The recent killer tsunami has highlighted once more the importance of coastline protection. In natural conditions, this function is taken up by mangroves, forests thriving at the edge of land and sea that are ecologically and socio-economically important for local people in tropical countries on all continents. Using biology, geography, hydrology, socio-economic interviews, and 18th-century history, an international team led by Dr. Farid Dahdouh-Guebas has demonstrated that in the recent past an increase in human-environment interactions that affect the hydrology of rivers has turned coastal mangrove lagoons into freshwater bodies.
Such elucidation of past ecosystem processes and human-environment interactions is an essential part of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), funded by the U.S. and Swiss National Science Foundations as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Drawing on diverse data sources, including assessment of contemporary mangrove assemblages in southern Sri Lanka, changing water runoff patterns, and archival material from the Dutch East-India company, the researchers show that over the past few decades contemporary irrigation projects have abused the long-standing Sri Lankan tradition of freshwater management that once sustained robust irrigation-based civilizations. The researchers show that, increasingly, the magnitude of these modern irrigation projects has been such that entire river basins have been diverted to those of other rivers. Whereas these projects certainly develop the ability to grow crops inland, at the same time such practices drastically affect the coastal zone by introducing an excess of fresh water. The consequences range from adverse shifts in the composition of mangrove tree species to disrupted ethnobiological relationships, lagoon fisheries, and many additional functions provided by mangroves.
Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
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...
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...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
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,...
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...
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