A European team of researchers has demonstrated that sediment is transported to the deep sea via canyons in the seabed. The sediment accumulates in the head of the submarine canyons. At the end of the canyons, mud avalanches disperse into the deep sea. Scientists from the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) presented their findings at an international congress held from 7 to 10 April 2002.
With bottom landers, onboard the ship R.V. Pelagia, the researchers explored the Nazaré Canyon off the Portuguese coast. This is one of the largest submarine canyons in the world. The Canyon starts at the beach. At a distance of 150 kilometres from the coast it opens out into a deep-sea area, 5 km deep. Locally the canyon cuts more than one kilometre deep into the continental slope. In the floor of the canyon the researchers measured unusually high biochemical activity. The sediment is enriched in organic material, which can serve as food for the rich floor life in the canyon and the deep-sea area. However, the sediment is possibly mixed with chemical pollutants originating from human activity. In addition to this the water in the canyon was noticeably turbid. This indicates an elevated transport of sediment particles. The sediment accumulates rapidly in the canyon. As a result of this the floor becomes unstable. The researchers demonstrated that the accumulated sediment runs off the slope as submarine mud avalanches into the deep-sea area. This happens at intervals of several decades to several centuries. With the rapid growth of the world population, the use of the continental margin (the transition area between the mainland and the open ocean) is quickly increasing. As a result of this marine ecosystems are being subjected to greater pressure. Ecosystems close to the mainland are comparatively well studied. However, the edges of the continental shelf and the continental slope have for a long time received comparatively little attention.
Michel Philippens | alphagalileo
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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.
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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.
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
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