Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Please, do disturb: how noise protects entire marine ecosystems

31.01.2005


Noise is usually nothing more than a disturbance, but sometimes it can be useful. Researchers have discovered that noise could bring order to chaotic systems, protect and maintain entire marine ecosystems, and even make the chemical industry greener. This research is reported today in a special Einstein Year issue of the New Journal of Physics (www.njp.org) published jointly by the Institute of Physics and the German Physical Society (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft).



Changsong Zhou and a group of physicists at the University of Potsdam, Germany, are studying chaotic systems, known as excitable media. The firing of neurons in the brain is an example of such a system, as is the growth and receding of blooms of plankton in the sea. Such systems do not become excited by small signals but if they are stimulated above a threshold amount, then they give it their all: neurons fire and plankton blooms. “Similarly, excitable non-linear behaviour is also found in chemical reactions”, explains Zhou, “where an external pressure or light can push a reaction down one route instead of another.”

Zhou and his colleagues have found that the key to this sort of excitation is chaotic mixing and noise. The researchers demonstrated how a non-linear system can be controlled to become synchronized even when its stimulus is below the threshold by the addition of noise to the system.


The results based on their model study imply that oscillatory behaviour in many natural systems, rather than being disturbed by noise, is thus sustained by it. For instance, the "noise" in a marine ecosystem due to temperature changes, ocean currents, wind-driven waves, fluctuations in nutrient levels, the movement of schools of fish, and wind-driven waves affect how plankton blooms grow and recede. If the conditions are below an optimum the plankton do not grow, but they can be forced into action by noise, and once they are stimulated the whole system is activated and a marine landscape is quickly blanketed by the bloom.

Zhou’s results suggest that without noise such blooms might be physically unable to flourish in some areas or might not follow the usual seasonal cycles. "Noise might be essential to maintaining the stability and the persistence of marine ecosystems," Zhou says. This research might therefore help environmental scientists predict or even prevent toxic plankton blooms by observing the natural noise that affects them.

Zhou and his colleagues also suggest that noise might usefully be used to control chemical reactions. They explain that random disturbances in industrial mixing tanks could be promoted to make a reaction proceed more efficiently and so reduce chemical waste, making the chemical industry a little more environmentally friendly.

David Reid | alfa
Further information:
http://www.iop.org
http://stacks.iop.org/1367-2630/7/18

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>