The deep sea is far away and hard to envision. If imagined it seems like a cold and hostile place. However, this remote habitat is directly connected to our lives, as it forms an important part of the global carbon cycle. Also, the deep seafloor is, in many places, covered with polymetallic nodules and crusts that arouse economic interest. There is a lack of clear standards to regulate their mining and set binding thresholds for the impact on the organisms living in affected areas.
Mining can reduce microbial carbon cycling, while animals are less affected
An international team of scientists around Tanja Stratmann from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, and Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and Daniëlle de Jonge from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, has investigated the food web of the deep seafloor to see how it is affected by disturbances such as those caused
Fat bacteria? Skinny bacteria? From our perspective on high, they all seem to be about the same size. In fact, they are.
Precisely why has been an open question, according to Rice University chemist Anatoly Kolomeisky, who now has a theory.
A primal mechanism in bacteria that keeps them in their personal Goldilocks zones — that is, just right — appears to depend on two random means of regulation, growth and division, that cancel each other out. The same mechanism may give researchers a new perspective on disease, including cancer.
The “minimal model” by Kolomeisky, Rice postdoctoral researcher and lead author Hamid Teimouri and Rupsha Mukherjee, a former research assistant at Rice now at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
“Everywhere we see bacteria, they more or less have the same sizes and shapes,” Kolomeisky said. “It’s the
Researchers from the OU Institute for Environmental Genomics and Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology lead a study that aims to better understand ecological community assembly mechanisms in response to climate warming.
“Understanding community assembly rules is a longstanding issue of ecologists,” said Jizhong Zhou, the director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics and a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the OU College of Arts and Sciences. “We developed a novel framework to quantitatively infer community assembly mechanisms by phylogenetic bin-based null model analysis i.e., iCAMP.”
Using the iCAMP framework, the researchers revealed new findings on the dynamic changes of ecological processes from 2009 to 2014 in grassland bacterial communities under long-term experimental warming.
“In simulated data, iCAMP shows outstanding performance in terms of precision, sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and robustness,” Zhou said. “Using iCAMP, we showed that climate warming increased homogeneous selection in soil bacterial
In recent years the discovery of extremophiles, bacteria that live in nuclear reactors, hot ocean vents and other unlikely places, and of exoplanets has spurred new work and ideas about habitable planets. If Mars can have microfossils, why not Venus?
Moreover, Dr. Grinspoon said, new studies of Venus have led to the conclusion that the planet might have lost its oceans rather recently, only 700 million years ago, allowing plenty of time since the formation of the planet for life to have evolved and then escaped to the clouds.
What kind of life would that be? In 2004, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astronomer at the Technical University Berlin, in Germany, and his colleagues suggested that microbes floating in the clouds could be coated with a compound called cyclooctasulfur that would act as a sunscreen and convert ultraviolet light into visible wavelengths for photosynthesis.