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  • richardmitnick 8:59 pm on October 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Small eddies play a big role in feeding ocean microbes", , , Eddies pull nutrients in from high-nutrient equatorial regions and push them into the center of a gyre., Marine Biology, , , Phytoplankton may receive deliveries of nutrients from outside the gyres. the delivery vehicle is in the form of eddies — much smaller currents., Subtropical gyres are enormous rotating ocean currents that generate sustained circulations in the Earth’s subtropical regions just to the north and south of the equator., , These gyres gather up nutrients and organisms and sometimes trash as the currents rotate from coast to coast.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Small eddies play a big role in feeding ocean microbes” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Jennifer Chu

    This video still of the North Pacific Ocean shows phosphate nutrient concentrations at 500 meters below the ocean surface. The swirls represent small eddies transporting phosphate from the nutrient-rich equator (lighter colors), northward toward the nutrient-depleted subtropics (darker colors). Image: Courtesy of the researchers.

    Subtropical gyres are enormous rotating ocean currents that generate sustained circulations in the Earth’s subtropical regions just to the north and south of the equator. These gyres are slow-moving whirlpools that circulate within massive basins around the world, gathering up nutrients and organisms and sometimes trash as the currents rotate from coast to coast.

    For years, oceanographers have puzzled over conflicting observations within subtropical gyres. At the surface, these massive currents appear to host healthy populations of phytoplankton — microbes that feed the rest of the ocean food chain and are responsible for sucking up a significant portion of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide.

    But judging from what scientists know about the dynamics of gyres, they estimated the currents themselves wouldn’t be able to maintain enough nutrients to sustain the phytoplankton they were seeing. How, then, were the microbes able to thrive?

    Now, MIT researchers have found that phytoplankton may receive deliveries of nutrients from outside the gyres, and that the delivery vehicle is in the form of eddies — much smaller currents that swirl at the edges of a gyre. These eddies pull nutrients in from high-nutrient equatorial regions and push them into the center of a gyre, where the nutrients are then taken up by other currents and pumped to the surface to feed phytoplankton.

    Ocean eddies, the team found, appear to be an important source of nutrients in subtropical gyres. Their replenishing effect, which the researchers call a “nutrient relay,” helps maintain populations of phytoplankton, which play a central role in the ocean’s ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. While climate models tend to project a decline in the ocean’s ability to sequester carbon over the coming decades, this “nutrient relay” could help sustain carbon storage over the subtropical oceans.

    “There’s a lot of uncertainty about how the carbon cycle of the ocean will evolve as climate continues to change, ” says Mukund Gupta, a postdoc at Caltech who led the study as a graduate student at MIT. “As our paper shows, getting the carbon distribution right is not straightforward, and depends on understanding the role of eddies and other fine-scale motions in the ocean.”

    Gupta and his colleagues report their findings this week in the PNAS [below]. The study’s co-authors are Jonathan Lauderdale, Oliver Jahn, Christopher Hill, Stephanie Dutkiewicz, and Michael Follows at MIT, and Richard Williams at the University of Liverpool.

    A snowy puzzle

    A cross-section of an ocean gyre resembles a stack of nesting bowls that is stratified by density: Warmer, lighter layers lie at the surface, while colder, denser waters make up deeper layers. Phytoplankton live within the ocean’s top sunlit layers, where the microbes require sunlight, warm temperatures, and nutrients to grow.

    When phytoplankton die, they sink through the ocean’s layers as “marine snow.” Some of this snow releases nutrients back into the current, where they are pumped back up to feed new microbes. The rest of the snow sinks out of the gyre, down to the deepest layers of the ocean. The deeper the snow sinks, the more difficult it is for it to be pumped back to the surface. The snow is then trapped, or sequestered, along with any unreleased carbon and nutrients.

    Oceanographers thought that the main source of nutrients in subtropical gyres came from recirculating marine snow. But as a portion of this snow inevitably sinks to the bottom, there must be another source of nutrients to explain the healthy populations of phytoplankton at the surface. Exactly what that source is “has left the oceanography community a little puzzled for some time,” Gupta says.

    Swirls at the edge

    In their new study, the team sought to simulate a subtropical gyre to see what other dynamics may be at work. They focused on the North Pacific gyre, one of the Earth’s five major gyres, which circulates over most of the North Pacific Ocean, and spans more than 20 million square kilometers.

    The team started with the MITgcm, a general circulation model that simulates the physical circulation patterns in the atmosphere and oceans. To reproduce the North Pacific gyre’s dynamics as realistically as possible, the team used an MITgcm algorithm, previously developed at NASA and MIT, which tunes the model to match actual observations of the ocean, such as ocean currents recorded by satellites, and temperature and salinity measurements taken by ships and drifters.

    “We use a simulation of the physical ocean that is as realistic as we can get, given the machinery of the model and the available observations,” Lauderdale says.

    An animation of the North Pacific Ocean shows phosphate nutrient concentrations at 500 meters below the ocean surface. The swirls represent small eddies transporting phosphate from the nutrient-rich equator (lighter colors), northward toward the nutrient-depleted subtropics (darker colors). This nutrient relay mechanism helps sustain biological activity and carbon sequestration in the subtropical ocean. Credit: Oliver Jahn.

    The realistic model captured finer details, at a resolution of less than 20 kilometers per pixel, compared to other models that have a more limited resolution. The team combined the simulation of the ocean’s physical behavior with the Darwin model — a simulation of microbe communities such as phytoplankton, and how they grow and evolve with ocean conditions.

    The team ran the combined simulation of the North Pacific gyre over a decade, and created animations to visualize the pattern of currents and the nutrients they carried, in and around the gyre. What emerged were small eddies that ran along the edges of the enormous gyre and appeared to be rich in nutrients.

    “We were picking up on little eddy motions, basically like weather systems in the ocean,” Lauderdale says. “These eddies were carrying packets of high-nutrient waters, from the equator, north into the center of the gyre and downwards along the sides of the bowls. We wondered if these eddy transfers made an important delivery mechanism.”

    Surprisingly, the nutrients first move deeper, away from the sunlight, before being returned upwards where the phytoplankton live. The team found that ocean eddies could supply up to 50 percent of the nutrients in subtropical gyres.

    “That is very significant,” Gupta says. “The vertical process that recycles nutrients from marine snow is only half the story. The other half is the replenishing effect of these eddies. As subtropical gyres contribute a significant part of the world’s oceans, we think this nutrient relay is of global importance.”

    Science paper:

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities.

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However, six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched “OpenCourseWare” to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

  • richardmitnick 10:36 am on October 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study links cold water shock to catastrophic coral collapse in the Eastern Pacific", , Marine Biology,   

    From The University of Plymouth (UK): “Study links cold water shock to catastrophic coral collapse in the Eastern Pacific” 

    Mr Alan Williams
    Media & Communications Officer

    Corals off the coast of Costa Rica before the extreme weather event of 2009 (Credit: Maria Marta Chavarria)

    Marine heatwaves brought about by climate change are known to be responsible for mass mortality on some of the planet’s most iconic coral reef systems.

    However, scientists have discovered that an extreme weather event that resulted in rapid sea temperature drops of up to 10 degrees was the primary cause of a catastrophic coral die-off event.

    Combined with widespread rise in harmful algal blooms, the extent of collapse of the reefs in Costa Rica’s section of the Eastern Tropical Pacific in 2009 was abnormally high.

    The two factors resulted in coral cover at some sites decreasing by between 20% and 100%, with the levels of recovery also varying significantly in the years since.

    In a new study, published in the journal PeerJ [below], researchers say their findings demonstrate the effects of upwellings – which result in sea temperatures suddenly plummeting – are a key factor that need to be consider when trying to manage reef systems.

    The research was conducted by an international team of scientists led by the University of Plymouth, working alongside partners including Raising Coral and ACG, who promote coral reef conservation in Costa Rica.

    They used 25 years of reef survey and sea surface temperature data to document changes in coral cover and the composition of six marginal reefs in relation to thermal highs and lows.

    In doing so, they were able to paint a comprehensive picture of local coral health status and quantify the magnitude of coral population declines while also establishing the implications for effective conservation and restoration strategies.

    In the study, they say the lack of overall coral recovery in the decade since the initial event indicates the region’s ecosystem had reached a tipping point.

    As a result, they propose a locally tailored – but globally scalable – approach to coral reef declines that is founded in resilience-based management and restoration but also informed by coral health dynamics.

    Such measures, with careful management, could enable reefs to recover and continue supporting ecological and societal ecosystem services in spite of the escalating threats posed by climatic changes.

    Science paper:

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Plymouth (UK) is a public research university based predominantly in Plymouth, England where the main campus is located; but the university has campuses and affiliated colleges across South West England. With 18,410 students, it is the 57th largest in the United Kingdom by total number of students (including the Open University). It has 2,915 staff.


    The university was originally founded as the Plymouth School of Navigation in 1862, before becoming a University College in 1920 and a Polytechnic Institute in 1970, with its constituent bodies being Plymouth Polytechnic, Rolle College in Exmouth, the Exeter College of Art and Design (which were, before April 1989, run by Devon County Council) and Seale-Hayne College (which before April 1989 was an independent charity). It was renamed Polytechnic South West in 1989, a move that was unpopular with students as the name lacked identity. It was the only polytechnic to be renamed and remained as “PSW” until gaining university status in 1992 along with the other polytechnics. The new university absorbed the Plymouth School of Maritime Studies.

    In 2006, part of the remains of the World War II Portland Square air-raid shelter were rediscovered on the Plymouth campus. On the night of 22 April 1941, during the Blitz, a bomb fell on the site killing over 70 civilians, including a mother and her six children. The bomb blast was so strong that human remains were found in the tops of trees. Only three people escaped alive, all children.

    The university’s first Vice-Chancellor was John Bull. He was succeeded by Roland Levinsky until his death on 1 January 2007, when he walked into live electrical cables brought down during a storm. He was temporarily replaced by Mark Cleary (now Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford), and then by Steve Newstead. Wendy Purcell became VC on 1 December 2007. She was placed on leave on 2 July 2014 by the University’s governors while an internal review was conducted. A month later the Higher Education Funding Council for England requested an independent external review of the university’s governance. In August 2014, the university was instructed by HEFCE to undertake an external review of its governance after vice-chancellor Wendy Purcell was placed on leave.

    Judith Petts CBE was appointed the University of Plymouth’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive in February 2016. She joined Plymouth from The University of Southampton (UK) where she had been Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and previously the inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (2010–13).

    The university was selected by the Royal Statistical Society in October 2008 to be the home of its Centre for Statistical Education. It also runs courses in maritime business, marine engineering, marine biology, and Earth, ocean & environmental sciences.


    There are three faculties which each contain a number of schools:

    Arts, Humanities and Business
    Science and Engineering

    Academic Partnerships

    The Academic Partnerships network is a collaboration between the university and local colleges across the South West and South of England. There are hundreds of higher education courses available providing opportunities for progression to other qualifications. For example, someone who has spent two years studying for a foundation degree at their local college – and who has successfully passed their exams – can move on to the final year of a full honours degree at the university.

    Bicton College
    Bridgwater College
    City of Bristol College
    City College Plymouth
    Cornwall College
    Exeter College
    Greenwich School of Management (GSoM), London
    Plymouth College of Art and Design (until 2006)
    Truro and Penwith College
    Somerset College
    South Devon College

  • richardmitnick 7:59 am on October 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "IOT": Indian Ocean Territories, "Voyage to the unknown", A series of ancient underwater mountains and ridges - extinct volcanos which formed 140-50 million years ago., Cameras nets and sleds will be used to sample habitats from 60 metres all the way down to 5500 metre depths., , Deep-sea research, , , Marine Biology, , The research outcomes from this voyage will be invaluable to our understanding of Australia’s deep-sea environments and the impact humans are having on them., The research team will use high-tech multi-beam sonar to map the structure of the seafloor.   

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization: “Voyage to the unknown” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

    Mr Matt Marrison
    Communication Advisor
    Tel +61 3 6232 5197
    Mob +61 4 3878 5399

    A team of scientists led by Museums Victoria Research Institute will embark on a deep sea research voyage exploring vast, prehistoric undersea mountains and undiscovered animal inhabitants in the remote waters of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

    Investigating the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) is a 35 day, 13,000km voyage on CSIRO research vessel (RV) Investigator [below] which will depart from Darwin today (30 September 2022). Operated by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, R/V Investigator will voyage through the remote waters of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to conduct deep-ocean surveys of life at abyssal depths more than 5500 metres below the surface.

    Christmas Island. Credit: David Stanley on Flickr.

    Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Credit: Istockphoto.

    Led by Museums Victoria Research Institute, in collaboration with CSIRO, Parks Australia, Bush Blitz and a team of partner museums and universities, this voyage completes a research project that commenced in 2021 with the first biodiversity survey of these remote waters by R/V Investigator.

    Scientists expect to discover many new deep-sea species, and outcomes of the voyage will provide scientific data and information to support the management of new marine parks in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories. Announced last year, these parks will help protect an area of up to 740,000 square kilometres.

    Voyage Chief Scientist Dr Tim O’Hara, Museums Victoria Research Institute’s senior curator of marine invertebrates, is a veteran deep-sea researcher. He explains that while there are not too many places in Australia that are totally unexplored, we know almost nothing about the vast underwater mountains and ridges surrounding the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

    “We know the region is covered with massive seamounts formed during the dinosaur era and we know the region sits at a critical juncture between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. We are really excited about the prospect of discovering new species, perhaps even new branches of the tree of life, which until now have remained hidden beneath the waves in this unexplored region,” explains Dr O’Hara.

    “Surrounding the islands of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) are a series of ancient underwater mountains and ridges – extinct volcanos which formed 140-50 million years ago. No one has seen these isolated areas before, we have no maps of them and no knowledge of what lives there, and this voyage will provide world-first baseline data of these unknown marine environments and their inhabitants.”

    The research team will use high-tech multi-beam sonar to map the structure of the seafloor, and cameras, nets and sleds to sample habitats from 60 metres all the way down to 5500 metre depths. The voyage will result in the description of new species from specimens added to the Museums Victoria State Collection and other national biological collections.

    Director and CEO of Museums Victoria, Lynley Crosswell, said that the undersea world of the Indian Ocean Territories holds immense value to island communities and the Australian public.

    “The research outcomes from this voyage will be invaluable to our understanding of Australia’s deep-sea environments and the impact humans are having on them. This type of field activity by Museums Victoria Research Institute, delivered in collaboration with our partner organizations, is enormously important to protecting our unique biodiversity and creating sustainable futures.”

    Director of the CSIRO Marine National Facility, Toni Moate, said the voyage demonstrates the important research that R/V Investigator delivers to help Australia better manage its marine resources and environment.

    “The important collaborative research we help deliver continues on this epic voyage to study marine life around these remote tropical islands, with untold discoveries to be made in this ancient deep sea environment, information vital for managing the IOT marine parks,” said Ms Moate.

    Parks Australia Acting Director of National Parks, Jody Swirepik, said the voyage includes an outreach team from Bush Blitz.

    “Known for biodiversity surveys on land, Bush Blitz will be onboard to conduct their completely underwater survey. They will share discoveries with school groups and the general public along the way,” Ms Swirepik said.

    The voyage will involve collaboration between some of Australia’s most renowned deep-sea scientists and research institutions including Museums Victoria Research Institute, CSIRO, Australian National Fish Collection, Australian Museum and Western Australian Museum. The research has been made possible through a grant of sea time on R/V Investigator from the CSIRO Marine National Facility.

    R/V Investigator will set sail from Darwin on 30 September 2022 to travel to Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island Territories before returning to Fremantle (Western Australia) on 3 November 2022.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organizations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organization as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organized into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Land and Water
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities
    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown


    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

  • richardmitnick 8:53 am on August 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UF research shows a step toward restoring sea urchins:: ‘The lawnmowers of reefs’", , , , Marine Biology,   

    From The University of Florida: “UF research shows a step toward restoring sea urchins:: ‘The lawnmowers of reefs’” 

    From The University of Florida

    Brad Buck


    Coral reef ecosystems are severely threatened [Science (below)]by pollution, disease, overharvesting and other factors. For thousands of years, long-spined sea urchins helped keep reefs intact. They eat seaweed, which can kill or seriously damage coral. Without coral, reefs suffer severe consequences, including diminished ability to support fish.

    In the mid-1980s, more than 90% of the urchins that crawled the coral reefs in the western Atlantic and Caribbean died for reasons scientists have yet to determine. The population of the long-spined sea urchin – known scientifically as Diadema antillarum — has been slow to recover on its own. That’s why scientists, including Josh Patterson, are stepping up their efforts to enhance urchin populations.

    “You could call these urchins the lawn mowers of the reefs,” said Patterson, a UF/IFAS associate professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences. “They eat fleshy seaweeds that grow out of control on coral reefs and ultimately smother the corals.”

    The UF/IFAS restoration ecologist is trying to return more of the urchin to an area that roughly includes the seas off the Florida Keys, Bermuda, the Yucatan Peninsula, Aruba and the Virgin Islands. He’s taken a small step toward the overarching goal of revitalizing the population of the vital echinoderm.

    Patterson used about 200 urchins for his latest experiment – an amazingly high number, considering how difficult they are to grow. “You could collect 200 wild urchins without too much trouble; growing 200 of them via aquaculture is much more difficult,” he said.

    In the study [Aquaculture Reports (below)], he and his colleagues showed that by feeding dried seaweed to baby cultured long-spined urchins, they can help them grow faster and behave more like natural urchins than if you give them commercial pellets that are normally fed to herbivorous fish in marine aquariums.

    “If the urchins behave naturally, they’re more likely to find shelter on the reef and survive to consume the seaweed,” Patterson said.

    As for that natural behavior, long-spined sea urchins are nocturnal. For the experiment, scientists came in every six hours – at midnight, 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. — and recorded the proportion of urchins in each tank that were actively eating, foraging or hiding. The ones fed dried seaweed were more likely to be eating at 6 a.m., a time you would expect them to dine.

    The trick now is: Will the urchins multiply on the coral reefs?

    “The ultimate idea is to try and grow thousands and thousands of urchins to restock the reef so they will eat the seaweed overgrowth,” said Patterson, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Lab. “These findings are steps toward that ultimate idea. And you want to be able to produce them faster.”

    For this study, Patterson worked with six fellow scientists, including Lotus Hassan, a post-doctoral research associate in the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. Patterson and his colleagues conducted the experiment at the Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, where Patterson works. This experiment and many others he conducts would only be possible with the collaboration he enjoys with the Florida Aquarium.

    Science paper:
    Science 2003
    Aquaculture Reports

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Florida is a public land-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida, traces its origins to 1853, and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.

    After the Florida state legislature’s creation of performance standards in 2013, the Florida Board of Governors designated the University of Florida as one of the three “preeminent universities” among the twelve universities of the State University System of Florida. For 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida as the 5th (tied) best public university and 28th (tied) best university in the United States. The University of Florida is the only member of the Association of American Universities in Florida and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It is the third largest Florida university by student population, and is the fifth largest single-campus university in the United States with 57,841 students enrolled for during the 2020–21 school year. The University of Florida is home to 16 academic colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. It offers multiple graduate professional programs—including business administration, engineering, law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine—on one contiguous campus, and administers 123 master’s degree programs and 76 doctoral degree programs in eighty-seven schools and departments. The university’s seal is also the seal of the state of Florida, which is on the state flag, though in blue rather than multiple colors.

    The University of Florida’s intercollegiate sports teams, commonly known as the “Florida Gators”, compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). In their 111-year history, the university’s varsity sports teams have won 42 national team championships, 37 of which are NCAA titles, and Florida athletes have won 275 individual national championships. In addition, as of 2021, University of Florida students and alumni have won 143 Olympic medals, including 69 gold medals.

    The University of Florida traces its origins to 1853, when the East Florida Seminary, the oldest of the University of Florida’s four predecessor institutions, was founded in Ocala, Florida.

    On January 6, 1853, Governor Thomas Brown signed a bill that provided public support for higher education in Florida. Gilbert Kingsbury was the first person to take advantage of the legislation, and established the East Florida Seminary, which operated until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The East Florida Seminary was Florida’s first state-supported institution of higher learning.

    James Henry Roper, an educator from North Carolina and a state senator from Alachua County, had opened a school in Gainesville, the Gainesville Academy, in 1858. In 1866, Roper offered his land and school to the State of Florida in exchange for the East Florida Seminary’s relocation to Gainesville.

    The second major precursor to the University of Florida was the Florida Agricultural College, established at Lake City by Jordan Probst in 1884. Florida Agricultural College became the state’s first land-grant college under the Morrill Act. In 1903, the Florida Legislature, looking to expand the school’s outlook and curriculum beyond its agricultural and engineering origins, changed the name of Florida Agricultural College to the “University of Florida,” a name the school would hold for only two years.

    In 1905, the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act, which consolidated the state’s publicly supported higher education institutions. The member of the legislature who wrote the act, Henry Holland Buckman, later became the namesake of Buckman Hall, one of the first buildings constructed on the new university’s campus. The Buckman Act organized the State University System of Florida and created the Florida Board of Control to govern the system. It also abolished the six pre-existing state-supported institutions of higher education, and consolidated the assets and academic programs of four of them to form the new “University of the State of Florida.” The four predecessor institutions consolidated to form the new university included the University of Florida at Lake City (formerly Florida Agricultural College) in Lake City, the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg, and the South Florida Military College in Bartow.

    The Buckman Act also consolidated the colleges and schools into three institutions segregated by race and gender—the University of the State of Florida for white men, the Florida Female College for white women, and the State Normal School for Colored Students for African-American men and women.

    The City of Gainesville, led by its mayor William Reuben Thomas, campaigned to be home to the new university. On July 6, 1905, the Board of Control selected Gainesville for the new university campus. Andrew Sledd, president of the pre-existing University of Florida at Lake City, was selected to be the first president of the new University of the State of Florida. The 1905–1906 academic year was a year of transition; the new University of the State of Florida was legally created, but operated on the campus of the old University of Florida in Lake City until the first buildings on the new campus in Gainesville were complete. Architect William A. Edwards designed the first official campus buildings in the Collegiate Gothic style. Classes began on the new Gainesville campus on September 26, 1906, with 102 students enrolled.

    In 1909, the school’s name was simplified from the “University of the State of Florida” to the “University of Florida.”

    The alligator was incidentally chosen as the school mascot in 1911, after a local vendor ordered and sold school pennants imprinted with an alligator emblem since the animal is very common in freshwater habitats in the Gainesville area and throughout the state. The mascot was a popular choice, and the university’s sports teams quickly adopted the nickname.

    The school colors of orange and blue were also officially established in 1911, though the reasons for the choice are unclear. The most likely rationale was that they are a combination of the colors of the university’s two largest predecessor institutions, as the East Florida Seminary used orange and black while Florida Agricultural College used blue and white. The older school’s colors may have been an homage to early Scottish and Ulster-Scots Presbyterian settlers of north central Florida, whose ancestors were originally from Northern Ireland and the Scottish Lowlands.

    In 1909, Albert Murphree was appointed the university’s second president. He organized the university into several colleges, increased enrollment from under 200 to over 2,000, and was instrumental in the founding of the Florida Blue Key leadership society. Murphree is the only University of Florida president honored with a statue on campus.

    In 1924, the Florida Legislature mandated women of a “mature age” (at least twenty-one years old) who had completed sixty semester hours from a “reputable educational institution” be allowed to enroll during regular semesters at the University of Florida in programs that were unavailable at Florida State College for Women. Before this, only the summer semester was coeducational, to accommodate women teachers who wanted to further their education during the summer break. Lassie Goodbread-Black from Lake City became the first woman to enroll at the University of Florida, in the College of Agriculture in 1925.

    John J. Tigert became the third university president in 1928. Disgusted by the under-the-table payments being made by universities to athletes, Tigert established the grant-in-aid athletic scholarship program in the early 1930s, which was the genesis of the modern athletic scholarship plan used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Inventor and educator Blake R Van Leer was hired as Dean to launch new engineering departments and scholarships. Van Leer also managed all applications for federal funding, chaired the Advanced Planning Committee per Tigert’s request. These efforts included consulting for the Florida Emergency Relief Administration throughout the 1930s.

    Beginning in 1946, there was dramatically increased interest among male applicants who wanted to attend the University of Florida, mostly returning World War II veterans who could attend college under the GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act). Unable to immediately accommodate this increased demand, the Florida Board of Control opened the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida on the campus of Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee. By the end of the 1946–47 school year, 954 men were enrolled at the Tallahassee Branch. The following semester, the Florida Legislature returned the Florida State College for Women to coeducational status and renamed it Florida State University. These events also opened up all of the colleges that comprise the University of Florida to female students. Florida Women’s Hall of Fame member Marylyn Van Leer became the first woman to receive a master’s degree in engineering. African-American students were allowed to enroll starting in 1958. Shands Hospital opened in 1958 along with the University of Florida College of Medicine to join the established College of Pharmacy. Rapid campus expansion began in the 1950s and continues today.

    The University of Florida is one of three Florida public universities, along with Florida State University and the University of South Florida, to be designated as a “preeminent university” by Florida senate bill 1076, enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law by the governor in 2013. As a result, the preeminent universities receive additional funding to improve the academics and national reputation of higher education within the state of Florida.

    In 1985, the University of Florida was invited to join The Association of American Universities, an organization of sixty-two academically prominent public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. Florida is one of the seventeen public, land-grant universities that belong to the AAU. In 2009, President Bernie Machen and the University of Florida Board of Trustees announced a major policy transition for the university. The Board of Trustees supported the reduction in the number of undergraduates and the shift of financial and other academic resources to graduate education and research. In 2017, the University of Florida became the first university in the state of Florida to crack the top ten best public universities according to U.S. News. The University of Florida was awarded $900.7 million in annual research expenditures in sponsored research for the 2020 fiscal year. In 2017, university president Kent Fuchs announced a plan to hire 500 new faculty to break into the top five best public universities; the newest faculty members would be hired in STEM fields.

    In its 2021 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Florida as tied for the fifth-best public university in the United States, and tied for 28th overall among all national universities, public and private.

    Many of the University of Florida’s graduate schools have received top-50 national rankings from U.S. News & World Report with the school of education 25th, Florida’s Hough School of Business 25th, Florida’s Medical School (research) tied for 43rd, the Engineering School tied for 45th, the Levin College of Law tied for 31st, and the Nursing School tied for 24th in the 2020 rankings.

    Florida’s graduate programs ranked for 2020 by U.S. News & World Report in the nation’s top 50 were audiology tied for 26th, analytical chemistry 11th, clinical psychology tied for 31st, computer science tied for 49th, criminology 19th, health care management tied for 33rd, nursing-midwifery tied for 35th, occupational therapy tied for 17th, pharmacy tied for 9th, physical therapy tied for 10th, physician assistant tied for 21st, physics tied for 37th, psychology tied for 39th, public health tied for 37th, speech-language pathology tied for 28th, statistics tied for 40th, and veterinary medicine 9th.

    In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked the engineering school 38th nationally, with its programs in biological engineering ranked 3rd, materials engineering 11th, industrial engineering 13th, aerospace engineering 26th, chemical engineering 28th, environmental engineering 30th, computer engineering 31st, civil engineering 32nd, electrical engineering 34th, mechanical engineering 44th.

    The 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities list assessed the University of Florida as 86th among global universities, based on overall research output and faculty awards. In 2017, Washington Monthly ranked the University of Florida 18th among national universities, with criteria based on research, community service, and social mobility. The lowest national ranking received by the university from a major publication comes from Forbes which ranked the university 68th in the nation in 2018. This ranking focuses mainly on net positive financial impact, in contrast to other rankings, and generally ranks liberal arts colleges above most research universities.

    University of Florida received the following rankings by The Princeton Review in its latest Best 380 Colleges Rankings: 13th for Best Value Colleges without Aid, 18th for Lots of Beer, and 42nd for Best Value Colleges. It also was named the number one vegan-friendly school for 2014, according to a survey conducted by PETA.

    On Forbes’ 2016 list of Best Value Public Colleges, University of Florida was ranked second. It was also ranked third on Forbes’ Overall Best Value Colleges Nationwide.

    The university spent over $900 million on research and development in 2020, ranking it one of the highest in the nation. According to a 2019 study by the university’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the university contributed $16.9 billion to Florida’s economy and was responsible for over 130,000 jobs in the 2017–18 fiscal year. The Milken Institute named University of Florida one of the top-five U.S. institutions in the transfer of biotechnology research to the marketplace (2006). Some 50 biotechnology companies have resulted from faculty research programs. Florida consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in licensing. Royalty and licensing income includes the glaucoma drug Trusopt, the sports drink Gatorade, and the Sentricon termite elimination system. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is ranked No. 1 by The National Science Foundation in Research and Development. University of Florida ranked seventh among all private and public universities for the number of patents awarded for 2005.

    Research includes diverse areas such as health-care and citrus production (the world’s largest citrus research center). In 2002, Florida began leading six other universities under a $15 million National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant to work on space-related research during a five-year period. The university’s partnership with Spain helped to create the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope in the Canary Islands (the cost was $93 million).

    Plans are also under way for the University of Florida to construct a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) research facility in collaboration with the Burnham Institute for Medical Research that will be in the center of University of Central Florida’s Health Sciences Campus in Orlando, Florida. Research will include diabetes, aging, genetics and cancer.

    The University of Florida has made great strides in the space sciences over the last decade. The Astronomy Department’s focus on the development of image-detection devices has led to increases in funding, telescope time, and significant scholarly achievements. Faculty members in organic chemistry have made notable discoveries in astrobiology, while faculty members in physics have participated actively in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, the largest and most ambitious project ever funded by the NSF.


    Through the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the University of Florida is the lead institution on the NASA University Research, Engineering, and Technology Institute (URETI) for Future Space Transport project to develop the next-generation space shuttle.

    In addition, the university also performs diabetes research in a statewide screening program that has been sponsored by a $10 million grant from the American Diabetes Association. The University of Florida also houses one of the world’s leading lightning research teams. University scientists have started a biofuels pilot plant designed to test ethanol-producing technology. The university is also host to a nuclear research reactor known for its Neutron Activation Analysis Laboratory. In addition, the University of Florida is the first American university to receive a European Union grant to house a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.

    The University of Florida manages or has a stake in numerous notable research centers, facilities, institutes, and projects

    Askew Institute
    Bridge Software Institute
    Cancer and Genetics Research Complex
    Cancer Hospital
    Center for African Studies
    Center for Business Ethics Education and Research
    Center for Latin American Studies
    Center for Public Service
    Emerging Pathogens Institute
    Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center
    International Center
    Floral Genome Project
    Florida Institute for Sustainable Energy
    Florida Lakewatch
    Gran Telescopio Canarias
    Infectious Disease Pharmacokinetics Laboratory
    Lake Nona Medical City
    McKnight Brain Institute
    Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
    National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
    Rosemary Hill Observatory
    UF Innovate-Sid Martin Biotech
    UF Training Reactor
    Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience

    Student media

    The University of Florida community includes six major student-run media outlets and companion Web sites.

    The Independent Florida Alligator is the largest student-run newspaper in the United States, and operates without oversight from the university administration.
    The Really Independent Florida Crocodile, a parody of the Alligator, is a monthly magazine started by students.
    Tea Literary & Arts Magazine is UF’s student-run undergraduate literary and arts publication, established in 1995.
    WRUF (850 AM and 95.3 FM) includes ESPN programming, local sports news and talk programming produced by the station’s professional staff and the latest local sports news produced by the college’s Innovation News Center.
    WRUF-FM (103.7 FM) broadcasts country music and attracts an audience from the Gainesville and Ocala areas.
    WRUF-LD is a low-power television station that carries weather, news, and sports programming.
    WUFT is a PBS member station with a variety of programming that includes a daily student-produced newscast.
    WUFT-FM (89.1 FM) is an NPR member radio station which airs news and public affairs programming, including student-produced long-form news reporting. WUFT-FM’s programming also airs on WJUF-FM (90.1). In addition, WUFT offers 24-hour classical/arts programming on 92.1.

    Various other journals and magazines are published by the university’s academic units and student groups, including the Bob Graham Center-affiliated Florida Political Review and the literary journal Subtropics.

  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on August 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Bringing Bivalves Back", , Marine Biology, Oysters have been dying off for the last century. PhD candidate Mark Ciesielski wants to know why — and how to stop it.   

    From “Endeavors” at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: “Bringing Bivalves Back” 

    From “Endeavors” at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

    Alyssa LaFaro

    Oysters have been dying off for the last century. PhD candidate Mark Ciesielski wants to know why — and how to stop it.

    Bringing Bivalves Back. UNC Research

    As Mark Ciesielski urges the black Silverado he’s driving up the incline of the third bridge he’s crossed this morning, he looks out over the rippling water of Core Sound and admits that the ocean intimidates him.

    “Not knowing what’s around you is terrifying,” the UNC-Chapel Hill marine science PhD candidate says with a laugh.

    That’s a pattern of Ciesielski’s — immersion therapy. He also shares that he’s not much of a swimmer, but he received a full scholarship to his undergraduate institution as a member of the dive team.

    “Diving and swimming are two different things,” he points out.

    Later that morning, it’s hard not to admire his drive to get in and out of the waist-high water at his field site, where numerous mesh cages full of oysters bob up and down as the saltwater swells and recedes.

    “Do you know about the stingray shuffle?” he asks.

    It’s exactly what it sounds like. Small versions of these shark relatives like to bury themselves in the sand on the bottom of the bay here in Smyrna, North Carolina. To avoid stepping on them, a quick one-two is necessary.

    Upon reaching the oyster cages, Ciesielski unhooks one from the line, lifts it up, and shakes the water out of it, the shells click-clacking loudly. He carries it back to the boat, cuts open its zip ties, pours the contents into a long black tub, and begins sorting. Dead oysters to the left, live oysters the right. An open shell signifies mortality. This batch only has six or seven that didn’t survive.

    Ciesielski shakes water out of an oyster container. (photo by Alyssa LaFaro)

    “What’s your count?” Ciesielski yells to the front of the boat, where his NC State collaborator and IMS alumnus, Jonathan Lucas, is divvying up another bag.

    “76 dead,” Lucas replies.

    “Did you just say 76?” Ciesielski says, a note of shock and sadness in his voice.

    “That’s right,” Lucas says.

    Since 2003, the North Carolina oyster community has worked together to protect and restore local oyster habitats and fisheries, which have experienced a steady decline over the last century due to overharvesting, habitat disturbance, pollution, and biological and environmental stressors. To uncover what’s contributing to these die-offs, Ciesielski is exploring the driving factors that may be leading to the bivalves’ demise.

    “It’s not one silver bullet,” he says. “Most likely, it’s a whole suite of factors that need to be taken into account.”

    Ciesielski is part of a team that’s attacking this problem of oyster mortality from a variety of angles, assessing water quality, increased temperatures, predation, and other environmental factors. He’s specifically focusing on a genus of bacteria that could be infecting these pear-shaped mollusks, something called vibrio.

    Dissecting the problem

    If you’ve ever heard of vibrio, it’s probably the kind that affects humans. The “heavy-hitters,” according to Ciesielski, are Vibrio parahaemolyticus and vulnificus. If someone consumes oysters containing these bacteria, they might experience an intestinal infection, which can lead to septicemia and possibly death.

    But these are just a few of the bacteria that make up the genus. Numerous benign species live in the ocean, just “hanging out,” not affecting humans. But they might be impacting the oysters.

    “There’s a whole slew of functions that the vibrio genus performs, and some of them are likely contributing to oyster mortality,” Ciesielski says. “So, we want to know which species are causing most of the damage.”

    After counting oysters in the field, Ciesielski collects two from each container and brings them back to the lab, where he dissects them to gather a variety of tissue samples for analysis. This is a meticulous process that involves precise cuts, tiny vials, and the continuous disinfection of tools between samples. Once they’ve been sorted, the tissues are stained and viewed under microscopes to assess their immunological function.

    Additionally, Ciesielski extracts DNA from the oysters and analyzes it using “large machinery that looks complicated,” he says with a laugh.

    Ciesielski is monitoring oysters across eight field sites, six in North Carolina and two in Virginia. This allows him to identify the site-specific variables at play so he can develop strategies that help bolster the resilience of the aquaculture industry. He hopes that, in time, there will be a direct pipeline between scientists and oyster farmers so that he can let them know when there’s problematic bacteria within the system and, hopefully, limit the prevalence of widescale mortality events.

    Partnering with the community

    A huge goal of this work is not only to restore the oyster population itself, but the relationship between local scientists and oyster farmers. With this work, Ciesielski hopes that his research can be used to protect the oyster farmers and preserve their livelihoods.

    Oysters are a big deal in North Carolina. Not only are they a seafood product, but oyster reefs support the production of crabs and finfish — about $62 million-worth, according to the North Carolina Coastal Federation. In 2019, the shellfish industry brought in $27 million and supported 532 jobs across the state.

    Additionally, one oyster filters about 50 gallons of water per day, making their survival crucial for nutrient cycling within the oceans, which promotes ecosystem health. Their removal of nitrogen, in particular, is vital — too much can create toxic aerosols and the growth of algae, which blocks out the sun and kills underwater plants and fish. Reefs also act as natural barriers against waves, reducing coastal erosion.

    Part of the draw of working at IMS for Ciesielski is its reputation for partnering with members of the local community. Those relationships provide a rare opportunity, according to Ciesielski.

    “Being able to work directly with the stakeholders and tell them that the work that we’re doing is to help them — that’s a really big deal for me,” he says. “I love what I do on the laboratory side of things, but I also want to make sure that it has worth. So connecting with them has been a big part of what I love about this research.

    “Previous students have started this work, and I’m carrying it on,” he says proudly. “That’s a great part of IMS. There’s a legacy associated with it, and the work is always building on itself.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UNC bloc

    UNC campus
    UNC-University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The flagship of the University of North Carolina system, it is considered to be a Public Ivy, or a public institution which offers an academic experience similar to that of an Ivy League university. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, making it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

    The first public institution of higher education in North Carolina, the school opened its doors to students on February 12, 1795. North Carolina became coeducational under the leadership of President Kemp Plummer Battle in 1877 and began the process of desegregation under Chancellor Robert Burton House when African-American graduate students were admitted in 1951. In 1952, North Carolina opened its own hospital, UNC Health Care, for research and treatment, and has since specialized in cancer care through UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center which is one of only 51 national NCI designated comprehensive centers.

    The university offers degrees in over 70 courses of study and is administratively divided into 13 separate professional schools and a primary unit, the College of Arts & Sciences. Five of the schools have been named: the UNC Kenan–Flagler Business School, the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and the UNC Adams School of Dentistry. All undergraduates receive a liberal arts education and have the option to pursue a major within the professional schools of the university or within the College of Arts and Sciences from the time they obtain junior status. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”, and is a member of the Association of American Universities . According to the National Science Foundation, UNC spent $1.14 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 12th in the nation.

    UNC’s faculty and alumni include 9 Nobel Prize laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 51 Rhodes Scholars. Additional notable alumni include a U.S. President, a U.S. Vice President, 38 Governors of U.S. States, 98 members of the United States Congress, and nine Cabinet members as well as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Olympians and professional athletes.

    The campus covers 729 acres (3 km^2) of Chapel Hill’s downtown area, encompassing the Morehead Planetarium and the many stores and shops located on Franklin Street. Students can participate in over 550 officially recognized student organizations. The student-run newspaper The Daily Tar Heel has won national awards for collegiate media, while the student radio station WXYC provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast. UNC Chapel Hill is one of the charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was founded on June 14, 1953. Competing athletically as the Tar Heels, UNC has achieved great success in sports, most notably in men’s basketball, women’s soccer, and women’s field hockey.

  • richardmitnick 8:14 am on August 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Double Life of an American Lake Monster", , Can biologists suppress—and save—the species?, In Europe they’re an endangered cultural treasure., In the Great Lakes sea lampreys are a scourge., Marine Biology, Sea lampreys,   

    From “WIRED“: “The Double Life of an American Lake Monster” 

    From “WIRED“

    Marion Renault
    Michael Tessler

    In the Great Lakes sea lampreys are a scourge. In Europe they’re an endangered cultural treasure. Can biologists suppress—and save—the species?


    As the sun tucked itself beneath the horizon, all was still on Michigan’s White River. Kandace Griffin, a fisheries and wildlife doctoral student at Michigan State University, sat on her gently bobbing research boat, listening to the evening chorus of frog croaks and red-winged blackbird songs. Every so often, a series of sharp taps emitted from a small speaker broke through the natural sounds, signaling that a sea lamprey—part of an experimental group she’d tagged earlier—was weaving through the depths below.

    Griffin is part of a decades-long effort between the US and Canadian governments, researchers, and fisheries to control populations of the sea lamprey, an invasive species in the Great Lakes region. While the Great Lakes are home to four species of native lamprey, the sea lamprey slithered in from the Atlantic Ocean more than a hundred years ago, and promptly began annihilating native fish populations.

    Earlier that morning, at a Great Lakes Fishery Commission lab, Griffin had pulled nine sea lampreys from a large aquarium where, suckered onto the tank walls, they unknowingly awaited surgery. The lampreys took some expertise to handle—once out of the water, they lashed chaotically until anesthetic relaxed them into “wet noodles”—but Griffin had practiced her operations on more docile subjects first. “I did a lot of banana surgeries,” she said with a smile, as she masterfully implanted the sea lampreys with Tic Tac-sized acoustic telemetry trackers and quickly closed up the sutures.

    Sea lamprey mouths with rings of teeth are clearly visible when they are suctioning onto tanks at Hammond Bay Biological Station, Michigan. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    For most people, the sight of a sea lamprey can be queasy-making. The animal’s yellow-brown, mottled skin and its snaking swimming style makes it look like an eel, with one dramatic difference: It is vampiric. Its fearsome, jawless mouth—a suction cup with rings of pointed teeth and a toothy tongue in the center—resembles something out of a schlocky horror movie. This mouth latches, leech-like, onto unsuspecting fish and slurps up their blood, causing severe wounds or death.

    The Tic Tac-sized acoustic telemetry tracker that will be surgically implanted into a sea lamprey. This allows researchers to follow the movements of the sea lamprey used for experiments in the White River, Michigan. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    By the mid-20th century, the sea lampreys’ gruesome diets had made them regional villains. “Probably the most bloodthirsty of all the fish found in the Great Lakes and on the Atlantic coast is a round-mouthed creature that looks like a two-foot piece of garden hose which was left out in the yard all winter,” a Michigan newspaper noted in 1955. This revilement has endured. In the 2014 sci-fi horror film Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys, a lakeside town in Michigan is plagued by human-hungry lampreys that burst from cadaver chests, kill the coroner, enter the municipal water system, and murder the mayor as he sits on the toilet. The end of the movie gestures to the sea lampreys’ pernicious ability to survive: When the town recovers from the massacre, one lingering lamprey attacks a cleanup crew member.

    The lampreys’ insidious image has been used against them. “Nobody likes sea lampreys,” Marc Gaden, deputy executive secretary for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, says. “They don’t look like bunnies or puppies. You don’t have to make a case for getting rid of them.”

    A sea lamprey undergoing surgery at a Great Lakes Fishery lab. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    Michigan State University has several labs dedicated to the study and control of lampreys, which make for idiosyncratic subjects. Lamprey skeletons are constructed of cartilage rather than bone, and they can regenerate fully functional spinal cords even after they’ve been sliced in half. They possess an incredible olfactory power, capable of detecting scents at extremely low concentrations—the equivalent of being able to locate a few grains of salt in an Olympic-size swimming pool, according to Anne Scott, an MSU professor. Native populations live in salt water, then swim to inland tributaries to breed and die, like a parasitic salmon. Lamprey species have lived on Earth for hundreds of millions of years; they predate dinosaurs and have survived at least four mass extinctions.

    These unique adaptive talents have earned the sea lamprey a grudging admiration from the conservationists tasked with wiping them out. “There’s no denying the destruction that an invasive species can cause the environment,” Griffin says. “​​But you have to have respect for an animal that has persisted for so long.”

    Sometime in the 19th century, Petromyzon marinus first wriggled its way from the North Atlantic into Lake Ontario. On its southeastern edge, Niagara Falls’ rushing 3,100-foot span provided a natural barrier that blocked the species from further westward expansion, but the deepening of the man-made Welland Canal offered an alternative access route. Once in the larger Great Lakes, sea lampreys encountered a buffet of trout, sturgeon, whitefish, walleye, catfish, and other native aquatic species. The lampreys proceeded to latch onto, bore into, and suck out the blood and bodily fluids of millions of fish—wounding and killing multitudes. There were few, if any, predators to discourage their spread.

    As the problem worsened, humans began to feel their presence. By the mid-1940s, approximately four in five commercially caught fish in the northern parts of Lakes Huron and Michigan were too wounded by lampreys to sell. In Michigan’s section of Lake Michigan alone, lake trout catches totaled 6.5 million pounds in 1944, but less than five years later, only 11,000 pounds were caught in the entirety of the lake. Hit hard by the lampreys, as well as by overfishing and pollution, regional fisheries lost tens of millions of dollars each year through the 1960s. In 1949, commercial fishers testified to Congress that their industry was “doomed.” Fishers and residents alike recoiled at the blood-slurping parasite. “People thought they were like horrible creatures from the bottom of the earth,” a woman whose family owned a sport-fishing resort near Duluth recounted in Great Lakes Sea Lamprey: The 70 Year War on a Biological Invader.

    In the early days of the invasion, wildlife managers and local residents fought the sea lamprey with everything they could think of. From dip nets to spears, few weapons went untested. Conservationists built basic metal barriers to block migrating adults from reaching their spawning grounds and zapped larvae with newly invented electrofishing gear. At one dam, operators built a booby trap out of a metal ramp that guided lampreys over the dam’s edge and into a bucket of oil. A conservation officer named Marvin Norton led pitchfork-armed sporting clubs on excursions to hunt and spear the lampreys. Each effort failed. “I suspect that the lamprey will be with us like fleas on a dog from now on,” said Gerald Cooper of the Michigan Department of Conservation in 1954.

    At what is currently the US Geological Survey’s Hammond Bay Biological Station, scientists toiled to find a chemical solution. In 1956, they finally lucked out with the 5,209th formula they tested: 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol, or TFM. To the researchers’ excitement, TFM could annihilate lamprey larvae while sparing most native biota. Two years later, this novel lampricide was pumped into Michigan’s Mosquito River.

    Within 20 years, TFM proved a formidable weapon. It was especially effective when coupled with the abundant dams in the region, which blocked off more than half of the sea lampreys’ potential spawning habitat. By 1978 the number of spawning sea lampreys in Lake Superior had dropped 92 percent. In the Great Lakes overall, the lamprey population has plummeted from 2 million at its peak in the 1950s to a few hundred thousand today.

    An electrified fish barrier that prevents sea lampreys from migrating upstream to their breeding ground in the Ocqueoc River, Michigan. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    The population continues to be kept within limits by this double-punch of dams and lampricides. But these techniques are increasingly at risk of failure. One potential threat to containment is that the dams that corral lampreys into a manageable area are falling into disrepair. This isn’t unique to the Great Lakes—most of the country’s approximately 90,000 dams are more than half a century old. In 2020, heavy rains in Michigan caused dam breakages, leading to the evacuation of 11,000 residents and $245 million in damages. Due to cost as well as ecological damage, it’s unlikely that the US will continue to invest in this aging infrastructure; instead, as dams crumble, they tend to be removed altogether.

    Lampricides are not a perfect conservation tool, either. They may not even be sustainable. At a cost of $3 million a year, the method isn’t cheap, and there are only two suppliers of TFM in the world, making stores uniquely vulnerable. As with most pesticides, there is a risk that the lamprey could evolve resistance. More immediately, though, lampricides are harmful to some animals, including juvenile lake sturgeon, as well as the Great Lakes’ four native lamprey species, which lack the ability to detoxify the chemical. “It really is a phenomenally good tool,” Gaden says. “But if there is an alternative to a pesticide, we’d like to use it.”

    A sea lamprey chemosterilant injector in Hammond Bay Biological Station, Michigan. Releasing sterilized male sea lamprey can help reduce successful reproduction in the wild. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    Many conservationists, including Griffin, see complete eradication as an ideal but unreachable goal. So far this year, lampricides have helped eliminate more than 5 million sea lampreys from the Great Lakes, according to a count on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission website. But a single gravid female can contain up to 120,000 eggs, of which several thousand offspring typically survive to adulthood. Such high fecundity means that control measures with even a 98 percent success rate leave enough lampreys to reestablish a robust new generation. Every year, then, humans wage the same war. “They’re wily. They’re slippery,” Gaden says. “They’ll find a way.”

    Lampreys overcoming human hurdles, however, is exactly what a different group of scientists across the ocean are hoping for.

    In Western Europe, the sea lamprey has none of the easy abundance of its cousins in the Great Lakes. Instead, the species is in distress; it is listed as anything from near threatened to critically endangered, having been hammered by poor water quality, damming, rising temperatures, habitat loss, and likely overconsumption. For lamprey populations in Spain and Portugal, just 20 percent of historically suitable habitat remains. “They are animals that are in danger,” says Philippe Janvier, an emeritus paleontologist with the Museum National de l’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. “Maybe soon we’ll just have the fossils.”

    In Portugal, Spain, and France, sea lampreys, far from being reviled, are a cultural treasure. To ancient European elites, sea lamprey was a delicacy, with a scallop-like texture and an earthy taste. Julius Caesar rewarded his men with lampreys at banquets to celebrate victories. In ancient Rome they were a symbol of ostentation that could fetch 20 gold coins for 100 fish. Legend has it that in 1135, King Henry I lethally overdosed from a “surfeit of lampreys.” The festive tradition of eating lamprey has continued until today, though it is hampered by the lampreys’ vanishing numbers; Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year was the first to not serve lamprey pie. For her 2012 Diamond Jubilee, lampreys were already scarce enough in Europe that the queen’s were sourced from the Great Lakes. (The high mercury levels of the US fish prevent their import to Europe for broader consumption.)

    Pedro Almeida, a lamprey conservationist at the Universidade de Évora in Portugal, is looking for tools to grow lamprey populations rather than suppress them. Ironically, the eradication work of researchers across the pond helps his mission. Each group of researchers endeavors to know lamprey biology more precisely in order to control, or to grow, their respective populations in the Great Lakes and in Western Europe. “We need to look at conservation and control as two sides of the same coin,” says Margaret Docker, a lamprey biologist at the University of Manitoba.

    Knowing the intimate workings of lampreys helps researchers develop tools to exploit their biology. A lot of lamprey research, for instance, is dedicated to their show-stealing sniffers, which follow minuscule quantities of pheromones to spawning waters. (“They’re pretty much one big nostril,” Docker says.) Scott and another lamprey specialist at MSU are trying to make a key sex pheromone undetectable to the lampreys in an effort to disrupt their reproduction.

    Kandace Griffin and Taylor Whipple acclimating sea lamprey in blue coolers before releasing them in the White River, Michigan, for a study. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    Griffin’s experiment in the White River, also targeting the lamprey’s nose, tested a chemical barrier called “alarm cue”—a milky extract of dead lampreys that live lampreys avoid—to manipulate the lampreys’ movements. In lab settings, the extract makes lampreys thrash and even leap into the air to flee. By pumping the alarm cue into the river, Griffin hopes to be able to direct lampreys away from spawning habitats, coerce them into narrow stretches of river, or push them into traps.

    Researchers are also trying to manipulate the lamprey’s infamous mouth. Other MSU researchers working at the Hammond Bay Biological Station are testing a gridwork of copper wires that, when a lamprey latches on, maps its mouth shape and suctioning patterns. Using machine-learning algorithms based on those patterns, scientists hope to create a device that can identify lampreys by their suckers. They envision a selective fish passage that recognizes and then blocks, traps, or kills lampreys while allowing all other fish to be shuttled upstream—perhaps with a modified version of the evocatively named salmon cannon.

    Down the line, gene editing could open a new avenue for messing with lampreys’ sex lives. CRISPR-Cas9, for example, could genetically sterilize males or cheaply boost the number of lampreys of either sex, making the population too lopsided for effective mating. This technology has promise, though there are a few hurdles. To properly assess the potential impact of genetic alterations, researchers will need access to a reliable supply of lamprey embryos—which, being small and fragile, are costly to collect from local rivers. In order to deploy high-tech genomic weaponry, scientists will first have to accomplish something that no one has yet been able to do: complete the animal’s complex and migration-driven life cycle in the lab.

    Like many invasive species, Petromyzon marinus has challenged human biologists to match its inventiveness, its resourcefulness, its will to find a way.

    An experimental copper wire gridwork that detects suctioning sea lampreys. Coupled with machine-learning algorithms, it can tell sea lampreys apart from other suckering fishes. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    In Michigan’s Ocqueoc River, Nick Johnson, Hammond Bay’s acting director, stood thigh-deep in the clear water and pointed to the pebble- and mussel-shell-littered bottom. At first it was not obvious what he was gesturing toward, but after a moment a pair of lampreys, engaged in an intimate act, came into view.

    Johnson reached his hand down and picked up the mottled golden-brown female, plump with tiny sesame-seed-like eggs. Surprisingly, she didn’t retreat; breeding marks the final chapter in a lamprey’s life cycle, so she had lost either the instinct or the energy to flee. Johnson gently pushed her underbelly, easily exposing her brood.

    There was a magic in witnessing this lamprey, a graceful and well-adapted animal, completing her years on earth with one last act. The species has wreaked economic and ecological havoc in the Great Lakes for decades, but up close, tending to their nests, the interlocked lampreys looked gentle and serene.

    Earlier that day, in the nearby Pigeon River, Johnson had demonstrated how the lamprey’s notorious blood-lusting mouth might be less villainous than we imagine. He reached into a trap in the rippling waters and pulled a large lamprey out, then placed it on his bare hand. The fish latched on with a suction, not a bite, its toothy mouth pulling with a force roughly equivalent to a vacuum cleaner. Some people have likened the prickly feeling on the skin to getting a tattoo; others, including one of the authors of this story, received a mark like a braces-lined hickey.

    A sea lamprey suctioned onto, but not biting, Nick Johnson’s hand. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    Like this, in its preferred riverine breeding habitat, it is harder to see the species as entirely bad. Where humans encounter an animal shapes our relationship to it. This conundrum is not limited to the sea lamprey. A variety of organisms—from sheep to pythons, carnivorous plants and parakeets—exist as both invaders and imperiled, cast in human eyes as villains or victims, depending on who you’re talking to and where you are in the world.

    Climate change will undoubtedly confound efforts to conserve or conquer the sea lamprey. In the Great Lakes, some evidence suggests that warmer waters will speed up lamprey life cycles, making the use of lampricide more frequent and more costly. Lampreys might become bigger, capable of laying more eggs. Extreme storms could increase dam failures, opening up new habitats. And rising temperatures might encourage pesticide resistance while coaxing the species northward, into Lake Superior, which has thus far avoided an all-out infestation.

    (R) A breeding female sea lamprey with her eggs gently coaxed out in Ocqueoc River, Michigan. Females release up to 120,000 eggs. (L) A migrating sea lamprey in Pigeon River, Michigan. Gloves make it possible to handle these slippery fish. Photograph: Michael Tessler.

    In southwestern Europe, climate change may have the opposite effect. Warming is expected to increase the occurrence of 100-year droughts that could dry out critical lamprey spawning runs. The supply of fish that feed juvenile lampreys could dwindle. Lampreys may already be abandoning the Iberian peninsula for warming Scandinavian and Icelandic watersheds.

    Ultimately, humans on both sides of the Atlantic will continue their push and pull with the sea lampreys. “There’s no unaltered square inch on the planet,” Michael Wagner, a fish ecologist at MSU, says. “Maintenance is what we’re in for the rest of our lives.”

    John Hume, one of the researchers in Michigan, accepts this paradox more easily than others. In Scotland, Hume’s home country, sea lampreys are the rarest of all native lamprey species, having been spotted in just a few dozen rivers. Though his current work largely aims to eradicate them from the Great Lakes, Hume enjoys every aspect of the lamprey. They are fascinating models of ancient evolution; they are formidable invaders; they are culinary treats. Wherever in the world he happens to be, looking at a lamprey recalls to him the childlike wonder he felt while flipping over rocks and logs to discover what’s hidden underneath. “When I see a lamprey in the river,” Hume says, “it just feels right.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 10:16 am on August 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hypoxic shoaling events", "Short-Term Events Can Shrink the Habitable Zone in Oceans", "THREEs": transient habitat reduction extreme events, , , Could short-term events provide a window into the long-term health of oceans?, , Habitat reduction during low-oxygen events, La Niña events appear to precondition the waters for THREEs., Marine Biology   

    From “Eos” : “Short-Term Events Can Shrink the Habitable Zone in Oceans” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    Sarah Derouin

    A new study looks at habitat reduction during low-oxygen events, spurring the question, Could short-term events provide a window into the long-term health of oceans?

    Credit: Max Gotts/Unsplash.

    Climate change is driving the oceans to lose oxygen. Marine organisms that need oxygen to survive live in a gradually shoaling, or shallowing, zone of water above a hypoxic, low-oxygen layer. Researchers have studied the long-term deoxygenation trend in marine ecosystems, but investigations on how shorter, transient events can affect ecosystems on weeks- to months-long timescales are lacking.

    Now, a new study Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans [below] looks at when and where these “hypoxic shoaling events” occur. These so-called transient habitat reduction extreme events (THREEs) can change biogeochemical processes or alter entire ocean ecosystems. To find THREEs, which are rare because their detection requires data on changes in the hypoxic layer, the researchers used a simulation model to look at data from the eastern Pacific Ocean because it features a vast area of horizontal hypoxic waters that are driven by physical and biogeochemical processes. They detected THREEs by applying a fixed threshold depth for the hypoxic layer. Each event was also characterized in time and space, and drivers were identified.

    They found that THREEs compress the oxygenated zone by up to 50%–70% in subtropical and tropical regions. La Niña events appear to precondition the waters for THREEs. As a result, in subtropical regions, THREEs occur primarily during boreal winter (December–February) and spring. In the subtropical eastern Pacific, THREEs appear to be associated with mesoscale eddies, which are known as hot spots for low-oxygen conditions, and occur independently of season. The team also noted that 71% of THREEs go along with cold, low-pH, shoaling waters. These events—low oxygen and low pH—can compound the stressors on fish and other marine organisms.

    These findings show how THREEs could be detected in other open-ocean locations to better understand water column biogeochemistry and ocean ecosystems. The authors note that THREEs can also foreshadow long-term changes and shifts in ocean habitats.

    Science paper:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

    See the full article here .


    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 2:32 pm on August 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cultivating Super Corals Alone Is Unlikely to Protect Coral Reefs From Climate Change", , Coral reef restoration techniques are widely applied throughout the world as a way to repopulate degraded coral reef areas., Marine Biology, , Restoration efforts need to be conducted at much greater spatial and temporal scales to have long-term benefits., Restoration practices carry a hefty price tag and require a lot of resources., Selectively breeding corals to be more heat tolerant only will lead to benefits if conducted at a very large scale over the course of centuries., The best chance of adapting to the effects of climate change-like warming ocean temperatures-if there is high genetic diversity and if habitat is protected from other local stressors., The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences   

    From The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences: “Cultivating Super Corals Alone Is Unlikely to Protect Coral Reefs From Climate Change” 

    From The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences


    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    Rutgers University



    Restoration efforts need to be conducted at much greater spatial and temporal scales to have long-term benefits.

    A popular coral restoration technique is unlikely to protect coral reefs from climate change and is based on the assumption that local threats to reefs are managed effectively, according to a study co-authored by Rutgers, Coral Research Alliance and researchers at other institutions.

    The research, published in the journal Ecological Applications [below], explored the response of coral reefs to restoration projects that propagate corals and outplant them into the wild. Additionally, researchers evaluated the effects of outplanting corals genetically adapted to warmer temperatures, sometimes called “super corals,” to reefs experiencing climate change as a way to build resilience to warming.

    The study found neither approach was successful at preventing a decline in coral coverage in the next several hundred years because of climate change and that selectively breeding corals to be more heat tolerant only will lead to benefits if conducted at a very large scale over the course of centuries.

    Even then, the researchers said, the benefits won’t be realized for 200 years.

    Restoring areas with corals that haven’t been selected to be more heat tolerant was ineffective at helping corals survive climate change except at the largest supplementation levels.

    “Our previous research shows that corals have the best chance of adapting to the effects of climate change-like warming ocean temperatures-if there is high genetic diversity and if habitat is protected from other local stressors.” said Lisa McManus, who co-led the research and conducted the work as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University and is now faculty at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology. “Repopulating a coral reef with corals that have similar genetic makeups could reduce an area’s natural genetic diversity, and therefore make it harder for all corals to adapt to climate change.”

    Coral reef restoration techniques are widely applied throughout the world as a way to repopulate degraded coral reef areas. Although the practice has some benefits, such as engaging and educating communities about reef ecosystems or replenishing a coral reef population after an area has been hit by a storm or suffered direct physical damage, more scientists are speaking up about the limitations of conservation approaches that focus solely on restoration.

    The authors said focusing solely on coral restoration and genetically engineering corals to be more tolerant of high temperatures is risky. Understanding of the genes that determine heat resistance remains limited and focusing on reproducing just one single trait could undermine a coral’s resilience to other stressors or its natural ability to adapt, they said.

    Restoration practices also carry a hefty price tag and require a lot of resources. The median cost of restoring just one hectare (or about 2.5 acres) of coral reef has been estimated at more than $350,000, which doesn’t factor in high mortality rates that often come with such projects and the cost of genetically modifying corals.

    “Coral restoration can be an important tool for conserving coral reefs, but restoration is expensive and hard. We can’t use restoration to replace the basics, like improving water quality, avoiding overfishing, and addressing climate change,” said Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

    The study was co-authored by Rutgers professor Malin Pinsky, and researchers from Coral Reef Alliance, University of Washington, Stanford University, University of Queensland, University of Hawai’i and The Nature Conservancy. The research was funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

    Science paper:
    Ecological Applications

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The basis for what is today The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences was formed in 1864 from an effort led by professor George H. Cook to designate Rutgers as New Jersey’s land-grant college, two years after Congress passed the 1862 Morrill Act creating public, land-grant institutions across the nation. The Rutgers Scientific School was the distinct unit established to carry out the land-grant mission.In 1880 the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES)—the 3rd oldest in the U.S.—was set up to conduct applied agricultural research for the public interest. The school’s affiliation with NJAES reflected the nation and the state’s mission to extend knowledge to the predominant agricultural sector of the time. This was further facilitated by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 that established the national Cooperative Extension system at each land-grant institution to disseminate information for the public good and the agricultural emphasis was reflected in 1917 when Rutgers Scientific School was renamed the College of Agriculture.

    As New Jersey grew into a more urban and suburban state indicating changing demands, in 1965 the College of Agriculture was re-titled the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (CAES), the first land-grant institution to add a focus on the environment to its name. In 1971 the CAES changed its name to Cook College in honor of George H. Cook. Cook College was renamed the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) in 2007, as part of a university-wide reorganization of undergraduate education at Rutgers that also saw the adoption of the term “school” to designate all degree-granting units of the university.

    Throughout its long history, the school has been home to many firsts and historical innovations, with worldwide impact: In 1934 the world-renowned Rutgers tomato was released, serving as the leading commercial variety for decades; in 1938 Enos Perry established the first dairy cow artificial insemination program in the US; in 1943 Albert Schatz and Selman Waksman discovered the life-saving tuberculosis drug streptomycin; in 1965 William Roberts innovated the first air-inflated, double-layer polyethylene greenhouse, revolutionizing a worldwide industry; in 2016 the Rutgers Slocum Electric Underwater Glider completed the first crossing of the South Atlantic by an autonomous underwater vehicle.

    Today SEBS supports vibrant academic departments, research and outreach centers, and institutes addressing the scientific foundation of the pressing needs of the 21st century in the environment, climate, marine and coastal, agriculture, nutrition, plant biology, landscape design, food systems, and more.


    Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers University is a public land-grant research university based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers was originally called Queen’s College, and today it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States, the second-oldest in New Jersey (after Princeton University), and one of the nine U.S. colonial colleges that were chartered before the American War of Independence. In 1825, Queen’s College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, whose substantial gift to the school had stabilized its finances during a period of uncertainty. For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college but it has evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated The State University of New Jersey by the New Jersey Legislature via laws enacted in 1945 and 1956.

    Rutgers today has three distinct campuses, located in New Brunswick (including grounds in adjacent Piscataway), Newark, and Camden. The university has additional facilities elsewhere in the state, including oceanographic research facilities at the New Jersey shore. Rutgers is also a land-grant university, a sea-grant university, and the largest university in the state. Instruction is offered by 9,000 faculty members in 175 academic departments to over 45,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 graduate and professional students. The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of American Universities and the Universities Research Association. Over the years, Rutgers has been considered a Public Ivy.


    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, also known as RUCCS. This research center hosts researchers in psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, electrical engineering, and anthropology.

    It was at Rutgers that Selman Waksman (1888–1973) discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, candidin, and others. Waksman, along with graduate student Albert Schatz (1920–2005), discovered streptomycin—a versatile antibiotic that was to be the first applied to cure tuberculosis. For this discovery, Waksman received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1952.

    Rutgers developed water-soluble sustained release polymers, tetraploids, robotic hands, artificial bovine insemination, and the ceramic tiles for the heat shield on the Space Shuttle. In health related field, Rutgers has the Environmental & Occupational Health Science Institute (EOHSI).

    Rutgers is also home to the RCSB Protein Data bank, “…an information portal to Biological Macromolecular Structures’ cohosted with the San Diego Supercomputer Center. This database is the authoritative research tool for bioinformaticists using protein primary, secondary and tertiary structures worldwide….”

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension office, which is run by the Agricultural and Experiment Station with the support of local government. The institution provides research & education to the local farming and agro industrial community in 19 of the 21 counties of the state and educational outreach programs offered through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Office of Continuing Professional Education.

    Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) is the largest university based repository in the world and has received awards worth more than $57.8 million from the National Institutes of Health. One will fund genetic studies of mental disorders and the other will support investigations into the causes of digestive, liver and kidney diseases, and diabetes. RUCDR activities will enable gene discovery leading to diagnoses, treatments and, eventually, cures for these diseases. RUCDR assists researchers throughout the world by providing the highest quality biomaterials, technical consultation, and logistical support.

    Rutgers–Camden is home to the nation’s PhD granting Department of Childhood Studies. This department, in conjunction with the Center for Children and Childhood Studies, also on the Camden campus, conducts interdisciplinary research which combines methodologies and research practices of sociology, psychology, literature, anthropology and other disciplines into the study of childhoods internationally.

    Rutgers is home to several National Science Foundation IGERT fellowships that support interdisciplinary scientific research at the graduate-level. Highly selective fellowships are available in the following areas: Perceptual Science, Stem Cell Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology for Clean Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Fuels Solutions, and Nanopharmaceutical Engineering.

    Rutgers also maintains the Office of Research Alliances that focuses on working with companies to increase engagement with the university’s faculty members, staff and extensive resources on the four campuses.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

  • richardmitnick 10:08 am on August 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Crustaceans Discovered 'Pollinating' Seaweeds in Scientific First", , , Marine Biology, Plant Biology, , The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne](FR)   

    From The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne](FR) via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Crustaceans Discovered ‘Pollinating’ Seaweeds in Scientific First” 

    From The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne](FR)



    “Science Alert (AU)”

    2 AUGUST 2022

    A marine crustacean covered in seaweed sperm. (Sebastien Colin, MPG Institute for Biology/Sorbonne University).

    Pollination is the trademark of flowering plants, with animal pollinators such as bees and birds sustaining the world’s food supplies – not to mention our cravings for coffee, honey, and macadamia nuts. But new research raises the possibility that animal-assisted pollination may have emerged in the sea, long before plants moved ashore.

    The study, conducted by research groups based in France and Chile, is the first to document a seaweed species that depends on small marine crustaceans bespeckled in pollen-like spores to reproduce.

    Since the red algae Gracilaria gracilis evolved long before land plants appeared, the researchers say their study shows animal-assisted pollination could have arisen some 650 million years ago in the oceans once a suitable pollinator appeared.

    On land in seed-bearing flowering plants and gymnosperms, male reproductive cells, or gametes, take flight in the form of pollen grains, which are carried on wind, through water, or aback insects, to hopefully land upon a female counterpart somewhere far afield.

    Scientists then discovered that mosses [Science 2006 (below)] (a type of rootless, non-flowering plant classified as bryophytes) and some fungi also use animals and insects to facilitate reproduction, upending what they knew about animal-mediated pollination.

    Though often debated, researchers thought it had originated in concert with terrestrial plants around 140 million years ago [Science 2020 (below)]– or at least during the Mesozoic, which stretches back some 252 million years.

    Only a few years ago, scientists discovered foraging marine invertebrates carrying seagrass sperm [Nature Communications 2016 (below)], throwing out to sea the long-standing theory that the oceans were devoid of pollinators.

    Now, this new study from Emma Lavaut, an evolutionary biology graduate student at Sorbonne University in Paris, and colleagues, describes how small crustaceans called isopods, Idotea balthica, help fertilize a species of red seaweed, G. gracilis, that evolved around 1 billion years ago, long before the 500 million years [Science 2018 (below)] ago when land-plants appeared.

    “The study by Lavaut et al. has broadened both the variety and the history of animal-mediated male gamete transfer, taking the concept of pollination from [land] plants to algae and potentially pushing it back to the earliest evolution of marine invertebrates,” write Jeff Ollerton and Zong-Xin Ren, two ecologists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany, in a perspective accompanying the paper in Science.

    A type of photosynthesizing algae, seaweeds are only very distantly related to so-called true plants.

    G. gracilis also differs from most other seaweeds in that their male gametes have no flagellum to propel them through water, left adrift in the ocean – unless they can snag a ridge on a passing critter, as this new work suggests they often do.

    In a series of lab experiments, Lavaut and colleagues showed how the small marine isopods, which forage along strands of male G. gracilis, inadvertently collect the seaweed’s male gametes (spermatia) as they do, transferring them to female plants.

    You can see in the image below, an idotea decorated with fluorescently-stained spermatia, which suggests that crustaceans may serve as pollinators.

    An idotea appendage covered in spermatia. (Sebastien Colin, MPG Institute for Biology/CNRS/SU).

    “Our results demonstrate for the first time that biotic interactions dramatically increase the probability of fertilization in a seaweed,” Lavaut and colleagues write [Science 2022 (below)].

    Fertilization success was about 20 times higher in the presence of I. balthica than without the critters, the team found.

    Idotea balthica, perched on a red seaweed frond. (Wilfried Thomas, CNRS/SU).

    However, in a world of rapid human-caused climate change, these delicate mutualistic relationships between plants or algae and animals are threatened as much as the ecosystems which they sustain.

    Seaweeds such as G. gracilis rely on still coastal waters to reproduce, when coastlines are being battered by storms and sea levels are slowly rising landward. Meanwhile, ocean acidification can weaken the exoskeletons of crustaceans – though this needs to be studied in isopods.

    While the threat of global heating is abundantly clear, evolutionary-minded ecologists are still stumped as to what G. gracilis did before I. balthica appeared on the scene, since the isopods are not nearly as old as the algae, evolving a ‘mere’ 300 million years ago.

    Although they most likely just relied on ocean currents, “how these seaweeds were reproducing before this is a mystery,” explain Ollerton and Ren [Science 2022].

    If science has taught us anything, it’s that we should always prepare ourselves for more surprises. Recent estimates from Ollerton suggest that only one-tenth of the more than 300,000 known species of animal-pollinated flowering plants have had their pollinators documented.

    So which species are working their magic? “No doubt many more revelations awaiting the careful observer of species interactions,” Ollerton and Ren conclude.

    The study was published in Science.

    Science papers:
    Science 2006

    Science 2020

    Nature Communications 2016

    Science 2022

    Science 2022

    Science 2018

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sorbonne University [Sorbonne Université](FR) is a public research university located in Paris, France. The institution’s legacy reaches back to 1257 when Sorbonne College was established by Robert de Sorbon as one of the first universities in Europe.

    Paris-Sorbonne University was one of the inheritors of the Faculty of Humanities [Faculté des lettres] of the University of Paris [also known as the Sorbonne], which ceased to exist following student protests in May 1968. The Faculty of Humanities of was the main focus of the University of Paris, and subsequently Paris-Sorbonne University was one of its main successors. It was a member of The Sorbonne University Alliance [ Sorbonne Université] (FR).

    Paris-Sorbonne University enrolled about 24,000 students in 20 departments specializing in arts, humanities and languages, divided in 12 campuses throughout Paris. Seven of the campuses were situated in the historic Latin Quarter, including the historic Sorbonne university building, and three in the Marais, Malesherbes and Clignancourt respectively. In addition, the university also maintained one campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, also called Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. Paris-Sorbonne University also comprised France’s prestigious communication and journalism school, Centre for Applied Literary and Scientific Studies [Celsa Sorbonne Université, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences de l’information et de la Communication] (FR), located in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. Paris-Sorbonne University maintained about 400 international agreements.

    As a successor of the faculty of humanities of the University of Paris, it was a founding member the Sorbonne University Alliance [ Sorbonne Université] (FR), an alliance with the successor of the faculty of law and economics and of the faculty of science of the The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne](FR); Paris Panthéon-Assas University [Université Paris-Panthéon-Assas] (FR) and Pierre and Marie Curie University [Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie] (FR). This group allowed Paris-Sorbonne University students to study several dual degrees in combinations. Two graduate certificates in law from Panthéon-Assas University (Sorbonne Law School) were accessible for all the student members of the Sorbonne University group.

    Sorbonne University [Sorbonne Université] (FR) is considered one of the most prestigious universities in Europe and the world. It has a world-class reputation in academia and industry; as of 2021, its alumni and professors have won 33 Nobel Prizes, six Fields Medals, and one Turing Award.

    In the 2021 edition of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Sorbonne University ranked 35th in the world, placing it as the 4th best university in continental Europe, 3rd in Mathematics and Oceanography. In the 2023 edition of QS World University Rankings, the Sorbonne ranked 60th in the world, placing it 8th in continental Europe, 14th in Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and 7th in Classics and Ancient History.

    Known for its selectivity, Sorbonne University is one of the most sought after universities by students and researchers from France, Europe, and the French speaking countries. Most notably, Marie Curie, who came from Poland in 1891 and joined the faculty of sciences of the Sorbonne, was also the first woman to become a professor at the Sorbonne. Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie are considered the founders of the modern-day Faculty of Science and Engineering of Sorbonne University.

    College of Sorbonne

    Robert de Sorbon (1201–1274), chaplain to King Louis IX (Saint Louis), observed the difficulties experienced by poor “schoolchildren” in achieving the rank of doctor. In February 1257, he had a house (domus) officially established which he intended for a certain number of secular clergy who, living in common and without concern for their material existence, would be entirely occupied with study and teaching. This house was named the college of Sorbonne.

    The old slogan of the establishment, “Sorbonne University, creators of futures since 1257”, refers to this date. The college of Sorbonne was closed along with all the other colleges of the former University of Paris in 1793.

    The college of Sorbonne is located on the site of the current Sorbonne building, shared between Sorbonne University and Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris I) and Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris III).

    The law of 28 April 1893 giving civil personality to the bodies formed by the union of several faculties of an academy and that of 10 July 1896 giving the name of university to the bodies of faculties, the new University of Paris was created in 1896 as a grouping of the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Letters, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Protestant Theology (created in 1877, transformed into a free faculty in 1905) and the École supérieure de pharmacie. It was inaugurated on 19 November 1896 by its president, Félix Faure.

    Splitting of the University of Paris

    The Universities of Paris-Sorbonne and Pierre-et-Marie-Curie were created as a result of the university reform prepared by Edgar Faure in 1968.

    At that time, the University of Paris, divided into five faculties, was split into several interdisciplinary universities. Some, including the University of Paris-Sorbonne, retained the name “Sorbonne” and premises in the historic centre of the University of Paris, which had until then been mainly devoted to the Faculties of Arts and Sciences.

    The University of Paris-VI is created from the majority of the teaching and research units of the Faculty of Sciences of Paris (the others joining the universities of Paris-VII Denis Diderot (now University of Paris), Paris-Saclay University in Orsay, Paris-XII and Paris-XIII in Villetaneuse) and part of the units of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris (the others joining the universities of Paris-V René Descartes (now University of Paris), Paris-VII Denis Diderot and Paris-XIII).

    Reunification of the Universities of Paris IV and Paris VI

    In 2010, some of the direct successors of the faculties of the University of Paris created the Sorbonne University Alliance [ Sorbonne Université] (FR). The following universities, members of the group, decided to merge into Sorbonne University in 2018:

    Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris IV) (1971–2017), formerly a constituent part of the faculty of humanities of the University of Paris.
    Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI) (1971–2017), formerly a constituent part of the faculty of science and of the faculty of medicine of the University of Paris.

    At the same time, the Sorbonne Universities Alliance was renamed the Sorbonne University Association; it includes the following institutions for academic cooperation:

    University of Technology of Compiègne (1972– )
    National Museum of Natural History
    Centre international d’études pédagogiques (International Centre for Pedagogical Studies)
    Pôle supérieur d’enseignement artistique Paris Boulogne-Billancourt
    Four research institutes

    As part of the reforms of French Higher Education, on 19 March 2018, the international jury called by the French Government for the “Initiative d’excellence” (IDEX) confirmed the definite win of Sorbonne University. Consequently, Sorbonne University won an endowment of 900 Mio euros with no limit of time. This is the first higher education institution in Paris region to win such an endowment. The university was established by a decree issued 21 April 2017, taking effect 1 January 2018.

    Rankings and reputation

    Sorbonne University is consistently ranked in the top universities in Europe and the world. The first recognition of its existence as an integrated university came in 2018, when it appeared on the CWUR World University Rankings 2018–2019 in 29th place globally and 1st place in France.
    University rankings
    Global – Overall
    ARWU World 35 (2021)
    CWUR World 36 (2021-2022)
    CWTS World 89 (2020)
    QS World 72 (2022)
    Reuters World 56 (2019)
    THE World 80 (2020)
    USNWR Global 46 (2022)

    National – Overall

    ARWU National 2 (2022)
    CWTS National 1 (2020)
    CWUR National 3 (2021-22)
    QS National 3 (2021)
    THE National 3 (2021)
    USNWR National 1 (2022)

    In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020, Sorbonne University is ranked in range 39 globally and 3rd in France.

    In the Times Higher Education European Teaching Rankings 2019, Sorbonne University was ranked in 3rd place in France (after Paris-Sud University and The University of Lyon [Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1] (FR)).

    In the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2019, Sorbonne University was ranked in range 51-60 globally and 2nd in France.

    The 2021 QS World University Rankings ranked Sorbonne University 83rd overall in the world and 3rd in France. Individual faculties at Sorbonne University also featured in the rankings.

    Before the merger of Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University, both had their own rankings in the world.

    Its founding predecessor Paris-Sorbonne University was ranked 222 in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2015. By faculty, it was ranked 9 in modern languages, 36 in arts and humanities (1st in France), and 127 in social sciences and management (5th in France). By academic reputation, it was ranked 80 (2nd in France), according to the QS World University Rankings, and 2nd in overall highest international reputation of all academic institutions in France, according to the Times Higher Education 2015. In 2014 Paris-Sorbonne ranked 227 in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings, 115 for Social Sciences and Management, 33 for Arts and Humanities.

    Pierre and Marie Curie University [Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie] (FR) was often ranked as the best university in France. In 2014 UPMC was ranked 35th in the world, 6th in Europe and 1st in France by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. It was ranked 4th in the world in the field of mathematics by the same study. The 2013 QS World University Rankings ranked the university 112th overall in the world and 3rd in France. In 2013, according to University Ranking by Academic Performance, Université Pierre et Marie Curie is ranked first university in France, and 44th in the world. UPMC is a member of Sorbonne University Alliance.

    The Sorbonne College

    Since 2014, the Sorbonne College for bachelor’s degree (« Collège des Licences de la Sorbonne ») has been coordinating the academic projects inside Sorbonne University and with Paris Panthéon-Assas University [Université Paris-Panthéon-Assas] (FR), the law school of the Sorbonne University Group which has not merged into the Sorbonne University and remained independent. It also offers cross-institutional academic courses in many fields, allowing students to graduate from both institutions. For example, some cross-institutional bachelor’s degrees (« double licences ») are proposed to students in :

    Science and History (Sorbonne)
    Science and Musicology (Sorbonne)
    Science and Philosophy (Sorbonne)
    Science and Chinese (Sorbonne)
    Science and German (Sorbonne)
    Law and History (Panthéon-Assas / Sorbonne)
    Law and Art History (Panthéon-Assas / Sorbonne)
    Law and Science (Panthéon-Assas / Sorbonne)
    History and Media (Sorbonne / Panthéon-Assas)[32]

    As it is the case in the Anglo-American university system, Sorbonne University proposes a major-minor system, that is currently being deployed at the university.

    Sorbonne University, in partnership with INSEAD The Business School for the World [INSEAD L’école de commerce pour le monde] (FR), also offers all of its alumni and PhD students a professionalizing course in business management to complete their curriculum.

    The Doctoral College

    Since 2010, every PhD student is being delivered an honorary diploma labeled Sorbonne University. This diploma highlights and gathers the skills of the doctors and researchers from the institutions that form Sorbonne University.

    The Sorbonne Doctoral College, created in 2013, coordinates the activities of the 26 doctoral schools. Since 2014, it has developed cross-disciplinary PhDs between the different members of the Sorbonne University Alliance.


    To strengthen the influence of its research infrastructures on the international scale, Sorbonne University has developed several research programs aiming at reinforcing or exploring new fields of study. This innovative cross-disciplinary approach was embodied with the creation of four new academic positions gathering several establishments of the group:

    A Department of Digital Humanities, exploring the use of digital technologies in the social science
    A Department of Polychromatic Studies of Societies, associating architecture, anthropology, chemical physics, literature and art history
    A Department of Digital Health, exploring biomedical tools
    A Department of 3D Craniofacial Reconstruction

    Sorbonne University has formed with academic institutions such as the China Scholarship Council or the Brazilian foundation FAPERJ several partnerships enabling bilateral research programs.

    Sorbonne University is a member of The League of European Research Universities, which gathers 23 European universities such as The University of Cambridge (UK) and The University of Oxford (UK).

  • richardmitnick 11:42 am on July 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Have Finally Discovered Why Deep-Sea Corals Glow in The Dark", Deep-reef corals might fluoresce bright colors to lure their prey towards them for a snack., Fluorescent green corals enjoyed higher predation rates than their yellow-fluorescing mates., Marine Biology, , Scientists needed to test that theory which they dubbed the 'light-trap' hypothesis., The "sunscreen" hypothesis suggests that fluorescence might protect bleached corals from further heat stress and light damage., The oceans are full of magical marine life that have spawned ecosystems brimming with biodiversity., The prey-luring role of fluorescence in corals, The shrimp were attracted to and swam towards the fluorescent signal.,   

    The Tel Aviv University [ אוּנִיבֶרְסִיטַת תֵּל אָבִיב ](IL) via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Scientists Have Finally Discovered Why Deep-Sea Corals Glow in The Dark” 

    The Tel Aviv University [ אוּנִיבֶרְסִיטַת תֵּל אָבִיב ](IL)



    “Science Alert (AU)”

    19 JULY 2022

    Corals fluorescing green and yellow. (BenZvi et al., Tel Aviv University)

    The oceans are full of magical marine life that have spawned ecosystems brimming with biodiversity. Corals, which come in all shapes, sizes and colors, are no exception. Some species even glow in the dark.

    Now a team of Israeli scientists have figured out why that might be so. With glowing green and yellow tentacles, deep-reef corals might fluoresce bright colors to lure their prey towards them for a snack.

    “Despite the gaps in the existing knowledge regarding the visual perception of fluorescence signals by plankton, the current study presents experimental evidence for the prey-luring role of fluorescence in corals,” says coral reef researcher Or Ben-Zvi of Tel Aviv University, who led the research.

    Most reef-building corals bask in the shallow waters so their resident algae can capture sunlight as it filters down from the ocean surface. These are the coral reefs with their photosynthetic zooxanthellae that we know and love.

    But other intrepid coral species actually manage to grow at greater depths, as deep as 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) below the surface in the dark, cold, deep sea. (Sadly, however, even they cannot escape human impacts).

    The researchers behind this new study thought that these deep-water corals, many of which are fluorescent, might use light to attract their prey, such as itty-bitty plankton, into their fold – similar to other deep-sea dwellers which emit bioluminescence.

    But they needed to test that theory which they dubbed the ‘light-trap’ hypothesis.

    “Many corals display a fluorescent color pattern that highlights their mouths or tentacle tips,” explains marine ecologist and senior author Yossi Loya of Tel Aviv University.

    This ability to fluoresce and attract prey seems like a pretty essential adaptation for corals stuck on the seafloor, and “especially in habitats where corals require other energy sources in addition to/or as a substitute for photosynthesis,” Loya adds.

    A bunch of other ideas have been proposed though, to explain why coral fluoresce. For instance, the “sunscreen” hypothesis suggests that fluorescence might protect bleached corals from further heat stress and light damage. Boosting photosynthesis might be another possible explanation.

    But mesophotic corals, which grow in low, blue-shifted light, are a little different – with no evidence as yet that their fluorescence offers any sort of protection or energetic boost.

    So Ben-Zvi and her colleagues dove in, looking at coral species which grow at light-dwindling depths and rely on predation more than photosynthesis for food.

    In a series of lab experiments, the team tested whether teeny shrimp (Artemia salina) preferred a green or orange fluorescent target over clear, reflective or matt-colored targets positioned on the opposite side of a tank.

    Indeed, the shrimp were attracted to and swam towards the fluorescent signal.

    A close-up of glowing corals. (Tel Aviv University)

    Similar results were found when the researchers set up experiments in the Gulf of Eilat, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. A native crustacean that falls prey to corals in the Gulf, Anisomysis Marisrubri preferred fluorescent cues over reflective targets but an introduced species of fish larvae did not.

    Lastly, the researchers compared predation rates amongst different colored Euphyllia paradivisa corals that were collected from the Gulf of Eilat at depths of 45 meters (148 ft) and transported back to the lab.

    It turns out that fluorescent green corals enjoyed higher predation rates than their yellow-fluorescing mates, gobbling up more A. salina shrimp in 30 minutes. And when the experiment was repeated under red, not blue lights, which do not excite coral fluorescence, there was no difference in shrimp consumed.

    “In its natural habitat in the mesophotic reefs of Eilat, the yellow morph of E. paradivisa was found to be the least abundant, which can now be potentially explained by the lower prey attraction to this color found in the present study,” Ben-Zvi and colleagues write.

    The experimental setup. (Tel Aviv University)

    Of course, it’s important to note that this study looked at just one species of mesophotic coral. More research is also needed to better understand how plankton and other coral-sustaining crustaceans perceive color – which likely differs among species, locations and life stages.

    But regardless, the study findings underscore why corals – which are the bedrock of biodiverse ocean ecosystems – are so vital to protect. Luckily, we know how.

    The study was published in Communications Biology.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Tel Aviv University (IL) (Hebrew: אוּנִיבֶרְסִיטַת תֵּל-אָבִיב‎, Universitat Tel Aviv) is a public research university in Tel Aviv, Israel. With over 30,000 students, it is the largest university in the country. Located in northwest Tel Aviv, the university is the center of teaching and research of the city, comprising 9 faculties, 17 teaching hospitals, 18 performing arts centers, 27 schools, 106 departments, 340 research centers, and 400 laboratories.

    Besides being the largest university in Israel, Tel Aviv University is also the largest Jewish university in the world. It originated in 1956 when three education units merged to form the university. The original 170-acre campus was expanded and now makes up 220 acres (89 hectares) in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Aviv neighborhood. It regularly ranks among the top academic institutions in the world by the THE World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, and the Shanghai Ranking.

    Tel Aviv University ‘s origins date back to 1956, when three research institutes: the Tel Aviv School of Law and Economics (established in 1935), the Institute of Natural Sciences (established in 1931), and the Institute of Jewish Studies – joined together to form Tel Aviv University. Initially operated by the Tel Aviv municipality, the university was granted autonomy in 1963, and George S. Wise was its first President, from that year until 1971. The Ramat Aviv campus, covering an area of 170-acre (0.69 km2), was established that same year. Its succeeding Presidents have been Yuval Ne’eman from 1971 to 1977, Haim Ben-Shahar from 1977 to 1983, Moshe Many from 1983 to 1991, Yoram Dinstein from 1991 to 1999, Itamar Rabinovich from 1999 to 2006, Zvi Galil from 2006 to 2009, Joseph Klafter from 2009 to 2019, and Ariel Porat since 2019.

    The university also maintains academic supervision over the Center for Technological Design in Holon, the New Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and the Afeka College of Engineering in Tel Aviv. The Wise Observatory is located in Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev desert.

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