Cockles and mussels harvested on the shores of the Irish Sea may have provided a staple diet for Molly Malone and her fellow Dubliners, but for scientists at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth they are, along with longer living species such as the clam Arctica islandica*, a detailed record of pollution extending back over two centuries.
The shells of molluscs are made up of layers of calcium carbonate which grow in regular cycles. With each cycle a layer is added causing an effect similar to the rings formed as trees grow. As layers are formed pollutants such as heavy metals become incorporated or trapped into the shell.
Led by Dr Bill Perkins of Centre for Research in Environment and Health at the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, the Aberystwyth team have been working on a technique that enables them to extract samples from the individual layers on a shell in minute quantities. Once analysed the extracted shards of shell reveal their chemical composition including trace metals in very low concentrations – parts per million.
Arthur Dafis | University of Wales
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
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