COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Highly developed but water-scarce regions in China, such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin, are contributing to water depletion in other water-scarce regions of the country through imports of food, textile, and other water intensive products, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. For example, purchasing cloth in Shanghai may not consume water directly, but the production of cloth requires cotton, which is water intensive to cultivate – indirectly contributing to the water scarcity in the less-developed cotton production regions. This dynamic also holds true for food and other products. Only 20% of Shanghai’s scarce water footprint, or the amount of scarce water consumed, is from local watersheds while 80% is from water resources of other water-scarce regions, such as Xinjiang, Hebei, and Inner Mongolia. (more…)
Tag Archives: university of maryland
UMD study of premature aging may help explain effects of normal aging
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Children with progeria, a rare disorder that causes premature aging, die in their teens of ailments that are common in octogenarians: heart failure and stroke. Kan Cao, a University of Maryland assistant professor of cell biology and molecular genetics, urgently wants to help find a cure. Cao and her colleagues have taken a big step in that direction, showing that a toxic protein destroys muscle cells inside the patients’ arteries. The researchers suspect the damaged arteries are more prone to failure. (more…)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – By reptile standards, alligators are positively chatty. They are the most vocal of the non-avian reptiles and are known to be able to pinpoint the source of sounds with accuracy. But it wasn’t clear exactly how they did it because they lack external auditory structures.
In a new study, an international team of biologists shows that the alligator’s ear is strongly directional because of large, air-filled channels connecting the two middle ears. This configuration is similar in birds, which have an interaural canal that increases directionality. (more…)
The Earth’s outer layer is made up of a series of moving, interacting plates whose motion at the surface generates earthquakes, creates volcanoes and builds mountains. Geoscientists have long sought to understand the plates’ fundamental properties and the mechanisms that cause them to move and drift, and the questions have become the subjects of lively debate.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Why does a mouse’s heart beat about the same number of times in its lifetime as an elephant’s, although the mouse lives about a year, while an elephant sees 70 winters come and go? Why do small plants and animals mature faster than large ones? Why has nature chosen such radically different forms as the loose-limbed beauty of a flowering tree and the fearful symmetry of a tiger?
These questions have puzzled life scientists since ancient times. Now an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Maryland and the University of Padua in Italy propose a thought-provoking answer based on a famous mathematical formula that has been accepted as true for generations, but never fully understood. In a paper published the week of Feb. 17, 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team offers a re-thinking of the formula known as Kleiber’s Law. Seeing this formula as a mathematical expression of an evolutionary fact, the team suggests that plants’ and animals’ widely different forms evolved in parallel, as ideal ways to solve the problem of how to use energy efficiently. (more…)
Simulated blindness gives adult mice sharper hearing, researchers find
COLLEGE PARK, Md – Call it the Ray Charles Effect: a young child who is blind develops a keen ability to hear things others cannot. Researchers have known this can happen in the brains of the very young, which are malleable enough to re-wire some circuits that process sensory information. Now researchers at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University have overturned conventional wisdom, showing the brains of adult mice can also be re-wired, compensating for a temporary vision loss by improving their hearing. (more…)
UMD-led study is first to link racism-related factors and cellular age
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new University of Maryland-led study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men who reported high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk. (more…)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Cold-sensitive mangrove forests have expanded dramatically along Florida’s Atlantic Coast as the frequency of killing frosts has declined, according to a new study based on 28 years of satellite data from the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md.
Between 1984 and 2011, the Florida Atlantic coast from the Miami area northward gained more than 3,000 acres (1,240 hectares) of mangroves. All the increase occurred north of Palm Beach County. Between Cape Canaveral National Seashore and Saint Augustine, mangroves doubled in area. Meanwhile between the study’s first five years and its last five years, nearby Daytona Beach recorded 1.4 fewer days per year when temperatures fell below 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius). The number of killing frosts in southern Florida was unchanged. (more…)