A new international study has found that large brown seaweeds, when under stress, release large quantities of inorganic iodine into the coastal atmosphere, where it may contribute to cloud formation.
A scientific paper published online today (Monday 6 May 2008) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) identifies that iodine is stored in the form of iodide – single, negatively charged ions.
When this iodide is released it acts as the first known inorganic – and the most simple – antioxidant in any living system.
“When kelp experience stress, for example when they are exposed to intense light, desiccation or atmospheric ozone during low tides, they very quickly begin to release large quantities of iodide from stores inside the tissues,” explains lead author, Dr Frithjof Küpper from the Scottish Association for Marine Science.
“These ions detoxify ozone and other oxidants that could otherwise damage kelp, and, in the process, produce molecular iodine.
“Our new data provide a biological explanation why we can measure large amounts of iodine oxide and volatile halocarbons in the atmosphere above kelp beds and forests. These chemicals act as condensation nuclei around which clouds may form.”
The paper’s co-author, Dr Gordon McFiggans, an atmospheric scientist from The University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (SEAES) said: “The findings are applicable to any coastal areas where there are extensive kelp beds. In the UK, these are typically place like the Hebrides, Robin Hood's Bay and Anglesey. The kelps need rocky intertidal zones to prosper - sandy beaches aren't very good.
“The increase in the number of cloud condensation nuclei may lead to ‘thicker’ clouds. These are optically brighter, reflecting more sunlight upwards and allowing less to reach the ground, and last for longer. In such a cloud there are a higher number of small cloud droplets and rainfall is suppressed, compared with clouds of fewer larger droplets.
“The increase in cloud condensation nuclei by kelps could lead to more extensive, longer lasting cloud cover in the coastal region – a much moodier, typically British coastal skyline.”
The research team also found that large amounts of iodide are released from kelp tissues into sea water as a consequence to the oxidative stress during a defence response against pathogen attack. They say kelps therefore play an important role in the global biogeochemical cycle of iodine and in the removal of ozone close to the Earth's surface.
This interdisciplinary and international study – with contributions from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the USA – comes almost 200 years after the discovery of iodine as a novel element – in kelp ashes.
Jon Keighren | alfa
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine