Microbial communities can adapt to and colonize all kinds of habitat, owing to their metabolic versatility. They occur in abyssal oceanic situations, in polar ice caps, also in thermal springs, lakes, rivers, deserts and on carbonate (karst) platform systems.
Under favourable conditions, the microbial communities can proliferate and contribute to the construction of monumental edifices, termed microbialites2. They can do this in marine environments or in terrestrial settings. These structures are composed of mixed organic and sedimentary material resulting from the interaction between prokaryote organisms (bacteria, cyanobacteria) or eukaryotes (particularly algae and fungi), or both, with sedimentary processes and physico-chemical parameters of the particular environment. Marine microbialite morphology is extremely varied, in the form of mat-like accumulations, veils, domes, pompons shapes, clumps, or viscous masses.
The proliferation of microbialites in present-day environments, whether or not under the pressure of human activity, appears very recent (emerging over the past 20 years). It usually coincides with a creeping decay of coral community, a trend now seen in most regions of the world. This process is causing great concern, particularly so because the microbial structures grow rapidly and some of the cyanobacterial species involved are potentially toxic. Such changes could stem from recent modifications in environmental and climatic conditions (regional or local-scale). These could be natural or induced by human activity. Scientists are therefore looking into the significance that should be attached to these microbial structures as indicators of environmental climatic disturbances.
Marie-Lise Sabrie | alfa
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27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
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Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
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