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  • richardmitnick 10:40 am on August 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Probiotics for corals boost resilience and help prevent mortality", , , King Abdulla University of Science and Technology جامعة الملك عبد الله للعلو[والتقنيةه‎, Marine Biology,   

    From King Abdulla University of Science and Technology جامعة الملك عبد الله للعلو[والتقنيةه‎: “Probiotics for corals boost resilience and help prevent mortality” 

    From King Abdulla University of Science and Technology جامعة الملك عبد الله للعلو[والتقنيةه‎

    Aug 15, 2021

    1
    KAUST Marine Scientist Dr. Raquel Peixoto administers probiotics, or Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC), to coral in controlled aquarium environments. Photo: KAUST.

    As more coral reefs around the world suffer from bleaching and mass mortality due to warming ocean temperatures and related climate change conditions, good news about reefs is welcome news. A new study [Science Advances] shows probiotics to be helpful protagonists in boosting coral health and preventing mortality in the face of environmental stressors. Lead authors from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) are Dr. Raquel S. Peixoto, associate professor, Dr. Erika P. Santoro, postdoctoral fellow, and Dr. Helena D. M. Villela, research scientist.

    Beneficial microorganisms

    Published in Science Advances, August 13, 2021, the paper finds that Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC) help corals recover from thermal stress in a number of ways, chiefly by stimulating immune processes that help them rebuild their microbiome environment and offset post-heat stress disorder (PHSD) symptoms driven by thermal stress. It details research conducted at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro or University of Brazil [Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro or Universidade do Brasil] (BR) (UFRJ), Brazil, where the scientists were formerly affiliated, and includes analytical data from subsequent tests done at the KAUST Red Sea Research Center.

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    A healthy symbiotic relationship between the coral host and algae that live in the coral is the foundation of reef ecosystems and helps keep reefs in stasis. Photo: NEOM.

    The paper is the first of its kind to show that probiotic “medicine” can protect bleached corals from death. The study received funding from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Out of the Blue Box Reef Innovation Challenge, which called for new ideas to protect coral reefs. It was supported by the Tiffany & Co Foundation.

    Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said, “Pioneering science such as this provides hope for the future of the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs globally, which are coming under increasing pressure from climate change.”

    A need for protection

    The photosynthetic algae that live in coral polyps produce more than 80% of the carbon compounds that corals use as a source of energy. They also give the corals their signature color. In return, corals provide protection and nutrients. This symbiotic relationship is the foundation of reef ecosystems and helps keep reefs in stasis.

    Coral bleaching is a dire phenomenon afflicting reefs around the world. Scientists theorize that high temperatures and light damage the photosynthetic apparatus of the algae, causing them to produce high amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are highly reactive and toxic to both the algae and coral host.

    Under these circumstances, corals can expel the algae. If they do, the corals’ energy (and color) drains, and they slowly starve if conditions persist. Bleaching is a signpost of this process. Depending on the duration of the thermal event and whether conditions improve, the algae will either return or not.

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    KAUST Marine Scientist Dr. Raquel Peixoto discusses the important role probiotics play in coral recovery; shown here in the Marine Microbiomes Lab at KAUST. Photo: J. West/KAUST.

    Peixoto believes that the probiotics buy corals time to recover so that the algae will stay for a longer period of time or more quickly return after a bleaching event. She first conceived the idea of using probiotics to protect corals based on research results from a previous project in Brazil, led by another KAUST faculty, Dr. Alexandre Rosado, that involved helping mangrove ecosystems recover from oil spills. For that, she developed probiotic pills from plant bacteria that degraded oil, and that plant roots could absorb through the sediment. To her surprise, the formula not only broke down the oil, but made the plants grow stronger and faster.

    “I knew that the pills we selected could degrade the oil, but was astonished by the extent to which they also promoted hormone growth and immune responses in the plants,” she said. “Based on the plants’ recovery, I wondered if probiotics could do the same for corals. At the time, there wasn’t any literature about how to manipulate beneficial coral bacteria, which are different from that of plants. There was no recipe for me to follow. When I couldn’t find it in the literature, I decided to create it.”

    Formula for success

    The study centered on Mussismilia hispida, a coral species endemic to Brazil.

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    KAUST marine scientists create a potent probiotic from “coral juice,” a solution of seawater containing fragments of coral itself and the microorganisms that live in the coral. From this mixture, bacteria strains are selected for their genetic and metabolic potential to serve as probiotics, or Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC). Photo: J West/KAUST.

    It demonstrated that corals change their bacterial association when exposed to different environmental conditions. Based on their findings, the researchers created a potent probiotic using the coral itself and its associated microbes. To this end, they ground and soaked fragments of the coral in a solution of seawater, a process that released the bacteria that live in the tissue, skeleton and other coral compartments. From this “coral juice,” they isolated, plated, and studied hundreds of bacteria strains for their genetic and metabolic potential to serve as BMCs.

    The team then selected six or so of these strains for traits deemed likeliest to activate the corals’ natural immune responses. For example, some bacteria are natural antagonists to pathogens; others, able to scavenge and degrade ROS, recycle nitrogen, or generate nutrients for corals. Such traits are advantageous in a BMC formula. The best bacteria strains comprise the probiotic formula, as do fungi and yeast, also part of the coral’s microbiome. Peixoto said that a holistic formula equips the corals with hearty traits for buffering and surviving heat trauma.

    Data comparisons

    Working with two groups of corals in controlled aquarium environments — those inoculated with probiotics and those with a placebo — the scientists exposed the corals to the same degree of thermal stress. Whereas all corals initially bleached and showed signs of inflammation, those with BMCs survived and recovered; those without, died.

    Peixoto commented, “There was a significant difference in the expression of specific genetic traits when we compared the two groups. We could see from the physiological response that all corals suffered some degree of thermal stress, but those inoculated with BMCs recovered and returned to their original state, with results similar to corals that had not been exposed at all. Corals that did not receive BMCs sustained strong damage or ultimately died. These results indicate that coral probiotics increase coral recovery and their likelihood of surviving heat stress.”

    By mapping and comparing changes between the two coral groups, the researchers could also see changes at the cellular level, such as how the lipids, membranes and other coral structures responded. In this way, Peixoto said that the metabolite results aligned with the physiological data. Probiotics increased the overall stability and survivorship in the symbiotic algae-coral host relationship by more than 40%.

    It is this alignment of data across scales that former KAUST faculty member Dr. Christian Voolstra said makes the study foundational. Voolstra brings expertise in reef genomics and big data analysis. A close collaborator with Peixoto since 2016, he developed the analytical frameworks for the study and helped interpret the data.

    “The study is remarkable for demonstrating what we call genetic reprogramming. By this I don’t mean that we are editing the genes, quite the opposite,” he said. “Rather, we are borrowing beneficial microbes that evolved in harmony with the reef, and are offering them to the corals. The selected microbes aren’t superimposing their functions onto the host; they’re prompting the coral to make beneficial changes at the genetic level. This is a key understanding about the mechanisms underlying coral probiotics that was not known before.”

    Red Sea research

    Now at KAUST, and encouraged by the data from the Brazil study, Peixoto and team have extended the experiment to include Pocillopora verrucosa, a species of stony coral common to the Red Sea and reefs in other parts of the world. They chose Pocillopora for a number of reasons: its genomic sequence is already known; they previously worked on this species in tank experiments; it grows fast and is abundant in the Red Sea; and literature is widely available. In this regard, Pocillopora is a model organism to study. The process of creating probiotics for Red Sea Pocillopora is the same as that used for M. hispida, only they are from Pocillopora microorganisms and material isolated from the Red Sea.

    5
    KAUST marine scientists study the effects of probiotics on Pocillopora verrucosa, a species of stony coral common to the Red Sea. Photo: KAUST.

    The experimental phase at KAUST is completed, and the scientists are preparing to test the probiotics on living corals in the Red Sea using controlled pilot approaches. This will be the first time an experiment of this nature has been conducted in the natural laboratory of the sea.

    Microbiologist and Postdoctoral Fellow Erika Santoro brings expertise in host-microbiome interactions. Her involvement centered on analyzing and selecting strains for use in the probiotic, and subsequently assessing coral behavior.

    “Working with biological systems is challenging and sometimes brings unexpected results; things go wrong, but things go right,” she said. “When you see from the experiments that our hard work actually helped the corals to survive, it is the best feeling and worth all the long hours. That’s why I’m in science.”

    Taking the work to the sea

    Peixoto selected a marine site near KAUST where Pocillopora is the dominant coral species, and with qualities suitable for replicating in the controls — small patches of corals, or mini reefs, to better control the inoculation and monitor it over time. Bacterial probiotics will be inoculated in the form of pills, or beads, with the healthy bacteria, immobilized within. The scientists will distribute the beads to the designated corals. They will slowly dissolve in the salty sea, releasing the microorganisms in a cloud of probiotics that the corals will then absorb. Treatment is slated for late August, 2021.

    6
    KAUST Marine Scientist Dr. Raquel Peixoto administers probiotics, or Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC), to coral in controlled aquarium environments. Photo: KAUST

    ​As more coral reefs around the world suffer from bleaching and mass mortality due to warming ocean temperatures and related climate change conditions, good news about reefs is welcome news. A new study, Coral microbiome manipulation elicits metabolic and genetic restructuring to mitigate heat stress and evade mortality, shows probiotics to be helpful protagonists in boosting coral health and preventing mortality in the face of environmental stressors. Lead authors from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) are Dr. Raquel S. Peixoto, associate professor, Dr. Erika P. Santoro, postdoctoral fellow, and Dr. Helena D. M. Villela, research scientist.

    KAUST Marine Research Scientist Helena Villela, who worked with Peixoto in Brazil on the oil degradation project and subsequent coral studies, commented:

    “Taking our research to the sea is a huge step for us, and we are prepared. The experimental site is well documented, well controlled, and all corals have been tagged.”

    Villela said that both their treatment and post-treatment measurement approaches are unique because they factor more than the health of the coral; they consider the total holobiont — the microorganisms in association with the coral, i.e., the algae, fungi, bacteria and other microbes that live there. “A healthy microbiome indicates a healthy holobiont, which will likely reflect in a healthy reef,” she said.

    Future Scenarios

    How often the corals will need to be inoculated after the initial exposure is an unknown at this time. Peixoto said they are investigating whether the inoculations can promote epigenetic change or some kind of adaptation that could be permanent and passed on to the next generation.

    She hopes to expand the project on a larger scale to reefs within the Red Sea and also those in other parts of the world, should the pilot approaches prove to be safe and efficient. Whether or not bacteria from a coral species in the Red Sea environment will work on the same coral in a different environment is a question that she and the team hope to answer. She said it’s an undeveloped area of exploration, but that it is possible.

    “We have the goal to select probiotics that can be used in different places with different species, but we need to start slowly by first understanding the effects of the probiotics on the local reef and its microbiome,” she said. “It’s part of our framework of sustainable and smart development of techniques to move safely and responsibly. If it works, then we go from here. I truly think microbes rule the world because they provide the cycle of nutrients that all life forms depend on for survival.”

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (جامعة الملك عبد الله للعلوم و التقنية ) is a private research university located in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. Founded in 2009, the university provides research and graduate training programs in English as the official language of instruction.

    KAUST is the first mixed-gender university campus in Saudi Arabia. In 2013, the university was among the 500 fastest growing research and citation records in the world. In the 2016 Nature Index Rising Stars, the university ranked 19th in the world of the fastest rising universities for high quality research output. In 2019 KAUST is ranked 8th fastest rising young universities (aged 50 and under) for their research output since 2015, as measured by fractional count (FC).

    In 2006, Ali Al-Naimi chaired a Saudi Aramco team to undertake the building and planning of the academics. Nadhmi Al-Nasr was chosen to lead the project. They employed the Washington Advisory Group’s Frank H. T. Rhodes and Frank Press to design the academic structure, SRI International to develop the four research institutes, and the architectural firm of HOK for the campus master plan, which included wind towers and solar panels. The location of the campus at Thuwal included 16.4 sq km on land and 19.6 sq km of marine sanctuary offshore. Ground breaking took place in Oct. 2007, and 178 scholarships were awarded in Jan. 2008.[1]

    KAUST officially opened on September 23, 2009 at an inauguration ceremony, where King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud gave a speech where he stated that places like the University that “embrace all people are the first line of defence against extremists”. The University initially received a $10 billion endowment. Upon opening, the University admitted 400 students from over 60 countries and 70 faculty. The campus is home to Shaheen, Asia’s fastest supercomputer.

    Shaheen II Cray XC-40 supercomputer at KAUST

     
  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on July 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Eerie Bioluminescence That Creates 'Milky Sea' Revealed in New Satellite Study", , , Colorado State University (US), Marine Biology, , ,   

    From Colorado State University (US) via Science Alert (US) : “Eerie Bioluminescence That Creates ‘Milky Sea’ Revealed in New Satellite Study” 

    From Colorado State University (US)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (US)

    30 JULY 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Not the actual ‘milky sea’ phenomenon. (Alyssa Boobyer/Unsplash)

    2
    Credit: Mysterious World. (Illumination of glowing wave, Krabi, Thailand.)
    Milky Sea effect is referred to an unusual marine phenomenon in the ocean in which a large amount of sea water appears to glow brightly at night.This effect is caused by some bioluminescent bacteria or dinoflagellates, causing the sea to uniformly display an eerie blue glow at night. This effect is so bright that it can also been seen from space.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    This phenomenon is observed from many centuries and is notably mentioned in 1870 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.

    In 1995, a British merchant vessel in the Arabian Sea took water samples during milky seas. The captain and his crew were surrounded by glowing water that “appeared to cover the entire sea area, from horizon to horizon.” And knowing that it took them full six hours to cross from one edge of the glowing water to the other, it was quite the eerie scene. Their conclusions were that the effect was caused by the bacteria Vibrio harveyi.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The ocean is vast, and deep, and dark, and inhospitable to us feeble land-dwelling creatures. There’s much that remains unknown or poorly understood in its roiling, seething belly.

    Technology is changing that.

    For over a century, mariners have reported an eerily beautiful phenomenon they called the “milky sea” – enormous patches of glowing water that sometimes persist for several nights in a row. It wasn’t until 2005 that this phenomenon was finally confirmed – in the form of photographs taken from a satellite in low-Earth orbit.

    Now scientists have used nearly a decade’s worth of satellite data to reveal the phenomenon in detail. Although much remains to be discovered, we’ve made some important steps towards understanding the largest known form of bioluminescence on Earth.

    In his 1872 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, Jules Verne wrote “It is called a milk sea .. a large extent of white wavelets often to be seen on the coasts of Amboyna .. the whiteness which surprises you is caused only by the presence of myriads of infusoria, a sort of luminous little worm”.

    The worm was conjecture on Verne’s part, but milky seas are otherwise real. Patches of this phenomenon can be larger than 100,000 square kilometers (around 39,000 square miles), and have been reported a great deal in the last century or so: 235 sightings were cataloged between 1915 and 1993, which suggests an occurrence rate of at least thrice per year.

    However, only once has a research vessel managed to sail through one, in 1985 in the Arabian Sea.

    The water they collected contained, among other organisms, a bioluminescent marine bacterium called Vibrio harveyi; the researchers aboard the vessel concluded this was likely the source of the glow, but some features remained unexplained. In addition, their conclusions are yet to be verified.

    The problems with verification are several. Milky seas occur in remote locations, primarily; and they are unpredictable, which means getting a research vessel in position prior to the appearance of one is nigh impossible. Now, using satellite imaging, a team of scientists led by marine biologist Steven Miller of Colorado State University hopes to fill in the gaps.

    The NOAA’s Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 are two weather satellites equipped with a variety of sensors, including an instrument called the Day/Night Band. This sensor is designed to capture low-light emission sources, under a variety of illumination conditions.

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    NOAA-20 satellite.

    This means it’s uniquely able to see faintly glowing patches of sea that other instruments might not. Sure enough, when Miller and his colleagues examined the Day/Night Band data for three commonly reported milky sea locations between 2012 and 2021, they found 12 instances of the phenomenon.

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    A three-night sequence from 2018 showing a milky sea in the Somali Sea. Credit: Miller et al., Sci. Rep., 2021.

    The Day/Night Band continues to amaze me with its ability to reveal light features of the night,” Miller said. “Like Captain Ahab of Moby-Dick, the pursuit of these bioluminescent milky seas has been my personal ‘white whale’ of sorts for many years.”

    The glow has long been known to be a strange one. Unlike bioluminescent algae, which discharge flashes of light in a warning signal in response to being disturbed and often appear in tumbling waves and turbulent ship wakes, milky seas glow wide and steady. We don’t know how they form, or why, or how the glow is composed and structured.

    The team’s data revealed that milky seas seem to resonate with the monsoons in the northwest Indian Ocean, which produces cool upwellings of nutrient-rich water, but no such monsoonal association was apparent in the Maritime Continent region.

    This means that some other process could be providing nutrient upwellings when the milky seas appear there.

    They also found that the bioluminescence remained stable and steady in choppy waters, which would not occur if the glow was confined to a surface slick. This suggests a well-mixed layer of water that contains the glowing organisms.

    Physically sampling milky seas will, of course, help solve the mystery once and for all. The team hopes that their satellite data will show us the way to find them more easily.

    “Milky seas are simply marvelous expressions of our biosphere whose significance in nature we have not yet fathomed,” Miller said.

    “Their very being spins an unlikely and compelling tale that ties the surface to the skies, the microscopic to the global scales, and the human experience and technology across the ages; from merchant ships of the 18th century to spaceships of the modern day. The Day/Night Band has lit yet another pathway to scientific discovery.”

    The research has been published in Scientific Reports.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    From Colorado State University (US) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Colorado. The university is the state’s land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.

    The current enrollment is approximately 37,198 students, including resident and non-resident instruction students and the University is planning on having 42,000 students by 2020. The university has approximately 2,000 faculty in eight colleges and 55 academic departments. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in 65 fields of study, with master’s degrees in 55 fields. Colorado State confers doctoral degrees in 40 fields of study, in addition to a professional degree in veterinary medicine.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:29 pm on July 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tiny Organisms Shed Big Light on Ocean Nutrients", , , , For decades researchers have been using a fixed ratio to estimate the balance of carbon; nitrogen; and phosphorus in marine environments., Marine Biology, , Oceanogaphy, Plankton are some of the most numerous and important organisms in the ocean., The problem is that the fixed ratios are safe estimates that do not actually represent how biology works., The ratio of nitrogen and phosphorus introduced from the subsurface ocean controls the balance of those nutrients in the marine microorganisms that form the foundation of ocean health., The team directly measured the nutrients in phytoplankton ., The team looked at samples from eight locations in oceans around the world., This study used a technique called flow cytometry which allows researchers to examine and sort hundreds to thousands of cells per second.   

    From Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (US) : “Tiny Organisms Shed Big Light on Ocean Nutrients” 

    From Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (US)

    July 20, 2021

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    As the world warms, sweeping changes in marine nutrients seem like an expected consequence of increased ocean temperatures. However, the reality is more complicated. New research suggests that processes below the ocean surface may be controlling what is happening above.

    Plankton are some of the most numerous and important organisms in the ocean. The balance of chemical elements inside them varies and is critical to shaping many marine processes, including the food web and the global carbon cycle. Temperature has been traditionally thought to control the ratio of these elements. However, a new study suggests this balance is largely dependent on activity in the subsurface ocean, from depths of over 300 feet. The research, led by scientists at Bigelow Laboratory, was recently published in Communications Earth and Environment.

    The team looked at samples from eight locations in oceans around the world. They found that the ratio of nitrogen and phosphorus introduced from the subsurface ocean controls the balance of those nutrients in the marine microorganisms that form the foundation of ocean health. This discovery could allow scientists to more accurately explore complex ocean processes.

    “This is the first time that we’ve looked across a broad range of ocean regions and directly measured the balance of nutrients in ocean microorganisms, which is really exciting,” said Mike Lomas, lead author on the paper. “Now we can apply more realistic parameters based on what is actually driving marine dynamics to the computer models used to forecast ocean change ”

    For decades researchers have been using a fixed ratio to estimate the balance of carbon; nitrogen; and phosphorus in marine environments. Scientists and groups like the International Panel on Climate Change use this ratio in computer simulations to make predictions about the future of the planet.

    However, it does not necessarily represent the wide diversity of chemical balances in the ocean or the significant role that organisms play in cycling nutrients.

    “The problem is that the fixed ratios are safe estimates that do not actually represent how biology works,” Lomas said. “More realistic, but risky and complicated, approaches are not yet widely utilized.”

    To develop a more accurate understanding of these ratios, Lomas directly measured them in phytoplankton – some of the most critical marine organisms worldwide. The elements in these organisms’ cells reflect the available nutrients in their habitat and shine light on the role of biodiversity in how the nutrients cycle.

    This is not the first time phytoplankton have been examined to understand nutrient levels in the ocean, but it is the most advanced and comprehensive. The team examined phytoplankton around the world to create a snapshot of three critical nutrient elements across broad environmental conditions. Traditionally, researchers have used physical filters to sort out plankton from seawater before examining them. However, this approach can also capture bacteria and tiny particles, leading to errors.

    This study used a technique called flow cytometry which allows researchers to examine and sort hundreds to thousands of cells per second. This enabled the researchers to isolate and examine only the cells they were interested in. It not only gave them a more accurate understanding of the diverse ratios of elements in the ocean, but also what processes are controlling them.

    The team found that, contrary to the most common hypothesis, the ratio of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in cells was primarily dependent on the ratio of nitrogen and phosphorus supplied from the subsurface ocean to the sunlit waters where phytoplankton are active. This was true across all locations, regardless of the kind of phytoplankton or their environmental conditions.

    Lomas hopes that this improved understanding of nutrients can be used to better picture how oceans will respond to climate change.

    “We can’t examine the nutrients in every single cell in every ocean, but we need to be sure all the controlling factors are included in computer models,” Lomas said. “As we blend these results with other advanced disciplines, we will really advance our understanding of ocean dynamics and ability to forecast future conditions.”

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (US), founded in 1974, is an independent, non-profit oceanography research institute. The Laboratory’s research ranges from microbial oceanography to the large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive ocean ecosystems and health of the entire planet.

    The institute’s LEED Platinum laboratory is located on its research and education campus in East Boothbay, Maine. Bigelow Laboratory supports the work of about 100 scientists and staff. The majority of the institute’s funding comes from federal and state grants and contracts, philanthropic support, and licenses and contracts with the private sector.

    History

    The Laboratory was established by Charles and Clarice Yentsch in 1974 as a private, non-profit research institution named for the oceanographer Henry Bryant Bigelow, founding director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US). Bigelow’s extensive investigations in the early part of the twentieth century are recognized as the foundation of modern oceanography. His multi-year expeditions in the Gulf of Maine, where he collected water samples and data on phytoplankton, fish populations, and hydrography, established a new paradigm of intensive, ecologically-based oceanographic research in the United States and made this region one of the most thoroughly studied bodies of water, for its size, in the world.

    Since its founding, the Laboratory has attracted federal grants for research projects by winning competitive, peer reviewed awards from all of the principal federal research granting agencies. The Laboratory’s total operating revenue (including philanthropy) has grown to more than $10 million dollars a year. Federal research grants have supported most of the Laboratory’s research operations. Education and outreach programs rely on other sources of support, primarily contributions from individuals and private philanthropic foundations.

    In February 2018, Deborah Bronk became the president and CEO of Bigelow Laboratory. Prior to joining the Laboratory, Bronk was the Moses D. Nunnally Distinguished Professor of Marine Sciences and department chair at Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. She previously served as division director for the National Science Foundation’s (US) Division of Ocean Science and as president of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:56 pm on July 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What happens to marine life when oxygen is scarce?", All of the macro-organisms are trying to get away from this deoxygenated water and those that cannot escape essentially suffocate., , Benthic Life, , Coral, How sudden deoxygenation events affect tropical marine ecosystems is poorly understood., Hypoxic ocean waters: there is little to no oxygen in that area., Marine Biology, Ocean Chemistry, ,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) : “What happens to marine life when oxygen is scarce?” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US)

    July 26, 2021
    Media Relations Office
    media@whoi.edu
    (508) 289-3340

    1
    Brittle sea stars, which usually are in hiding, perch on top of coral to attempt to escape from hypoxic ocean waters, which have little to no oxygen in that area. Sadly, those that cannot escape essentially suffocate. Image Credit: Maggie Johnson © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    In September of 2017, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution postdoctoral scholar Maggie Johnson was conducting an experiment with a colleague in Bocas del Toro off the Caribbean coast of Panama. After sitting on a quiet, warm open ocean, they snorkeled down to find a peculiar layer of murky, foul-smelling water about 10 feet below the surface, with brittle stars and sea urchins, which are usually in hiding, perching on the tops of coral.

    This unique observation prompted a collaborative study explained in a new paper published today in Nature Communications analyzing what this foggy water layer is caused by, and the impact it has on life at the bottom of the seafloor.

    “What we’re seeing are hypoxic ocean waters, meaning there is little to no oxygen in that area. All of the macro-organisms are trying to get away from this deoxygenated water and those that cannot escape essentially suffocate. I have never seen anything like that on a coral reef,” said Johnson.

    “There is a combination of stagnant water from low wind activity, warm water temperatures, and nutrient pollution from nearby plantations, which contributes to a stratification of the water column. From this, we see these hypoxic conditions form that start to expand and infringe on nearby shallow habitats,” explained Johnson.

    Investigators suggest that loss of oxygen in the global ocean is accelerating due to climate change and excess nutrients, but how sudden deoxygenation events affect tropical marine ecosystems is poorly understood. Past research shows that rising temperatures can lead to physical alterations in coral, such as bleaching, which occurs when corals are stressed and expel algae that live within their tissues. If conditions don’t improve, the bleached corals then die. However, the real-time changes caused by decreasing oxygen levels in the tropics have seldom been observed.

    At a local scale, hypoxic events may pose a more severe threat to coral reefs than the warming events that cause mass bleaching. These sudden events impact all oxygen-requiring marine life and can kill reef ecosystems quickly.

    Investigators reported coral bleaching and mass mortality due to this occurrence, causing a 50% loss of live coral, which did not show signs of recovery until a year after the event, and a drastic shift in the seafloor community. The shallowest measurement with hypoxic waters was about 9 feet deep and about 30 feet from the Bocas del Toro shore.

    What about the 50% of coral that survived? Johnson and her fellow investigators found that the coral community they observed in Bocas del Toro is dynamic, and some corals have the potential to withstand these conditions. This discovery sets the stage for future research to identify which coral genotypes or species have adapted to rapidly changing environments and the characteristics that help them thrive.

    Investigators also observed that the microorganisms living in the reefs restored to a normal state within a month, as opposed to the macro-organisms, like the brittle stars, who perished in these conditions. By collecting sea water samples and analyzing microbial DNA, they were able to conclude that these microbes did not necessarily adjust to their environment, but rather were “waiting” for their time to shine in these low-oxygen conditions.

    “The take home message here is that you have a community of microbes; it has a particular composition and plugs along, then suddenly, all of the oxygen is removed and you get a replacement of community members. They flourish for a while, and eventually hypoxia goes away, oxygen comes back, and that community rapidly shifts back to what it was before due to the change in resources. This is very much in contrast to what you see with macro-organisms,” said Jarrod Scott, paper co-author and postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama.

    Scott and Johnson agree that human activity can contribute to the nutrient pollution and warming waters which then lead to hypoxic ocean conditions. Activities such as coastal land development and farming can be better managed and improved, which will reduce the likelihood of deoxygenation events occurring.

    The study provides insight to the fate of microbe communities on a coral reef during an acute deoxygenation event. Reef microbes respond rapidly to changes in physicochemical conditions, providing reliable indications of both physical and biological processes in nature.

    The shift the team detected from the hypoxic microbial community to a normal condition community after the event subsided suggests that the recovery route of reef microbes is independent and decoupled from the benthic macro-organisms. This may facilitate the restart of key microbial processes that influence the recovery of other aspects of the reef community.

    Matthieu Leray: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute [Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales(US) (PA).

    Noelle Lucey Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama.

    Lucia M. Rodriguez Bravo: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama & Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, Autonomous University of Baja California [Universidad Autónoma de Baja California] (MX).

    William L. Wied: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama & Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Coastal Oceans Research, Florida International University (US).

    Andrew H. Altieri: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama & Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida (US).

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts(US) and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation(US) and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.
    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US). WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.

    History

    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences(US) committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution(US).

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:39 pm on July 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study Examines the Role of Deep-Sea Microbial Predators at Hydrothermal Vents", Among the creatures having a field day feasting at the Gorda Ridge vents is a diverse assortment of microbial eukaryotes-or protists-that graze on chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea., , Marine Biology, , , Researchers Emphasize the Need for Baseline Information of Microbial Food Webs.,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) : “Study Examines the Role of Deep-Sea Microbial Predators at Hydrothermal Vents” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US)

    July 15, 2021

    Media Relations Office
    media@whoi.edu
    (508) 289-3340

    1
    A view of the Apollo Vent Field at the northern Gorda Ridge, where samples were collected by the ROV Hercules for studying microbial predators. Image credit: OET/Nautilus Live

    Researchers Emphasize the Need for Baseline Information of Microbial Food Webs.

    The hydrothermal vent fluids from the Gorda Ridge spreading center in the northeast Pacific Ocean create a biological hub of activity in the deep sea. There, in the dark ocean, a unique food web thrives not on photosynthesis but rather on chemical energy from the venting fluids. Among the creatures having a field day feasting at the Gorda Ridge vents is a diverse assortment of microbial eukaryotes-or protists-that graze on chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea.

    This protistan grazing, which is a key mechanism for carbon transport and recycling in microbial food webs, exerts a higher predation pressure at hydrothermal vent sites than in the surrounding deep-sea environment, a new paper finds.

    “Our findings provide a first estimate of protistan grazing pressure within hydrothermal vent food webs, highlighting the important role that diverse deep-sea protistan communities play in deep-sea carbon cycling,” according to the paper, Protistan grazing impacts microbial communities and carbon cycling ad deep-sea hydrothermal vents published in the PNAS.

    [Authors :

    Sarah K. Hu1*, Erica L. Herrera1, Amy R. Smith [1], Maria G. Pachiadaki [2], Virginia P. Edgcomb [3], Sean P. Sylva [1], Eric W. Chan [4], Jeffrey S. Seewald [1], Christopher R. German [3], and Julie A. Huber [1]

    Affiliations :

    1 Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA

    2 Department of Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole MA, USA

    3 Department of Geology & Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA

    4 School of Earth, Environment & Marine Sciences, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (US), Edinburg, TX, USA

    *corresponding author]

    Protists serve as a link between primary producers and higher trophic levels, and their grazing is a key mechanism for carbon transport and recycling in microbial food webs, the paper states.

    The research found that protists consume 28-62% of the daily stock of bacteria and archaea biomass within discharging hydrothermal vent fluids from the Gorda Ridge, which is located about 200 kilometers off the coast of southern Oregon. In addition, researchers estimate that protistan grazing could account for consuming or transferring up to 22% or carbon that is fixed by the chemosynthetic population in the discharging vent fluids. Though the fate of all of that carbon is unclear, “protistan grazing will release a portion of the organic carbon into the microbial loop as a result of excretion, egestion, and sloppy feeding,” and some of the carbon will be taken up by larger organisms that consume protistan cells, the paper states.

    After collecting vent fluid samples from the Sea Cliff and Apollo hydrothermal vent fields in the Gorda Ridge, researchers conducted grazing experiments, which presented some technical challenges that needed to be overcome. For instance, “prepping a quality meal for these protists is very difficult,” said lead author Sarah Hu, a postdoctoral investigator in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

    “Being able to do this research at a deep-sea vent site was really exciting because the food web there is so fascinating, and it’s powered by what’s happening at this discharging vent fluid,” said Hu, who was onboard the E/V Nautilus during the May-June 2019 cruise. “There is this whole microbial system and community that’s operating there below the euphotic zone outside of the reach of sunlight. I was excited to expand what we know about the microbial communities at these vents.”

    Hu and co-author Julie Huber said that quantitative measurements are important to understand how food webs operate at pristine and undisturbed vent sites.

    “The ocean provides us with a number of ecosystem services that many people are familiar with, such as seafood and carbon sinks. Yet, when we think about microbial ecosystem services, especially in the deep sea, we just don’t have that much data about how those food webs work,” said Huber, associate scientist in WHOI’s Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department.

    Obtaining baseline measurements “is increasingly important as these habitats are being looked at for deep-sea mining or carbon sequestration. How might that impact how much carbon is produced, exported, or recycled?” she said.

    “We need to understand these habitats and the ecosystems they support,” Huber said. “This research is connecting some new dots that we weren’t able to connect before.”

    The research was supported by National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), Ocean Exploration Trust (US), the National Science Foundation (US), and WHOI.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts(US) and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation(US) and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.
    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US). WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.

    History

    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences(US) committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution(US).

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:56 pm on July 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Another material in the sediments is cosmogenic dust from outer space-tiny micrometeorites that bombard the Earth each day., , Dust is not only found on land though that is where it is most familiar to us. The pesky particles that build up on coffee tables also infiltrate our oceans., , Knowing how nutrient content levels have changed over millions of years can tell us more about how different plankton communities involved in the biological carbon pump have evolved ., Marine Biology, , Plankton use iron and other nutrients from the tiny specks to grow., , Recent research suggests that vents could be an important source of iron., , The scientists had to trek 10000 nautical miles through the South Pacific to a location near the Point Nemo region-the furthest point in the global ocean from land., There are no near-shore areas that will give you 100 million years of climate history so scientists need to go extreme locations to drill for sediments of that age.,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) : “Secrets in the Dust” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US)

    September 24, 2020 [Re-presented 7.15.21]
    Evan Lubofsky

    1
    Credit: Natalie Renier © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    In the spring of 2010, a satellite the size of a small school bus plunged through the upper atmosphere like a fiery cannonball as it fell to the South Pacific Ocean, hair-raisingly close to where scientists aboard the research vessel (R/V) JOIDES Resolution happened to be working.

    “We got an alert from the European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) that it was bringing a satellite back down, basically telling us that we had to move within the next 24 hours,” says WHOI deputy director Rick Murray, who was there.

    The ship moved to a new location and avoided a catastrophic, albeit unlikely, collision with spacecraft. But, Murray says, the incident was “a stark reminder of how far away we actually were from everything else on this planet.”

    The researchers were in that desolate stretch of ocean— an area so removed from humanity that it’s become a cemetery for dying spacecraft—to learn about earlier episodes of climate change that can help inform future changes. Specifically, they were coring for ocean sediments, which contain various amounts of dust. “We can use the dust,” Murray says, “to tease out information about how climate changed in the Southern Hemisphere over millions of years.”

    A dusty ocean

    Dust is not only found on land though that is where it is most familiar to us. The pesky particles that build up on coffee tables also infiltrate our oceans, thanks to winds that constantly sweep it off land into the atmosphere. And that’s good, since plankton use iron and other nutrients from the tiny specks to grow. In the process, they draw down heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere above. When plankton eventually die and sink, some of them become buried in the seafloor. The carbon they’ve captured is buried along with them. As a result, dust has a direct and important impact on climate.

    Scientists at WHOI are investigating the amount of dust blown into the Southern Ocean over tens of millions of years. In doing so, they hope to pinpoint when the Earth went through periods of warm, slightly moister weather, and when the planet turned cooler and drier.

    Ann Dunlea, a marine geochemist at WHOI and one of Murray’s former graduate students when they were at Boston University (US), has been analyzing sediment samples from the 2010 R/V JOIDES Resolution expedition. She says looking at dust fluxes in the ocean over time enables her to understand the climatic history of the Southern Hemisphere and know, for example, at what point Australia became a dry and dusty place. It happened after the land mass dislodged from Antarctica 50-35 million years ago and migrated north, she says.

    3
    WHOI marine geochemist Ann Dunlea samples sediment from a core drilled on the R/V JOIDES Resolution. Analysis of dust in the samples allows her to reconstruct the climatic history of the Southern Hemisphere over tens of millions of years. Photo by Alex Reis.

    “In my data, you can see when the continent became desert-like as it tectonically migrated to 30 degrees south latitude,” Dunlea says. She can tell by the amount of dust that came off and drifted into the open ocean.

    Dust quantities are helping her reconstruct the region’s climactic history, which can inform predictions of future climate. But Dunlea is also analyzing the “oozy clay goo” to understand more about how iron and other micronutrients have cycled across ocean basins and influenced biological productivity in this oceanic desert, where nutrients run scarce. “Knowing how nutrient content levels have changed over millions of years can tell us more about how different plankton communities involved in the biological carbon pump have evolved over these time scales,” she says.

    A place of extremes

    None of these analyses would be possible without ancient ocean sediments, those that go way back to when dinosaurs walked the Earth.

    To collect sediments of that vintage, Murray and his colleagues had to trek 10,000 nautical miles through the South Pacific to a location near the Point Nemo region-the furthest point in the global ocean from land. “The sediment there is unique in that it accumulates incredibly slowly—about a meter per million years,” Murray says. “This means that there is a lot of time for the sediments to collect dust and minerals that we can use for analysis.”

    He says there are no near-shore areas that will give you 100 million years of climate history so scientists need to go extreme locations to drill for sediments of that age.

    “We were so far from anything, we would have been in a lot of trouble if something went wrong during the cruise. Like a satellite crashing down on us,” he laughs.

    Dust isn’t the only thing that persists in these ancient sediments. They also contain dormant deep-sea microbes that researchers from the JAPAN AGENCY FOR MARINE-EARTH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY [国立研究開発法人海洋研究開発機構] (JP) (JAMSTEC) recently incubated, fed, and woke from their 100-million-year snooze fests.

    Another extreme, Murray says, was the tap-water-like clarity of the seawater where they drilled. “At one point we looked over the side of the ship and saw what appeared to be five-inch fish swimming deep down. When they came up to the surface, we couldn’t believe these tiny fish were actually 18-foot sharks!”

    4
    Due to incredibly clear waters, 18-foot sharks like the white-tipped shark shown here, looked like small fish down deep from the side of the ship during the 2010 R/V JOIDES Resolution expedition. Photo by Carlos Alvarez Zarikian, International Ocean Discovery Program, Texas A&M University (US))

    Understanding the sources

    Dunlea has found a window into ancient climate patterns, but the process hasn’t been without challenges. For instance, she has had to develop analytical techniques to distinguish continental dust from volcanic ash, which look identical even under a microscope. She must analyze the chemical composition of the sediments and ferret out hidden trends in the data with advanced statistical techniques.

    “It’s important to know what’s dust and what’s ash, since ash won’t tell us anything about warm or cold periods in the geologic record, and factoring it in will skew our results,” Dunlea says. “The ash can tell us, however, more about the history of volcanism, how many eruptions there have been, and how that may have impacted global climate.”

    Another material she has found in the sediments is cosmogenic dust from outer space-tiny micrometeorites that bombard the Earth each day. Dunlea says the slowly-accumulating sediment in the South Pacific Gyre also allows for a high concentration of these cosmic particles, some of which she can extract with a magnet.

    The next phase of the research will involve investigating how much iron content in the ocean may be coming from another source: metal-rich fluids erupting from hydrothermal vents on the seafloor.

    “It is commonly assumed that almost all iron in surface waters comes from dust, but recent research suggests that vents could be another important source of iron,” Dunlea says. “It’s unclear how far hydrothermal plumes can travel or if iron from them can reach surface waters, so those are some of the questions we’re trying to tackle in order to better understand past climate patterns and improve our predictions of future ones.”

    This research is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences (US).

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts(US) and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation(US) and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.
    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US). WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.

    History

    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences(US) committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution(US).

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:47 am on July 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hydrothermal Vents May Add Ancient Carbon to Ocean Waters", , , , Marine Biology,   

    From Eos: “Hydrothermal Vents May Add Ancient Carbon to Ocean Waters” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    7 July 2021
    Sarah Stanley

    1
    Microbes living in hydrothermal systems like this one on the East Pacific Rise might contribute significant amounts of ancient dissolved organic carbon to the ocean. Credit: Pennsylvania State University (US), CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

    Earth’s oceans play a pivotal role in the global carbon cycle. As seawater moves and mixes, it stores and transports huge amounts of carbon in the form of dissolved organic and inorganic carbon molecules. However, the various sources and fates of marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) are complex, and much remains to be learned about its dynamics—especially as climate change progresses.

    Carbon isotope ratios can help determine the age of DOC, which gives clues to its source and journey through the carbon cycle. Photosynthetic organisms in surface waters are thought to produce most marine DOC, but radiocarbon dating shows that marine DOC is thousands of years old, so more information is needed to clarify how it mixes and lingers in the ocean.

    Relying on radiocarbon dating of seawater samples collected during a research cruise in 2016–2017, Druffel et al. provide new insights into DOC dynamics in the eastern Pacific and Southern Oceans. Their investigation lends support to a hypothesis that hydrothermal vents could be an important source of DOC in this region.

    While traveling south aboard NOAA’s R/V Ronald H. Brown, the researchers collected seawater samples at multiple sites, including from a station near Antarctica to a site off the Pacific Northwest. Parts of their path followed the East Pacific Rise, a key area of hydrothermal activity off the west coast of South America.

    Radiocarbon dating of the samples enabled construction of a profile of isotopic ratios found in both DOC and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) at various depths for each site studied. Analysis of these profiles showed that both forms of dissolved carbon age similarly as they are transported northward in deep waters. According to the authors, this suggests that northward transport is the main factor controlling the isotopic composition of both DOC and DIC in these deep waters.

    Meanwhile, the radiocarbon data indicate that hydrothermal vents associated with the East Pacific Rise may contribute ancient DOC to ocean waters. In line with earlier research, the findings suggest the possibility that chemoautotrophic microbes at these vents may “eat” DIC from ancient sources, converting it into DOC that is released into the ocean.

    Further research will be needed to confirm whether hydrothermal vents indeed contribute significant amounts of ancient DOC to seawater, affecting its isotopic composition. If so, models of global ocean circulation may need to be adjusted to account for that contribution.

    Science paper:
    Geophysical Research Letters

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:23 am on July 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Discover The First Known Algae Species With Three Distinct Sexes", , , , Marine Biology, ,   

    From University of Tokyo [(東京大学](JP) via Science Alert (US) : “Scientists Discover The First Known Algae Species With Three Distinct Sexes” 

    From University of Tokyo [(東京大学](JP)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (US)

    13 JULY 2021
    JACINTA BOWLER

    1
    Credit: Kohei Takahashi.

    Although we might think of ourselves as far removed from blobby green algae, we’re not really that different.

    An algae explosion a few hundred million years ago is thought to have been what allowed all human and animal life to evolve, and all told there’s only about one and a half billion years between us in terms of evolution.

    Plus, according to a Japanese team of researchers, algae could actually help us to understand how different sex systems – like male and female – evolved in the first place.

    Researchers from the University of Tokyo and a number of other Japanese universities have discovered that a type of green algae called Pleodorina starrii has three distinct sexes – ‘male’, ‘female’, and a third sex that the team have called ‘bisexual’. This is the first time any species of algae has been discovered with three sexes.

    “It seems very uncommon to find a species with three sexes, but in natural conditions, I think it may not be so rare,” said one of the researchers, University of Tokyo[(東京大] (JP) biologist Hisayoshi Nozaki.

    Algae isn’t a very specific scientific classification. It’s an informal term for a huge collection of different eukaryotic creatures that use photosynthesis to get energy. They’re not plants, as they lack many plant features; they’re not bacteria (despite cyanobacteria sometimes being called blue-green algae); and they’re not fungi.

    Everything from many-celled giant kelp species, all the way down to cute single-celled dinoflagellates can be classed as algae.

    Because algae are such a big, diverse group, there’s lots of variation in the way that they get it on, but generally algae are able to reproduce asexually (by cloning themselves) or sexually (with a partner), depending on the life cycle stage they’re in. This can be either haploid (with a single set of chromosomes), or diploid (with two sets).

    There’s also hermaphroditic algae that can change depending on the gene expression of the organism. Having three sexes, including hermaphrodites, is called ‘trioecy’.

    But the volvocine green algae P. starrii is different from this again. The bisexual form of this haploid algae has both male and female reproductive cells. The team describe it as a “new haploid mating system” completely unique to algae.

    P. starrii form either 32 or 64 same-sex celled vegetative colonies and have small mobile (male) and large immobile (female) sex cells similar to humans. The male sex cells are sent out in the world in sperm packets to find a female colony to attach to.

    Bisexual P. starrii have both, can form either male or female colonies, and therefore can mate with either a male, a female, or another bisexual.

    2
    Sexually induced male colony of algae (left). Female colony with male sperm packet (center). Female colony with dissociated male gametes (right). Credit: Kohei Takahashi.

    The researchers are particularly excited because other closely related algae have different sex systems, meaning the discovery might be able to tell us more about how these sexual changes evolve.

    “Mixed mating systems such as trioecy may represent intermediate states of evolutionary transitions between dioecious (with male and female) and monoecious (with only hermaphrodites) mating systems in diploid organisms,” the team write in their new paper.

    “However, haploid mating systems with three sex phenotypes within a single biological species have not been previously reported.”

    For 30 years, Nozaki had been collecting algae samples from the Sagami River outside of Tokyo. Samples that were taken from lakes along that river in 2007 and 2013 were used by the team for the new finding.

    The team separated the algal colonies and induced them to reproduce sexually by depriving them of nutrients, discovering that the bisexual algae had a ‘bisexual factor’ gene that was separate to previously discovered male and female specific genes.

    The bisexual cells had the male gene as well, but can produce either male or female offspring.

    “Co-existence of three sex phenotypes in a single biological species may not be an unusual phenomenon in wild populations,” the researchers conclude.

    “The continued field-collection studies may reveal further existence of three sex phenotypes in other volvocine species.”

    The research has been published in Evolution.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Tokyo [(東京大学](JP) aims to be a world-class platform for research and education, contributing to human knowledge in partnership with other leading global universities. The University of Tokyo aims to nurture global leaders with a strong sense of public responsibility and a pioneering spirit, possessing both deep specialism and broad knowledge. The University of Tokyo aims to expand the boundaries of human knowledge in partnership with society. Details about how the University is carrying out this mission can be found in the University of Tokyo Charter and the Action Plans.

    The university has ten faculties, 15 graduate schools and enrolls about 30,000 students, 2,100 of whom are international students. Its five campuses are in Hongō, Komaba, Kashiwa, Shirokane and Nakano. It is among the top echelon of the select Japanese universities assigned additional funding under the MEXT’s Top Global University Project to enhance Japan’s global educational competitiveness.

    University of Tokyo (Todai) is considered to be the most selective and prestigious university in Japan and is counted as one of the best universities in the world. As of 2018, University of Tokyo’s alumni, faculty members and researchers include seventeen Prime Ministers, sixteen Nobel Prize laureates, three Pritzker Prize laureates, three astronauts, and a Fields Medalist.

    The university was chartered by the Meiji government in 1877 under its current name by amalgamating older government schools for medicine, various traditional scholars and modern learning. It was renamed “the Imperial University [帝國大學; Teikoku daigaku]” in 1886, and then Tokyo Imperial University [東京帝國大學; Tōkyō teikoku daigaku] in 1897 when the Imperial University system was created. In September 1923, an earthquake and the following fires destroyed about 700,000 volumes of the Imperial University Library. The books lost included the Hoshino Library [星野文庫; Hoshino bunko], a collection of about 10,000 books. The books were the former possessions of Hoshino Hisashi before becoming part of the library of the university and were mainly about Chinese philosophy and history.

    In 1947 after Japan’s defeat in World War II it re-assumed its original name. With the start of the new university system in 1949, Todai swallowed up the former First Higher School (today’s Komaba campus) and the former Tokyo Higher School, which thenceforth assumed the duty of teaching first- and second-year undergraduates, while the faculties on Hongo main campus took care of third- and fourth-year students.

    Although the university was founded during the Meiji period, it has earlier roots in the Astronomy Agency (天文方; 1684), Shoheizaka Study Office (昌平坂学問所; 1797), and the Western Books Translation Agency (蕃書和解御用; 1811). These institutions were government offices established by the 徳川幕府 Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), and played an important role in the importation and translation of books from Europe.

    In the fall of 2012 and for the first time, the University of Tokyo started two undergraduate programs entirely taught in English and geared toward international students—Programs in English at Komaba (PEAK)—the International Program on Japan in East Asia and the International Program on Environmental Sciences. In 2014, the School of Science at the University of Tokyo introduced an all-English undergraduate transfer program called Global Science Course (GSC).

    Research

    The University of Tokyo is considered a top research institution of Japan. It receives the largest amount of national grants for research institutions, Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, receiving 40% more than the University with 2nd largest grants and 90% more than the University with 3rd largest grants. This massive financial investment from the Japanese government directly affects Todai’s research outcomes. According to Thomson Reuters, Todai is the best research university in Japan. Its research excellence is especially distinctive in Physics (1st in Japan, 2nd in the world); Biology & Biochemistry (1st in Japan, 3rd in the world); Pharmacology & Toxicology (1st in Japan, 5th in the world); Materials Science (3rd in Japan, 19th in the world); Chemistry (2nd in Japan, 5th in the world); and Immunology (2nd in Japan, 20th in the world).

    In another ranking, Nikkei Shimbun on 16 February 2004 surveyed about the research standards in Engineering studies based on Thomson Reuters, Grants in Aid for Scientific Research and questionnaires to heads of 93 leading Japanese Research Centers. Todai was placed 4th (research planning ability 3rd/informative ability of research outcome; 10th/ability of business-academia collaboration 3rd) in this ranking. Weekly Diamond also reported that Todai has the 3rd highest research standard in Japan in terms of research fundings per researchers in COE Program. In the same article, it is also ranked 21st in terms of the quality of education by GP funds per student.

    Todai also has been recognized for its research in the social sciences and humanities. In January 2011, Repec ranked Todai’s Economics department as Japan’s best economics research university. And it is the only Japanese university within world top 100. Todai has produced 9 presidents of the Japanese Economic Association, the largest number in the association. Asahi Shimbun summarized the number of academic papers in Japanese major legal journals by university, and Todai was ranked top during 2005–2009.

    Research institutes

    Institute of Medical Science
    Earthquake Research Institute
    Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia
    Institute of Social Science
    Institute of Industrial Science
    Historiographical Institute
    Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
    Institute for Cosmic Ray Research
    Institute for Solid State Physics
    Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
    Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology

    The University’s School of Science and the Earthquake Research Institute are both represented on the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on July 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NIST Researchers Use Novel Method to Understand the Molecular Underpinnings of a Tumorlike Disease Affecting Coral Reefs", , Marine Biology, Metabolomics, , Proton nuclear magnetic resonance, Researchers sampled a coral colony that had both healthy and diseased tissue.   

    From National Institute of Standards and Technology (US) : “NIST Researchers Use Novel Method to Understand the Molecular Underpinnings of a Tumorlike Disease Affecting Coral Reefs” 

    From National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)

    July 09, 2021
    Alex Boss
    alexandra.boss@nist.gov
    (301) 975-3611

    1
    A coral disease called growth anomalies (GAs) is depicted here in the coral species Porites compressa, a reef-building species found off the coast of Hawaii. GAs can cause tumorlike protrusions that affect both the coral skeleton and its soft tissues. Credit: E. Andersson/NIST.

    Two different field images depicting the coral species Porites compressa, a reef-building coral off of the coast of Hawaii. The corals are affected by growth anomalies (GAs), a disease that can cause tumorlike protrusions that affect both the coral skeleton and its soft tissue. The GAs are the larger protrusions on the corals. Credit: R. Day/NIST.

    Coral reefs are a favorite spot for scuba divers and are among the world’s most diverse ecosystems. For example, the Hawaiian coral reefs, known as the “rainforests of the sea,” host over 7,000 species of marine animals, fishes, birds and plants. But coral reefs are facing serious threats, including a number of diseases that have been linked to human activity.

    To understand the connection between human activity and a type of tumorlike disease called growth anomalies (GAs), researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have collaborated with the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (US) to use an emerging molecular profiling method to identify 18 small molecules that promise to help them better understand the series of molecular reactions that lead to the disease.

    GAs affect both the coral skeleton and its soft tissues. Scientists don’t know the cause of the disease or how it spreads but have hypothesized that there is a strong correlation between GA prevalence in coral colonies and human population density nearby.

    Almost all types of corals are made of hundreds to millions of individual soft-bodied animals called polyps. The polyps secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton that lays the foundation for the coral colony. GAs affect corals through irregular and accelerated growth of their skeleton, causing it to be less dense and filled with holes. This results in a tumorlike mass in the skeleton of a coral colony with fewer polyps and a diminished ability to reproduce.

    Shallow water corals receive food like carbohydrates and oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis from the symbiotic relationship they have with zooxanthellae, photosynthetic algae that live inside coral tissues. GAs can lead to fewer symbiotic zooxanthellae and therefore less energy being absorbed from photosynthesis.

    Even though GAs do not typically directly lead to coral death, they do affect the overall health of coral colonies and can pose an ecological threat to coral populations. To analyze the disease, NIST researchers chose the coral species Porites compressa as their target sample.

    This coral species is known as the “finger” or “hump” coral and is part of the stony coral family, which is “one of the important reef-building species in Hawaii,” said NIST chemist Tracey Schock. “They lay the foundation for the coral reef.”

    P. compressa is found in shallow lagoons off the Hawaiian Islands, and the researchers obtained their coral samples from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. The bay has been studied widely as a site affected by human activity such as sewage discharge and metal pollution. GAs have previously been observed in the coral species there.

    In order to analyze and study GAs in P. compressa, researchers turned to the field of metabolomics, which is the study of small molecules, such as those making up living organisms found in tissues, blood or urine. These small molecules, known as metabolites, are the intermediate and end products in a linked series of biochemical reactions known as molecular pathways in an organism.

    Some examples of such small molecules include sugars like glucose, amino acids, lipids and fatty acids. Their production can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors and can help researchers better understand the biochemical activity of tissue or cells. In this case, chemical analysis of metabolites provides significant information that helps researchers understand the physiology of the disease.

    For their study, researchers sampled a coral colony that had both healthy and diseased tissue. They split up their samples so they could assess the healthy coral and diseased coral separately. They also had a separate adjacent sample that was free of diseased tissue.

    The samples were frozen in liquid nitrogen, and then freeze-dried for practical sample processing while maintaining metabolic integrity. The researchers then separated the diseased parts from the healthy colony using a hammer and stainless-steel chisel and collected the tissue from the skeleton with a brush. In one of the final stages of the sample preparation, they chemically extracted the metabolites from the coral tissue using a combination of methanol, water and chloroform.

    “The method is novel for coral studies,” said Schock. “With metabolomics, it is critical to preserve the state of all metabolites in a sample at the time of collection. This requires halting all biochemical activity using liquid nitrogen and maintaining this state until chemical extraction of the metabolome. The complexity of a coral structure necessitates stringent collection and processing protocols.”

    The researchers then produced a metabolomic analysis of the coral samples by using a reproducible profiling technique known as proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR).

    The 1H NMR technique exposes the coral extract to electromagnetic fields and measures the radio frequency signals released by the hydrogens in the sample. The various kinds of metabolites are revealed by their unique signals which inform of their chemical environment. NMR detects all signals from the magnetic nuclei within a sample, making it an unbiased “all-in-one” technique. Two-dimensional NMR experiments that can identify both hydrogens (1H) and their directly bound carbon (13C) atoms provide more chemical information, giving confidence in the accuracy of the identities of the various metabolites within a sample.

    The study identified 18 different metabolites and a new GA morphological form in P. compressa. The researchers found that GA tumors have distinct metabolite profiles compared with healthy areas of the same coral colony and detected specific metabolites and metabolic pathways that may be important for these profile differences. They also discovered that the loss of internal pH regulation is seemingly responsible for the hollow skeletons that are a characteristic of GAs.

    “We have not only characterized new aspects of GA physiology, but have also discovered candidate pathways that provide a clear path forward for future research efforts aiming to further understand GA formation and coral metabolism, in general,” said Schock.

    As studies of this type accumulate, the researchers envision a database that could pull together coral metabolite information from multiple coral species into an accessible location for all scientists.

    Collaborating with other researchers in different fields could increase understanding of the biological impacts of this disease on coral colonies. “We are going to learn which species are tolerant and which species are sensitive to stresses, and the physiological adaptations or mechanisms of both types will be important to conservation efforts,” said Schock.

    For now, the researchers hope these findings will be helpful for other scientists analyzing coral species and ultimately be beneficial for the coral reefs themselves, potentially aiding efforts to better preserve them.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NIST Campus, Gaitherberg, MD, USA

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)‘s Mission, Vision, Core Competencies, and Core Values

    Mission

    To promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

    NIST’s vision

    NIST will be the world’s leader in creating critical measurement solutions and promoting equitable standards. Our efforts stimulate innovation, foster industrial competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

    NIST’s core competencies

    Measurement science
    Rigorous traceability
    Development and use of standards

    NIST’s core values

    NIST is an organization with strong values, reflected both in our history and our current work. NIST leadership and staff will uphold these values to ensure a high performing environment that is safe and respectful of all.

    Perseverance: We take the long view, planning the future with scientific knowledge and imagination to ensure continued impact and relevance for our stakeholders.
    Integrity: We are ethical, honest, independent, and provide an objective perspective.
    Inclusivity: We work collaboratively to harness the diversity of people and ideas, both inside and outside of NIST, to attain the best solutions to multidisciplinary challenges.
    Excellence: We apply rigor and critical thinking to achieve world-class results and continuous improvement in everything we do.

    Background

    The Articles of Confederation, ratified by the colonies in 1781, contained the clause, “The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states—fixing the standards of weights and measures throughout the United States”. Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution of the United States (1789), transferred this power to Congress; “The Congress shall have power…To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures”.

    In January 1790, President George Washington, in his first annual message to Congress stated that, “Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to”, and ordered Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to prepare a plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States, afterwards referred to as the Jefferson report. On October 25, 1791, Washington appealed a third time to Congress, “A uniformity of the weights and measures of the country is among the important objects submitted to you by the Constitution and if it can be derived from a standard at once invariable and universal, must be no less honorable to the public council than conducive to the public convenience”, but it was not until 1838, that a uniform set of standards was worked out. In 1821, John Quincy Adams had declared “Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society”.

    From 1830 until 1901, the role of overseeing weights and measures was carried out by the Office of Standard Weights and Measures, which was part of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the Department of the Treasury.

    Bureau of Standards

    In 1901 in response to a bill proposed by Congressman James H. Southard (R- Ohio) the National Bureau of Standards was founded with the mandate to provide standard weights and measures and to serve as the national physical laboratory for the United States. (Southard had previously sponsored a bill for metric conversion of the United States.)

    President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Samuel W. Stratton as the first director. The budget for the first year of operation was $40,000. The Bureau took custody of the copies of the kilogram and meter bars that were the standards for US measures, and set up a program to provide metrology services for United States scientific and commercial users. A laboratory site was constructed in Washington DC (US) and instruments were acquired from the national physical laboratories of Europe. In addition to weights and measures the Bureau developed instruments for electrical units and for measurement of light. In 1905 a meeting was called that would be the first National Conference on Weights and Measures.

    Initially conceived as purely a metrology agency the Bureau of Standards was directed by Herbert Hoover to set up divisions to develop commercial standards for materials and products. Some of these standards were for products intended for government use; but product standards also affected private-sector consumption. Quality standards were developed for products including some types of clothing; automobile brake systems and headlamps; antifreeze; and electrical safety. During World War I, the Bureau worked on multiple problems related to war production even operating its own facility to produce optical glass when European supplies were cut off. Between the wars Harry Diamond of the Bureau developed a blind approach radio aircraft landing system. During World War II military research and development was carried out including development of radio propagation forecast methods; the proximity fuze and the standardized airframe used originally for Project Pigeon; and shortly afterwards the autonomously radar-guided Bat anti-ship guided bomb and the Kingfisher family of torpedo-carrying missiles.

    In 1948, financed by the United States Air Force the Bureau began design and construction of SEAC: the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer. The computer went into operation in May 1950 using a combination of vacuum tubes and solid-state diode logic. About the same time the Standards Western Automatic Computer, was built at the Los Angeles office of the NBS by Harry Huskey and used for research there. A mobile version- DYSEAC- was built for the Signal Corps in 1954.

    Due to a changing mission, the “National Bureau of Standards” became the “National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)” in 1988.

    Following September 11, 2001, NIST conducted the official investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.

    Organization

    NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates a facility in Boulder, Colorado, which was dedicated by President Eisenhower in 1954. NIST’s activities are organized into laboratory programs and extramural programs. Effective October 1, 2010, NIST was realigned by reducing the number of NIST laboratory units from ten to six. NIST Laboratories include:

    Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL)
    Engineering Laboratory (EL)
    Information Technology Laboratory (ITL)
    Center for Neutron Research (NCNR)
    Material Measurement Laboratory (MML)
    Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)

    Extramural programs include:

    Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a nationwide network of centers to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers to create and retain jobs, improve efficiencies, and minimize waste through process improvements and to increase market penetration with innovation and growth strategies;
    Technology Innovation Program (TIP), a grant program where NIST and industry partners cost share the early-stage development of innovative but high-risk technologies;
    Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest award for performance and business excellence.

    NIST’s Boulder laboratories are best known for NIST‑F1 which houses an atomic clock. NIST‑F1 serves as the source of the nation’s official time. From its measurement of the natural resonance frequency of cesium—which defines the second—NIST broadcasts time signals via longwave radio station WWVB near Fort Collins in Colorado, and shortwave radio stations WWV and WWVH, located near Fort Collins and Kekaha in Hawai’i, respectively.

    NIST also operates a neutron science user facility: the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The NCNR provides scientists access to a variety of neutron scattering instruments which they use in many research fields (materials science; fuel cells; biotechnology etc.).

    The SURF III Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility is a source of synchrotron radiation in continuous operation since 1961. SURF III now serves as the US national standard for source-based radiometry throughout the generalized optical spectrum. All NASA-borne extreme-ultraviolet observation instruments have been calibrated at SURF since the 1970s, and SURF is used for measurement and characterization of systems for extreme ultraviolet lithography.

    The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) performs research in nanotechnology, both through internal research efforts and by running a user-accessible cleanroom nanomanufacturing facility. This “NanoFab” is equipped with tools for lithographic patterning and imaging (e.g., electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes).

    Committees

    NIST has seven standing committees:

    Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC)
    Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR)
    National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST Advisory Committee)
    Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)
    Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT)
    Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA Board of Overseers)
    Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board (MEPNAB)

    Measurements and standards

    As part of its mission, NIST supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with over 1,300 Standard Reference Materials (SRMs). These artifacts are certified as having specific characteristics or component content, used as calibration standards for measuring equipment and procedures, quality control benchmarks for industrial processes, and experimental control samples.

    Handbook 44

    NIST publishes the Handbook 44 each year after the annual meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM). Each edition is developed through cooperation of the Committee on Specifications and Tolerances of the NCWM and the Weights and Measures Division (WMD) of the NIST. The purpose of the book is a partial fulfillment of the statutory responsibility for “cooperation with the states in securing uniformity of weights and measures laws and methods of inspection”.

    NIST has been publishing various forms of what is now the Handbook 44 since 1918 and began publication under the current name in 1949. The 2010 edition conforms to the concept of the primary use of the SI (metric) measurements recommended by the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:48 am on July 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unusual currents explain mysterious red crab strandings", , , Marine Biology,   

    From University of California-Santa Cruz (US): “Unusual currents explain mysterious red crab strandings” 

    From University of California-Santa Cruz (US)

    July 02, 2021
    Erin Malsbury
    publicaffairs@ucsc.edu

    1
    During pelagic red crab stranding events—like this one documented at a beach in Pacific Grove, California—the small red crustaceans wash ashore en masse in areas far north of their usual home range in the Mexican state of Baja California. Photo: Stephanie Brodie.

    For decades, people have wondered why pelagic red crabs—also called tuna crabs—sometimes wash ashore in the millions on the West Coast of the United States. New research shows that atypical currents, rather than abnormal temperatures, likely bring them up from their home range off Baja California.

    Alongside the discovery, the scientists also created a seawater flow index that could help researchers and managers detect abnormal current years.

    The new study, published July 1 in Limnology and Oceanography, began after lead author Megan Cimino biked past a pelagic red crab stranding on her way to her office in Monterey in 2018. Cimino, a biological oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (US) and UC Santa Cruz through the Institute of Marine Sciences Fisheries Collaborative Program, had witnessed a different stranding near where she grew up in Southern California a few years prior.

    “At that time, I had no clue what a red crab was, what was going on, why they would be there,” she said. “But it was very clear something different was going on in the ocean—something unusual.”

    She brought the question to her colleagues, and the lab decided to dive into the mechanism behind the seemingly random appearances.

    The group spent months compiling data about the crabs and their recorded range. They scoured oceanographic research surveys, video data from remotely operated vehicles, citizen science programs, and even online media, such as Twitter.

    Integrating the different data types proved challenging, but eventually the team had a clear idea of the species’ range and strandings from 1950 to 2019.

    Comparing these data with ocean conditions like temperature and current movements, the scientists found that the appearance of red crabs outside of their normal range correlated with the amount of seawater flowing from Baja California to central California. The finding supports strong currents as the key indicator for the presence of the crabs over the other major hypothesis—that warm water brought by marine heatwaves and El Niño events causes the appearances.

    To study the currents, the researchers used a regional ocean model of the California Current System, developed by researchers in the UC Santa Cruz ocean modeling group.

    “What you’re doing is putting a tracer—you could think of it like a dye—into a particular part of the ocean and then running the model backwards in time to see where that came from,” said Michael Jacox, a physical oceanographer with dual affiliation with NOAA and UC Santa Cruz.

    Based on those tracer experiments, the team created the “southern source water index” (SSWI), which shows how much water off the central California coast comes from south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

    “It’s that pathway of water that brings up some of these unusual species,” said Ryan Rykaczewski, a fisheries oceanographer at NOAA and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. “It’s not just the pelagic red crabs, even though those might be the most conspicuous species that we see on the coast.”

    The red crabs draw the public’s interest and serve as an important food source for lots of other species. These factors made them a good study subject, but they’re not the only thing brought up by currents. They represent a larger phenomenon that researchers can use the SSWI to better understand.

    “The index could be used as a kind of early warning system about what the ocean state is that year and whether we’re going to expect southern species in northern regions,” said Cimino. “That can help us plan and manage and give expectations for bycatch or different fisheries.”

    As climate change increases variability in ocean conditions, the locations of species will begin to shift. Knowing where to look for particular organisms helps researchers make more accurate observations and population estimates.

    “We can go back and look at that source water index and use that perhaps as a predictive tool of how the composition of coastal species is going to change,” said Rykaczewski. “And that might help us with ecosystem management.”

    The way currents shift is an often-overlooked piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding climate change. Scientists are now in the process of testing whether the southern source water index is sensitive to it.

    “We think a lot about the changes in things like temperature and oxygen, but changes in the contribution of waters from different locations in the broader North Pacific is also really important for understanding climate change,” said Rykaczewski.

    The movement of pelagic red crabs provides just one example of the practical applications of such studies.

    “I think it’s really, really important that when we think about climate change, we don’t just think about ‘warm temperature equals some response’, and we really try to dig into the mechanisms,” said Jacox.

    With the case study of red crabs and the creation of the southern source water index, researchers now have another tool for doing just that.

    In addition to quoted researchers, coauthors include Steven Bograd, Stephanie Brodie, Gemma Carroll and Elliott Hazen at NOAA and UC Santa Cruz as well as Bertha Lavaniegos at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada [Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, CICESE] (MX) in Baja California, Mark Morales at UC Santa Cruz and Erin Satterthwaite at NOAA, University of California-Santa Barbara (US) and Colorado State University (US).

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of California-Santa Cruz (US), opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    UCO Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor telescope in the South (large) Dome of main building.

     
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