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  • richardmitnick 9:23 am on June 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "First soil map of terrestrial and blue carbon highlights need for conservation", , , , Earth Observation, Multiscale machine learning, New Curtin University research has identified the most carbon-rich soils in Australia are in areas that are most threatened by human activities and climate change., The entire continent holds a total of 27.9 gigatonnes-or billion metric tonnes-of carbon in the top 30cm of the soil which is equivalent to around 700 times Australia’s total annual electricity emis   

    From Curtin University (AU) : “First soil map of terrestrial and blue carbon highlights need for conservation” 

    From Curtin University (AU)

    Lucien Wilkinson
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    New Curtin University research has identified the most carbon-rich soils in Australia are in areas that are most threatened by human activities and climate change, including Eucalypt and mangrove forests, and woodland and grassland areas that cover large parts of the country’s interior. Curtin.

    Lead researcher Dr Lewis Walden from Curtin’s Soil & Landscape Science Research Group in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences said the findings highlighted the need to protect key terrestrial and coastal marine ecosystems, which play an important contributing role in national strategies to mitigate climate change.

    “Using multiscale machine learning, we mapped the carbon storage of soils across Australia and found the entire continent holds a total of 27.9 gigatonnes, or billion metric tonnes, of carbon in the top 30cm of the soil, which is equivalent to around 700 times Australia’s total annual electricity emissions,” Dr Walden said.

    “Of this amount, 27.6 Gt of was in terrestrial ecosystems, with the remaining 0.35 Gt in coastal marine or ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems.

    “We also found climate and vegetation were the main drivers of variations in carbon storage for the continent as a whole, while at a regional level this was determined by ecosystem type, the elevation and shape of the terrain, clay content, mineralogy and nutrients.

    “Eucalypt and mangrove forests store the most carbon per unit area, but woodland and grasslands store more carbon in total, due to the vast areas across Australia they cover.”

    Professor Raphael Viscarra Rossel, who leads Curtin’s Soil & Landscape Science Research Group said these carbon-rich ecosystems were known to be those most threatened by human activities and climate change.

    “Our findings suggest these are essential ecosystems for conservation, preservation, emissions avoidance and nature-based climate change mitigation,” Professor Viscarra Rossel said.

    “These ecosystems are important as sources of products and food, and in the case of blue carbon ecosystems for providing coastal protection against storm surges and erosion, and as fisheries habitats that provide breeding grounds and nurseries for many species of marine life.

    “Understanding the variation and drivers of carbon storage will help manage those ecosystems better and inform national carbon inventories and environmental policy.”

    Dr Walden is a Research Associate in Soil and Landscape Science Group.

    Funding for the research was from the Australian Government’s Australia-China Science and Research Fund Joint Research Centre on ‘Next-generation soil carbon systems’.

    The research used Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) infrastructure, which is enabled by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, and computational resources at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, which is funded by the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia.


    Digital maps of Soil Organic Carbon stocks are available for download via the TERN data portal.

    The research is published in Communications Earth & Environment.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Curtin University (AU) (formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley and Perth, Western Australia. The university is named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with over 58,000 students (as of 2016).

    Curtin would like to pay respect to the indigenous members of our community by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which the Perth campus is located, the Wadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.

    Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has been expanding its presence and has campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries. The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. The University formerly had a Sydney campus between 2005 & 2016. On 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.

    Curtin University is a member of The Australian Technology Network , and is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, including Resources and Energy (e.g., petroleum gas), Information and Communication, Health, Ageing and Well-being (Public Health), Communities and Changing Environments, Growth and Prosperity and Creative Writing.

    It is the only Western Australian university to produce a PhD recipient of the AINSE gold medal, which is the highest recognition for PhD-level research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.

    Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh. Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.

  • richardmitnick 4:39 pm on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Method Predicts Extreme Events More Accurately", , , , Climate models have currently predicted a smaller variance in precipitation with a bias toward light rain., , , Data Science Institute, , Earth and Environmental Engineering, Earth Observation, Extreme Weather Events, , , Machine-learning algorithm will improve future projections, Missing piece in current algorithms: cloud organization, New algorithm predicts precipitation especially extreme events more accurately., The "Stochasticity": in the case of the variability of random fluctuations in precipitation intensity, , Using AI to design neural network algorithm   

    From The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science At Columbia University: “New Method Predicts Extreme Events More Accurately” 

    From The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science


    Columbia U bloc


    Holly Evarts
    Director of Strategic Communications and Media Relations
    (c) 347-453-7408
    (o) 212-854-3206
    Columbia University

    New algorithm predicts precipitation especially extreme events more accurately.

    Columbia Engineers develop machine-learning algorithm that will help researchers to better understand and mitigate the impact of extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent in our warming climate.

    Credit: “Rain Storm Colorado Springs Colorado” by Brokentaco/Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

    With the rise of extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent in our warming climate, accurate predictions are becoming more critical for all of us, from farmers to city-dwellers to businesses around the world. To date, climate models have failed to accurately predict precipitation intensity, particularly extremes. While in nature, precipitation can be very varied, with many extremes of precipitation, climate models predict a smaller variance in precipitation with a bias toward light rain.

    Missing piece in current algorithms: cloud organization

    Researchers have been working to develop algorithms that will improve prediction accuracy but, as Columbia Engineering climate scientists report, there has been a missing piece of information in traditional climate model parameterizations–a way to describe cloud structure and organization that is so fine-scale it is not captured on the computational grid being used. These organization measurements affect predictions of both precipitation intensity and its stochasticity, the variability of random fluctuations in precipitation intensity. Up to now, there has not been an effective, accurate way to measure cloud structure and quantify its impact.

    A new study [PNAS (below)] from a team led by Pierre Gentine, director of the Learning the Earth with Artificial Intelligence and Physics (LEAP) Center, used global storm-resolving simulations and machine learning to create an algorithm that can deal separately with two different scales of cloud organization: those resolved by a climate model, and those that cannot be resolved as they are too small. This new approach addresses the missing piece of information in traditional climate model parameterizations and provides a way to predict precipitation intensity and variability more precisely.

    “Our findings are especially exciting because, for many years, the scientific community has debated whether to include cloud organization in climate models,” said Gentine, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Departments of Earth and Environmental Engineering and Earth Environmental Sciences and a member of the Data Science Institute. “Our work provides an answer to the debate and a novel solution for including organization, showing that including this information can significantly improve our prediction of precipitation intensity and variability.”

    Using AI to design neural network algorithm

    Sarah Shamekh, a PhD student working with Gentine, developed a neural network algorithm that learns the relevant information about the role of fine-scale cloud organization (unresolved scales) on precipitation. Because Shamekh did not define a metric or formula in advance, the model learns implicitly–on its own–how to measure the clustering of clouds, a metric of organization, and then uses this metric to improve the prediction of precipitation. Shamekh trained the algorithm on a high-resolution moisture field, encoding the degree of small-scale organization.

    “We discovered that our organization metric explains precipitation variability almost entirely and could replace a stochastic parameterization in climate models,” said Shamekh, lead author of the study, published May 8, 2023, by PNAS. “Including this information significantly improved precipitation prediction at the scale relevant to climate models, accurately predicting precipitation extremes and spatial variability.”

    Machine-learning algorithm will improve future projections

    The researchers are now using their machine-learning approach, which implicitly learns the sub-grid cloud organization metric, in climate models. This should significantly improve the prediction of precipitation intensity and variability, including extreme precipitation events, and enable scientists to better project future changes in the water cycle and extreme weather patterns in a warming climate.

    Future work

    This research also opens up new avenues for investigation, such as exploring the possibility of precipitation creating memory, where the atmosphere retains information about recent weather conditions, which in turn influences atmospheric conditions later on, in the climate system. This new approach could have wide-ranging applications beyond just precipitation modeling, including better modeling of the ice sheet and ocean surface.


    Fig. 1.
    Global storm resolving model. Snapshot of a cloud scene on 24 February 2016 from SAM as part of the DYAMOND dataset. Ten days, randomly selected, of the tropical regions (displayed between the two white dashed lines) from this simulation are used for this analysis. The inset plot shows precipitation versus precipitable water for 10 d of SAM simulations. Lines show the precipitation conditionally averaged by 0.3-mm bins of precipitable water and for 1-K bins of free tropospheric temperature. Scatter dots show the spread in precipitation for each bin of precipitable water and averaged free tropospheric temperature across the simulation domain and time period.

    Fig. 2.
    Overview of proposed framework for parameterizing precipitation. (A) Coarse-graining the high-resolution data. (B) Baseline-NN architecture: This network receives coarse-scale variables (e.g., SST and PW) as input and predicts coarse-scale precipitation. (C). Org-NN architecture: The Left panel shows the autoencoder that receives the high-resolution PW as input and reconstructs it after passing it through a bottleneck. The Right panel shows the neural network that predicts coarse-scale precipitation. The input to this network is the coarse-scale variables (as for the baseline network) as well as org extracted from the autoencoder. The two blocks are trained simultaneously.

    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is the engineering and applied science school of Columbia University. It was founded as the School of Mines in 1863 and then the School of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry before becoming the School of Engineering and Applied Science. On October 1, 1997, the school was renamed in honor of Chinese businessman Z.Y. Fu, who had donated $26 million to the school.

    The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science maintains a close research tie with other institutions including National Aeronautics and Space Administration, IBM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Earth Institute. Patents owned by the school generate over $100 million annually for the university. Faculty and alumni are responsible for technological achievements including the developments of FM radio and the maser.

    The School’s applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, computer science and the financial engineering program in operations research are very famous and ranked high. The current faculty include 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering and one Nobel laureate. In all, the faculty and alumni of Columbia Engineering have won 10 Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics.

    The school consists of approximately 300 undergraduates in each graduating class and maintains close links with its undergraduate liberal arts sister school Columbia College which shares housing with SEAS students.

    Original charter of 1754

    Included in the original charter for Columbia College was the direction to teach “the arts of Number and Measuring, of Surveying and Navigation […] the knowledge of […] various kinds of Meteors, Stones, Mines and Minerals, Plants and Animals, and everything useful for the Comfort, the Convenience and Elegance of Life.” Engineering has always been a part of Columbia, even before the establishment of any separate school of engineering.

    An early and influential graduate from the school was John Stevens, Class of 1768. Instrumental in the establishment of U.S. patent law. Stevens procured many patents in early steamboat technology; operated the first steam ferry between New York and New Jersey; received the first railroad charter in the U.S.; built a pioneer locomotive; and amassed a fortune, which allowed his sons to found the Stevens Institute of Technology.

    When Columbia University first resided on Wall Street, engineering did not have a school under the Columbia umbrella. After Columbia outgrew its space on Wall Street, it relocated to what is now Midtown Manhattan in 1857. Then President Barnard and the Trustees of the University, with the urging of Professor Thomas Egleston and General Vinton, approved the School of Mines in 1863. The intention was to establish a School of Mines and Metallurgy with a three-year program open to professionally motivated students with or without prior undergraduate training. It was officially founded in 1864 under the leadership of its first dean, Columbia professor Charles F. Chandler, and specialized in mining and mineralogical engineering. An example of work from a student at the School of Mines was William Barclay Parsons, Class of 1882. He was an engineer on the Chinese railway and the Cape Cod and Panama Canals. Most importantly he worked for New York, as a chief engineer of the city’s first subway system, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Opened in 1904, the subway’s electric cars took passengers from City Hall to Brooklyn, the Bronx, and the newly renamed and relocated Columbia University in Morningside Heights, its present location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

  • richardmitnick 1:39 pm on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Coral reefs are home to the greatest microbial diversity on Earth", , , Earth Observation, , ,   

    From “Science Magazine” : “Coral reefs are home to the greatest microbial diversity on Earth” 

    From “Science Magazine”

    Elizabeth Pennisi

    Doug Perrine/NPL/Minden Pictures.

    Coral reefs, bastions of marine biodiversity because of the abundant fish, invertebrates, and algae they support, are also home to Earth’s greatest microbial diversity, according to a new estimate.

    From 2016 to 2018, an international team of researchers aboard the sailing ship Tara studied 99 reefs off 32 islands across the Pacific Ocean, home to 80% of the world’s corals. They sequenced DNA from more than 5000 samples of three coral species, two fish species, and plankton. The team identified a half-billion kinds of microbes, mostly bacteria. Microbes were most diverse among the plankton; among animals, the blade fire coral (Millepora platyphylla) and Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus) had the most types, the team reports today in Nature Communications [below].

    When the researchers extrapolated those findings to estimate the total reef microbial diversity across the Pacific, it was equivalent to Earth’s total, previously estimated microbial diversity. The team members don’t know what leads to the great bacterial diversity, as it didn’t align with the greater diversity found in corals of the western Pacific. Nor did the microbial diversity correlate with seawater temperature. (During their research voyage, the scientists also measured temperature, salinity, and other environmental conditions.)

    The researchers have yet to fully analyze these data, but they expect this high microbial diversity can help the reefs be more resilient in the face of heat waves, pollution, turbidity, and other stressors, acting as ecological insurance. Some bacteria on coral provide benefits—such as supplying vitamin B to their hosts—and their diversity suggests that at least some helpful microbes are likely to survive a particular environmental insult and can continue to support the coral.

    Nature Communications

    Fig. 1: Diversity and community composition of the plankton, coral, and fish microbiomes across 32 islands of the Pacific Ocean.
    a) Map of the islands sampled. b) Accumulation curves of microbial community richness. The dashed line represents the shift between the small planktonic size fraction (  3 µm). c) Shannon diversity index across all samples (n = 3,298). The box plot horizontal bars show the median value, the box indicates the first and third QRs, and the whiskers indicate 1.5*IQR. Source data are provided as a Source Data file. d) Bray-Curtis based nMDS ordination (stress = 0.11) showing differences in microbial community composition between biomes with density plot on the right showing the distribution of MDS2 values in coral, small (0.2–3 µm) and large (3–20 µm) plankton size fractions, and fish gut and mucus. e) Prevalence and relative abundance of ASVs in plankton, coral, and fish samples. Endozoicomonadaceae ASVs (putative symbionts) are coloured in black, Vibrionaceae (putative pathogens) in grey and all other annotations in white. I01: Islas de las Perlas, I02: Coiba, I03: Malpelo, I04: Rapa Nui, I05: Ducie Island, I06: Gambier, I07: Moorea, I08: Cook Islands, I09: Niue, I10: Upolu, I11: Wallis and Futuna, I12: Tuvalu, I13: Kiribati, I14: Chuuk Island, I15: Guam, I16: Ogasawara Islands, I17: Sesoko Island, I18: Fiji Islands, I19: Great Barrier Reef, I20: Chesterfield, I21: New Caledonia, I22: Solomon Islands, I23: Normanby Island, I24: New Britain Island, I25: Southwest Palau Islands, I26: Babeldaob, I27: Crescent Island, I28: Taiwan, I29: Oahu Island, I30: Gulf of California, I31: Clipperton Island, I32: Islas Secas.

    Fig. 2: Bray-Curtis based MDS ordinations showing differences in microbial community composition within each biomes.

    a) Between Millepora, Porites and Pocillopora and b) their overall community composition for the 10 most abundant bacterial orders. c) Between Zanclus cornutus and Acanthurus triostegus gut and mucus. d) Between Pocillopora microbial communities and free-living planktonic communities (size 0.2–3 µm) sampled close to the Pocillopora colonies (colony water). e) Between planktonic communities sampled from sea surface water near the islands, surface water over the colonies, and close to the colonies (colony water) for the 0.2–3 µm size fraction and f for the 3–20 µm size fraction.

    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Treasure hunt", A search for rare earth minerals might begin by looking for an unusual kind of carbon-rich rock called a carbonatite., Africa collided with North America to form the Appalachian Mountains [but see John McPhee “In Suspect Terrain” which posits not one but four orogenies which created what we have today]., , , , Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, Earth Observation, Few topics draw more bipartisan support in Washington D.C. than the need for the United States to find reliable sources of “critical minerals”- a collection of 50 mined substances including “rar, For decades companies had been moving mining operations abroad in part to avoid relatively stringent U.S. environmental regulations., , , Having high-quality large-scale data in the public domain will drive new ideas and new discoveries., Last decade when lawmakers began to ask USGS about U.S. supplies the response was unsettling: The agency did not even know where to look., , , , The first U.S. nationwide geological survey in a generation could reveal badly needed supplies of critical minerals., The list: Yttrium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Scandium, These days no mineral may be more critical than the lithium-not a "rare earth"., , U.S. is “undermapped” compared with most developed countries including Australia and Canada and even Ireland. “We’re at an embarrassing point.”   

    From “Science Magazine” : “Treasure hunt” 

    From “Science Magazine”

    Paul Voosen

    The first U.S. nationwide geological survey in a generation could reveal badly needed supplies of critical minerals

    The U.S. Geological Survey is funding mapping of metamorphic rocks in eastern Alaska that are likely to hold a number of critical minerals, including rare earths. Adrian Bender/U.S. Geological Survey.

    From the air, Maine is a uniform sea of green: Forests cover 90% of the state. But beneath the foliage and the dirt lies an array of geological terrains that is far more diverse, built from the relics of volcanic islands that collided with North America hundreds of millions of years ago.

    Two years ago, sensor-laden aircraft began to survey these geochemically rich terrains for precious minerals. Researchers spotted an anomalous signal streaming out of Pennington Mountain, 50 kilometers from the Canadian border. State geologists bushwhacked through the paper mill–bound pine forests, taking rock samples. They eventually uncovered deposits containing billions of dollars’ worth of zirconium, niobium, and other elements that are critical in electronics, defense, and renewable energy technologies.

    The anomaly at Pennington Mountain is visible in the geophysical data collected in aerial surveys conducted in 2021. Sources/Usage: Public Domain.
    Above mapping:

    Anjana K Shah
    Research Geophysicist
    Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center

    Alex Demas
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Communications and Publishing

    “It was a perfect discovery,” says John Slack, an emeritus scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) who worked on the Maine find. He expects more like it. “We think there’s potential throughout the Appalachians.”

    Great Appalachian Valley
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

    A remarkable feature of the belt is the longitudinal chain of broad valleys, including the Great Appalachian Valley, which in the southerly sections divides the mountain system into two unequal portions.

    Few topics draw more bipartisan support in Washington, D.C., than the need for the United States to find reliable sources of “critical minerals,” a collection of 50 mined substances that now come mostly from other countries, including some that are unfriendly or unstable. The list, created by USGS at the direction of Congress, contains not only the 17 rare earth elements produced mostly in China, but also less exotic materials such as zinc, used to produce steel, and cobalt, used in electric car batteries. “These commodities are necessary for everything,” says Sarah Ryker, USGS’s associate director for energy and minerals. “They’re also a flashpoint for conflict.”

    The list: Yttrium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium
    Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Scandium

    But last decade, when lawmakers began to ask USGS about U.S. supplies, the response was unsettling: The agency didn’t even know where to look. For decades, companies had been moving mining operations abroad, in part to avoid relatively stringent U.S. environmental regulations. The basic exploration needed to identify mineral resources and spur corporate interest had languished. The last nationwide survey, a quest for uranium, ended in the 1980s. Ryker says the U.S. is “undermapped” compared with most developed countries, including Australia, Canada, and even Ireland. “We’re at an embarrassing point.”

    To start filling in this knowledge void, USGS in 2019 began what it calls the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, or Earth MRI. With a modest $10 million annual budget, the agency began working with state geological surveys to digitize data and commission fieldwork to map the most promising terrain in fine detail.

    Then, in 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directed $320 million into the program—nearly one-third of the entire USGS budget—to be spent over 5 years. That spending has already enabled hundreds of survey flights, and it is opening a golden age for economic geology. It is also a boon for basic science—filling in gaps in geologic history, identifying unknown earthquake faults, and revealing geothermal systems. “We’re seeing a renaissance throughout the whole country,” says Virginia McLemore, an economic geologist at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. “I’ve been training all my life to get to this point.”

    The discoveries could spur a rash of mining, and environmentalists are wary. If USGS spots promising ore systems, companies will have to show that they can develop them safely and with minimal environmental impact, says Melissa Barbanell, director of U.S.-international engagement at the World Resources Institute, an environmental nonprofit. “It can never be zero harm,” she says. “But how can we minimize the harm and keep it to the mine itself?”

    Mining companies, meanwhile, are embracing Earth MRI. Donald Hicks, a geophysicist at global mining giant Rio Tinto, which has dozens of operations worldwide but only a few in the U.S., says he has encouraged fellow miners to collaborate and share data with the program. Rio Tinto even funded some USGS flights in Montana, in return for 1 year’s exclusive access to the data. “Having this high-quality, large-scale data in the public domain will drive new ideas and new discoveries,” Hicks says.

    For most of the history of mining, the origin story of a mineral lode was beside the point. Prospectors found it and miners dug it up. But by now, most of the obvious finds are gone, says Anne McCafferty, a USGS geophysicist. “The low-hanging fruit has been picked.”

    This scarcity has pushed Earth MRI into adopting a “mineral systems” approach, first pioneered in Australia, that attempts to predict where critical minerals might be found based on the processes that form them. For example, a search for rare earth minerals might begin by looking for an unusual kind of carbon-rich rock called a carbonatite, which often contains pockets of rare earths formed when it crystallized out of lava. Or geologists might seek out clay-rich rocks or sediments that can capture concentrations of the rare earths after water erodes them from a source rock. Prospectors would also look for signs that these ore rocks were preserved across the eons.

    To assemble these telltale rock histories, USGS scientists need to integrate a variety of information sources. Some already exist: large-scale geological maps based on decades of fieldwork, and surveys of the deep structure of rock formations based on the reflections of seismic waves from artificial or natural earthquakes.

    Earth MRI’s airborne surveys, with flights just 100 meters above the surface, will add much more detail and inform a new generation of sharper geologic maps. One tool affixed to the aircraft is a magnetometer, which detects rocks rich in iron and other magnetic minerals—often a clue that they hold critical minerals. Another is a gamma ray spectrometer, which like a Geiger counter can capture the radiation emitted by thorium, uranium, and potassium. Those elements frequent the same volcanic rocks as rare earth minerals and are often incorporated into their crystal structures. Other aircraft carry laser altimeters that can map surface relief to reveal geologic history. And a pioneering “hyperspectral” instrument developed by NASA can identify minerals exposed on the surface based on the specific wavelengths of light they absorb. In the combined data, “You can see all the geology underneath,” says Anjana Shah, the USGS geophysicist leading the agency’s East Coast airborne surveys. “It’s a very powerful way of understanding the Earth.”

    In early forays, Earth MRI aircraft criss-crossed North and South Carolina, tracing the ancient roots of the landscape. Hidden beneath the states’ tobacco farms are fossilized beaches that mark shorelines left during the warm periods between past ice ages, when sea levels were higher than today. Laser altimeter maps capturing subtle relief bloom with those shorelines and the paleorivers that dissected them, says Kathleen Farrell, a geomorphologist at the North Carolina Geological Survey. “There’s a lot more coastal plain than anyone thought.”

    The ancient beaches hold deposits of black sands, eroded from mountains and deposited by rivers, that are rich in heavy elements. By combining the new airborne data collected by Shah with field mapping and boreholes drilled to sample the deep sediments, Farrell and her colleagues hope to learn how the Carolina sands originated. They want to know how the coastal plains were assembled over time, why the heavy sands formed only during certain periods, and where upriver those sands came from. The answers should help guide geologists to new heavy metal deposits; similar sites in northern Florida are among the few commercial sources of titanium in the U.S.

    The airborne campaigns in South Carolina will have another benefit, Shah adds: They flew over Charleston, collecting magnetic data that, by identifying shifts and offsets in subsurface rocks, reveal the hidden seismic faults that ruptured in 1886 in an earthquake as large as magnitude 7. Such a quake, if it struck again today, would cause billions of dollars in damage.

    This year, an Earth MRI survey covering parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana will probe another mysterious seismic zone. Buried under kilometers of sediment lurks the Reelfoot Rift, a gash in the continent’s bedrock likely created some 750 million years ago when the Rodinia supercontinent began to crack apart. In 1811 and 1812, faults tied to this rift caused the New Madrid earthquakes, the largest to ever strike the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. But despite the potential hazard, the fault zone remains poorly understood.

    The Reelfoot and nearby bedrock deformations not only create hazards; they also create opportunities for minerals to form. The rifts provided conduits for magma to well up much later in geologic time, when Africa collided with North America to form the Appalachian Mountains [but see John McPhee “In Suspect Terrain” which posits not one but four orogenies which created what we have today]. This magma is thought to have expelled gases that flowed into limestones, chemically altering them. One result is the fluorspar district of southern Illinois, which once produced a majority of the country’s fluorite—used to smelt steel and create hydrofluoric acid.

    Those magma injections could have played a role in creating Hicks Dome, which rises 1 kilometer above the Illinois countryside and is the closest thing the state has to a volcano. Jared Freiburg, critical minerals chief for the Illinois State Geological Survey, calls it “a crazy magmatic cryptovolcanic explosive structure.” It pops out as a magnetic anomaly in USGS airborne data, and cores drilled from the dome are rich in rare earth minerals. Geochemical tracers from the cores hint that deposits deeper in the dome were formed from carbonatites—the unusual volcanic rocks associated with the world’s best rare earth deposits. “It’s like a kitchen sink of critical minerals there,” McCafferty says.

    The midcontinent surveys could also help geologists assess another resource: natural hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel. Currently, all hydrogen is manufactured, but some researchers believe, contrary to conventional wisdom, that Earth produces and traps vast stores of the gas. The iron-rich volcanic rocks of the Reelfoot are exactly the kind that could produce hydrogen. Yaoguo Li, a geophysicist at the Colorado School of Mines, is developing a Department of Energy (DOE) grant proposal to prospect for hydrogen source rocks with the USGS data. “We have not done anything yet,” he says. “But I can see there’s so much we can do.”

    Besides identifying resources to extract, the surveys could pay other dividends. They are pinpointing the steel casings of abandoned oil and gas wells that often leak greenhouse gases. They will help identify porous rock reservoirs, bounded by faults, that could hold carbon dioxide captured from smokestacks, keeping it out of the atmosphere. And they could also map variations in the radioactive rocks that emit radon gas, a health hazard.

    These days, no mineral may be more critical than the lithium, used in cellphone and electric car batteries, that moves an ever-increasing number of the world’s electrons. Yet only one lithium mine exists in the U.S., in Nevada, and its raw lithium is sent abroad for processing. The state has potential to hold much, much more, and could become an international lithium “epicenter,” says James Faulds, Nevada’s state geologist.

    Lithium is often found in igneous rocks—magma that crystallized in the crust or lava that cooled on the surface. Many of the known lithium deposits are in the state’s north, in the McDermitt caldera, a volcanic crater formed 16 million years ago by the deep-Earth hot spot currently fueling Yellowstone. Rainwater falling within the caldera or hot water from below has concentrated lithium within caldera clay deposits to levels not seen elsewhere, in other eruptions of the Yellowstone hot spot. “Why did this mineralization happen?” asks Carolina Muñoz-Saez, a geologist at the University of Nevada, Reno. She and her collaborators are studying the geochemistry of the lithium and the clays to find out whether the element was formed and concentrated during the eruption itself by superheated water or whether the concentration came later, as water infiltrated the caldera’s ash-rich rocks. The answer could lead the geologists to other, equally rich deposits.

    Mountain Pass in California is the only U.S. mine producing rare earth elements. The U.S. Geological Survey hopes the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative will encourage more mining.TMY350/Wikimedia Commons.

    Earth MRI has already shown that lithium prospectors need not stick to calderas. Field geologists have found rocks that seem to be rich in lithium in basins bounded by tectonically uplifted blocks of crust. Nevada, famous for its “basin and range” topography, has a lot of places like that, Faulds says. Even better, the basins tend to host systems of hot brine, a potential source of geothermal power—one reason DOE is funding surveys in the state, says Jonathan Glen, a USGS geophysicist.

    Just south of Nevada, DOE has similarly invested in USGS flights over California’s Salton Sea, which is being stretched apart by the movement of the Northern American and Pacific tectonic plates, leaving the crust thin and hot.

    A woman walks along the shore of the Salton Sea in Southern California Robert Alexander / Getty Images

    “Temperatures are really high,” Glen says. “There’s huge geothermal potential.” Beyond mapping potential lithium deposits and geothermal sites, the surveys have also found new faults at the southern end of the San Andreas, and what appear to be buried volcanoes beneath the Salton Sea. “This is brand new stuff,” Glen says. “We didn’t know any of this.”

    The mineral stibnite is the ore for antimony, used in batteries.Niki Wintzer/USGS.

    Those insights come from magnetometer, radiometric, and laser altimeter flights. But Earth MRI is also planning hyperspectral surveys that will scan the treeless, arid surface for pay dirt. Lithium and rare earth elements, for example, have strong spectral reflections; and other signatures can reveal the iron or clay minerals associated with lithium or other minerals. Beyond prospecting, the data will be valuable for spotting volcanic hazards. Those include rocks on the flanks of volcanoes that have been altered into soft clays by melting snow and heat, says Bernard Hubbard, a remote-sensing geologist at USGS. “Those become unstable—and then they collapse.”

    Besides identifying the rock formations likely to hold mineral deposits, Earth MRI has accelerated USGS efforts to detect valuable resources left behind in tailings from defunct copper or iron mines. Last decade, Shah spotted the distinctive radioactive signatures of rare earths in such piles in Mineville, a hamlet in New York. With state geological agencies, USGS is compiling a national database of mine waste sites, along with methods for researchers to assess the waste’s mineral potential. “What’s the point of digging another hole in the ground if you can remine the rocks?” asks Darcy McPhee, Earth MRI’s program coordinator at USGS.

    Those lingering tailings piles are a reminder of the environmental damage mining can do. For decades, the U.S. avoided environmental debates over mining by outsourcing it to other countries. The new consensus is that work should happen here, Ryker says. “But that means we have to deal with the conflict.” The survey will reveal new resources. But the rest is up to us, she says. “How much should we develop? That’s a much more complicated question.”

    Those questions are now unfolding, state by state. In Nevada, lithium prospecting is booming, spurred by the Inflation Reduction Act’s mandate that electric cars must use some U.S.-sourced minerals for buyers to get a tax credit. But in Maine, legislators enacted a strict mining law in 2017, when the state’s largest landowner, the Canadian forestry company J.D. Irving, considered exploiting reserves of gold, silver, and copper found on its lands. Following the discovery of rare earth deposits at Pennington Mountain and lithium elsewhere in the state, lawmakers are now considering amending the law to allow some responsible mining.

    Given the demands of green technology and the imperative to lower carbon emissions, many environmental groups are softening their stance on critical-mineral mining, Barbanell says. This exploitation doesn’t have to go on forever, she adds. Unlike coal, which must be mined indefinitely as it’s burned, the minerals used for batteries and wind turbines can almost always be recycled—as long as policymakers push for their reuse.

    Slack would also welcome some mining. He retired to Maine for its natural splendor, but until recycling can cover society’s needs, critical mineral exploitation needs to happen somewhere. “We cannot have a low carbon future and green tech without mining,” he says. “It’s not an option. It’s a necessity. It’s essential.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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  • richardmitnick 9:08 am on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Quantifying mangroves’ value as a climate solution and economic engine", A new approach quantifies the value of mangrove forests in Belize for carbon sequestration and tourism and fisheries and coastal protection., , , Earth Observation, , Major coastal countries including the U.S. have largely overlooked these so-called blue carbon strategies., Nature-based solutions such as locking up or sequestering carbon in mangroves and seagrasses and salt marshes provide promise., , The researchers quantified carbon storage and sequestration using land cover data from Belize and field estimates from Mexico., , Total organic carbon sequestration is initially lower when restoring mangrove areas than when protecting existing forests because it takes time for carbon stocks to accumulate in the soil and biomass.   

    From The Woods Institute for the Environment At Stanford University: “Quantifying mangroves’ value as a climate solution and economic engine” 


    From The Woods Institute for the Environment


    Stanford University Name

    Stanford University

    Rob Jordan | Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

    Media Contacts:
    Katie Arkema,
    The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    University of Washington, Natural Capital Project
    (206) 384-6330

    Mary Ruckelshaus
    Stanford Natural Capital Project

    Elana Kimbrall
    Natural Capital Project
    (650) 736-6179

    A new approach quantifies the value of mangrove forests in Belize for carbon sequestration, tourism, fisheries, and coastal protection, then uses the values to target conservation and restoration. The findings hold lessons for coastal countries looking for ways to balance climate goals with economic development.

    Mangrove trees along the coast of Belize. (Image credit: ©Antonio Busiello / WWF)

    A tiny Central American country is charting a path to slowing climate change, while boosting the economy and making communities safer. A new Stanford-led study quantifies the value of Belize’s coastal mangrove forests in terms of how much carbon they can hold, the value they can add to tourism and fisheries, and the protection they can provide against coastal storms and other risks. Importantly, the findings, published June 1 in Nature Ecology and Evolution [below], have already provided a basis for Belize’s commitment to protect or restore additional mangrove forests totaling an area about the size of Washington, D.C., by 2030. The approach holds lessons for many other coastal countries.

    “The U.S. has one of the largest coastlines in the world, and extensive wetlands,” said study lead author Katie Arkema, a scientist at the Stanford Natural Capital Project at the time of the research, now at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington. “This paper offers an approach we could use for setting evidence-based climate resilience and economic development goals.”

    Many countries have been struggling to meet their international climate commitments. Nature-based solutions, such as locking up or sequestering carbon in mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes, provide a promising solution – they help nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and also adapt to climate change. Yet, major coastal countries, including the U.S., have largely overlooked these so-called blue carbon strategies. The oversight is due in part to the complexity of calculating how much carbon wetlands and other coastal ecosystems can sequester, and where to implement these strategies to maximize co-benefits for the economy, flood risk reduction, and other sectors.

    Maximizing benefits

    Working together with other scientists, as well as Belizean policymakers and stakeholders, the researchers quantified carbon storage and sequestration using land cover data from Belize and field estimates from Mexico. They quantified coastal flood risk reduction, tourism, and fisheries co-benefits by modeling related services – such as lobster breeding grounds – provided by mangroves currently and under future protection and restoration scenarios at various locations.

    Among their findings: In some areas, relatively small amounts of mangrove restoration can have big tourism and fisheries benefits. In contrast, total organic carbon sequestration is initially lower when restoring mangrove areas than when protecting existing forests because it takes time for carbon stocks to accumulate in the soil and biomass.

    Another key takeaway: The rate of increase for benefits other than carbon storage begins to decrease at a certain point as mangrove area continues to increase. Predicting these inflection points can help stakeholders and policymakers decide how to most effectively balance ecosystem protection with coastal development. Similarly, identifying locations where blue carbon strategies would provide the greatest delivery of co-benefits can help bolster local support.

    Based on the findings, Belizean policymakers pledged to protect an additional 46 square miles of existing mangroves – bringing the national total under protection to 96 square miles – and to restore 15 square miles of mangroves by 2030. If realized, the effort will not only store and sequester millions of tons of carbon but also boost lobster fisheries by as much as 66%, generate mangrove tourism worth several million dollars annually, and reduce the risk of coastal hazards for at least 30% more people, according to the researchers’ models.

    The numbers are significant for a country with a population smaller than Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a GDP equivalent to about 2% of New York City’s annual budget.

    Because the approach addresses both climate and sustainable development goals, it opens new opportunities for financing nature-based solutions in countries like Belize. In the months to come, the Natural Capital Project, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank will work with 10 countries, including Belize, to support the mainstreaming of and accounting for such nature-based approaches into policy and investment decision-making processes.

    “Belize’s example, illustrating the practical ways nature’s many benefits can be spatially quantified and inform a country’s climate policy and investments, are now primed to be scaled around the world with development banks and country leaders” said study co-author Mary Ruckelshaus, executive director of the Stanford Natural Capital Project.

    Study co-authors also include Jade Delevaux of the Natural Capital Project; Jessica Silver and Samantha Winder of the Natural Capital Project and the University of Washington; and researchers with Silvestrum Climate Associates, the World Wildlife Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the University of Minnesota, Belize’s National Climate Change Office, and Belize’s Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute.

    Nature Ecology and Evolution

    Fig. 1: Climate mitigation and co-benefits for potential blue carbon targets.
    a)b) Climate mitigation and co-benefits for each potential mangrove protection (a) and restoration (b) target relative to the benefits provided by the full opportunity area for each strategy. These estimates were calculated using mangrove footprints based on the priority areas selected through optimization of ecosystem services (Fig. 2). Protection includes highest estimates for carbon storage and sequestration because not all mangroves are at risk of degradation currently; restoration includes estimates for carbon sequestration. The y axis for a represents the supply of ecosystem services attributable to the implementation of this strategy, assuming that without protection, these healthy mangroves would be degraded such that they are no longer functionally able to provide benefits (Methods).

    Fig. 2: Priority locations for potential blue carbon targets.
    a–f, Priority locations for investing in 5,000 ha (a), 10,000 ha (b) and 25,000 ha (c) of mangrove protection (top row) and 1,000 ha (d), 5,000 ha (e) and 10,000 ha (f) of mangrove restoration (bottom row). Priority is based on the number of times a hexagon is selected out of 1,000 model runs in the optimization analysis. Mangrove legislation priorities are the most critical areas for mangrove protection in Belize as designated in recent national mangrove regulation that was based on extensive stakeholder consultation. Communities are the main cities, towns and settlements in Belize where people rely on benefits of mangroves and other coastal ecosystems for their sustenance, livelihoods and coastal climate mitigation and protection.

    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.

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    The Woods Institute for the Environment is working toward a future in which societies meet people’s needs for water, food, health and other vital services while sustaining the planet. As the university’s hub of interdisciplinary environment and sustainability research, the Stanford Woods Institute is the go-to place for Stanford faculty, researchers and students to collaborate on environmental research. Their interdisciplinary work crosses sectors and disciplines, advancing solutions to the most critical, complex environmental and sustainability challenges.

    Our Mission
    To produce breakthrough environmental knowledge and solutions that sustain people and planet today and for generations to come.

    Our Vision

    We can feed people, sustain communities and provide clean water while stewarding the environment.

    Working on campus and around the globe, the Stanford Woods Institute community develops environmental leaders; informs decision-makers with unbiased scientific data; and convenes experts from all of Stanford’s seven schools, other leading academic institutions, government, NGOs, foundations and business. The Stanford Woods Institute is pursuing breakthrough knowledge and solutions that link knowledge to action and solve the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.


    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.

    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.


    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

  • richardmitnick 6:28 am on June 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "As coral reefs face threats University at Buffalo scientists study the future of soft corals", , As hard corals have steadily declined in abundance the octocorals have increasing importance on reefs., , , Earth Observation, , In many cases octocorals do not bleach as readily as stony corals and if they do bleach they generally recover., , , Mary Alice Coffroth and Howard Lasker are among researchers whose work is shedding light on how climate change may shape reefs., , , Reef corals and octocorals form a symbiosis with single-celled algae that live in the coral tissue., Soft corals-also known as "octocorals"=are the sea fans and sea plumes one sees waving to and fro in videos of reefs., Stony corals have been reduced to such low numbers that they do not recover from hurricanes., Stony corals- also called "scleractinian corals" in the vernacular of researchers-create the framework of the reef., , Their name "octocorals" comes from each polyp having eight tentacles., Under periods of stress such as elevated temperatures the stony corals and octocorals may lose the algal symbionts on which they depend. Then the coral appears white and this is called “coral bleach   

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY: “As coral reefs face threats University at Buffalo scientists study the future of soft corals” 

    SUNY Buffalo

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY

    9.13.22 [Just today in social media.]
    Charlotte Hsu


    Mary Alice Coffroth and Howard Lasker are among researchers whose work is shedding light on how climate change may shape reefs.

    This summer, coral researchers from around the world gathered to share their latest findings at a conference devoted to reef science, conservation and management.

    One question that looms large in the field: As warming waters, ocean acidification and other pressures threaten corals, what will reefs look like in years to come?

    “Much of the conference was focused on the future of coral reefs,” said University at Buffalo scientist Howard Lasker, PhD, who attended the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium in July in Bremen, Germany with fellow UB coral scientist Mary Alice Coffroth, PhD. Both are research professors of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

    “While it has been a consistent theme that we must reduce CO2 emissions, the focus of many of the papers has been the science behind approaches to facilitate the survival and recovery of reef corals,” Lasker added.

    As part of the symposium, Lasker was honored at a reception for newly named Fellows of the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS), which sponsors the conference. According to the organization, “The status of ICRS Fellow is awarded in recognition of scientific, conservation, or management achievement and service to ICRS over a significant period of time.”

    Prior to the conference, Coffroth participated in the fourth of a series of workshops hosted by the National Science Foundation-funded Coral Bleaching Research Coordination Network. The event was geared toward writing a perspective on the future of coral bleaching research. She also attended the first workshop in 2019 to help develop recommendations for coral bleaching experimental design protocols.

    Lasker and Coffroth have both been studying coral reefs for several decades. Their work has spanned a period where large-scale bleaching events and other dangers linked to climate change have placed many reefs in peril.

    The pair recently took time to share some of their latest research, focused on “soft corals” in the Caribbean, with implications for understanding the future of reefs:

    Q: How has the world’s understanding of the threats facing reefs changed since you began studying corals?

    Lasker: “When I started studying reefs in the 1970s, we were all focused on complex and fascinating questions about how reefs work. The role of corals, fishes, hurricanes, sea urchins and other organisms were all being studied in systems that seemed to have been around ‘forever’ and which we expected would continue ‘forever.’

    “While some researchers were already raising the alarm about the effects humans were having, many, including me, thought of those as concerns for specific places with especially large human populations or especially uncaring approaches to using reefs.

    “We have steadily seen the effects of humans spread through all of the world’s oceans, and the effects of ocean warming pays no attention to local policies. Now it is the rare scientist who does not have to include our altered environments in their research.”

    Q: What are soft corals, and why are they important?

    Show soft corals some love with a shallow lagoon tank. https://reefbuilders.com

    Lasker: “When people hear the word coral, they usually think of stony corals. Those are corals that produce hard skeletons. Stony corals — called “scleractinian corals” in the vernacular of researchers — create the framework of the reef.

    “Soft corals, also known as “octocorals”, are the sea fans and sea plumes one sees waving to and fro in videos of reefs. Their name “octocorals” comes from each polyp having eight tentacles. Like their scleractinian cousins, they create three dimensional structure on the reef, which is used by fishes and other small organisms. Unlike their scleractinian cousins, they do not have a solid skeleton, and when they die they break down into sand.

    “Octocorals have always been present on reefs, but as hard corals have steadily declined in abundance, the octocorals have increasing importance on reefs. And in some places, octocorals, unlike the hard corals, have actually increased in abundance.”

    Q: Dr. Lasker, some of your recent work has documented the rise of soft coral ‘forests’ in Caribbean reefs. Can you talk about these findings?

    An octocoral forest on the south shore of St. John, Virgin Islands. Some stony corals are visible in the foreground, but on this reef and many Caribbean reefs, they no longer dominate the reefscape, says UB coral researcher Howard Lasker. Credit: Howard Lasker.

    Lasker: “Stony corals, also called hard corals, have been in decline for at least the last 50 years, and sadly, many reefs are only a pale shadow of the reefs of 50 years ago.

    “Octocorals have been more resilient to stresses that have killed stony corals, and some reefs have transitioned from a mix of hard corals and octocorals to predominantly octocorals. The soft corals’ upright, tree-like structure creates a ‘forest’ that provides many, but not all, of the ecosystem services that hard corals provide.

    “We have been studying this transition with the goal of understanding why octocorals have been resilient and the important question of whether we can expect that to continue.”

    Q: Dr. Lasker, you co-led a team that was monitoring reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands when two major hurricanes hit in 2017. What did you observe in the years after?

    Lasker: “The first thing to understand is that coral reefs have always been affected by hurricanes, just as fire has been an important component of the dynamics of forests. Historically, hurricanes have caused damage which over the course of years and decades reefs recover from. The difference now is that stony corals have been reduced to such low numbers that they do not recover.

    “What we discovered in the Virgin Islands is that while octocorals were adversely affected at our study sites, the damage was not as great as we feared and, more importantly, the following year, we saw the development of new colonies which with time should lead to the recovery of the octocorals.”

    Q: Dr. Coffroth, you recently studied soft corals and their algal symbionts during a bleaching event. What were some of the most useful findings?

    Coffroth: “Reef corals and octocorals form a symbiosis with single-celled algae that live in the coral tissue. These algal symbionts, in the family Symbiodiniaceae, use energy from the sun to produce nutrients that are passed to the coral, and the coral in return provides the algal symbionts with nitrogen, CO2 and a safe place to live. This symbiosis is a true mutualism where both partners benefit.

    “Much of the normal coloration of corals and octocorals is due to the brownish algal symbionts that they harbor. Under periods of stress, such as elevated temperatures, the stony corals and octocorals may lose the algal symbionts on which they depend. Then the coral appears white, and this is called “coral bleaching”.

    Flasks containing algal symbionts isolated from stony corals and octocorals. These intracellular symbionts provide the corals with nutrients from photosynthesis. Scientists culture these algal symbionts to study a variety of topics, including the symbionts’ thermal tolerance and their ability to adapt to the changing climate. Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo.

    “We have found that, in many cases, octocorals do not bleach as readily as stony corals, and if they do bleach, they generally recover. Given that there are many species of symbiodinian algal symbionts which have different physiologies, we sought to determine if the symbionts harbored by Caribbean octocorals were more thermotolerant.

    “Our laboratory studies demonstrated that the symbiont types that are found in Caribbean octocorals can grow at temperatures where many stony corals exhibit bleaching. This suggests that at least some of the resilience seen in octocorals may be due to this symbiosis.”

    Flasks containing algal symbionts isolated from stony corals and octocorals. These intracellular symbionts provide the corals with nutrients from photosynthesis. Scientists culture these algal symbionts to study a variety of topics, including the symbionts’ thermal tolerance and their ability to adapt to the changing climate. Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo.

    Q: What role will soft corals play in the future of coral reefs?

    Lasker: “This is the big, and unknown, question. If conditions continue as they are, octocoral forests may persist. They will not build the reef the way stony corals have, and in the long run that will lead to changes on the reef.

    “Reef scientists refer to ‘flattening of the reef,’ which occurs as the dead skeletons of stony corals erode. However, in the short term, octocoral forests will provide habitat for fishes and other organisms, and if conditions improve, their effects might even facilitate recovery of stony corals.

    “However, that requires a big improvement in environmental conditions. If environmental conditions continue to deteriorate due to warming sea temperatures, overfishing, onshore land use policies and other anthropogenic effects, then octocorals too will suffer.”

    Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lasker: “If humans do not reverse CO2 emissions and eliminate other stressors to reefs, then the fate of reefs is rather bleak. Some researchers are working on finding and propagating more resistant corals, but that too requires us to stop the decline in environmental conditions.

    “We cannot simply turn back the clock and recreate the reefs of 50 years ago, but we may be able to set the stage for recovery if we can reverse CO2 emissions, eliminate overfishing and adopt land use policies that will not further degrade reefs.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SUNY Buffalo Campus

    The University at Buffalo-SUNY is a public research university with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York. The university was founded in 1846 as a private medical college and merged with the State University of New York system in 1962. It is one of four university centers in the system, in addition to The University at Albany-SUNY, The University at Binghampton-SUNY , and The University at Stony Brook-SUNY. As of fall 2020, the university enrolls 32,347 students in 13 colleges, making it the largest public university in the state of New York.

    Since its founding by a group which included future United States President Millard Fillmore, the university has evolved from a small medical school to a large research university. Today, in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the university houses the largest state-operated medical school, dental school, education school, business school, engineering school, and pharmacy school, and is also home to SUNY’s only law school. The University at Binghampton has the largest enrollment, largest endowment, and most research funding among the universities in the SUNY system. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in over 100 areas of study, as well as 205 master’s degrees, 84 doctoral degrees, and 10 professional degrees. The University at Buffalo and The University of Virginia are the only colleges founded by United States Presidents.

    The University at Buffalo is classified as an R1 University, meaning that it engages in a very high level of research activity. In 1989, UB was elected to The Association of American Universities, a selective group of major research universities in North America. University at Buffalo’s alumni and faculty have included five Nobel laureates, five Pulitzer Prize winners, one head of government, two astronauts, three billionaires, one Academy Award winner, one Emmy Award winner, and Fulbright Scholars.

    The University at Buffalo intercollegiate athletic teams are the Bulls. They compete in Division I of the NCAA, and are members of the Mid-American Conference.

    The University at Buffalo is organized into 13 academic schools and colleges.

    The School of Architecture and Planning is the only combined architecture and urban planning school in the State University of New York system, offers the only accredited professional master’s degree in architecture, and is one of two SUNY schools that offer an accredited professional master’s degree in urban planning. In addition, the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning also awards the original undergraduate four year pre-professional degrees in architecture and environmental design in the SUNY system. Other degree programs offered by the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning include a research-oriented Master of Science in architecture with specializations in historic preservation/urban design, inclusive design, and computing and media technologies; a PhD in urban and regional planning; and, an advanced graduate certificate in historic preservation.

    The College of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1915 and is the largest and most comprehensive academic unit at University at Buffalo with 29 degree-granting departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes across the humanities, arts, and sciences.

    The School of Dental Medicine was founded in 1892 and offers accredited programs in DDS, oral surgery, and other oral sciences.

    The Graduate School of Education was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest graduate schools at University at Buffalo. The school has four academic departments: counseling and educational psychology, educational leadership and policy, learning and instruction, and library and information science.

    The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was founded in 1946 and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in six departments. It is the largest public school of engineering in the state of New York. University at Buffalo is the only public school in New York State to offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

    The School of Law was founded in 1887 and is the only law school in the SUNY system.

    The School of Management was founded in 1923 and offers AACSB-accredited undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral degrees.

    The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the founding faculty of the University at Buffalo and began in 1846. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the biomedical and biotechnical sciences as well as an MD program and residencies.

    The School of Nursing was founded in 1936 and offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing practice and patient care.

    The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was founded in 1886, making it the second-oldest faculty at University at Buffalo and one of only two pharmacy schools in the SUNY system.

    The School of Public Health and Health Professions was founded in 2003 from the merger of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Health Related Professions. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as professional, master’s and PhD degrees.

    The School of Social Work offers graduate MSW and doctoral degrees in social work.

    The Roswell Park Graduate Division is an affiliated academic unit within the Graduate School of UB, in partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, an independent NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Roswell Park Graduate Division offers five PhD programs and two MS programs in basic and translational biomedical research related to cancer. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park and was the world’s first cancer research institute.

    The University at Buffalo houses two New York State Centers of Excellence (out of the total 11): Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) and Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). Emphasis has been placed on developing a community of research scientists centered around an economic initiative to promote Buffalo and create the Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences as well as other advanced biomedical and engineering disciplines.

    Total research expenditures for the fiscal year of 2017 were $401 million, ranking 59th nationally.

    SUNY’s administrative offices are in Albany, the state’s capital, with satellite offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

    With 25,000 acres of land, SUNY’s largest campus is The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which neighbors the State University of New York Upstate Medical University – the largest employer in the SUNY system with over 10,959 employees. While the SUNY system doesn’t officially recognize a flagship university, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University are sometimes treated as unofficial flagships.

    The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946–1948). The commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of General Electric. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

    Apart from units of the unrelated City University of New York (CUNY), SUNY comprises all state-supported institutions of higher education.

  • richardmitnick 4:25 pm on May 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earthquakes can change the course of rivers – with devastating results. We may now be able to predict these threats", , , Can there be advanced forecasting? It turns out this might be possible., Earth Observation, , Flooding and earthquakes are some of the most frequent natural disasters globally., Flooding could be delayed following a surface rupturing earthquake if the affected river is running low., , It is imperative that existing earthquake response plans consider the influence of active faults that underpin river systems., Many of New Zealand’s active faults underlie rivers located near populated areas or critical infrastructure., New Zealand’s 2016 Kaikōura earthquake stopped the Waiau Toa – also known as the Clarence River – in its course., Sudden river shifts are known as avulsion., , The Papatea Fault ruptured and created a 6.5 meter high barrier within the channel of the Waiau Toa stopping the river in its course., , When a fault deforms the earth’s surface it can cause an overlying river to suddenly flood outside its channel. Unsuspecting communities are at risk., When a fault runs under a river vertical movement can produce a fault scarp – a wall of rock and/or soil obstructing the river’s channel.   

    From “The Conversation (AU)” and The University of Canterbury [Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha] (NZ) : “Earthquakes can change the course of rivers – with devastating results. We may now be able to predict these threats” 

    From “The Conversation (AU)”


    The University of Canterbury [Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha] (NZ)

    Erin McEwan | University of Canterbury

    Getty Images.

    New Zealand’s 2016 Kaikōura earthquake stopped the Waiau Toa – also known as the Clarence River – in its course. Within hours, the river flooded outside its channel and changed course. In the seven years since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake, the river has completely abandoned the path it used to take.

    This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened.

    Flooding and earthquakes are some of the most frequent natural disasters globally. A great deal of work has been done to understand their risk – but relatively little to determine how they can occur at the same time.

    This is a problem. Tens of thousands of active faults run under river channels around the world and in New Zealand. In places where faults and rivers intersect, earthquake and river flood hazards are also intertwined.

    Our new research [Science Advances (below)] shows that when a fault deforms the earth’s surface, it can cause an overlying river to suddenly flood outside its established channel. This can put unsuspecting communities at risk.

    In some cases, the sudden river shifts – also known as avulsion – may even cause the river to establish a new channel within the landscape.

    There are many examples of this phenomenon throughout history, including the 1812 Reelfoot fault rupture, which dammed the mighty Mississippi river for several hours. The same earthquake also permanently dammed the Reelfoot river, creating Reelfoot Lake.

    Earthquakes occur due to sudden movement on faults. When a fault ruptures to the surface, it can shift one side of the fault vertically past the other. This can cause a large block of land to be permanently uplifted or depressed.

    Where faults run under rivers, this vertical movement can produce a fault scarp – a wall of rock and/or soil – that obstructs the river’s ability to continue flowing in its usual channel.

    This is what happened in Kaikōura in 2016. The Papatea Fault ruptured and created a 6.5 meter high barrier within the channel of the Waiau Toa, stopping the river in its course and rapidly and permanently altering the path it takes.

    But can we predict this sort of thing before it happens?

    Photographs taken the day after, and five years following, the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, show how the landscape has changed. Author provided.

    Forecasting shifts

    Data from the Kaikōura earthquake offered an opportunity to test whether these sorts of shifts in river flows, and potential flooding, can be “forecast” in advance. Turns out, it might be possible.

    We constructed two flood models that aimed to reproduce the Waiau Toa river shift. The first model used topographic data obtained following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, containing the real Papatea fault scarp. The second model simulated the avulsion using pre-earthquake topography, modified with an artificial Papatea fault scarp.

    Both models performed well, and accurately reproduced patterns of flooding that took place in 2016. This indicates that changes in river flood patterns following surface rupturing earthquakes can be predicted ahead of time.

    That said, it is impossible to predict the exact amount of surface displacement a fault may produce when it ruptures, or the exact river flow conditions when it does. Instead, flood modelling can be used to explore scenarios ahead of time using historical flow information and historic fault data.

    Applying this to the Papatea fault rupture, we found that sudden shifts in the flow of the river may not immediately happen if the river is low.

    Better planning

    This is important, as it suggests that flooding could be delayed following a surface rupturing earthquake if the affected river is running low. Yet a river may still change course later, as the flow rate increases.

    Creating flood models ahead of time may allow planners to identify key zones along the river that are exposed to this hazard. They can then put in measures that will reduce the impact of the flooding, such as levees.

    New Zealand’s position atop a plate boundary means earthquakes are a common natural hazard. Flood hazards are also increasing in frequency and severity .

    Kaikōura is not the only community that could be affected by the combination of earthquakes and flooding.

    Many of New Zealand’s active faults underlie rivers located near populated areas, or critical infrastructure. Examples include the Wellington fault, which underlies the Hutt River, and the Titri fault and Taieri river intersection which borders Dunedin airport and several towns.

    Kaikōura’s landscape changed significantly after the magnitude 7.8 (Mw) earthquake in November 2016. Getty Images.

    Yet we typically do not consider how these rivers may change following a surface rupturing earthquake, meaning nearby populations and infrastructure remain exposed and unprepared. The unique combination of earthquake and flooding is rarely considered in existing flood management strategies or earthquake response plans.

    It is imperative that existing earthquake response plans consider the influence of active faults that underpin river systems. Current flood models that neglect their presence may underestimate the extent, longevity and patterns of flooding following earthquakes.

    Our modelling provides a path forward. With some knowledge of fault location and rupture style, the interactions between surface rupturing earthquakes and river flood hazards can be explored ahead of time.

    Science Advances

    Fig. 1. FIRA scenario block diagrams
    (A) Visualization of a complex FIRA scenario, where an oblique strike-slip fault truncates multiple bends of a meandering river system. White arrows indicate flow direction, green stars demarcate the main avulsion nodes, and dotted white lines outline the edges of the submerged river channel. An initial avulsion node is created within the western meander bend, where a FSB obstructs flow from entering the parent channel located on the down-stream side of the bend. Water pools against the fault scarp until the existing channel (dotted lines) overtops, resulting in an avulsion. If the fault truncates multiple bends, then multiple avulsion nodes may be created at each displaced bend (green stars). An avulsion analogous to this example is the 2010 Greendale fault rupture in Canterbury, New Zealand, where a single bend of the Hororata River and an active paleochannel of the neighboring Selwyn River were laterally and vertically offset, causing avulsion along the Greendale fault scarp (9*, 12*). (B) Visualization of how a dip-slip FSB may influence river flow behavior. White arrows indicate flow direction and orange arrows demarcate relative displacements on the fault.
    *Links to References in the science paper.

    Fig. 2. Tectonic Setting of the Papatea fault rupture.
    A) New Zealand tectonic setting. Red lines represent fault ruptures in the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, with a green star marking the Papatea fault location (B) The Waiau Toa/Clarence River valley setting following the 2016 Papatea fault rupture. Aerial imagery taken 1 day following the fault rupture was used to constrain the general avulsion extent. The main geomorphic markers (i.e., Glen Alton Bridge and notable topographic or floodplain features) and fault displacement vectors are labeled, as per observations and data collected in the field (14). (C) Aerial imagery taken 1 day following the Papatea fault rupture showing the extent of the FIRA event. Image taken and provided by Environment Canterbury.

    See the science paper for further instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Canterbury [Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha] is a public research university based in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was founded in 1873 as Canterbury College, the first constituent college of the University of New Zealand. It is New Zealand’s second-oldest university, after the University of Otago, itself founded four years earlier in 1869.

    Its original campus was in the Christchurch Central City, but in 1961 it became an independent university and began moving out of its original neo-gothic buildings, which were re-purposed as the Christchurch Arts Centre. The move was completed on 1 May 1975 and the university now operates its main campus in the Christchurch suburb of Ilam.

    The university is well known for its Engineering and Science programmes, with its Civil Engineering programme ranked 9th in the world (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2021). The university also offers a wide range of other courses including degrees in Arts, Commerce, Education (physical education), Fine Arts, Forestry, Health Sciences, Law, Criminal Justice, Antarctic Studies, Music, Social Work, Speech and Language.

    Canterbury College, University of New Zealand, 1873–1960

    On 16 June 1873, the university was founded in the centre of Christchurch as Canterbury College, the first constituent college of the University of New Zealand and was funded by the then Canterbury Provincial Council. It became the second institution in New Zealand providing tertiary-level education (following the University of Otago, established in 1869), and the fourth in Australasia. It was founded on the basis of the Oxbridge college system, but it differed from Oxbridge in that it admitted female students from its foundation. Its foundation professors arrived in 1874, namely, Charles Cook (Mathematics, the University of Melbourne (AU), St John’s College, The University of Cambridge (UK)), Alexander Bickerton (Chemistry and Physics, School of Mining, London), and John Macmillan Brown (University of Glasgow (SCT), Balliol College, the University of Oxford (UK)). A year later the first lectures began and in 1875 the first graduations took place. In 1880, Helen Connon was the first woman to graduate from the college, and in 1894, Apirana Ngata became the first Māori-born student to graduate with a degree. The School of Art was founded in 1882, followed by the faculties of Arts, Science, Commerce, and Law in 1921, and Mental, Moral, and Social Sciences in 1924. The Students’ Union, now known as the University of Canterbury Students Association, was founded in 1929 operating out of the Arts Centre of Christchurch Old Student Union Building, and the first edition of the student magazine Canta was published in 1930. In 1933, the name changed from Canterbury College to Canterbury University College.

    Independence of the University of Canterbury, 1961–2010

    Until 1961, the university formed part of the University of New Zealand (UNZ), and issued degrees in its name. That year saw the dissolution of the federal system of tertiary education in New Zealand, and the University of Canterbury became an independent University awarding its own degrees. Upon the UNZ’s demise, Canterbury Agricultural College became a constituent college of the University of Canterbury, as Lincoln College. Lincoln College became independent in 1990 as a full university in its own right and is now known as Lincoln University (NZ).


    In the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU),the University of Canterbury was dropped completely from the world’s top 500 universities. In the 2017 QS World University Rankings, the University of Canterbury was rated 214th overall in the world, and third highest among New Zealand universities. Its individual global faculty rankings for 2015/2016 were: 146th in Arts & Humanities, 161st in Engineering & IT, 211th in Natural Sciences, and 94th in Social Sciences and Management. By 2018, these faculty rankings had all fallen considerably, and as of the release of the 2019 world university rankings, the three major university ranking organizations, ARWU, QS and THE, had all placed the University of Canterbury squarely in the middle of the pack of NZ universities at fourth place overall out of eight institutions, and in one case just two numerical positions above NZ’s fifth-place university in the nation’s lower division. In the 2016–2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Canterbury was ranked in the world’s top 400 universities, up from being in just the world’s top 500 universities in 2015. By 2021, however, the University of Canterbury had fallen back into just the top 600. Similarly, ARWU dropped the University of Canterbury from the top 400 universities in 2018 to just the top 500 in 2019, where it has remained ever since.

    The university was the first in New Zealand to be granted five stars by QS Stars. Unlike the QS World University Rankings, QS Stars ratings are only given to universities that pay a fee; the programme is designed to give “those institutions that are not highly ranked or do not appear in the rankings an opportunity to reach out to their prospect students, to stand out and to be recognized for their excellence.”

    The Conversation (AU) launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

  • richardmitnick 11:34 am on May 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Tunguska event was the biggest asteroid impact in recorded history. How did it vanish without a trace?", , , , During the Tunguska event over 8 million trees covering an area of 830 square miles were flattened when an asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere., Earth Observation,   

    From “Live Science” : “The Tunguska event was the biggest asteroid impact in recorded history. How did it vanish without a trace?” 

    From “Live Science”

    Hannah Osborne

    During the Tunguska event, over 8 million trees covering an area of 830 square miles were flattened when an asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere.

    The Tunguska event is considered to be the biggest asteroid strike in recorded history. (Image credit: solarseven/Getty Images)

    On June 30, 1908, an asteroid flattened an estimated 80 million trees in Siberia over 830 square miles (2,150 square kilometers). Dubbed the Tunguska event, it is considered the biggest asteroid impact in recorded history. Yet no one has ever found the asteroid fragments or an impact site.

    The asteroid lit up the skies in a remote, sparsely inhabited region near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River. It unleashed a 10 to 15 megaton explosion — similar in size to the 1954 Castle Bravo nuclear bomb test, the fifth-largest nuclear detonation in history. “The sky was split in two, and high above the forest the whole northern part of the sky appeared covered with fire,” an eyewitness reported.

    One popular theory is that the asteroid formed Lake Cheko, a freshwater lake about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the explosion epicenter. The lake is about 1,640 feet (500 meters) wide and 177 feet (54 m) deep. Luca Gasperini, research director at the National Research Council of Italy, and colleagues said the lake’s cone-like shape and depth resembled an impact crater. In a study published 2012 in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems [below], they estimated that the sediments at the bottom of the lake had been building for 100 years, while evidence of trees at the bottom of the lake indicate the waterhole covers an old forest.

    (Image credit: UniversalImagesGroup/Getty Images)

    But some experts were not convinced. In 2017, researchers led by Denis Rogozin, from the Institute of Biophysics at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, carried out their own analysis and concluded that lake sediments were at least 280 to 390 years old, “significantly older than the 1908 Tunguska Event.”

    And in a new study published May 2 in the journal Doklady Earth Sciences [below], Rogozin and colleagues presented more evidence to refute the idea Lake Cheko is the Tunguska asteroid’s impact site.

    Previously, many researchers believed Lake Cheko’s unusual cone shape was unique in the region, giving weight to the idea that an asteroid formed it. But Rogozin and colleagues analyzed two nearby lakes — Zapovednoye and Peyungda — that sit 31 miles (50 km) and 37 miles (60 km) from the suspected impact site. Both are also cone shaped, they found.

    “The difference in the age of the lake sediments puts into question the impact origin of these lakes — this would require the arrival of three almost identical space bodies at different times, which is highly improbable given that the lakes are located in almost the same place on Earth,” the researchers wrote.

    Daniel Vondrák, who studies lake ecosystems at Charles University in Prague, told Live Science in an email that he is convinced by Rogozin’s evidence.

    However, the conical shape of the lakes isn’t the only evidence that Cheko was formed by the Tunguska event, Gasperini said.

    In a paper posted to the preprint server arxiv in 2018 (which still has not been peer reviewed), Gasperini and his team hypothesized that Tunguska was caused by a “rubble-pile” asteroid — a structurally weak mashup of fragments from a monolithic asteroid.. As a result, the asteroid split into two pieces — one around 197 feet (60 m) wide, the other around 20 to 33 feet (6 to 10 m) wide. The smaller of these two smashed into Earth, forming Lake Cheko, they wrote.

    The team detected a 33-foot-wide (10 m) anomaly at the bottom of the lake that may be a leftover fragment of the asteroid. By drilling to the lake center, someone could test the composition of the anomaly to confirm that hypothesis. However, Gasperini’s team can no longer access the site due to the war in Ukraine.

    “The Russian scientists could easily do this test, instead of continuing to publish articles showing data similar to ours with very questionable interpretations,” Gasperini told Live Science in an email.

    What could have happened to the asteroid?

    If Cheko wasn’t formed by the Tunguska impact crater, then what happened to the asteroid that set fire to the skies more than a century ago? A paper published in 2020 in the journal MNRAS [below] suggested a large iron asteroid passed through Earth’s atmosphere, then curved away from Earth without breaking up. This, the team said, would explain why no trace of the asteroid has ever been found.

    Another paper posted to arxiv last month put forward yet another hypothesis — that the asteroid broke apart and scattered across the landscape. While many fragments would have burnt up in the atmosphere, the team said smaller chunks could have survived and hit Earth over a “strewn field.”. This paper suggests rocks from the asteroid could be about 10 to 12 miles (16 to 19 km) northwest of the epicenter, “even if the mud and vegetation could have made any trace disappear.”

    Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

    Figure 1
    (left) Landsat image of the Tunguska area with indicated the pattern of trees flattened after the 1908 explosion and the inferred epicenter [Longo et al., 2005]. Yellow box indicates location of topographic map. (right) Topographic map of the epicenter region. Lake Cheko and the southern and northern swamps are indicated, as well as the most probable trajectory of the cosmic body.

    Figure 2
    Morphobathymetric map of the Lake Cheko obtained by Tunguska99 survey data over an aerial photograph collected during TUNGUSKA99 expedition. Note the funnel-like shape morphology, not typical of Siberian thermokarst lakes. The small prograding delta generated by the inflowing River Kimchu is also visible in the SW shore.
    See the science paper for further instructive material with images.

    Doklady Earth Sciences
    See this above science paper for further instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on May 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Glaciers Are Not Devoid of Life - Tons of Microbes Hide Within The Ice", A small puddle of meltwater on a glacier can easily have 4000 different species living in it., , , At a species level it is true that a dramatic change in one organism can destabilize an entire ecosystem., , , Earth Observation, Microbial communities on snow and ice can rapidly respond to changes in ice melt., , , Within just a day of thawing some dormant microbes regained the ability to read genes and produce amino acid building blocks.   

    From Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK) Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Glaciers Are Not Devoid of Life – Tons of Microbes Hide Within The Ice” 

    From Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK)



    “Science Alert (AU)”

    Carly Cassella

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    Glaciers in the Arctic are not nearly as devoid of life as they might appear at first sight.

    In fact, carpets of ice and snow in Greenland and Iceland are practically crawling with microscopic life forms.

    Like seasonal zombies, many of these organisms lie dormant in winter, waking from their frozen slumber only with the summer melt.

    “A small puddle of meltwater on a glacier can easily have 4,000 different species living in it,” says microbiologist Alexandre Anesio from Aarhus University in Sweden.

    “They live on bacteria, algae, viruses, and microscopic fungi. It’s a whole ecosystem that we never knew existed until recently.”

    When researchers tested the ice and snow at two glaciers in the mid-to-late summer, one in Iceland and the other in Greenland, more than half the bacteria they found were active.

    The rest were dormant or dead.

    Within just a day of thawing, however, some of those dormant microbes regained the ability to read genes and produce amino acid building blocks – like the stiff cogs of a machine finally turning after six months of stillness.

    The findings suggest microbial communities on snow and ice can rapidly respond to changes in ice melt.

    But while adaptation in the face of climate change is usually considered a good thing, at least at a species level, it’s also true that a dramatic change in one organism can destabilize an entire ecosystem.

    In the future, rain and winter warming events in the Arctic are expected to increase with climate change, and some microbes are already thriving in the slush.

    The snow algae that performs best in Greenland’s meltwater is a deep dark purple, and in recent years, scientists like Anesio have noticed the color spreading.

    “When I travel to Greenland, I now see vast areas where the ice is completely dark because of the algae,” says Anesio.

    The dark appearance of the snow and ice ultimately means that more heat from the Sun is absorbed, increasing melt by 20 percent.

    Snow algae is not a factor included in current climate models. The missing microbes in ice are just one explanation for why Greenland’s glaciers could be melting faster in reality than predicted in models.

    A previous study [Nature Geoscience (below)], for instance, found that adding water to a snowpack over two months led to an increase in snow algae of 48 percent.

    After just three days of thawing in the lab, some samples from the current study contained 35 percent more active microbes than before.

    Discolored ice in Greenland driven by biological communities. (Jenine McCutcheon)

    “Crucially, our results suggest that glacial microorganisms are able to respond to short melt-events occurring on the timescale of hours to days – which is sufficiently short that periodic melting on glacier surfaces potentially impacts the functioning of glacial ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles,” scientists write.

    “Enhanced winter warming is predicted to become more prevalent as a result of future climate change and could therefore bring about ecological changes to glaciers.”

    The future of Arctic snow and ice doesn’t just look darker. It is.

    The study was published in Geobiology.

    FIGURE 1
    Field sites. (a–c) Mittivakkat glacier in SE-Greenland; (a) the transition from the snow to the ice surface; (b) the glacier surface, and (c) a close-up of the ice surface. (d–g) Langjökull, Iceland, (d) as seen from Kaldadalsvegur (credit: Johann Dréo, CC BY-SA 3.0); (e) the Langjökull glacier surface; and close-ups of the (f) snow and (g) ice surface. The scale bars in c, f, and g represent 10 cm.

    FIGURE 3
    Epifluorescence microscopy. Single-cell visualization of translational activity observed for bacteria from the ice sample MIT5 from Mittivakkat glacier. Panels from top to bottom: (a) DAPI staining of DNA in blue; (b) protein synthesis-active cells via BONCAT in green; and (c) an overlay showing active (green) and inactive (blue) cells.

    Nature Geoscience 2017

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Aarhus Universitet DK campus.

    Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK), abbreviated AU) is the largest and second oldest research university in Denmark. The university belongs to the Coimbra Group, the Guild, and Utrecht Network of European universities and is a member of the European University Association.

    The university was founded in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1928 and comprises five faculties in Arts, Natural Sciences, Technical Sciences, Health, and Business and Social Sciences and has a total of twenty-seven departments. It is home to over thirty internationally recognised research centres, including fifteen Centres of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The university is ranked among the top 100 world’s best universities. The business school within Aarhus University, called Aarhus BSS, holds the EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development) Equis accreditation, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). This makes the business school of Aarhus University one of the few in the world to hold the so-called Triple Crown accreditation. Times Higher Education ranks Aarhus University in the top 10 of the most beautiful universities in Europe (2018).

    The university’s alumni include Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of programming language C++, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and a Secretary General of NATO.

    Nobel Laureate Jens Christian Skou (Chemistry, 1997), conducted his groundbreaking work on the Na/K-ATPase in Aarhus and remained employed at the university until his retirement. Two other nobel laureates: Trygve Haavelmo (Economics, 1989) and Dale T. Mortensen (Economics, 2010). were affiliated with the university.

  • richardmitnick 9:35 am on May 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The University of Maine joins NSF-backed coalition for forestry research and product development in Northern New England", , Earth Observation, ,   

    From The University of Maine: “The University of Maine joins NSF-backed coalition for forestry research and product development in Northern New England” 

    From The University of Maine

    5.11.23 [Just today in social media.]
    Marcus Wolf

    Credit: UMaine.

    The University of Maine has partnered with research institutions and community organizations across Northern New England to devise new forest products and management strategies using $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    The Coalition of Northern Forest Innovation and Research (CONFIR), led by the Northern Forest Center in Concord, New Hampshire, is among the first recipients of the new NSF Engines Development Award, created to bolster research and development among robust partnerships that will accelerate technological, economic and workforce development at the regional level.

    With this funding, CONFIR will spend the next two years creating various research proposals to earn the title of NSF Engine and the opportunity to receive up to $160 million. That funding would allow the group to conduct research and design products that will open new markets for rural economies and preserve the Northern Forest for years to come.

    The goals for CONFIR’s research and development efforts include increasing the number of forestry workers with in-depth skill sets; creating and promoting new best practices for preserving forests from the effects of climate change; publishing new resource management strategies; and accelerating the production of innovative manufactured wood products and other forest-based goods and technologies.

    “We are pleased to be part of this coalition of leaders and innovators in forestry research and entrepreneurship, and that the National Science Foundation will support our work in preserving Maine forests and growing the regional economy,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “For more than a century, UMaine has stood at the forefront of science, technology and workforce development in the forest economy, all to help protect these vital ecosystems that serve as an economic, environmental and cultural foundation of our state. With this new funding, we look forward to strengthening our collaboration with other universities and community-focused organizations to build the research and development base to keep the forests of Northern New England resilient to climate change, create transformative bioproducts, further expand our rural economies and train the next generation of environmental stewards.

    The lead researchers from UMaine’s School of Forest Resources involved in CONFIR are Shane O’Neill, forest industry business development manager, and Aaron Weiskittel, director of the University of Maine’s Center for Research on Sustainable Forests.

    In addition to the Northern Forest Center and UMaine, CONFIR’s core partner organizations include the University of New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, the University of Vermont, Northern Vermont University, the Maine Development Foundation and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

    “The Northern Forest is a regional ecosystem, and its forest economy spans state and national boundaries as well,” says Joe Short, vice president of the Northern Forest Center and director of the CONFIR initiative. “Our coalition and this award connect the leading work of the University of Maine and the FOR/Maine initiative with their counterparts in New Hampshire and Vermont. This combined expertise and regional network is crucial as our region’s forests and the businesses and communities that depend on them face climate change, dynamic wood markets, and other challenges. Collaborating regionally to chart solutions to those challenges will help forests and forest industries be resilient into the future.”

    Visit the Northern Forest Center CONFIR website for more information.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Maine is a public land-grant research university in Orono, Maine. It was established in 1865 as the land-grant college of Maine and is the flagship university of the University of Maine System. The University of Maine is one of only a few land, sea and space grant institutions in the nation. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    With an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students, The University of Maine is the state’s largest college or university. The University of Maine’s athletic teams, nicknamed the Black Bears, are Maine’s only Division I athletics program. Maine’s men’s ice hockey team has won two national championships.

    The University of Maine was founded in 1862 as a function of the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Established in 1865 as the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the college opened on September 21, 1868 and changed its name to the University of Maine in 1897.

    By 1871, curricula had been organized in Agriculture, Engineering, and electives. The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station was founded as a division of the university in 1887. Gradually the university developed the Colleges of Life Sciences and Agriculture (later to include the School of Forest Resources and the School of Human Development), Engineering and Science, and Arts and Sciences. In 1912 the Maine Cooperative Extension, which offers field educational programs for both adults and youths, was initiated. The School of Education was established in 1930 and received college status in 1958. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1958 and was granted college status in 1965. Women have been admitted into all curricula since 1872. The first master’s degree was conferred in 1881; the first doctor’s degree in 1960. Since 1923 there has been a separate graduate school.

    Near the end of the 19th century, the university expanded its curriculum to place greater emphasis on liberal arts. As a result of this shift, faculty hired during the early 20th century included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department and the nation’s first woman to head a major university department.

    In 1906, The Senior Skull Honor Society was founded to “publicly recognize, formally reward, and continually promote outstanding leadership and scholarship, and exemplary citizenship within the University of Maine community.”

    On April 16, 1925, 80 women met in Balentine Hall — faculty, alumnae, and undergraduate representatives — to plan a pledging of members to an inaugural honorary organization. This organization was called “The All Maine Women” because only those women closely connected with the University of Maine were elected as members. On April 22, 1925, the new members were inducted into the honor society.

    When the University of Maine System was incorporated, in 1968, the school was renamed by the legislature over the objections of the faculty to the University of Maine at Orono. This was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986.

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