Peter Rona, professor of marine science at Rutgers’ Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and Vincent Guida, a research fisheries biologist at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, led the cruise which found the pits up to hundreds of feet in diameter and tens of feet deep this summer. Their findings will be presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Dec. 14-18, in San Francisco.
“Finding these pits is new for this area,” Rona said. “They’ve been found in certain other places, such as the Gulf of Mexico. There, they’ve been related to the dissolution of gas hydrates in the sediments below the sea floor.”
When enough gas hydrates – methane gas frozen in ice crystals in muddy sediments beneath the seafloor – have dissolved, the sediments in which they’ve been trapped may collapse, forming pits. Rona suspects that may have happened in the Hudson Canyon. During their cruise on the NOAA Fisheries Survey Vessel Henry B. Bigelow in August, the researchers recovered water samples from the canyon. These samples, still being analyzed by Mary
Scranton, professor of marine science at Stony Brook University, indicated abnormally high levels of methane in water taken from above at least one of those pits.
All this, Guida said, may benefit much of what lives and swims in the water column in the canyon, from bacteria to tilefish.
Methane is a source of energy that certain bacteria use to manufacture carbohydrates (sugars and starches) in order to nourish themselvess. The bacteria, in turn, are consumed by other organisms like clams and worms.
They, in turn, may support the larger animals up the food chain, including golden tilefish, which are the focus of a major fishery, and therefore of Guida’s professional attention. Guida said he found what appear to be the burrows of tilefish in the canyon. Generation of methane may have direct environmental effects, too. It is not only important as a chemical energy source to enable bacteria to nourish themselves at the base of a food chain, but is also a potent greenhouse gas that can contribute to global warming. Net benefits or costs of methane release to the ecosystem depend on rates of production and consumption, which have yet to be measured.Regional map, showing the Hudson Canyon
The Eagle Ray cruises about 50 meters (165 feet) above the ocean bottom, and automatically conforms its track to the contours of the bottom. Using sonar, the Eagle Ray produces maps of seafloor objects as small as 15 feet. The scientists gave particular credit to Leonardo Macelloni, research assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, who interpreted the sonar data recorded by Eagle Ray.Contact: Ken Branson
Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences