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  • richardmitnick 3:25 pm on August 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Groundwater May Fix as Much Carbon as Some Ocean Surface Waters", Carbonate aquifers like the one in this study house some 2.26 million cubic kilometers of water., , , , How quickly microbes fix carbon in an aquifer depends on factors including the water’s chemistry and how much easy-to-use carbon is already available., Life in the deep was thought to mostly munch on carbon drifting in from above. But carbon fixation which turns inorganic carbon into useful organic molecules may be more widespread underground than re, Microbial Ecology, Microbiology   

    From “Eos” : “Groundwater May Fix as Much Carbon as Some Ocean Surface Waters” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”

    AT

    AGU

    7.28.22
    Carolyn Wilke

    1
    Researchers Will Overholt and Kirsten Küsel collect groundwater samples pumped to the surface in the Hainich Critical Zone Observatory in Germany. Credit: Friedrich-Schiller University Jena.

    Life in the deep was thought to mostly munch on carbon drifting in from above. But carbon fixation, which turns inorganic carbon into useful organic molecules, may be more widespread underground than realized. New research suggests that carbon fixation rates in some groundwaters are similar to those in some nutrient-poor surface waters.

    “There’s a lot of fresh organic carbon being made in the subsurface where we’re not looking for it,” said Sunita Shah Walter, a biogeochemist at the University of Delaware who was not part of the new work. “It is happening, and it seems to be happening at pretty high rates.”

    Microbial ecologist Will Overholt, geomicrobiologist Kirsten Küsel, and their colleagues collected groundwater from six wells between 5 and 90 meters below ground as part of the work at the Hainich Critical Zone Observatory in Germany. To those water samples, which harbored microbes from the deep, they added tiny amounts of radioactive carbon. Then, they used a sensitive technique called accelerator mass spectrometry to detect how much of that radioactive carbon microbes picked up.

    “It was really hard to detect the new organic matter being produced by carbon fixation,” said Overholt, who works at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany. “We think most microorganisms living there are under starvation conditions. There’s just not very many of them,” he said.

    The carbon fixation rates measured for this karst limestone aquifer were around 10% of the median rate of global nutrient-poor (oligotrophic) surface waters, the researchers reported in Nature Geoscience 2022 [below]. The carbon-fixing activity of these subsurface microbes even rivaled some measurements from microbes that live between 100 and 120 meters deep in the ocean. At those depths, most primary production occurs because of photosynthesis. “The fact that our rates were overlapping with the sunlit ocean waters was kind of mind-blowing,” Overholt said. Such areas, marine gyres in the middle of the ocean, are dominated by carbon-fixing cyanobacteria that photosynthesize. To look for what might be causing this carbon fixation, the researchers also took a census of microbes in their samples based on genetic material. They also wanted to understand where the microbes get the energy needed for this process. Similar to what they did in their experiments with carbon isotopes, the team spiked groundwater with isotope-labeled sources of nitrogen. The rates for a process that microbes use to gain energy from ammonium lined up closely with the carbon fixation rates. The team then looked to the organisms’ genes to infer how they fixed carbon.

    These are potential rates, cautioned William Orsi, a geomicrobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München who was not part of the new work. What happens in a bottle at the surface is almost always faster than what’s happening in the actual environment because of differences in temperature, pH, or pressure or even the fact that it’s a closed system. “It doesn’t mean that’s the rate that’s actually happening down there,” he said. (Shah Walter noted that the researchers went to “great lengths” to minimize such bottle effects in this work.)

    Underground Players in Carbon Cycle

    Carbonate aquifers like the one in this study house some 2.26 million cubic kilometers of water. If the rate the team measured holds for other types of crystalline aquifers, which hold 12.66 cubic kilometers of water, microbes in these groundwater systems would account for 0.25% of the world’s total primary production, the team reported.

    What the researchers observed at this site is important, said Magdalena Osburn, a geobiologist at Northwestern University who wasn’t involved with the study. But how quickly microbes fix carbon in an aquifer depends on factors including the water’s chemistry and how much easy-to-use carbon is already available.

    With rates from a few other environments, researchers could start to get a handle on how much carbon is going into the subsurface, a carbon flux that is currently unaccounted for in climate models, Osburn said. If these subsurface environments are taking up carbon that’s filtering in through rainwater, that’s a contribution to the global carbon cycle that would be important to understand. “We don’t really know how much communication there is between the deep subsurface and the modern atmosphere.”

    Carbon fixation in the subsurface may be more universal than realized, said Shah Walter. She’s previously measured rates of carbon fixation in the crust [Nature Geoscience 2018 (below)] under the ocean. And one of the new study’s coauthors found evidence for carbon fixation far deeper underground, below a geyser The ISME Journal 2020 [below].

    For a long time, researchers thought that subsurface ecosystems subsisted on old carbon from surface ecosystems that was difficult to break down. But this work and other studies [Frontiers in Microbiology 2021 (below)]suggest that there may be more fresh carbon that can sustain more complex ecosystems that turn over more quickly, Shah Walter said. “That’s the beginning of this whole chain of biological activity.” That seems to be the case with this karst system. Earlier work at the Hainich Critical Zone found that more complex food webs coincided with the abundance of genes [Water Research 2020 (below)] for carbon fixation.

    Science paper:
    Nature Geoscience 2022

    Nature Geoscience 2018

    The ISME Journal 2020

    Frontiers in Microbiology 2021

    Water Research 2020

    See the full article here .

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:18 am on July 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ancient Lava Caves in Hawai'i Are Teeming With Mysterious Life Forms", , , , Microbiology, ,   

    From The University of Hawai’i-Manoa Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Ancient Lava Caves in Hawai’i Are Teeming With Mysterious Life Forms” 

    From The University of Hawai’i-Manoa

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    25 JULY 2022
    CARLY CASSELLA

    1
    Microbial mats in a cave on Hawai’i. (Jimmy Saw)

    Microbes are the smallest known living organisms on Earth and can be found just about everywhere, even in the cold, Mars-like conditions of lava caves.

    On the island of Hawai’i, scientists recently found a marvelous assortment of novel microbes thriving in geothermal caves, lava tubes, and volcanic vents.
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    These underground structures were formed 65 and 800 years ago and receive little to no sunlight. They can also harbor toxic minerals and gases. Yet microbial mats are a common feature of Hawai’ian lava caves.

    Samples of these mats, taken between 2006 and 2009 and then again between 2017 and 2019, reveal even more unique life forms than expected. When researchers sequenced 70 samples for a single RNA gene, commonly used for identifying microbial diversity and abundance, they could not match any results to known genuses or species, at least not with high confidence.

    “This suggests that caves and fumaroles are under-explored diverse ecosystems,” write the study’s authors.

    Microbes, after plants, account for most of our planet’s biomass [PNAS] and nearly all the biomass in Earth’s deep subsurface. Yet because these organisms are so tiny and live in such extreme environments, scientists have historically overlooked them.

    In recent years, underground microbes have received more interest because they exist in environments very similar to those found on Mars. But there’s still a long way to go.

    Recent estimates suggest 99.999 percent of all microbe species remain unknown [NYT], leading some to refer to them as “dark matter”.

    2
    A scanning electron micrograph of fecal microbes. Estimates of the number of microbial species continue to grow.Credit: David Scharf/ Science Source [PNAS]

    The new research from Hawai’i underscores just how obscure these life forms are.

    Diversity among the sites varied. Older lava tubes, those between 500 and 800 years old, hosted more diverse microbe populations than geothermically active sites or were less than 400 years old.

    While these older sites were more diverse, the younger and more active sample sites had more complex microbe interactions, likely due to the lower diversity. The microbes may have to work together to better survive.

    Researchers suspect it takes a while for microbes to colonize volcanic basalts, and as the environment around them changes, so does their community structure. In cooler caves, for instance, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria are more prevalent.

    “This leads to the question, do extreme environments help create more interactive microbial communities, with microorganisms more dependent on each other?” wonders microbiologist Rebecca Prescott from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

    “And if so, what is it about extreme environments that helps to create this?”

    In younger lava caves, microbes tended to be more distantly related. This suggests competition is a stronger force in harsher environments, one that lowers the chance of closely related species living side by side.

    3
    A stalactite formation in a Hawaiʻian cave with white microbial colonies. (Kenneth Ingham)

    Several classes of bacteria, like Chloroflexi and Acidobacteria, existed at nearly all sites, regardless of age.

    These microbes seem to be key players in their communities. The authors call them “hub” species as they bring other microbes together.

    It’s possible that Chloroflexi microbes may provide sources of carbon in the ecosystem by harnessing light energy in relatively dark conditions.

    But for now, that’s just speculation. Because only a single gene was partially sequenced in the study, Prescott and her colleagues can’t say what a particular microbe’s role is in their underground community.

    “Overall, this study helps to illustrate how important it is to study microbes in co-culture, rather than growing them alone (as isolates),” says Prescott.

    “In the natural world, microbes do not grow in isolation. Instead, they grow, live, and interact with many other microorganisms in a sea of chemical signals from those other microbes. This then can alter their gene expression, affecting what their jobs are in the community.”

    Science paper:
    Frontiers in Microbiology

    See the full article here .

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    System Overview

    The University of Hawai‘i includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the Hawaiian Islands. As the public system of higher education in Hawai‘i, UH offers opportunities as unique and diverse as our Island home.

    The 10 UH campuses and educational centers on six Hawaiian Islands provide unique opportunities for both learning and recreation.

    UH is the State’s leading engine for economic growth and diversification, stimulating the local economy with jobs, research and skilled workers.

    The University of Hawaiʻi system is a public college and university system that confers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment training center, three university centers, four education centers and various other research facilities distributed across six islands throughout the state of Hawaii in the United States. All schools of the University of Hawaiʻi system are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The U.H. system’s main administrative offices are located on the property of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu CDP.

    The University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa is the flagship institution of the University of Hawaiʻi system. It was founded as a land-grant college under the terms of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. Programs include Hawaiian/Pacific Studies, Astronomy, East Asian Languages and Literature, Asian Studies, Comparative Philosophy, Marine Science, Second Language Studies, along with Botany, Engineering, Ethnomusicology, Geophysics, Law, Business, Linguistics, Mathematics, and Medicine. The second-largest institution is the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on the “Big Island” of Hawaiʻi, with over 3,000 students. The University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu in Kapolei primarily serves students who reside in Honolulu’s western and central suburban communities. The University of Hawaiʻi Community College system comprises four community colleges island campuses on O’ahu and one each on Maui, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi. The schools were created to improve accessibility of courses to more Hawaiʻi residents and provide an affordable means of easing the transition from secondary school/high school to college for many students. University of Hawaiʻi education centers are located in more remote areas of the State and its several islands, supporting rural communities via distance education.

    Research facilities

    Center for Philippine Studies
    Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi
    East-West Center
    Haleakalā Observatory
    Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute
    Institute for Astronomy
    Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
    Institute of Marine Biology
    Lyon Arboretum
    Mauna Kea Observatory
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    Waikīkī Aquarium

    University of Hawaii 2.2 meter telescope.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth.

    W.M. Keck Observatory two ten meter telescopes operated by California Institute of Technology and the University of California Mauna Kea Hawaii, altitude 4207 m (13802 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawai’i feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrographs and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

    Pann-STARS 1 Telescope, U Hawaii, situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii, altitude 3052 m (10013 ft).

     
  • richardmitnick 7:55 pm on July 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Evolution-in-a-flask experiment moves but not the science", , , , , Microbiology,   

    From The Michigan State University College of Natural Science: “Evolution-in-a-flask experiment moves but not the science” 

    From The Michigan State University College of Natural Science

    At

    Michigan State Bloc

    Michigan State University

    7.5.22

    Michigan State University’s renowned Long-Term Evolution Experiment – a remarkable 34-year biological drama in flasks, with bacteria competing for resources and fighting for dominance – is itself evolving.

    1
    In June, the Lenski lab carefully packed up the latest samples from 75,000 generations of E. coli evolution to ship to the laboratory of Jeffrey Barrick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas at Austin who first worked on the experiment as a postdoc in Lenski’s lab from 2006 to 2010. While the daily propagation of the LTEE is moving to Texas, copies of all of the samples remain at MSU. Lenski has lots of plans and ideas for studying them, both in his lab and with collaborators around the world. Credit: Harley J. Seeley.

    The bacteria’s main stage – frozen vials containing some 75,000 generations– has been moved from MSU’s Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building to Texas. Richard Lenski, its scientific founder and game master, is passing its care and feeding on to a former Michigan State postdoctoral researcher.

    Yet the bookends of news articles in high-profile international science magazines this month signal that MSU’s future with the LTEE is less about glowing obituaries and more about chapters still being written.

    Lenski wryly documented the migration of his microbial colleagues on his @RELenski Twitter account: “Bon voyage, #LTEE! Enjoy your new locale, even if your Erlenmeyer flask homes and DM25 diets are exactly the same as you’ve been evolving in and adapting to for the last 75,000 generations! Now keep on evolving, my friends — bacteria and humans alike!”

    The experiment was started in 1988 by Lenski, the John Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbial Ecology in the MSU College of Natural Science. He began with 12 populations of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria—identical ancestral strains placed into identical environments—to see how similarly or differently they would evolve. For years he and his team fed them and protected their tiny universes from disruptions. In return, the bacteria reproduced quickly, allowing evolutionary-minded scientists to ask questions about evolution that would take many human lifetimes to provide.

    The LTEE has resulted in the publication of more than 100 scientific papers documenting changes large and small in the bacteria – their competitive ability, size and shape, and the sequence of their genomes — findings now widely reported in textbooks, popular books by science writers, and in the media.

    This month, the Lenski lab carefully packed up the latest samples from 75,000 generations of evolution to ship to the laboratory of Jeffrey Barrick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas at Austin who first worked on the experiment as a postdoc in Lenski’s lab from 2006 to 2010.

    Nature, a prestigious international science journal, covered the move [below] of what they termed a “legendary” experiment with a Q&A with Lenski and Barrick. A week later, New Scientist published [below] results by Lenski lab postdoctoral researcher Minako Izutsu, crediting a spin-off experiment with “settling (a) long-term evolution mystery.”

    The latest work addressed the long-standing debate in biology about the relative importance of existing variation versus new mutations in evolution. Izutsu and Lenski put that question to the test in a new evolution experiment with bacteria that ran for 2,000 generations. They found that new mutations began to dominate evolution after only about 50 generations – just a week or so for E. coli – and the effects of the initial variation on the bacteria’s competitiveness was erased by 500 generations.

    The New Scientist piece underscores that, while some of the day-to-day toiling to feed and care for the storied bacteria has been passed along to the next generation, the curiosity that is the scientists’ lifeblood remains strong.

    “While the daily propagation of the LTEE is moving to Texas, we’ve still got copies of all of the samples here, and lots of plans and ideas for studying them, both here in my lab as well as with collaborators around the world,” Lenski said.

    Then he picks up speed: after admitting to Nature that at 65 it seemed prudent to pass the baton to a younger group, it’s clear the ideas aren’t slowing.

    Lenski said he and MSU instructor Michael Wiser are planning to update their analyses of the fitness trajectories through the latest 75,000-generation samples of the LTEE. And they’ll be running computer simulations and analyzing mathematical models to better understand those fitness trajectories with PhD student Devin Lake.

    “And we’ve got lots of other projects going on as well,” he said. “We’re following up on Minako’s latest experiment by sequencing and analyzing the evolved genomes to dig deeper and better understand her exciting results.”

    Zachary Blount is a research assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Blount is examining bacterial strains that use different transporters to take up citrate from the environment. One of the LTEE lines unexpectedly evolved the ability to consume citrate, and that discovery generated public interest as well as lots of new scientific questions.

    “Zack is using those strains to study the physiological and ecological effects of the bacteria consuming citrate, and how those effects would change if the bacteria had evolved to use citrate in a different way from the one that actually happened in the LTEE,” Lenski said.

    Lenski is a member of the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program at MSU, of which he previously served as director. Many in his lab – including Izutsu and Lake currently – have been members over the years as well.

    The long list of current projects and questions makes it easy to conclude that long-term evolutionary experiments never really go away, they simply keep on evolving.

    Science paper:
    Nature

    Science article:
    New Scientist

    See the full article here .


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    About The College of Natural Science

    The College of Natural Science at Michigan State University is home to 27 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.

    The college averages $57M in research expenditures annually while providing world-class educational opportunities to more than 5,500 undergraduate majors and 1,200 graduate and postdoc students. There are 800+ faculty and academic staff associated with NatSci and more than 63,000 living alumni worldwide.

    College of Natural Science Vision, Mission, Values

    The Michigan State University College of Natural Science is committed to creating a safe, collaborative and supportive environment in which differences are valued and all members of the NatSci community are empowered to grow and succeed.

    The following is the college’s vision, mission and values, as co-created and affirmed by the College of Natural Science community:

    Vision:

    A thriving planet and healthy communities through scientific discovery.

    Mission:

    To use discovery, innovation and our collective ingenuity to advance knowledge across the natural sciences. Through equitable, inclusive practices in research, education and service, we empower our students, staff and faculty to solve challenges in a complex and rapidly changing world.

    Core Values:

    Inclusiveness-

    Foster a safe, supportive, welcoming community that values diversity, respects difference and promotes belonging. We commit to providing equitable opportunity for all.

    Innovation-

    Cultivate creativity and imagination in the quest for new knowledge and insights. Through individual and collaborative endeavors, we seek novel solutions to current and emergent challenges in the natural sciences.

    Openness-

    Commit to honesty and transparency. By listening and being open to other perspectives, we create an environment of trust where ideas are freely shared and discussed.

    Professionalism-

    Strive for excellence, integrity and high ethical standards. We hold ourselves and each other accountable to these expectations in a respectful and constructive manner.

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. Michigan State University was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, Michigan State University is one of the largest universities in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has approximately 634,300 living alumni worldwide.

    U.S. News & World Report ranks its graduate programs the best in the U.S. in elementary teacher’s education, secondary teacher’s education, industrial and organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, African history (tied), supply chain logistics and nuclear physics in 2019. Michigan State University pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, supply chain management, and communication sciences. Michigan State University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university’s campus houses the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, the Abrams Planetarium, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the country’s largest residence hall system.

    Research

    The university has a long history of academic research and innovation. In 1877, botany professor William J. Beal performed the first documented genetic crosses to produce hybrid corn, which led to increased yields. Michigan State University dairy professor G. Malcolm Trout improved the process for the homogenization of milk in the 1930s, making it more commercially viable. In the 1960s, Michigan State University scientists developed cisplatin, a leading cancer fighting drug, and followed that work with the derivative, carboplatin. Albert Fert, an Adjunct professor at Michigan State University, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.

    Today Michigan State University continues its research with facilities such as the Department of Energy -sponsored Plant Research Laboratory and a particle accelerator called the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory [below]. The Department of Energy Office of Science named Michigan State University as the site for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The $730 million facility will attract top researchers from around the world to conduct experiments in basic nuclear science, astrophysics, and applications of isotopes to other fields.

    Michigan State University FRIB [Facility for Rare Isotope Beams] .

    In 2004, scientists at the Cyclotron produced and observed a new isotope of the element germanium, called Ge-60 In that same year, Michigan State University, in consortium with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the government of Brazil, broke ground on the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

    The consortium telescope will allow the Physics & Astronomy department to study galaxy formation and origins. Since 1999, MSU has been part of a consortium called the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which aims to develop biotechnology research in the State of Michigan. Finally, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Quello Center researches issues of information and communication management.


    The Michigan State University Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. Michigan State Spartans football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1954, 1956, 1988 and 2014, and the university claims a total of six national football championships. Spartans men’s basketball won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 and has attained the Final Four eight times since the 1998–1999 season. Spartans ice hockey won NCAA national titles in 1966, 1986 and 2007. The women’s cross country team was named Big Ten champions in 2019. In the fall of 2019, MSU student-athletes posted all-time highs for graduation success rates and federal graduation rates, according to NCAA statistics.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:32 am on July 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford researchers show how geological activity rapidly changes deep microbial communities", , , , , , , , Microbiology, , SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility at Lead in South Dakota.   

    From Stanford University: “Stanford researchers show how geological activity rapidly changes deep microbial communities” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University

    July 14, 2022
    Danielle Torrent Tucker

    New research reveals that, rather than being influenced only by environmental conditions, deep subsurface microbial communities can transform because of geological movements. The findings advance our understanding of subsurface microorganisms, which comprise up to half of all living material on the planet.

    In the deep subsurface that plunges into the Earth for miles, microscopic organisms inhabit vast bedrock pores and veins. Below ground microorganisms, or microbes, comprise up to half of all living material on the planet and support the existence of all life forms up the food chain. They are essential for realizing an environmentally sustainable future and can change the chemical makeup of minerals, break down pollutants, and alter the composition of groundwater.

    1
    Lead study author Yuran Zhang working deep underground at the field site in South Dakota. Zhang and her colleagues used samples collected from the facility to show that microbial community changes can be driven by geological activity. (Image credit: Courtesy of Yuran Zhang)

    While the significance of bacteria and archaea is undeniable, the only evidence of their existence in the deep subsurface comes from traces of biological material that seep through mine walls, cave streams, and drill holes that tap into aquifers.

    Many scientists have assumed that the composition of microbial communities in the deep subsurface is primarily shaped by local environmental pressures on microbial survival such as temperature, acidity, and oxygen concentration. This process, environmental selection, can take years to millennia to cause significant community-level changes in slow-growing communities like the subsurface.

    Now, with data collected nearly 5,000 feet below ground, Stanford University researchers have shown that deep subsurface microbial communities can change in a matter of days, and the shifts can be driven by geological activity – not only by environmental pressures.

    “In the deep subsurface, we can no longer understand environmental selection to be the dominant driver in community dynamics – it could be just a changing flow rate or movement of the groundwater through the crevices and cracks in the subsurface that’s driving what we observe,” said lead study author Yuran Zhang, PhD ’20, who conducted the research as a PhD student in energy resources engineering.

    Filling in gaps

    Like reading a random page of someone’s 1000-word biography, previous studies on deep subsurface microbes have only offered glimpses into the chronicles of their existence. By collecting water samples from multiple geothermal wells weekly over 10 months, the Stanford researchers showed how these populations can change over space and time, demonstrating the first evidence of geological activity as a driver for microbial community change – and therefore evolution.

    “There is previous research on the composition of microbial communities in the deep subsurface, but it’s almost always using samples from a single time point,” said geomicrobiologist Anne Dekas, a senior study author and assistant professor of Earth system science. “To have a time series over 10 months – especially at a weekly resolution – is a really different perspective that allowed us to ask different questions about how and why these communities change with time.”

    Dekas said that while microbial ecologists might have guessed that geological activity was at play, she was surprised by the extent of the community shifts that occurred after a change in the flow network.

    Boreholes and test tubes

    The technique used in the study involved processing samples from a flow test conducted at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), formerly the Homestake Gold Mine, in South Dakota.

    Zhang said the experience of moving from a borehole sample setting to a test-tube-filled lab with a PCR machine on campus was “like connecting two totally different worlds,” referring to how this work unites the distinct fields of microbial ecology and geothermal engineering.

    In analyzing the properties of the water samples, the researchers identified microbial DNA fingerprints. Each of the 132 water samples supplied tens of thousands of unique sequencing IDs. Those data were used to show that when geological activity occurred, it could quickly mix disparate biological communities – and from locations that weren’t previously known to be connected.

    “One of the additional pieces of information from this microbiology study is that we’ve seen populations of microbes that have moved not just directly from place to place, but as a consequence of the network in between,” said senior study author Roland Horne, the Thomas Davies Barrow Professor of Earth Sciences. “That’s so important from the reservoir point of view because it reveals something that isn’t revealed by normal geothermal analytical methods.

    Geology meets biology

    The level of data collected by current geothermal techniques is like only having access to highways that are cut off from the side roads that will take you all the way home. Investigation of microorganism populations opens the potential for mapping the complex intricacies of the deep subsurface in more detail, Horne said.

    Being able to use biology as a tool may also bring insights into the deep subsurface as a frontier for geological storage, such as nuclear waste and carbon sequestration. But combining biology and geology requires fundamental knowledge of both subjects.

    “On the geothermal underground project, I realized that reservoir engineers or geologists or geophysicists usually aren’t that familiar with microbiology,” said Zhang, who was co-advised by Horne and Dekas. “There is common knowledge about geochemistry, but not so much in geomicrobiology.”

    This work could even be meaningful beyond Earth-based disciplines: If some of the oldest life forms in the deep subsurface of Earth can change and diversify because of geological activity, maybe we can have similar expectations for the origin and diversification of life on other tectonic planetary bodies.

    “What we observe could potentially connect to the early story of life’s evolution,” Zhang said. “If geological activity is a driver for early life formation or diversification, then maybe we should look for extraterrestrial life on planets that are geologically active.”

    The findings were published last month in PNAS.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Land

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

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

    Non-central campus

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

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

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

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

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

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

    Administration and organization

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

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

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

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

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

    Endowment and donations

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

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

    Research centers and institutes

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

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

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

    Computer and applied sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

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

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

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

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

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

    Student body

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

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

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

    Athletics

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

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

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

    Traditions

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

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

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

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 7:55 am on July 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Microbiology, , Scientists created a family tree that allowed them to reconstruct rhodopsins from 2.5 to 4 billion years ago and the conditions that they likely faced., Scientists have reconstructed what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms., ,   

    From The University of California-Riverside: “Ancient microbes may help us find extraterrestrial life forms” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From The University of California-Riverside

    June 27, 2022
    Jules Bernstein

    Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes, scientists have reconstructed what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms. These efforts could help us recognize signs of life on other planets, whose atmospheres may more closely resemble our pre-oxygen planet.

    2
    Earth of billions of years ago illuminated by light-capturing proteins.
    Rendering of the process by which ancient microbes captured light with rhodopsin proteins. (Sohail Wasif/UCR)

    The earliest living things, including bacteria and single-celled organisms called archaea, inhabited a primarily oceanic planet without an ozone layer to protect them from the sun’s radiation. These microbes evolved rhodopsins — proteins with the ability to turn sunlight into energy, using them to power cellular processes.

    “On early Earth, energy may have been very scarce. Bacteria and archaea figured out how to use the plentiful energy from the sun without the complex biomolecules required for photosynthesis,” said UC Riverside astrobiologist Edward Schwieterman, who is co-author of a study describing the research.

    Rhodopsins are related to rods and cones in human eyes that enable us to distinguish between light and dark and see colors. They are also widely distributed among modern organisms and environments like saltern ponds, which present a rainbow of vibrant colors.

    Using machine learning the research team analyzed rhodopsin protein sequences from all over the world and tracked how they evolved over time. Then, they created a type of family tree that allowed them to reconstruct rhodopsins from 2.5 to 4 billion years ago, and the conditions that they likely faced.

    “Life as we know it is as much an expression of the conditions on our planet as it is of life itself. We resurrected ancient DNA sequences of one molecule, and it allowed us to link to the biology and environment of the past,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison astrobiologist and study lead Betul Kacar.

    “It’s like taking the DNA of many grandchildren to reproduce the DNA of their grandparents. Only, it’s not grandparents, but tiny things that lived billions of years ago, all over the world,” Schwieterman said.

    Modern rhodopsins absorb blue, green, yellow and orange light, and can appear pink, purple or red by virtue of the light they are not absorbing or complementary pigments. However, according to the team’s reconstructions, ancient rhodopsins were tuned to absorb mainly blue and green light.

    Since ancient Earth did not yet have the benefit of an ozone layer, the research team theorizes that billions-of-years-old microbes lived many meters down in the water column to shield themselves from intense UVB radiation at the surface.

    Blue and green light best penetrates water, so it is likely that the earliest rhodopsins primarily absorbed these colors. “This could be the best combination of being shielded and still being able to absorb light for energy,” Schwieterman said.

    After the Great Oxidation Event, more than 2 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere began to experience a rise in the amount of oxygen. With additional oxygen and ozone in the atmosphere, rhodopsins evolved to absorb additional colors of light.

    Rhodopsins today are able to absorb colors of light that chlorophyll pigments in plants cannot. Though they represent completely unrelated and independent light capture mechanisms, they absorb complementary areas of the spectrum.

    “This suggests co-evolution, in that one group of organisms is exploiting light not absorbed by the other,” Schwieterman said. “This could have been because rhodopsins developed first and screened out the green light, so chlorophylls later developed to absorb the rest. Or it could have happened the other way around.”

    Moving forward, the team is hoping to resurrect model rhodopsins in a laboratory using synthetic biology techniques.

    “We engineer the ancient DNA inside modern genomes and reprogram the bugs to behave how we believe they did millions of years ago. Rhodopsin is a great candidate for laboratory time-travel studies,” Kacar said.

    Ultimately, the team is pleased about the possibilities for research opened up by techniques they used for this study. Since other signs of life from the deep geologic past need to be physically preserved and only some molecules are amenable to long-term preservation, there are many aspects of life’s history that have not been accessible to researchers until now.

    “Our study demonstrates for the first time that the behavioral histories of enzymes are amenable to evolutionary reconstruction in ways that conventional molecular biosignatures are not,” Kacar said.

    The team also hopes to take what they learned about the behavior of early Earth organisms and use it to search the skies for signs of life on other planets.

    “Early Earth is an alien environment compared to our world today. Understanding how organisms here have changed with time and in different environments is going to teach us crucial things about how to search for and recognize life elsewhere,” Schwieterman said.

    The findings are detailed in a paper published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of California-Riverside Campus

    The University of California-Riverside is a public land-grant research university in Riverside, California. It is one of the 10 campuses of The University of California system. The main campus sits on 1,900 acres (769 ha) in a suburban district of Riverside with a branch campus of 20 acres (8 ha) in Palm Desert. In 1907, the predecessor to The University of California-Riverside was founded as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside which pioneered research in biological pest control and the use of growth regulators responsible for extending the citrus growing season in California from four to nine months. Some of the world’s most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at Riverside.

    The University of California-Riverside ‘s undergraduate College of Letters and Science opened in 1954. The Regents of the University of California declared The University of California-Riverside a general campus of the system in 1959, and graduate students were admitted in 1961. To accommodate an enrollment of 21,000 students by 2015, more than $730 million has been invested in new construction projects since 1999. Preliminary accreditation of the The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine was granted in October 2012 and the first class of 50 students was enrolled in August 2013. It is the first new research-based public medical school in 40 years.

    The University of California-Riverside is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” The 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings places UC-Riverside tied for 35th among top public universities and ranks 85th nationwide. Over 27 of The University of California-Riverside ‘s academic programs, including the Graduate School of Education and the Bourns College of Engineering, are highly ranked nationally based on peer assessment, student selectivity, financial resources, and other factors. Washington Monthly ranked The University of California-Riverside 2nd in the United States in terms of social mobility, research and community service, while U.S. News ranks The University of California-Riverside as the fifth most ethnically diverse and, by the number of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (42 percent), the 15th most economically diverse student body in the nation. Over 70% of all The University of California-Riverside students graduate within six years without regard to economic disparity. The University of California-Riverside ‘s extensive outreach and retention programs have contributed to its reputation as a “university of choice” for minority students. In 2005, The University of California-Riverside became the first public university campus in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option. The University of California-Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders and play in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Their nickname was inspired by the high altitude of the campus, which lies on the foothills of Box Springs Mountain. The University of California-Riverside women’s basketball team won back-to-back Big West championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the men’s baseball team won its first conference championship and advanced to the regionals for the second time since the university moved to Division I in 2001.

    History

    At the turn of the 20th century, Southern California was a major producer of citrus, the region’s primary agricultural export. The industry developed from the country’s first navel orange trees, planted in Riverside in 1873. Lobbied by the citrus industry, the University of California Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station (CES) on February 14, 1907, on 23 acres (9 ha) of land on the east slope of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside. The station conducted experiments in fertilization, irrigation and crop improvement. In 1917, the station was moved to a larger site, 475 acres (192 ha) near Box Springs Mountain.

    The 1944 passage of the GI Bill during World War II set in motion a rise in college enrollments that necessitated an expansion of the state university system in California. A local group of citrus growers and civic leaders, including many University of California-Berkeley alumni, lobbied aggressively for a University of California -administered liberal arts college next to the CES. State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth authored Senate Bill 512 (1949) which former Assemblyman Philip L. Boyd and Assemblyman John Babbage (both of Riverside) were instrumental in shepherding through the State Legislature. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill in 1949, allocating $2 million for initial campus construction.

    Gordon S. Watkins, dean of the College of Letters and Science at The University of California-Los Angeles, became the first provost of the new college at Riverside. Initially conceived of as a small college devoted to the liberal arts, he ordered the campus built for a maximum of 1,500 students and recruited many young junior faculty to fill teaching positions. He presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 127 students on February 14, 1954, remarking, “Never have so few been taught by so many.”

    The University of California-Riverside’s enrollment exceeded 1,000 students by the time Clark Kerr became president of the University of California system in 1958. Anticipating a “tidal wave” in enrollment growth required by the baby boom generation, Kerr developed the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the Regents designated Riverside a general university campus in 1959. The University of California-Riverside’s first chancellor, Herman Theodore Spieth, oversaw the beginnings of the school’s transition to a full university and its expansion to a capacity of 5,000 students. The University of California-Riverside’s second chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker led the campus through the era of the free speech movement and kept student protests peaceful in Riverside. According to a 1998 interview with Hinderaker, the city of Riverside received negative press coverage for smog after the mayor asked Governor Ronald Reagan to declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area in 1971; subsequent student enrollment declined by up to 25% through 1979. Hinderaker’s development of innovative programs in business administration and biomedical sciences created incentive for enough students to enroll at University of California-Riverside to keep the campus open.

    In the 1990s, The University of California-Riverside experienced a new surge of enrollment applications, now known as “Tidal Wave II”. The Regents targeted The University of California-Riverside for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in The University of California system, and anticipated 19,900 students at The University of California-Riverside by 2010. By 1995, African American, American Indian, and Latino student enrollments accounted for 30% of The University of California-Riverside student body, the highest proportion of any University of California campus at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209—which banned the use of affirmative action by state agencies—reduced the ethnic diversity at the more selective UC campuses but further increased it at The University of California-Riverside.

    With The University of California-Riverside scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted for a fee increase to move The University of California-Riverside athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. In the 1990s, proposals were made to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at The University of California-Riverside, with The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy becoming reality in 2012. In June 2006, The University of California-Riverside received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school. The Regents formally approved The University of California-Riverside’s medical school proposal in 2006. Upon its completion in 2013, it was the first new medical school built in California in 40 years.

    Academics

    As a campus of The University of California system, The University of California-Riverside is governed by a Board of Regents and administered by a president University of California-Riverside ‘s academic policies are set by its Academic Senate, a legislative body composed of all UC-Riverside faculty members.

    The University of California-Riverside is organized into three academic colleges, two professional schools, and two graduate schools. The University of California-Riverside’s liberal arts college, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was founded in 1954, and began accepting graduate students in 1960. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1960, incorporated the CES as part of the first research-oriented institution at The University of California-Riverside; it eventually also incorporated the natural science departments formerly associated with the liberal arts college to form its present structure in 1974. The University of California-Riverside ‘s newest academic unit, the Bourns College of Engineering, was founded in 1989. Comprising the professional schools are the Graduate School of Education, founded in 1968, and The University of California-Riverside School of Business, founded in 1970. These units collectively provide 81 majors and 52 minors, 48 master’s degree programs, and 42 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. The University of California-Riverside is the only UC campus to offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing and public policy and one of three UCs (along with The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Irvine) to offer an undergraduate degree in business administration. Through its Division of Biomedical Sciences, founded in 1974, The University of California-Riverside offers the Thomas Haider medical degree program in collaboration with The University of California-Los Angeles. The University of California-Riverside ‘s doctoral program in the emerging field of dance theory, founded in 1992, was the first program of its kind in the United States, and The University of California-Riverside ‘s minor in lesbian, gay and bisexual studies, established in 1996, was the first undergraduate program of its kind in the University of California system. A new BA program in bagpipes was inaugurated in 2007.

    Research and economic impact

    The University of California-Riverside operated under a $727 million budget in fiscal year 2014–15. The state government provided $214 million, student fees accounted for $224 million and $100 million came from contracts and grants. Private support and other sources accounted for the remaining $189 million. Overall, monies spent at The University of California-Riverside have an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in California. The University of California-Riverside research expenditure in FY 2018 totaled $167.8 million. Total research expenditures at The University of California-Riverside are significantly concentrated in agricultural science, accounting for 53% of total research expenditures spent by the university in 2002. Top research centers by expenditure, as measured in 2002, include the Agricultural Experiment Station; the Center for Environmental Research and Technology; the Center for Bibliographical Studies; the Air Pollution Research Center; and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

    Throughout The University of California-Riverside’s history, researchers have developed more than 40 new citrus varieties and invented new techniques to help the $960 million-a-year California citrus industry fight pests and diseases. In 1927, entomologists at the CES introduced two wasps from Australia as natural enemies of a major citrus pest, the citrophilus mealybug, saving growers in Orange County $1 million in annual losses. This event was pivotal in establishing biological control as a practical means of reducing pest populations. In 1963, plant physiologist Charles Coggins proved that application of gibberellic acid allows fruit to remain on citrus trees for extended periods. The ultimate result of his work, which continued through the 1980s, was the extension of the citrus-growing season in California from four to nine months. In 1980, The University of California-Riverside released the Oroblanco grapefruit, its first patented citrus variety. Since then, the citrus breeding program has released other varieties such as the Melogold grapefruit, the Gold Nugget mandarin (or tangerine), and others that have yet to be given trademark names.

    To assist entrepreneurs in developing new products, The University of California-Riverside is a primary partner in the Riverside Regional Technology Park, which includes the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. It also administers six reserves of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC-Riverside recently announced a partnership with China Agricultural University[中国农业大学](CN) to launch a new center in Beijing, which will study ways to respond to the country’s growing environmental issues. University of California-Riverside can also boast the birthplace of two-name reactions in organic chemistry, the Castro-Stephens coupling and the Midland Alpine Borane Reduction.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:11 pm on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Microbes support adaptation to climate change", , , , , Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Microbiology,   

    From The Kiel University [Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel] (DE): “Microbes support adaptation to climate change” 

    From The Kiel University [Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel] (DE)

    7.4.22
    Science Contact
    Prof. Sebastian Fraune,
    Zoology and Organismic Interactions, Department Biology,
    Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU):
    +49 (0) 211 81-14991
    fraune@hhu.de

    Press contact:
    Christian Urban
    Science communication “Kiel Life Science”,
    Kiel University:
    +49 (0) 431-880-1974
    curban@uv.uni-kiel.de

    Researchers from Kiel and Düsseldorf use the example of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis to investigate the contribution of the microbiome to thermal adaptation of living organisms.

    1
    The offspring of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, shown here laying eggs, can directly inherit the temperature tolerance of the parent generation by passing on certain bacteria. © Hanna Domin.

    All multicellular organisms are colonized by an unimaginably large number of microorganisms and have co-evolved with them from the very beginning of life’s evolutionary history. The natural microbiome, i.e. the totality of these bacteria, viruses and fungi living in and on a body, is of fundamental importance for the organism as a whole: it performs vital tasks for the host, for example, it assists in nutrient uptake and it helps defend against pathogens. A research team from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and Kiel University has now investigated how the microbiome assists an organism in the adaptation to changing environmental conditions. In a study within the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms”, they have investigated the involvement of the microbiome in thermal adaptation of anemones in a so-called acclimation experiment. The researchers led by Professor Sebastian Fraune of the HHU Institute of Zoology and Organismic Interactions, who is also project leader in the Kiel CRC 1182, were able to show that the bacterial colonization of the animals changes as a result of acclimation. Furthermore, the organism of the sea anemone becomes more resistant to heat stress. In addition, the research team succeeded in proving a causal relationship: If they transferred the microbiome of heat-adapted to non-acclimated anemones, the latter also became less sensitive to higher temperatures. The CRC 1182 research team published the results, which are particularly significant with regard to changing environmental conditions as a result of climate change, recently in the journal Nature Communications.

    Long-term acclimation experiment

    The new work is based on a long-term study funded by the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), in which the researchers have been studying the adaptation of anemones to changing environmental conditions for more than four years. To do this, they worked with clones of a single original animal and compared 50 genetically identical anemones in each of 15 different colonies. The researchers divided these colonies into three groups that were kept at 15, 20 and 25 degrees Celsius in order to analyze their acclimation to different temperatures. In the course of the long observation period, characteristic changes in the so-called phenotype of the anemones, i.e. in their external shape including physiological features, became apparent: among other things, the animals grow significantly larger at lower temperatures and they changed their reproductive mode. Changes in temperature tolerance were also particularly interesting. “The anemones differed very significantly in their stress resistance to high temperatures. If we exposed them to a very high temperature stress of 40 degrees Celsius for six hours, the animals acclimated at 25 degrees Celsius almost exclusively survived,” says Laura Baldassarre, former member of Fraune’s group and lead author of the study.

    Previous research suggested that adaptation to temperature stress may be related to changes in the microbiome composition of the animals. Analysis of the bacterial colonization of the different colonies in the acclimation experiment again supported this hypothesis, as the microbiome of the acclimated animals also changed compared to their non-acclimated conspecifics. “That acclimation, the so-called phenotypic plasticity, can be partly controlled by bacteria seems very plausible. Their much shorter generation times allow a much faster adaptation than would be possible via genetic recombination of the host organism,” emphasizes Fraune. The fact that there is indeed a causal relationship between the change in the microbiome and temperature adaptation has now been proven.

    Microbiome transplantation provides confirmation

    “In a transplantation experiment, we transferred the microbiomes from anemones acclimated to 15, 20 and 25 degrees Celsius to non-adapted but genetically identical animals. It turned out that these animals, which received the microbiome of the anemones acclimated at 25 degrees Celsius, subsequently adopted tolerance to high temperatures as well,” says Baldassarre. Thus, when the entire microbiome of an animal is transferred, the phenotype with its altered temperature tolerance can also be transplanted. Fraune: “We were able to establish a causal relationship between microbiome composition and environmental adaptations. Thus, we experimentally confirm the so-called hologenome concept, which defines evolution as the development of host organisms with their colonizing microorganisms toward shared fitness benefits for the entire metaorganism.”

    The research team then analyzed whether the altered microbiome due to thermal acclimation can be passed on between anemones – a prerequisite for a lasting adaptation process. In previous work, the scientists already showed that in Nematostella, certain bacteria can be passed on from the parent generation to the offspring. The evolutionary advantage of thermal adaptation can therefore in principle be inherited directly and the related bacteria must not necessarily be taken up from the environment. The current study provides further evidence of the transmission of maternal bacteria to the offspring: Like their genetically identical parents, the offspring also showed a higher probability of survival under temperature stress when the maternal animals were acclimated at 25 degrees Celsius.

    Investigating mechanisms at the species level

    With their findings, the researchers are helping to better understand the role of the interplay between host organisms and microbes in adaption processes to rapidly changing environmental conditions. “Our results offer new explanations for the mechanisms of rapid thermal adaptation mediated by the microbiome and how they are transmitted to subsequent generations,” Fraune said.

    In further research, the scientists in Düsseldorf and Kiel now want to explore the mechanisms of acclimation in detail, with a particular focus on the role of individual bacterial species involved. To this end, detailed bacterial genomic analyses are in preparation for a planned third funding phase of the CRC 1182 by the German Research Foundation (DFG). They will shed light on possible individual relationships between bacteria and certain metabolic processes of the host cells and their influence on the temperature tolerance of the organism as a whole.

    “Overall, it is important to understand the bacterial component of thermal acclimation in more detail. It likely plays a fundamental role in many other living organisms from various animals and plants to overall ecosystems such as coral reefs. Deeper knowledge of the underlying processes is therefore crucial to better assess or possibly mitigate the effects of global change on species and habitats”, Fraune summarizes.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kiel University [ Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel ] (DE) was founded back in 1665. It is Schleswig-Holstein’s oldest, largest and best-known university, with over 26,000 students and around 3,000 members of staff. It is also the only fully-fledged university in the state. Seven Nobel prize winners have worked here. The CAU has been successfully taking part in the Excellence Initiative since 2006. The Cluster of Excellence The Future Ocean, which was established in cooperation with the GEOMAR [Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel](DE) in 2006, is internationally recognized. The second Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” deals with chronic inflammatory diseases. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy is also affiliated with Kiel University. The university has a great reputation for its focus on public international law. The oldest public international law institution in Germany and Europe – the Walther Schuecking Institute for International Law – is based in Kiel.

    History

    The University of Kiel was founded under the name Christiana Albertina on 5 October 1665 by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. The citizens of the city of Kiel were initially quite sceptical about the upcoming influx of students, thinking that these could be “quite a pest with their gluttony, heavy drinking and their questionable character” (German: mit Fressen, Sauffen und allerley leichtfertigem Wesen sehr ärgerlich seyn). But those in the city who envisioned economic advantages of a university in the city won, and Kiel thus became the northernmost university in the German Holy Roman Empire.

    After 1773, when Kiel had come under Danish rule, the university began to thrive, and when Kiel became part of Prussia in the year 1867, the university grew rapidly in size. The university opened one of the first botanical gardens in Germany (now the Alter Botanischer Garten Kiel), and Martin Gropius designed many of the new buildings needed to teach the growing number of students.

    The Christiana Albertina was one of the first German universities to obey the Gleichschaltung in 1933 and agreed to remove many professors and students from the school, for instance Ferdinand Tönnies or Felix Jacoby. During World War II, the University of Kiel suffered heavy damage, therefore it was later rebuilt at a different location with only a few of the older buildings housing the medical school.

    In 2019, it was announced it has banned full-face coverings in classrooms, citing the need for open communication that includes facial expressions and gestures.

    Faculties

    Faculty of Theology
    Faculty of Law
    Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
    Faculty of Medicine
    Faculty of Arts and Humanities
    Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
    Faculty of Agricultural Science and Nutrition
    Faculty of Engineering

     
  • richardmitnick 8:35 am on June 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "John Fortner:: 'Fishing' for Toxic Contaminants using Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles", "PFAS": perfluoroalkyl contaminants which are fluorinated carbon structures found in numerous consumer products., "Superparamagnetic nanoparticles": Nanoparticles specially coated with sorbents., , “Buckyballs”: buckminsterfullerene (termed fullerenes) - a new carbon allotrope, , Bioremediation, , Improving public health through environmental-based pathways, It was clear that there were opportunities to apply ‘nano’ to critical environmental problems in sensing and treatment (pollution remediation)…to help make folks' lives healthier., John Fortner: associate professor of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering, , Microbiology, , Nanotechnology - nanomaterial research - nanoscience - nanoparticles - nanostructures, Once a water source is contaminated it can be costly and difficult to remediate.,   

    From The Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science: “John Fortner:: ‘Fishing’ for Toxic Contaminants using Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles” 

    Yale SEAS

    From The Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science

    at

    Yale University

    06/21/2022

    1
    Clean water

    Once a water source is contaminated it can be costly and difficult to remediate. Natural remedies can take hundreds of years and still may not successfully remove all the dangerous contaminants. When it comes to global public health issues such as this, the need for new and safe solutions is urgent. John Fortner is designing solutions from scratch to do just that.

    Fortner, associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering, leads one of the few labs in the U.S. investigating the intersection between materials science and environmental engineering. There, materials synthesized directly in the lab, whether magnetic nanoparticles, graphene-based composites, or hyperthermic catalysts, are carefully engineered to treat contaminants in water sources.

    Fortner has always been drawn towards improving public health through environmental-based pathways. He initially considered a career in medicine when he first discovered the field of environmental engineering.

    “I took a bioremediation course and I became fascinated with engineering biological systems to break down contaminants in situ,” Fortner said.

    At the time, traditional environmental engineering research focused on using microbes – biological organisms on the microscopic scale – to degrade contaminants within industrial wastewater streams. After taking courses that bridged his biological focus with applied engineering systems, Fortner found his ‘fit’ and soon switched to environmental engineering.

    Though ubiquitous today, nanomaterial research is a relatively new field. In the late 20th century, the development of advanced imaging technologies enabled scientists to study nanomaterials for the first time. In 1989, 15 years after the term “nanoscience” was coined, the first nanotechnology company began to commercialize nanostructures. By 2001, when Fortner entered graduate school, nanomaterials had been industrialized in computer science and biomedical engineering.

    Compared to their larger counterparts, nanomaterials have advantages, such as tunability and/or unique reactivity, stemming from their incredibly small sizes and novel properties. As Fortner puts it, “nanomaterials have the potential to do what traditional materials simply can’t.”

    In 1985, chemists at Rice discovered a new carbon allotrope – buckminsterfullerene (termed fullerenes or “buckyballs”) – leading them to a 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and sparking a nanotechnology boom at Rice and beyond. Through this, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, an NSF-funded research center, was founded at Rice when Fortner started his graduate studies. There, he worked with collaborators to understand the behavior of nanomaterials in the environment, with his Ph.D. thesis focused on fullerenes in natural systems. At the time, very little was known about the matter that led to several exciting findings underpinning the emerging field of environmental nanotechnology.

    “At the time, there was so much to explore,” Fortner said. “Beyond understanding fundamental nanomaterial behavior in the environment, it was clear that there were fantastic opportunities to apply ‘nano’ to critical environmental problems in sensing and treatment (pollution remediation)…to help make folks’ lives healthier through a better, cleaner environment.”

    Soon after graduation, Fortner joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis where he studied the fundamental mechanisms involved with nanostructure synthesis and reactivity. He was particularly interested in understanding how nanoparticles degrade contaminants differently than traditional systems and if nanoparticles have applications beyond the water industry.

    During his time at Washington University, he was a Fellow within the International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, where he collaborated with other researchers to develop nanotechnologies for a range of applications including new water treatment membranes and sensing technologies.

    “It was a wonderful place to start an independent research career,” Fortner said. “I developed amazing collaborations there, which pushed me even more to the fundamental side of chemistry and material science.”

    Fortner joined the faculty of Yale’s Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering in 2019. In the Fortner Lab, almost everything is created from scratch: researchers design and synthesize nanoparticles, multi-component composites, and associated functional coatings to address water-related environmental issues.

    One of his most recent collaborations centers around perfluoroalkyl contaminants (PFAS), which are fluorinated carbon structures found in numerous consumer products ranging from fast food wrappers to Teflon pans to firefighting foams. Because these products were engineered to be unreactive to most chemicals or high temperatures, PFAS contaminants cannot be treated using conventional biological treatment processes. To address these ‘forever chemicals,’ Fortner’s lab, working with Kurt Pennell from Brown University and Natalie Capiro from Auburn University, has engineered superparamagnetic nanoparticles, which are specially coated with sorbents. They discovered that when these engineered nanoparticles are dispersed in a polluted source, contaminants are attracted to specified functional groups on the molecule. The particles, along with the contaminants, can then be collected using a magnet field and the concentrated PFAS can be removed. This strategy allows for very large volumes of media to be managed in a targeted and energy-efficient manner.

    “It’s amazing,” Fortner said. “We can sorb a significant amount of PFAS onto one particle and simply use a magnet to remove it. It’s a nice way to go ‘fishing’ to remove PFAS, or other contaminants, from a polluted water source.”

    Compared with other research laboratories around Yale, the Fortner Lab is a small but mighty force. Currently six Ph.D. students are mentored by Fortner, in addition to two postdoctoral researchers. The small size of the group allows for him to work individually with the students, enabling them to take real ownership of research projects. Susanna Maisto, a first-year Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student, describes the research group as “supportive, welcoming, and collaborative.”

    “Dr. Fortner has a great mentorship style; always providing any support you need, but never overstepping.” Maisto said. “He checks in often to make sure that we are thriving in and out of the lab.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science Daniel L Malone Engineering Center
    The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science is the engineering school of Yale University. When the first professor of civil engineering was hired in 1852, a Yale School of Engineering was established within the Yale Scientific School, and in 1932 the engineering faculty organized as a separate, constituent school of the university. The school currently offers undergraduate and graduate classes and degrees in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, applied physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Research

    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:56 pm on June 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , After the "Great Oxidation Event" more than 2 billion years ago Earth’s atmosphere began to experience a rise in the amount of oxygen., , , Bacteria and archaea figured out how to use the plentiful energy from the sun without the complex biomolecules required for photosynthesis., , , Early Earth is an alien environment compared to our world today., Earth of billions of years ago illuminated by light-capturing proteins., , It’s like taking the DNA of many grandchildren to reproduce the DNA of their grandparents., Life as we know it is as much an expression of the conditions on our planet as it is of life itself., Microbiology, Our study demonstrates for the first time that the behavioral histories of enzymes are amenable to evolutionary reconstruction in ways that conventional molecular biosignatures are not., Rhodopsins are related to rods and cones in human eyes that enable us to distinguish between light and dark and see colors., Rhodopsins today are able to absorb colors of light that chlorophyll pigments in plants cannot., The earliest living things-archaea-inhabited a primarily oceanic planet without an ozone layer to protect them from the sun’s radiation., The research team theorizes that billions-of-years-old microbes lived many meters down in the water column to shield themselves from intense UVB radiation at the surface., The scientists created a type of family tree that allowed them to reconstruct rhodopsins from 2.5 to 4 billion years ago., , , These microbes evolved rhodopsins — proteins with the ability to turn sunlight into energy using them to power cellular processes., This suggests co-evolution in that one group of organisms is exploiting light not absorbed by the other., Understanding how organisms here have changed with time and in different environments is going to teach us crucial things about how to search for and recognize life elsewhere., Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes scientists have reconstructed what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms.,   

    From The University of California-Riverside: “Ancient microbes may help us find extraterrestrial life forms” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From The University of California-Riverside

    June 27, 2022

    Jules L Bernstein
    Senior Public Information Officer
    jules.bernstein@ucr.edu
    (951) 827-4580

    1
    Rendering of the process by which ancient microbes captured light with rhodopsin proteins. (Credit: Sohail Wasif/UCR)

    Earth of billions of years ago illuminated by light-capturing proteins.

    Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes scientists have reconstructed what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms. These efforts could help us recognize signs of life on other planets, whose atmospheres may more closely resemble our pre-oxygen planet.

    The earliest living things, including bacteria and single-celled organisms called archaea, inhabited a primarily oceanic planet without an ozone layer to protect them from the sun’s radiation. These microbes evolved rhodopsins — proteins with the ability to turn sunlight into energy using them to power cellular processes.

    “On early Earth, energy may have been very scarce. Bacteria and archaea figured out how to use the plentiful energy from the sun without the complex biomolecules required for photosynthesis,” said UC Riverside astrobiologist Edward Schwieterman, who is co-author of a study describing the research.

    Rhodopsins are related to rods and cones in human eyes that enable us to distinguish between light and dark and see colors. They are also widely distributed among modern organisms and environments like saltern ponds, which present a rainbow of vibrant colors.

    Using machine learning the research team analyzed rhodopsin protein sequences from all over the world and tracked how they evolved over time. Then, they created a type of family tree that allowed them to reconstruct rhodopsins from 2.5 to 4 billion years ago, and the conditions that they likely faced.

    Their findings are detailed in a paper published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

    2
    Aerial view of saltern ponds in Namibia, southwest Africa. (R.M. Nunes/iStock/Getty)

    “Life as we know it is as much an expression of the conditions on our planet as it is of life itself. We resurrected ancient DNA sequences of one molecule, and it allowed us to link to the biology and environment of the past,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison astrobiologist and study lead Betul Kacar.

    “It’s like taking the DNA of many grandchildren to reproduce the DNA of their grandparents. Only, it’s not grandparents, but tiny things that lived billions of years ago, all over the world,” Schwieterman said.

    Modern rhodopsins absorb blue, green, yellow and orange light, and can appear pink, purple or red by virtue of the light they are not absorbing or complementary pigments. However, according to the team’s reconstructions, ancient rhodopsins were tuned to absorb mainly blue and green light.

    Since ancient Earth did not yet have the benefit of an ozone layer, the research team theorizes that billions-of-years-old microbes lived many meters down in the water column to shield themselves from intense UVB radiation at the surface.

    Blue and green light best penetrates water, so it is likely that the earliest rhodopsins primarily absorbed these colors. “This could be the best combination of being shielded and still being able to absorb light for energy,” Schwieterman said.

    After the Great Oxidation Event, more than 2 billion years ago Earth’s atmosphere began to experience a rise in the amount of oxygen. With additional oxygen and ozone in the atmosphere, rhodopsins evolved to absorb additional colors of light.

    Rhodopsins today are able to absorb colors of light that chlorophyll pigments in plants cannot. Though they represent completely unrelated and independent light capture mechanisms, they absorb complementary areas of the spectrum.

    3
    Illustration of photosynthesis in a plant, an alternative method of capturing light to create energy. (Viacheslav Besputin/iStock/Getty)

    “This suggests co-evolution in that one group of organisms is exploiting light not absorbed by the other,” Schwieterman said. “This could have been because rhodopsins developed first and screened out the green light, so chlorophylls later developed to absorb the rest. Or it could have happened the other way around.”

    Moving forward, the team is hoping to resurrect model rhodopsins in a laboratory using synthetic biology techniques.

    “We engineer the ancient DNA inside modern genomes and reprogram the bugs to behave how we believe they did millions of years ago. Rhodopsin is a great candidate for laboratory time-travel studies,” Kacar said.

    Ultimately, the team is pleased about the possibilities for research opened up by techniques they used for this study. Since other signs of life from the deep geologic past need to be physically preserved and only some molecules are amenable to long-term preservation, there are many aspects of life’s history that have not been accessible to researchers until now.

    “Our study demonstrates for the first time that the behavioral histories of enzymes are amenable to evolutionary reconstruction in ways that conventional molecular biosignatures are not,” Kacar said.

    The team also hopes to take what they learned about the behavior of early Earth organisms and use it to search the skies for signs of life on other planets.

    “Early Earth is an alien environment compared to our world today. Understanding how organisms here have changed with time and in different environments is going to teach us crucial things about how to search for and recognize life elsewhere,” Schwieterman said.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of California-Riverside Campus

    The University of California-Riverside is a public land-grant research university in Riverside, California. It is one of the 10 campuses of The University of California system. The main campus sits on 1,900 acres (769 ha) in a suburban district of Riverside with a branch campus of 20 acres (8 ha) in Palm Desert. In 1907, the predecessor to The University of California-Riverside was founded as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside which pioneered research in biological pest control and the use of growth regulators responsible for extending the citrus growing season in California from four to nine months. Some of the world’s most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at Riverside.

    The University of California-Riverside ‘s undergraduate College of Letters and Science opened in 1954. The Regents of the University of California declared The University of California-Riverside a general campus of the system in 1959, and graduate students were admitted in 1961. To accommodate an enrollment of 21,000 students by 2015, more than $730 million has been invested in new construction projects since 1999. Preliminary accreditation of the The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine was granted in October 2012 and the first class of 50 students was enrolled in August 2013. It is the first new research-based public medical school in 40 years.

    The University of California-Riverside is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” The 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings places UC-Riverside tied for 35th among top public universities and ranks 85th nationwide. Over 27 of The University of California-Riverside ‘s academic programs, including the Graduate School of Education and the Bourns College of Engineering, are highly ranked nationally based on peer assessment, student selectivity, financial resources, and other factors. Washington Monthly ranked The University of California-Riverside 2nd in the United States in terms of social mobility, research and community service, while U.S. News ranks The University of California-Riverside as the fifth most ethnically diverse and, by the number of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (42 percent), the 15th most economically diverse student body in the nation. Over 70% of all The University of California-Riverside students graduate within six years without regard to economic disparity. The University of California-Riverside ‘s extensive outreach and retention programs have contributed to its reputation as a “university of choice” for minority students. In 2005, The University of California-Riverside became the first public university campus in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option. The University of California-Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders and play in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Their nickname was inspired by the high altitude of the campus, which lies on the foothills of Box Springs Mountain. The University of California-Riverside women’s basketball team won back-to-back Big West championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the men’s baseball team won its first conference championship and advanced to the regionals for the second time since the university moved to Division I in 2001.

    History

    At the turn of the 20th century, Southern California was a major producer of citrus, the region’s primary agricultural export. The industry developed from the country’s first navel orange trees, planted in Riverside in 1873. Lobbied by the citrus industry, the University of California Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station (CES) on February 14, 1907, on 23 acres (9 ha) of land on the east slope of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside. The station conducted experiments in fertilization, irrigation and crop improvement. In 1917, the station was moved to a larger site, 475 acres (192 ha) near Box Springs Mountain.

    The 1944 passage of the GI Bill during World War II set in motion a rise in college enrollments that necessitated an expansion of the state university system in California. A local group of citrus growers and civic leaders, including many University of California-Berkeley alumni, lobbied aggressively for a University of California -administered liberal arts college next to the CES. State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth authored Senate Bill 512 (1949) which former Assemblyman Philip L. Boyd and Assemblyman John Babbage (both of Riverside) were instrumental in shepherding through the State Legislature. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill in 1949, allocating $2 million for initial campus construction.

    Gordon S. Watkins, dean of the College of Letters and Science at The University of California-Los Angeles, became the first provost of the new college at Riverside. Initially conceived of as a small college devoted to the liberal arts, he ordered the campus built for a maximum of 1,500 students and recruited many young junior faculty to fill teaching positions. He presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 127 students on February 14, 1954, remarking, “Never have so few been taught by so many.”

    The University of California-Riverside’s enrollment exceeded 1,000 students by the time Clark Kerr became president of the University of California system in 1958. Anticipating a “tidal wave” in enrollment growth required by the baby boom generation, Kerr developed the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the Regents designated Riverside a general university campus in 1959. The University of California-Riverside’s first chancellor, Herman Theodore Spieth, oversaw the beginnings of the school’s transition to a full university and its expansion to a capacity of 5,000 students. The University of California-Riverside’s second chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker led the campus through the era of the free speech movement and kept student protests peaceful in Riverside. According to a 1998 interview with Hinderaker, the city of Riverside received negative press coverage for smog after the mayor asked Governor Ronald Reagan to declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area in 1971; subsequent student enrollment declined by up to 25% through 1979. Hinderaker’s development of innovative programs in business administration and biomedical sciences created incentive for enough students to enroll at University of California-Riverside to keep the campus open.

    In the 1990s, The University of California-Riverside experienced a new surge of enrollment applications, now known as “Tidal Wave II”. The Regents targeted The University of California-Riverside for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in The University of California system, and anticipated 19,900 students at The University of California-Riverside by 2010. By 1995, African American, American Indian, and Latino student enrollments accounted for 30% of The University of California-Riverside student body, the highest proportion of any University of California campus at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209—which banned the use of affirmative action by state agencies—reduced the ethnic diversity at the more selective UC campuses but further increased it at The University of California-Riverside.

    With The University of California-Riverside scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted for a fee increase to move The University of California-Riverside athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. In the 1990s, proposals were made to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at The University of California-Riverside, with The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy becoming reality in 2012. In June 2006, The University of California-Riverside received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school. The Regents formally approved The University of California-Riverside’s medical school proposal in 2006. Upon its completion in 2013, it was the first new medical school built in California in 40 years.

    Academics

    As a campus of The University of California system, The University of California-Riverside is governed by a Board of Regents and administered by a president University of California-Riverside ‘s academic policies are set by its Academic Senate, a legislative body composed of all UC-Riverside faculty members.

    The University of California-Riverside is organized into three academic colleges, two professional schools, and two graduate schools. The University of California-Riverside’s liberal arts college, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was founded in 1954, and began accepting graduate students in 1960. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1960, incorporated the CES as part of the first research-oriented institution at The University of California-Riverside; it eventually also incorporated the natural science departments formerly associated with the liberal arts college to form its present structure in 1974. The University of California-Riverside ‘s newest academic unit, the Bourns College of Engineering, was founded in 1989. Comprising the professional schools are the Graduate School of Education, founded in 1968, and The University of California-Riverside School of Business, founded in 1970. These units collectively provide 81 majors and 52 minors, 48 master’s degree programs, and 42 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. The University of California-Riverside is the only UC campus to offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing and public policy and one of three UCs (along with The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Irvine) to offer an undergraduate degree in business administration. Through its Division of Biomedical Sciences, founded in 1974, The University of California-Riverside offers the Thomas Haider medical degree program in collaboration with The University of California-Los Angeles. The University of California-Riverside ‘s doctoral program in the emerging field of dance theory, founded in 1992, was the first program of its kind in the United States, and The University of California-Riverside ‘s minor in lesbian, gay and bisexual studies, established in 1996, was the first undergraduate program of its kind in the University of California system. A new BA program in bagpipes was inaugurated in 2007.

    Research and economic impact

    The University of California-Riverside operated under a $727 million budget in fiscal year 2014–15. The state government provided $214 million, student fees accounted for $224 million and $100 million came from contracts and grants. Private support and other sources accounted for the remaining $189 million. Overall, monies spent at The University of California-Riverside have an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in California. The University of California-Riverside research expenditure in FY 2018 totaled $167.8 million. Total research expenditures at The University of California-Riverside are significantly concentrated in agricultural science, accounting for 53% of total research expenditures spent by the university in 2002. Top research centers by expenditure, as measured in 2002, include the Agricultural Experiment Station; the Center for Environmental Research and Technology; the Center for Bibliographical Studies; the Air Pollution Research Center; and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

    Throughout The University of California-Riverside ‘s history, researchers have developed more than 40 new citrus varieties and invented new techniques to help the $960 million-a-year California citrus industry fight pests and diseases. In 1927, entomologists at the CES introduced two wasps from Australia as natural enemies of a major citrus pest, the citrophilus mealybug, saving growers in Orange County $1 million in annual losses. This event was pivotal in establishing biological control as a practical means of reducing pest populations. In 1963, plant physiologist Charles Coggins proved that application of gibberellic acid allows fruit to remain on citrus trees for extended periods. The ultimate result of his work, which continued through the 1980s, was the extension of the citrus-growing season in California from four to nine months. In 1980, The University of California-Riverside released the Oroblanco grapefruit, its first patented citrus variety. Since then, the citrus breeding program has released other varieties such as the Melogold grapefruit, the Gold Nugget mandarin (or tangerine), and others that have yet to be given trademark names.

    To assist entrepreneurs in developing new products, The University of California-Riverside is a primary partner in the Riverside Regional Technology Park, which includes the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. It also administers six reserves of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC-Riverside recently announced a partnership with China Agricultural University[中国农业大学](CN) to launch a new center in Beijing, which will study ways to respond to the country’s growing environmental issues. University of California-Riverside can also boast the birthplace of two-name reactions in organic chemistry, the Castro-Stephens coupling and the Midland Alpine Borane Reduction.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:33 pm on June 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How to store more carbon in soil during climate change", , , Microbiology, The Canadian Light Source [Centre canadien de rayonnement synchrotron](CA), Using a synchrotron to study how soil can reduce greenhouse gases and retain more moisture during droughts and hold more soil organic carbon for greater crop.   

    From The Canadian Light Source [Centre canadien de rayonnement synchrotron](CA): “How to store more carbon in soil during climate change” 

    From The Canadian Light Source [Centre canadien de rayonnement synchrotron](CA)

    Jun 20, 2022
    Erin Matthews

    1
    Aerial view of the experimental field.

    Using a synchrotron to study how soil can reduce greenhouse gases and retain more moisture during droughts and hold more soil organic carbon for greater crop.

    Researchers from Cornell University, Ohio State University, Technical University of Munich, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are using synchrotron light to investigate how moisture affects soil carbon — an important ingredient for healthy crops and fertile fields.

    “Due to climate change, Earth is going to get warmer and moisture events are going to be more dramatic,” said Itamar Shabtai, an Assistant Scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station who was a Postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science during this study. “So, environments and soils may become either drier or wetter depending on their location.”

    Shabtai said that while the effects of temperature extremes are somewhat understood, moisture’s impact on soil organic carbon is still unclear. In a paper published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Shabtai and his team investigated the impact of moisture and found that microbes within moist soils process organic inputs and store soil organic carbon better than in drier soils.

    Understanding how microbes and moisture impact soil carbon can help curb greenhouse gas emissions.

    The team hopes their findings will impact soil management practices, help to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and improve predictions about what is going to happen to the carbon in drier soils that cannot be easily managed.

    The researchers gained these insights by analyzing their soil samples on the SGM beamline at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan.

    “We were able to understand that there is more carbon that has spectral features of microbes in the moist soils and more carbon that looks like it comes directly from plant carbon in the drier soils — that’s something that would have been nearly impossible to do without synchrotron technology,” Shabtai said.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Canadian Light Source Synchrotron [Centre Canadien de Rayonnement Synchrotron]– CCRS (CA) is Canada’s national synchrotron light source facility, located on the grounds of The University of Saskatchewan (CA). The CLS has a third-generation 2.9 GeV storage ring, and the building occupies a footprint the size of a football field. It opened in 2004 after a 30-year campaign by the Canadian scientific community to establish a synchrotron radiation facility in Canada. It has expanded both its complement of beamlines and its building in two phases since opening, and its official visitors have included Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. As a national synchrotron facility with over 1000 individual users, it hosts scientists from all regions of Canada and around 20 other countries. Research at the CLS has ranged from viruses to superconductors to dinosaurs, and it has also been noted for its industrial science and its high school education programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:06 am on June 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "OU Research Finds that a Warming Climate Decreases Microbial Diversity", , Microbiology, Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have found that the warming climate is decreasing microbial diversity which is essential for soil health., The critical importance of below ground soil biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functions,   

    From The University of Oklahoma: “OU Research Finds that a Warming Climate Decreases Microbial Diversity” 

    From The University of Oklahoma

    June 14, 2022

    1
    Researchers at the Institute for Environmental Genomics at the University of Oklahoma are investigating plant diversity and taking samples for microbial diversity analysis.

    2
    Researchers use a heater to simulate climate warming at a long-term multifactor experimental field site at the University of Oklahoma.

    Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have found that the warming climate is decreasing microbial diversity which is essential for soil health. Led by Jizhong Zhou, Ph.D., the director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics at OU, the research team conducted an eight-year experiment that found that climate warming played a predominant role in shaping microbial biodiversity, with significant negative effect. Their findings are published in Nature Microbiology.

    “Climate change is a major driver of biodiversity loss from local to global scales, which could further alter ecosystem functioning and services,” Zhou said. “Despite the critical importance of below ground soil biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functions, how climate change might affect the richness and abundant distribution of soil microbial communities (bacteria, fungi, protists) was unresolved.”

    Using a long-term multifactor experimental field site at OU, researchers with the university’s Institute for Environmental Genomics examined the changes of soil microbial communities in response to experimental warming, altered precipitation and clipping (annual biomass removal) on the grassland soil bacterial, fungal and protistan biodiversity since 2009.

    “Our findings show explicit evidence that long-term climate warming reduces microbial biodiversity in a field setting,” Zhou said. “Additionally, this is the first study documenting the differential responses of both spore- and nonspore-forming microbes to climate warming, and this is the first study documenting the predominate role of warming in regulating microbial biodiversity.

    “Our findings have important implications for predicting ecological consequences of climate change and for ecosystem management,” he added. “In addition, since the effects of climate warming on biodiversity is primarily reduced moisture, it is expected that warming-induced biodiversity loss could be more severe in drylands – arid, semi-arid and dry-subhumid ecosystems that cover 41% of land worldwide.”

    Zhou says a better understanding of future warming-induced precipitation changes could be important in mitigating the warming-induced biodiversity decreases.

    The research is supported by funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, DE-SC0004601 and DE-SC0010715. Zhou is also a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The The University of Oklahoma is a public research university in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it had existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. In Fall 2018 the university had 31,702 students enrolled, most at its main campus in Norman. Employing nearly 3,000 faculty members, the school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master’s programs, 75 doctorate programs, and 20 majors at the first professional level.

    The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, University of Oklahoma spent $283 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 82nd in the nation. Its Norman campus has two prominent museums, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, specializing in French Impressionism and Native American artwork, and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, specializing in the natural history of Oklahoma.

    The university has won multiple national championships in multiple sports, including seven football national championships and two NCAA Division I baseball championships. The women’s softball team has won the national championship four times: in 2000, 2013, and consecutively in 2016 and 2017. The gymnastics teams have won a combined 11 national championships since 2002, with the men’s team winning eight in the last 15 years, including three consecutive titles from 2015 to 2017.

     
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