University of Leicester researchers suggest a turning point for the planet and its resources
Human beings are pushing the planet in an entirely new direction with revolutionary implications for its life, a new study by researchers at the University of Leicester has suggested.
The research team led by Professor Mark Williams from the University of Leicester's Department of Geology has published their findings in a new paper entitled 'The Anthropocene Biosphere' in The Anthropocene Review.
Professor Jan Zalasiewicz from the University of Leicester's Department of Geology who was involved in the study explained the research: "We are used to seeing headlines daily about environmental crises: global warming, ocean acidification, pollution of all kinds, looming extinctions. These changes are advancing so rapidly, that the concept that we are living in a new geological period of time, the Anthropocene Epoch - proposed by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen - is now in wide currency, with new and distinctive rock strata being formed that will persist far into the future.
"But what is really new about this chapter in Earth history, the one we're living through? Episodes of global warming, ocean acidification and mass extinction have all happened before, well before humans arrived on the planet. We wanted to see if there was something different about what is happening now."
The team examined what makes the Anthropocene special and different from previous crises in Earth's history. They identified four key changes:
In total, the team suggests that these changes represent a planetary transformation as fundamental as the one that saw the evolution of the photosynthetic microbes which oxygenated the planet 2.4 billion years ago, or that saw the transition from a microbial Earth to one dominated by multicellular organisms half a billion years ago.
Professor Williams added: "We think of major changes to the biosphere as the big extinction events, like that which finished off the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period. But the changes happening to the biosphere today may be much more significant, and uniquely are driven by the actions of one species, humans."
The team includes Professor Mark Williams and Jan Zalasiewicz (University of Leicester), Peter Haff (Duke University, USA), Christian Schwägerl (Aßmannshauser Strasse 17, Berlin, Germany), Anthony D Barnosky (University of California, USA) and Erle C Ellis (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA).
The paper 'The Anthropocene Biosphere' is published in The Anthropocene Review and is available here: http://anr.
Images of the growing global technosphere and Professors Mark Williams and Jan Zalasiewicz available at: https:/
Mark Williams | EurekAlert!
New insights into the ancestors of all complex life
29.05.2017 | University of Bristol
A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences