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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University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
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