Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Groundbreaking research in Scotland

31.03.2004


A £5.85 million pound study of the soil in the Cheviot Hills has finally come to an end, producing a huge wealth of new information for scientists.

“I suspect we know more about the biodiversity of this one field at Sourhope than any other soil on this planet,” said Professor Michael Usher, the chairman of the Soil Biodiversity Programme steering committee.

The seven-year study, involving 120 scientists and the largest of its kind in the world, aims to improve knowledge of soil biodiversity and the carbon cycle - a key to understanding climate change.



Scientist Nick Ostle, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster, who worked on the project said: ‘We now understand much more about the way carbon compounds move through the soil. For instance, we have learned that carbon taken in by plants as carbon dioxide is rapidly transferred, within hours, to the soil as food for other organisms.‘

‘This creates hotspots of biological activity in the root systems,’ added Dr Ostle. ‘A mass of microbes, bacteria, mites and fungi descend upon the plant’s root systems to feed.”

Soil organisms break down pollutants, recycle nutrients and consume trace gases that regulate climate. This survey also tells scientists how pollution affects these organisms.

There have been many more discoveries and the team has developed new research methods that can be applied across the world, for example new ways of tracking carbon through the food chain until it appears back in the atmosphere.

‘We can tag micro-organisms using stable isotope tracers so we can determine their role in the carbon cycle. Soil is an important global reservoir of carbon - soil biology regulates this stock and biodiversity affects how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere,’ said Dr Ostle.

Where carbon has been and where carbon is going is important to scientists. It allows them to predict climate change more accurately.

The research, part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s soil biodiversity programme, will be discussed at an open meeting on Wednesday 31st of March at the Royal Society in Edinburgh. The talks will also include work carried out by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department funded Micronet programme that carried out complementary work on biodiversity on the same plot of land.

Leading scientists in the field will talk about the impact of their work followed by discussions on the issues raised.

Marion O’Sullivan | NERC
Further information:
http://soilbio.nerc.ac.uk/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

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...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

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,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>