Plankton seen from the SeaWiFs satellite
Image of Plankton
People say size doesn’t matter, and that may be true for tiny plankton, those free-floating ocean plants that make up the bottom of the marine food-chain. Little plankton may be able to change the weather, and longer term climate, in ways that serve them better.
It’s almost hard to believe, but new NASA-funded research confirms an old theory that plankton can indirectly create clouds that block some of the Sun’s harmful rays. The study was conducted by Dierdre Toole of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and David Siegel of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
The study finds that in summer when the Sun beats down on the top layer of ocean where plankton live, harmful rays in the form of ultraviolet (UV) radiation bother the little plants. When they are bothered, or stressed, plankton try to protect themselves by producing a compound called dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). Though no one knows for sure, some scientists believe DMSP helps strengthen the plankton’s cell walls. This chemical gets broken down in the water by bacteria, and it changes into another substance called dimethylsulfide (DMS).
Krishna Ramanujan | NASA Earth Science News Team
UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
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Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
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In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
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14.10.2016 | Event News
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