Broccoli gas: a better way to find life in space
Broccoli, along with other plants and microorganisms, emit gases to help them expel toxins. Scientists believe these gases could provide compelling evidence of life on other planets.
Why the Salton Sea is turning into toxic dust
The Salton Sea, California’s most polluted inland lake, has lost a third of its water in the last 25 years. New research has determined a decline in Colorado River flow is the reason for that shrinking.
195 ways to help California’s painted ladies
By documenting hundreds of new nectar plants for painted ladies, scientists have renewed hope these charismatic butterflies may prove resilient to climate change.
Laughing gas in space could mean life
Scientists at UC Riverside are suggesting something is missing from the typical roster of chemicals that astrobiologists use to search for life on planets around other stars — laughing gas.
After wildfires, do microbes exhale potent greenhouse gas?
Laughing gas is no laughing matter — nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas with 300 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. Scientists are racing to learn whether microorganisms send more of it into the atmosphere after wildfires.
Massive Mexican earthquakes warn Southern Californians
A pair of massive earthquakes in Mexico has some in Southern California on edge, wondering whether the Golden State is next. UC Riverside seismologist Abhijit Ghosh weighs in on the likelihood of more shakers, and how to prepare for them.
Robot sleeves for kids with cerebral palsy
UC Riverside engineers are developing low-cost, robotic “clothing” to help children with cerebral palsy gain control over their arm movements.
The no-tech way to preserve California’s state grass
Though it is disappearing, California’s official state grass has the ability to live for 100 years or more. New research demonstrates that sheep and cattle can help it achieve that longevity.
Chemical cocktail in skin summons disease-spreading mosquitoes
A UC Riverside-led team discovered the exact chemical combination that causes Zika, dengue and yellow fever-spreading mosquitoes to locate and land on their victims.
Mexican mangroves have been capturing carbon for 5,000 years
Researchers have identified a new reason to protect mangrove forests: they’ve been quietly keeping carbon out of Earth’s atmosphere for the past 5,000 years.
Could more of Earth’s surface host life?
Of all known planets, Earth is as friendly to life as any planet could possibly be — or is it? If Jupiter’s orbit changes, a new study shows Earth could be more hospitable than it is today. When a planet has a perfectly circular orbit around its star, the distance...
The scent that could save California’s avocados
UC Riverside scientists are on the hunt for a chemical that disrupts “evil” weevils’ mating and could prevent them from destroying California’s supply of avocados.
Sleeping giant could end deep ocean life
A previously overlooked factor — the position of continents — helps fill Earth’s oceans with life-supporting oxygen. Continental movement could ultimately have the opposite effect, killing most deep ocean creatures. “Continental drift seems so slow, like nothing drastic could come from it, but when the ocean is primed, even a...
Cousin of crop-killing bacteria mutating rapidly
A bacterial species closely related to deadly citrus greening disease is rapidly evolving its ability to infect insect hosts, and possibly plants as well.
Drought increases microbe-laden dust landing in Sierras
Dust from all over the world is landing in the Sierra Nevada mountains carrying microbes that are toxic to both plants and humans. Research from UC Riverside shows higher concentrations of the dust are landing at lower elevations, where people are more likely to be hiking.
The chemical controlling life and death in hair follicles
A single chemical is key to controlling when hair follicle cells divide, and when they die. This discovery could not only treat baldness, but ultimately speed wound healing because follicles are a source of stem cells.
Why Jupiter doesn’t have rings like Saturn
Because it’s bigger, Jupiter ought to have larger, more spectacular rings than Saturn has. But new UC Riverside research shows Jupiter’s massive moons prevent that vision from lighting up the night sky.
How stressed-out plants produce their own aspirin
Plants protect themselves from environmental hazards by producing salicylic acid, also known as aspirin. A new understanding of this process may help plants survive climate change.
Ancient microbes may help us find extraterrestrial life forms
Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes, UC Riverside scientists helped reconstruct what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms. These efforts could help us one day recognize signs of life on other planets.
Plant stress transformed into rapid tests for dangerous chemicals
UC Riverside scientists have modified proteins involved in plants’ natural response to stress, making them the basis of innovative tests for banned pesticides and deadly, synthetic cannabinoids.