University of Central Florida biologist John Fauth, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists and non-governmental agencies are studying the threatened Elkhorn Coral in the Vega Baja area of Puerto Rico.
While most of the area appears healthy, some coral are suffering from algal overgrowth and disease – problems similar to those the oil spill could cause off the coast of Florida. Sediment from a nearby construction site and runoff from storm sewers are potential causes for the harm to coral off Puerto Rico's coast.
Fauth says that the same techniques the team used to study the health of the reefs in Vega Baja will be used to determine the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf.
Scientists collect multiple samples that provide information about the enzymes present and the chemical signature of contaminants found within the coral. Scientists then can determine if there is damage to the coral's cells and analyze sediment samples to learn what contaminants are present on the sea floor.
"Our site provides an ideal case study for an environmental assessment that pinpoints probable stressors for coral and determines their source," Fauth said.
The process is time consuming, and each dive includes a long regimen to ensure researchers don't add to the problem.
"Before sampling, our team showered with laboratory soap and did not use any personal care products -- for example, sunscreen -- that could show up in contaminant analyses," Fauth said. "We also cleaned all of our dive gear with lab soap."
It's a comprehensive approach that researchers in the Gulf will likely duplicate as they search for answers, Fauth said.
The cross-disciplinary team included researchers from NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the universities of Central Florida and Puerto Rico, Haereticus Environmental Lab, and Grupo V.I.D.A.S. (Vegabajeños Impulsando Desarrollo Ambiental Sustentable).
UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with 56,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy.
Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | EurekAlert!
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy