, male and female mice carrying the variant ended up being the same size when they were on a low-calorie diet (usually, males are significantly larger than females).

“Our study points to sex- and environment-specific effects of a common genetic variant. In the mice, we observed that Ghrd3 leads to a ‘female-like’ expression pattern of dozens of genes in male livers under calorie restriction, which potentially leads to the observed size reduction,” Saitou says.

“Females, already smaller in size, may suffer from negative evolutionary consequences if they lose body weight. Thus, it is a reasonable and also very interesting hypothesis that a genetic variant that may affect response to nutritional stress has evolved in a sex-specific manner,” Mu says.

“Despite its prevalence in human populations, this unique genetic deletion has not been observed in any other living species,” Resendez says. “This makes it difficult to study. However, scientific advancements now give us the ability to edit genomes in a targeted fashion. This allowed us to generate a mouse model containing the deletion so that we could observe its effects closely in a controlled manner.”

“It is an exciting time for doing research on , where it is now possible to integrate data from ancient genomes, gene editing technologies, and advanced mathematical approaches to tell the human story in all its messy glory,” Gokcumen says.



More information:
Sex-specific phenotypic effects and evolutionary history of an ancient polymorphic deletion of the human growth hormone receptor, Science Advances (2021). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi4476

Citation:
In a gene tied to growth, scientists see glimmers of human history (2021, September 24)

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Spanish volcano still packs a punch 5 days after eruption thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Spanish volcano still packs a punch 5 days after eruption

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Residents look from a hill as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands kept nerves on edge Friday for a fifth day since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock.

The archipelago’s emergency services ordered the evacuation of scores of people from three villages on the island of La Palma and ordered residents to stay indoors in another. Already this week, almost 7,000 people have had to leave their homes. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties.

Loud bangs from the volcano’s mouth sent shock waves echoing across the hillsides. Explosions hurled molten rock and ash over a wide expanse. As a precaution, emergency services pulled back from the area.

Regional airline Binter temporarily halted flights due to a huge ash cloud that rose 6 kilometers (almost 4 miles) into the sky.

More encouragingly, Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it hadn’t recorded any earthquakes in the area for 24 hours, after registering 1,130 over the past week amid intense seismic activity before and after the eruption on the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge.

Also, the advance of the main river of lava slithering toward the sea slowed to 1 meter (about 3 feet) per hour.

Both of the main lava flows are at least 10 meters (33 feet) high at their leading edges and have been destroying houses, farmland and infrastructure in their path since Sunday.

  • Residents look from a hill as the lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Lava from a volcano eruption surrounds a house on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Residents leave their house as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, in La Mancha on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Residents watch from a hill as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

The lava has destroyed almost 400 buildings on La Palma, including many homes, on the western side of the island of 85,000 people, a European Union monitoring program said.

It said the lava stretches over 180 hectares (almost 20,000 square feet) and has blocked 14 kilometers (9 miles) of roads. Islanders make a living mostly from farming and tourism, and some may lose their livelihoods.

On a visit to La Palma, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a package of measures to help get the island back on its feet and “rebuild lives.”

The Spanish government will provide aid for rebuilding homes and public infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation networks and schools, as well as relaunching the island’s tourism industry, Sánchez said. He did not say how much money would be made available, but said a Cabinet meeting next week would provide more details.

Scientists say the flows could last for weeks or months.



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Spanish volcano still packs a punch 5 days after eruption (2021, September 24)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove If endangered primates disappear, so will their parasites. That's actually a problem thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove If endangered primates disappear, so will their parasites. That’s actually a problem

Hexbyte Glen Cove

New research predicts that the loss of 108 threatened primates could doom an additional 176 parasite species to extinction, because they have no other suitable hosts. Credit: Marie-Claire Chelini and TriCEM

We put “save the chimps” on t-shirts and posters. But you’ll never see anyone walking around in a shirt that says “save the chimpanzee lice.” People seem to be more aware of the plight of endangered gorillas than of the gorillas’ gut worms, or are understandably more enamored with mouse lemurs than their mites.

Our closest animal relatives face a precarious future: Half of the world’s roughly 500 primate are at risk of extinction due to human activities such as hunting, trapping and deforestation. But the demise of the world’s threatened primates could trigger even more species extinctions for the parasites that lurk on and in them, according to a Duke University-led study.

“If all the primates that are threatened with extinction really do die out, they won’t be the only species that go extinct,” said first author James Herrera of the Duke Lemur Center. “It could also be twice that many parasites.”

“That’s a whole realm of biodiversity that could be going extinct without us even noticing,” Herrera said. “There’s so little that we know about what they do in the body, that we don’t even know what we’re losing.”

One previous study suggests that some 85% to 95% of the parasitic worms of animals aren’t even known to science yet, much less evaluated by the authoritative extinction ‘Red List’ kept by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Herrera admits this may seem like an odd thing to get worked up about, given all our efforts to deworm and delouse ourselves and our pets. To most people, parasites are “something we want to eradicate, rather than conserve,” Herrera said.

The thought of alien creatures biting, wriggling, squirming, and nestling into the warm wet folds of the intestines makes most people shudder. But parasites don’t always cause noticeable symptoms or make their hosts sick, Herrera said. Parasites can even have some surprising benefits, such as when worms in the gut help the body ward off other infections, or keep autoimmune disorders in check.

To gauge the potential loss of biodiversity if primates go extinct, Herrera and Duke professors Charlie Nunn and James Moody used network analysis techniques to measure the potential ripple effects on the parasites that set up camp in or on primate bodies. Their work appeared Sept. 20 in the journal Philosophical Transactions B.

In their model, species are connected in complex webs of interactions involving 213 primates—monkeys, apes, lemurs and galagos—and 763 worms, mites, protists, and other parasites known to infect them. When one primate host disappears, the parasites connected to it can no longer depend on it for survival. Sever enough of these connections, and their loss sets off a deadly cascade where one extinction begets another.

It’s a bit like the classic kids’ game, KerPlunk, Herrera said. You have a clear tube filled with marbles, which are resting on top of a web of crisscrossing sticks. Removing one or two sticks—or in this case, primate hosts—from the network does little harm, because the marbles are still supported by the remaining sticks. But as the game goes on and fewer sticks remain, it gets harder to keep the marbles from crashing down.

Currently, 108 of the 213 in their dataset are considered threatened by the IUCN. The team found that if all those species were to go kaput, an additional 250 parasites could be doomed as well, and that 176 of these parasite species have no other suitable hosts.

The extinction cascade will likely be worse in isolated places like the island of Madagascar, the study revealed. There, shrinking forests, illegal hunting and collection for the pet trade are pushing 95% of lemur species ever closer to the brink, and more than 60% of lemur parasites inhabit a single host.

For instance, at least two species of nematode worms depend on the aye-aye, a long-fingered, bushy-tailed lemur with beaver-like teeth. If the aye-aye dies out, so too will the worms it carries.

The researchers say they aren’t able to predict, from their analyses, how many of the in their dataset could potentially avert extinction by jumping ship and adapting to new hosts that are more abundant. But some of the most notorious diseases in humans, such as malaria, AIDS caused by HIV and yellow fever, got their start in other primates before spilling over to people, for instance when we share a watering hole, or when we butcher them for meat.

“It’s not that hard to imagine,” Herrera said.

The study is part of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B devoted to infectious disease macroecology.



More information:
James P. Herrera et al, Predictions of primate–parasite coextinction, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0355

Citation:
If endangered primates disappear, so will their parasites. That’s actually a problem (2021, September 23)
retrieved 24 September 2021

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Higher levels of organic pollutants found in homes located near natural gas wells, study finds thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Higher levels of organic pollutants found in homes located near natural gas wells, study finds

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A University of Toronto study has found that those living close to natural gas wells are exposed to higher levels of certain organic pollutants in their homes.

The study looked at levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in the air and drinking water in homes of pregnant women living in a region of northeastern British Columbia.

“There’s very little research about indoor air quality in regions with a lot of unconventional natural gas exploitation,” says Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, an assistant professor in the department of health and society at U of T Scarborough and lead author of the study.

For the study, 85 pregnant women from the Peace River region were recruited and passive air samplers were placed in their homes. Water samples were also taken from their kitchen taps. Researchers found that 40 out of the 47 VOCs tested for were detected in air samples, while three out of 40 VOCs tested for were detected in water samples.

VOCs are organic chemicals, some of which have negative short- and long-term health effects. They are released by a variety of products and industrial processes.

The researchers also looked at how many natural gas wells were located near homes as well as the distances. They found that the amount and proximity of natural gas wells to a home were linked to higher levels of certain VOCs. They also accounted for other factors related to exposure levels, including whether a home had an attached garage, the tap water source and whether the study participant smokes or is exposed to second-hand smoke.

They also included each participant’s Indigenous status. A previous pilot study done in the same region of B.C. by Caron-Beaudoin found higher levels of VOC metabolites in the urine samples of pregnant Indigenous women compared to pregnant non-Indigenous women.

In the current study, the levels of VOCs associated with the amount and proximity of natural gas wells were similarly higher in the homes of Indigenous participants. While the researchers are unsure why higher levels were found in the homes of Indigenous participants, they point to research that shows ethnicity, Indigeneity and socioeconomic status all being linked to heightened health risks from industrial activities.

The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, also compared levels to the Canadian average. For a few of the VOCs—in particular acetone and in air samples, and trihalomethanes (THMs) in water samples—some participants recorded levels that placed them in the top 95th percentile in Canada. In other words, they had the highest exposure levels compared to the general Canadian population.

THMs in particular stood out. More than 60 percent of study participants were found to be above the 95th percentile of exposure levels compared to the Canadian average.

“These levels are really high,” says Caron-Beaudoin. “For some of the participants, it was even over the guidelines for safe drinking water—so we had to contact them to let them know.”

She adds that and chloroform are used as solvents in fracking fluid, while THMs occur when used to disinfect water reacts with natural organic matter. THM levels tend to be higher in areas close to natural gas exploitation because greater amounts of wastewater are generated during the extraction process, she said.

Pregnant women were recruited for the study because of the potential negative birth outcomes linked to living close to natural gas operations. Caron-Beaudoin points to research finding higher rates of pre-term births, low birth weight and heart malformations, among others. There’s also a link to higher cancer rates in children and increased levels of chronic respiratory disease in adults—such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—and cancer in adults.

Caron-Beaudoin leads the only research group that is actively looking at the potential health impacts linked to natural gas exploitation in Canada. As one of the largest global producers of natural gas, she says more research needs to be done in Canada on its potential health effects.

The area of northeastern British Columbia where the research participants are located will also be home to a massive new gas plant that could increase the number of wells in the area to more than 100,000.

“This is happening with very little data on exposure levels—including air and water quality,” Caron-Beaudoin says. “There’s currently no monitoring program, and as a result, no way to check the health status of people living near these wells.”



More information:
Élyse Caron-Beaudoin et al, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor air and tap water samples in residences of pregnant women living in an area of unconventional natural gas operations: Findings from the EXPERIVA study, Science of The Total Environment (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150242

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Hexbyte Glen Cove NASA satellites show how clouds respond to Arctic sea ice change thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove NASA satellites show how clouds respond to Arctic sea ice change

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A section of the North Water Polynya and adjacent sea ice seen during an Operation IceBridge flight on April 19, 2016. Moisture evaporated from the ocean is seen condensing into small clouds. Credit: NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

Clouds are one of the biggest wildcards in predictions of how much and how fast the Arctic will continue to warm in the future. Depending on the time of the year and the changing environment in which they form and exist, clouds can both act to warm and cool the surface below them.

For decades, scientists have assumed that losses in Arctic sea ice cover allow for the formation of more near the ocean’s surface. Now, new NASA research shows that by releasing heat and moisture through a large hole in sea ice known as a , the exposed ocean fuels the formation of more clouds that trap heat in the atmosphere and hinder the refreezing of new sea ice.

The findings come from a study over a section of northern Baffin Bay between Greenland and Canada known as the North Water Polynya. The research is among the first to probe the interactions between the polynya and clouds with active sensors on satellites, which allowed scientists to analyze clouds vertically at lower and higher levels in the atmosphere.

The approach allowed scientists to more accurately spot how cloud formation changed near the ocean’s surface over the polynya and the surrounding sea ice, explained Emily Monroe, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, who led the study.

“Instead of relying on model output and meteorological reanalysis to test our hypothesis, we are able to pull near-instantaneous satellite scan data from the area near the polynya,” Monroe said. “Since each scan is collected over a time scale on the order of about 10 seconds, it is more likely the polynya and nearby ice are experiencing the same large-scale weather conditions, so we can more accurately tease apart what effect the change from ice surface to water surface is having on the overlying clouds.”







A simplified visualization showing cloud responses before, during, and after the opening of a large hole surrounded by sea ice known as a polynya. The insulating effect of sea ice is seen, as the opening of the polynya facilitates heat (red) and moisture (yellow) exchanges. Heat emitted by clouds (purple) over the ice hole helps keep the polynya open, and remains after new sea ice closes the ice hole. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab / Jenny McElligott

Sea ice acts like a lid on a pot of boiling water, explained Linette Boisvert, a sea ice scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was part of the study. When the lid is removed, heat and steam escape into the air.

“We’re getting more heat and moisture from the ocean going into the atmosphere because the sea ice acts like a cap or a barrier between the relatively warm ocean surface and the cold and dry atmosphere above,” Boisvert said. “This warming and moistening of the atmosphere slows down the vertical growth of the sea ice, meaning that it will not be as thick, so it’s more vulnerable to melt in the summer months.”

Like other polynyas in the Arctic and Antarctic, the North Water Polynya forms when specific wind patterns blow in a persistent direction and tear holes in the ice. These wind patterns only exist in the winter months, and the holes open and close repeatedly, alternately exposing and insulating the ocean.

The new insights come during a time when Arctic sea ice appears to have hit its annual minimum extent after waning during the warmer months in 2021. They underscore how sea ice influences a region that plays an integral role in regulating the pace of global warming, sea level rise, and other effects of human-caused climate change.

Sea ice does not raise global sea levels directly. Like ice cubes in a drink, melting sea ice does not directly increase the volume of water in the ocean. Still, a shrinking Arctic sea ice extent can expose relatively warm sea water to the region’s coastal ice sheets and glaciers, causing more melting that contributes freshwater to the ocean and does cause sea level rise.

The new research shows low clouds over the polynya emitted more energy or heat than clouds in adjacent areas covered by sea ice. Those low clouds contained more liquid water, too—nearly four times higher than clouds over nearby sea ice. The increased cloud cover and heat under the clouds persisted for about a week after each occasion the polynya refroze during the time span of the study.

The western edge of the North Water Polynya seen during an Operation IceBridge flight on April 3, 2019. The polynya, a large patch of exposed ocean within an area of substantial sea ice cover, opens four to five times during the colder months. The extent of the North Water Polynya varies from year to year, but can be large enough to cover the area of entire U.S. states such as Virginia. Credit: NASA / Jeremy Harbeck

“Just because the sea ice reforms and the polynya closes up, that doesn’t mean that conditions go back to normal right away,” Boisvert said. “Even though the moisture sources are essentially gone, this effect of extra clouds and increased cloud radiative effect to the surface remains for a time after [the polynya freezes].”

The findings also suggest the response of the clouds to the polynya lengthened the time the hole remained open, said Patrick Taylor, a climate scientist at NASA Langley, who also was part of the study.

“They can create a thicker blanket and increase the amount of heat emitted down to the surface,” Taylor said. “The emitted heat helps keep the surface of the North Water Polynya a little warmer and helps prolong the event itself.”

Large-scale meteorological processes often make studies of Arctic warming difficult. However, repeated openings in the sea ice in the same region create a natural laboratory to study the feedback between clouds and the alternation between sea ice and polynyas.

“We can compare both sea ice and open water areas, and the clouds over those two surface types in close enough proximity, so that we don’t have to worry about large changes in atmospheric conditions that have confounded previous studies,” Taylor said. “If there’s not a cloud response to a polynya event where sea ice goes away over the course of a few days, you wouldn’t expect a response anywhere else. The opening of a polynya is a very strong, distinct forcing.”

The team is planning to take their research to the next level and test whether a similar cloud effect can be observed in other areas where sea ice and open ocean meet.



More information:
Emily E. Monroe et al, Arctic Cloud Response to a Perturbation in Sea Ice Concentration: The North Water Polynya, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (2021). DOI: 10.1029/2020JD034409

Citation:
NASA satellites show how clouds respond to Arctic sea ice change (2021, September 23)
retrieved 24 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-nasa-satellites-clouds-arctic-sea.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Sex and the symbiont: Can algae hookups help corals survive? thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Sex and the symbiont: Can algae hookups help corals survive?

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A dinoflagellate tetrad cell that will soon split into four separate cells, captured by Rice University scientists through a confocal microscope. The cell’s four nuclei are depicted in red. Researchers at Rice and in Spain determined from experiments that these symbionts, taken from a coral colony in Mo’orea, French Polynesia, are able to reproduce both through mitosis and via sex. Credit: Correa Lab/Rice University

A little more sexy time for symbionts could help coral reefs survive the trials of climate change. And that, in turn, could help us all.

Researchers at Rice University and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography already knew the importance of algae known as dinoflagellates to the health of coral as the oceans warm, and have now confirmed the tiny creatures not only multiply by splitting in half, but can also reproduce through sex.

That, according to Rice marine biologist Adrienne Correa and graduate student Lauren Howe-Kerr, opens a path toward breeding strains of symbionts that better serve their coral partners.

Dinoflagellates not only contribute to the stunning color schemes of corals, but critically, they also help feed their hosts by converting sunlight into food.

“Most cannot survive without their symbionts,” Howe-Kerr said, “and these symbionts have the potential to help corals respond to climate change. These dinoflagellates have generation times of a couple months, while corals might only reproduce once a year.

“So if we can get the symbionts to adapt to new environmental conditions more quickly, they might be able to help the corals survive high temperatures as well, while we all tackle climate change.”






In an open-access study in Nature’s Scientific Reports, they wrote the discovery “sets the stage for investigating environmental triggers” of symbiont sexuality “and can accelerate the assisted evolution of a key coral symbiont in order to combat reef degradation.”

To better understand the algae, the Rice researchers reached out to Rosa Figueroa, a researcher at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography who studies the life cycles of dinoflagellates and is lead author on the study.

“We taught her about the coral-algae system and she taught us about sex in other dinoflagellates, and we formed a collaboration to see if we could detect symbiont sex on reefs,” Howe-Kerr said.

“In genomic datasets of coral dinoflagellates, researchers would see all the genes coral symbionts should need to reproduce sexually, but no one had been able to see the actual cells in the process,” said Correa, an assistant professor of biosciences. “That’s what we got this time.”

Rice University’s Lauren Howe-Kerr, left, and Adrienne Correa discovered that symbiont algae found on corals in French Polynesia are able to reproduce via mitosis and sex. That could make it easier to develop algae that better protect coral reefs from the effects of climate change. Credit: Brandon Martin/Rice University

The discovery follows sampling at in Mo’orea, French Polynesia, in July 2019 and then observation of the algae through advanced confocal microscopes that allow for better viewing of three-dimensional structures.

“This is the first proof that these symbionts, when they’re sequestered in coral cells, reproduce sexually, and we’re excited because this opens the door to finding out what conditions might promote sex and how we can induce it,” Howe-Kerr said. “We want to know how we can leverage that knowledge to create more .”

“Because the offspring of dividing algae only inherit DNA from their one parent cell, they are, essentially, clones that don’t generally add to the diversity of a colony. But offspring from sex get DNA from two parents, which allows for more rapid genetic adaptation,” Correa said.

Symbiont populations that become more tolerant of environmental stress through evolution would be of direct benefit to coral, which protect coastlines from both storms and their associated runoff.

“These efforts are ongoing to try to breed corals, symbionts and any other partners to make the most stress-resistant colonies possible,” Correa said. “For coral symbionts, that means growing them under stressful conditions like and then propagating the ones that manage to survive.

A coral of the type studied by scientists at Rice University is protected by dinoflagellates (inset), algae that turn sunlight into food to feed and protect reefs. The study showed the algae are able to reproduce via sex, opening a path toward accelerated evolution of strains that can better protect coral from the effects of climate change. Credit: Inset by Carsten Grupstra/Rice University; coral image by Andrew Thurber/Oregon State University

“After successive generations we’ll select out anything that can’t tolerate these temperatures,” she said. “And now that we can see there’s sex, we can do lots of other experiments to learn what combination of conditions will make sex happen more often in cells. That will produce symbionts with new combinations of genes, and some of those combinations will hopefully correspond to thermotolerance or other traits we want. Then we can seed babies of the coral species that host that diversity and use those colonies to restore reefs.”



More information:
R. I. Figueroa et al, Direct evidence of sex and a hypothesis about meiosis in Symbiodiniaceae, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-98148-9

Citation:
Sex and the symbiont: Can algae hookups help corals survive? (2021, September 22)
retrieved 23 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-sex-symbiont-algae-hookups-corals.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —